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Plug Head "Swoppet Style" Spacemen by Cherilea & Unknowns

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space.trucks

If anyone can loan verdict as what the are (or aren't?) I'll owe you a beer: The style is fascinating. I recall seeing them once or twice as a kid over at friend's houses and being disturbed by how irregular and dramatic they appear compared to the Apollo era astronaut spacemen we had.

 

All I know for sure is that the guys to the left by the tape measure (+ the headless ones) were vended as "Cherilea Spacemen" and fit the MO I have been able to discern. They are a hard plastic with pegs on their feet which fit into the tan colored plastic bases they were equipped with, unpainted, and no makers mark or stampings anywhere. One other difference to the rest is that they look cheerful! where the others look either like zombies or are on really bad acid trips.

 

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Middle group is a softer plastic, are pod-footed but don't have good balance skills, are painted (bodies + packs), and likewise have no markings/stamp including on the equipment packs. They also appear to be a hair smaller than the other two (or three?) variants. And for the record my favorite of them all is the yellow guy at middle bottom with nothing in his hands. He is a FREAK!!! Love it.

 

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Group to the right are harder plastic, unpainted, have pod feet with better balance, and are also unstamped/marked.

 

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Only thing resembling "markings" are the circular indentations on the pod feets. 

 

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No stampings on the bases either. Chopped head from a Lot buy which some of these were part of. Which has added to the confusion about what they are. Not all the types came from individual sellers & some were purchased with other figures. Am grouping by appearance: Only set which came together were the ones with the bases vended as "Cherilea". And I believe they are.

 

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All chopped so that the plugs are stuck in their heads. I have since gotten handy with a longer sized nail & pulled the scrunched heads out of their helmets.

 

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Interestingly the plugs on the equipment vests are too wide to fit into the peg hole on the softer plastic example who is missing his pack. The yellow pack already has a busted strap so I may try shaving its pegs down a bit. Have since gotten busy with some sticky putty and effected a temporary repair on all but the guy with the busted arm. Am thinking a hot glue gun might be the trick as its adhesive is somewhat flexible.

 

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;[

 

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Gear pack on the left is somewhat yellower or olive toned, on the right more of a pure green.

 

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The three "complete" headless Cherilea dudes using sticky putty to keep the heads in place long enough to make some pix. Also switched pistol guy's pack for color composition though at this point damned if I know which pack came with whom. If you note the kneeling guy I sadly snapped his knee trying to fit him back to a base, perhaps testimony to their actual age: will be leaving them be henceforth, and thank God he had already been compromised. Thinking about playing it up & giving his knee a bloodied bandage.

 

All insights / verdicts welcome! and I'm going to re-fit some of my "displaying the goodies" posts into a Space.Trucks Collection over in the Private Collections wing

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Golddalek

Pretty strange looking space figures...Kind of a mix between modern astronauts and Jules Verne characters.:scratchhead:

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space.trucks

Definitely a product of the pre-Apollo 60s. I remember being freaked out by them as a kid & not understanding what they had to do with Neil Armstrong. Basic nosing around suggests that Cherilea were the ones who originated the form and the plug-together system resembled their Swoppet branded toy soldiers enough for the name to stick even after other companies were copying them.

 

Stumbled upon some supporting evidence (as if its needed) that Marx had a crack at the form, nicked from a 'b4y listing for the vehicle pictured. No clue as to whether the figures were included from the box top, and the seller is including more standard MPC posed spacemen with the vehicle as a gimme.

 

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Certainly looks like the softer plastic "middle group" from my post, might ask the seller if he can make pix of the rest of the box to see if it mentions figures being included, would presume they were -- Will check the Space Plastic sections to see if there's any reference to the vehicle.

 

 

 

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space.trucks

This just in, another b4y listing with the figures matching the "painted softer plastic pod foots" from the opening post as Marx product. I like how they used Marx made moon vehicles to decorate the inside of the package with Project Gemini imagery for the outside. Maybe that helps date the form to pre-1968? 

 

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space.trucks

Oh, and then of course there's this. Duhh. 

 

http://www.danefield.com/data/displayimage-24-5366.html#top_display_media

 

So, Marx. And then I found this:

 

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"Made in Hong Kong for Betta Toys & Party Favors Inc, Chatsworth CA. 94311

C. Betta Toys & Party Favors Inc. 1977"

 

Keeping it as-is for now. So, if this conclusion is correct: Marx appropriated the Swoppet plug head spaceman style from Cherilea, and then everybody in Hong Kong copied Marx's copy of Cherilea? That actually makes sense. But now I managed to bust the arm off my favorite Cherilea guy with the pistol (closing their storage box lid, #*@%$) and snapped the knee on another (switching bases, $#@$#76&^!!!) so the fun is over with those guys. Their plastic has gone very brittle and I am afraid to touch them at all. Moving on. 

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Golddalek

Goofy looking space figures....I suppose during the 'Apollo Moon Program', :scratchhead:all one had to do is associate  a Toy and it would get attention.:biggrin:

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space.trucks

I want to go to Hong Kong with $1500 to burn so bad. Find a sympathetic local who knows where the old retail stock warehouses are & whom to call for access. Grease a few palms and send home a crate of MOC treasures. They are there.

