Deep within the depths of my room, mixed in with a bunch of my miscellaneous toys, a plastic spaceship of unknown origin hibernated. Not knowing any information about it, I had always wondered if the tiny UFO shared any sort of connection to the realm of strange Star Wars collectibles. Well, to my delight, it does!
My mini spacecraft belongs to a set of toys called "Spaceship Launchers", and one of the ships looks like the Millennium Falcon! In the photo below, you can see five of them still vacuum sealed on the card that originally displayed them in toy vending machines.
The back of the card is blank, by the way. Doesn't the style "Spaceship" is written kinda remind you of the way "Star Wars" was on some of the early Power of the Force 2 cards?
My brother was actually the one who spotted this for me at a toy show. He lead me to it, saying the ship pictured above looked like the Falcon. I somehow didn't see the similarity at first-- it just looked like a pointed ship with a split front to me-- but now it's hard not to notice the front mandibles, the side escape pod area, and those circle thingies on the top's back. So cool!
The Spaceship Launchers are "weapon firing spaceships", meaning they shoot little rings when a plastic plunger-thingy is pushed. While unintended by the manufacturer, the hole that the rings are loaded into coincidently makes a great cockpit for mini figs to ride around in, and the plunger locks the figure into place. I used to let my mini Alpha 7 take it for a spin, and I bet I gave at least one Homies figure a turn, too.
Here's the four ships I have, plus a color variation. Looks like we've got two of those Star Trek ships here, though I don't recognize the other two in the set from anywhere.
The one below says "JUPITER" on the front.
Here! This last one looks the same as the loose one I had from way back!
I've found one other photo of these toys, and it shows some color variations... plus a different ship, too! The new ship is pretty triangular looking, and gold in the photo. There's also a greenish-blue version of the ship pictured directly above, along with a red "Jupiter" ship.
The toy show dealer I bought this from said he had been involved in the vending machine business and saw that it was historically important to save the display cards and not just toss them out. I was like, "THANK YOU!" He said he thought this one was from the 80's, but it sure looked like 90's graphic design to me. Sure enough, on the card it says, "Made in China" and "© 1998 Parkway Machine Corp.".
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go find that loose spaceship now. I promised a M.U.S.C.L.E. figure I'd let it go cruising soon!