|The Astro Trac Missile Convoy Set was a Sears exclusive, first available in Sears Christmas Wishbooks in 1968, continuing in 1969. This was an unusual playset in that it not only collected several Matt Mason accessories, but also introduced the Mobile Launch Pad and included a vinyl play-mat simulating the moon's surface. Included in the set was an Astro Trac, 3 Mobile Launch Pads, a Satellite Launch Pak, Space Probe Pak and Rocket Launch Pak, with all their small-accessory contents.
The set came in an oversized box with extremely colorful graphics. The play-mat was prominently displayed as an inset in the upper right corner of the box front, and the initial impression is of a full 3-D lunar moonscape. This impression was also given in the Sears ad and perhaps the original intent was to provide something much more detailed than what was eventually provided. It's interesting that the set did not come with a figure. The vinyl play-mat had three snaps that held the center of hard vacuformed craters and measured 40" x 24" with a colorful patterning of the moon's surface.
The other unusual items were the Mobile Launch Pads themselves. These are molded as small tracked platforms that were shaped to accept the bases of the three launching accessories listed above. Tow hooks and latches in the front and rear of the MLP allowed the Pads to be "wagon-trained" together and pulled by the Astro Trac. It is interesting to note that the Astro Trac with all three pads could not be stretched out on the play-mat in a straight line, they could only be fit to the mat in a semi-circle. For more information on the Astro Trac, MLP, and accessories, please review the links toward the bottom of this listing.
Astro Trac Images:
Side 1 | Side 2 | Top View | Bottom View | Back View | Quarter View
Space Probe | Rocket Launch | Sattelite Launch | Gamma Ray Gard
Set-Up Playset Images:
Play Mat | Mat Detail | Crater Detail | Astro Trac | Astro Trac Side
Group Shot | MLP Side | Space Probe | Rocket Launch | Satellite Launch
The box is made of corrugated cardboard printed on all sides (in black, white and blue ink), except two sides which have applied a full-color, process-printed label (top and front). The box measures 14 1/4" by 9" by 7". Copyright is 1967. The box reads: "Mighty, mobile planet explorer!...Universal astro-foam traction wheels...Skims dust dunes...Climbs lunar rocks...Circles volcanic moon craters."
Additional Box Images:
Front | End | Top View | Bottom View | Back View
Mattel #6327-0920 Astro Trac Missile Convoy Set: Front | Back
Mattel Catalog Specifications:
(Not Found in Regular Mattel Retailer Catalogs. First appearance: Sears 1968 Christmas Wishbook Catalog page 504)
Astro Trac 4-unit Space Missile Convoy
Astro Trac vehicle travels over any planet terrain. 9-in. plastic, has foam-plastic rear wheels, front wheels that steer. Powered by 1 "D" battery, order 1 pkg. page 505. Hook up 3 launch pad vehicles (rocket, space probe and satellite launchers are on top). Then go on adventrures across 40x24-in. molded vinyl moonscape.
79 N 59011C -- Shipping weight 3 pounds........Set $15.77
I actually had this set as a child. I remember that Sears was pretty much the place to find and purchase most of my significant holiday toys. Seeing this set in the Sears Wishbook just about killed me and at some point my parents relented and bought me the set for Christmas. I also remember my dismay when opening the set and realizing that it didn't come with all those figures pictured on the box. The second thing I remember is that the play mat was very disappointing. The catalog ad showed this beautiful 3-D landscape - the reality was this vinyl mat - very dissatisfying! Third memory, trying to get all the pieces to fit on the mat. As shown in the images above, you had to loop the convoy into a crescent to get the whole thing on the mat.
This set is extemely difficult to find for the modern-day collector. The mat with craters alone often sells in the $200-300 range. The MLPs have sold for as much as $200 each, loose (recent prices are in the more moderate $75-150 range).
Accessories may also be found in:
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