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, and...play 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!