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Golddalek

Hong Kong sounds interesting, I keep seeing Hanson Robotics videos, suppose to be based in Hong Kong.

I wonder what the cost of living is there? :scratchhead:Sounds like a place to get cheaper parts.:cheers:

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space.trucks

00IMG_8818.jpg.9943ff1549f707f7c3152cfeda5bf71a.jpg

 

Overdue for a Swoppet update. Have learned more about them since the above.

 

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Marx Swoppets

 

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My favorite three. Hole in the other guy's gut is where you peg on the equipment pack, and his is not wide enough to strap on a spare Cherilea made pack from one which broke beyond use. These have hand painted details and are a more rubbery stiff plastic then the Army Man stuff. Would love to know when they first surfaced as Marx product. They are on the cover of the Moon Scout Train box which I believe is 1968.

 

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The three on the right are *likely* Marx, the one to the left anonymous, "Gay Gem" has been suggested, or whomever made their plastics. All cast in Army Man plastic, and note pod feet on the suspected Marx pieces vs. the lack of pod foot on the cake topper. The Marx guys also have faces, but no painted features like the first batch.

 

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Blank look. Copy of a copy.

 

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More anonymous cake topper Swoppets, some obtained with Gay Gem packaged cap bomb rocket form (minus the cap popping device) as cake decoration pieces. Some have vestiges of marks on their feet where the hoses connect.

 

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Cherilea Swoppets, though they have brown bases instead of green. I am under the impression these were made in the UK, all the others in Hong Kong. One gripe is the plastic on them has gone shamefully brittle, and all but two of mine suffer from a fracture or two. Definitely the nicest looking of them all.

 

More in blog form here: https://spacetrucks.blogspot.com/2019/08/swoppet-style-spaceman-figures-by-marx.html

 

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Golddalek

Very colorful...Bit cartoony expressions, strange instruments.

Hand Held radar units? rare pokemon.😺

I never seen these before.

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SERIOUSBOB

There are so many variations of these figures it's difficult to say which ones came first. Here's a set from Italy, probably the '60's or so. Box is partly torn @ the end but still stapled @ the bottom & figures still glued in so I don't think they've been removed. I think they must be the original figures from the package. I prefer these ones from Italy w/ their style helmets.

 

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ervino

Hmm... am I the only one to find these series of figures (in any of their variations) ugly as sin???🙀😸

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space.trucks
45 minutes ago, ervino said:

Hmm... am I the only one to find these series of figures (in any of their variations) ugly as sin???🙀😸

Oh, I could not agree more & believe them to be a by-product of that batch of brown acid the Pigman was warning everyone about on the Woodstock album. I did not have any as a kid but still recall encountering them at a friend's and being disturbed by how elongated and freaked out they are. The colors also don't say astronaut. More like bugged-out cartoon creation drawing upon "Amazing Stories" cover artwork -- I have thousands of pulp science fiction magazine cover scans on an external drive which needs data recovery, and so want to skim through them looking for spacemen which might look similar.

 

That Italian package rocks!!! Gray bases too, have so far only seen green and brown bases. I also agree that there's very little chance of arriving at a chicken-egg relationship on which ones came first from what factory. What I'd like to believe is that one of the creative minds at Britains / Cherilea tasked with coming up with new figure designs c.1965/66 realized that if they just altered the helmet + armor on a Roman legion figure and gave him a ray gun it would resemble a Tom Swift /pulp scifi astronaut suit. They certainly were not deriving it from NASA designs, which is one of the things that appeals to me about them. Almost an extension of the scifi space figure into the Apollo era, the form persisting well beyond the demise of whomever originated it, their name(s) + who they worked for lost in time via endless re-copying of other people's copies. Public Domain Spacemen.

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SERIOUSBOB

Firstly I should say I didn't like the Marx versions or Hong Kong knockoffs of these as a kid. I didn't buy them or collect them. Second, I didn't collect humanoid or spacemen figures (still not really interested in astronauts). Having said that as an 'adult' collector (tongue in cheek), these reminded me a bit of 60's Italian space films like "First Spaceship on Venus" or films of that type & seem unusual enough to be part of my collection. I think I only really have them because they're in a cool box from Italy.

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ervino
1 hour ago, SERIOUSBOB said:

Firstly I should say I didn't like the Marx versions or Hong Kong knockoffs of these as a kid. I didn't buy them or collect them. Second, I didn't collect humanoid or spacemen figures (still not really interested in astronauts). Having said that as an 'adult' collector (tongue in cheek), these reminded me a bit of 60's Italian space films like "First Spaceship on Venus" or films of that type & seem unusual enough to be part of my collection. I think I only really have them because they're in a cool box from Italy.

Ah, the Antonio Margheriti (aka Anthony Dawson) movies, from "Space Men" to "I Diafanoidi vengono da Marte"! How many dreams for us Italian kids fans of SF of those years!!!😻😻😻

 

A small clarification, if I may: "First Spaceship on Venus"  wasn't an Italian movie. It was an East Germany one, adapted from a Stanislaw Lem book.

 

Were you maybe referring to "Planet of the Vampires", by Mario Bava? Movie that, incidentally, is frequently indicated as an inspiration for Ridley Scott's "Alien"...

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