|The mysterious alien Scorpio, like Capt Lazer before him, appears out-of-place among the astronauts of Mattel's Man In Space. Towering over the Major, Scorpio exceeds seven inches in height. Powered by a single "AA" battery, Scorpio's eyes and mouth light-up via a GE401 blinking-bulb. Quite the effect to an 8 year-old and I'm sure it left quite the impression.
Scorpio was constructed as a rubber-compound-covered wire armature encased in a plastic exo-skeleton torso. The battery was inserted into the neck opening, covered by a brass light-ring and covered by a yellow plastic dome and rubber head. A blinking bulb light the face for a unique appearance. Scorpio also came with armor-like shields for his arms and legs. To complete his ensemble, a green vest with tube/gun would fire "search globes" with the aid of a bellows/hose arrangement (much like the Moon Suit and Space Powersuit). The "search globes" were small styrofoam pellets that came in a small baggie.
Scorpio is relativly difficult to find, expecially compared to the astronauts. Several years ago the rumour what that the figure was extemely rare, so prices were artificially inflated. The price of both a nice loose example, and a box-complete set are now much more reasonable, with the accessibility provided by eBay and other internet stores.
I'm not sure why, but most collectors who owned Scorpio as a child assume or have a memory of him being an enemy of the astronauts. Reading the package back, we learn that Scorpio was actually a friend and companion of Major Matt and the gang. For a twist on this, the Cipsa Mexican version was indeed an enemy, as was Callisto (as Cription). See the Mexican section for more information.
Back View | Detail View | Side View | End View | Insert Front View | Insert Back View
The chip-box is full-color, process-printed and is 8" x 13" x 2 ". A celo-covered window displays the figure attached to a green insert. Copyright is 1969.
The Story of Scorpio (reprinted from package back):
Scorpio's cocoon snapped open and he tumbled onto the
dry sands of his planet in the star cluster Scorpio.
Although Scorpio would never know his parents as Earth
children would, he ws prepared to face anything from the
moment of his birth. His keen mind could sense danger
before it appeared. The strange electronic cells in his brain
were programmed like computers. All the information he
required came instantly!
He opened his eyes, and they began to flash! He realized
he could read minds! Suddenly a sharp sound-thought
screamed into his brain. It was a call from a far-away galaxy.
Scorpio's next sensation was the soft kiss of stardust, the
whisper of space, as he blasted out and away from his home.
The new planet where Scorpio landed was totally
unexplored. Strangely, though, he could sense another
presence. Quickly he strapped on his vest projector. But
before he could gather his search globes, he saw the alien.
It was Major MATT MASON©. Scorpio's senses told him that
this was the creature that had called him. This must be a
friend! Without a word, Scorpio turned and followed Major
MATT MASON into a world of adventure!
Mattel Catalog Specifications:
This item has been offered since the Mattel Fall 1970 Catalog Page 29.
New Scorpio #6359
SCORPIO, whose large eyes and mouth flash with the light of another intelligence! SCORPIO, who carries a bellows-controlled vest projector that sends search globes flying. Astonishing humanoid is bendable, posable and out-fitted with removable arm and leg shields. Flashing bulb, safe Styrofoam search globes included. 8" tall.
Std. Pack: 1 Doz.
Wt: 6 1/2 Lbs.
Box: 8" x 13" x 2"
The only variations that I have seen are usually found in the Cipsa of Mexico Scorpio, where the rubberized body is molded from a different shade of pink. Also, many Mexican figures are found with Pink-molded feet, rather than the usual purple.
Once again moving away from the original idea of designs based on actual outer space research, Mattel seems to have been moving more towards Science Fiction than science. The last two years of MMM featured toys that had computerized components (like the programmable Star Seeker), lighting effects (like Scorpio) and sound devices (Talking Voice Control Pak in the Talking MMM sets). The toy environment of the early 70's was heavily influenced by gimicks and gadgetry (just as it is now) and the trend was away from role-play and more towards innovation. This trend, plus the waning public interest in the space race, spelled the ultimate demise in toys like out favorite astronauts and his space buddies!
Once thought to be the rarest Major Matt Mason figure, Scorpio now appears to be more common than first thought. Old Store Stock examples are still frequently found and he appears to have been marketed through both 1970 and 1971 (see the Mattel Catalogs pages for more information). Scorpio was the first really expensive figure I ever bought. I purchased a loose example, right when I began collecting MMM in 1985, for $450 from a Toy Shop ad. The figure was supposed to be complete/mint with unbroken wires. He actually had one broken wire in the thigh (I can't fault the seller, it was and still is difficult to tell that the wire is broken, except for the tell-tale "click" when bent). The same figure may be purchased for $250-300 today.
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