Monday, February 02, 2015

Memory Bank: Lindberg Star Probe Models

In the seventies, I loved visiting hobby shops and purchasing spaceship model kits to build at home (preferably while watching Star Trek or Space:1999). 

I would save-up my allowance, walk down to the hobby shop on Bloomfield Avenue in New Jersey, and drop five-to-ten dollars on a kit.  

Then, I would have a brand new ship to build, with.  

As I've written before (in regards to Gerry Anderson's Starcruiser One, and the Leif Ericson mystery ship), I loved spaceship model kits that weren't from a particular series or film, because then I could create from my imagination an entire universe of my own design.

One of my favorite model kit series came from a company called Lindberg. 

Lindberg introduced a series of outer space-centric model kits in the late 1950s (1958, I believe), based on illustrations seen in Colliers Magazine, and on the amazing designs of Von Braun. 

By the 1970s, however, these kits had been re-packaged as "new" under the name "Star Probe," and were widely available in American hobby shops and toy stores. 

There was a rocket ship called the U.S.S. Explorer, a wheel-like space station (replete with tiny shuttles), and my favorite of the bunch: a lunar lander-like vehicle termed a space shuttle. It had a lattice-frame, a bulbous nose, and several orb-like engine tanks (or, perhaps, crew compartments).

None of these model kits were particularly difficult to build, and I loved all three, though for some reason I recall the Explorer being less durable than the others.  

Over the years, I probably collected, constructed, and (accidentally...) demolished the Lindberg space shuttle no less than three times.  

Lindberg also had another kit -- an alien UFO -- that was not part of the Star Probe series, if my memory is correct. I had that kit once, but I never enjoyed it as much as the amazing kits in the Star Probe series.  I was much more interested in spaceships that represented man's conquest of space than those representing alien visitations of Earth.

I may make it a mission, this year, to get my hands on some of those old Star Probe kits.  I don't think they are too expensive, and I believe they may have been re-issued some time last decade. 

I'll keep you updated on my quest!

1 comment:

  1. I built many of these models in my youth and still have a few left like the space shuttle/moon ship and the flying saucer. For years, there was a rumor that Ed Wood used paper plates glued together for the flying saucers in Plan 9 from Outer Space. This rumor was reinforced by the movie Ed Wood. However, he actually used this flying saucer kit. If you look closely at Plan 9, it's pretty clear that this is the model used.