Ideal Astro Base



At-a-glance information:

Item  Astro Base
Manufacturer Ideal Toy Corporation
Location Hollis, NY
Manufactured Est. 1961-1963


In the early 60s, Ideal designed what is now one of the most collectible of the 'big plastic' battery operated toys. This is very similar in spirit to the Ideal Electronic Fighter Jet.

This is a very large item. The main unit stands over 18 inches tall. It is made of a very high quality plastic that ages very well. I have seen many of these units in fine condition.

There were a few basic styles and color combinations on the control panel and scout car. Also, one version of this item actually lights up. The version profiled here does not.

This unit is very expensive to purchase on the market, but not nearly in the realm of a clean King Zor or Odd Ogg, or Big Loo.

A motorized Scout Car attaches to this unit via a wire, and is controlled by the front panel. All in all, this is a great designed and very fun toy.












  Here is the top portion of the Astro Base, showing the Astro Scope. In the window, an atmospheric scene (drawn, straight out of Popular Mechanics or SciFi!) of rockets and jets rotates along with the little radar in the clear dome above.

 Here is the detail of the control panel.

1) Power Switch selects whether power will go to the spinning Astro Scope, or the Space Lock mechanism with extends a motorized arm and drops off the astronaut.

2) Controls astronaut exit or return.

3) Fire button sets off machine gun noise

4) Turns off and on Astro Scope

5) This socket provides connection to the external scout car

6) This two position switch controls the movement of the scout car

Here are some shots of the astronaut emerging the Astro Base via the Space Lock and Hoist. The chain and hook are steel, and the whole mechanism is well made. When the astronaut is hoisted back in, door automatically closes behind! It is really neat to see!






  The astronaut can be lowered into the Scout Car, and then the transparent dome can be lowered onto the car. 
  Here is a closeup of the Scout Car plug in, and the control for the car. Believe it or not, this simple switch can control and steer the car. The drive position simply drives the front wheel, which is mounted and a vertical strut and can rotate 360 degrees. Wheel will turn counter-clockwise when the switch is pushed towards "turn", and keep turning as long as held. It takes a little trial and error to 'steer' the car.

 Here is the car with dome and missiles in place. It is missing the white radar antenna which plugs into the top of the dome.

Missiles are rubber tipped.

  Here is a close up of the closely set front wheel assembly. The car is higher in the front than rear, due to size of these two wheels. The motor lies between the wheels. It all spins around on a post that goes through the car and is fastened in place by a plastic fitting. The wheels have a nifty rubber tread. This unit goes over short carpeting and hard floors.

Here is a closeup of the rocket mount and 'programmable' release mechanism. The rocket slides onto the light blue post, and fastens against a hook on the top sub-post. The sub post hold the rocket fast on one of the rocket's four upright bumps located between each set of fins.

The dark blue cam rotates 360 degrees, and is gear driven (and geared to a much slower speed) by the back wheels...each wheel controls each cam. This cam can be preset (programmed) in any position along the 360 degrees. As it rotates with the car moving forward, it will nudge the rocket's closest fin, pushing the rocket off the holdown and launching it.

  Here is more detail as the rocket is pushed onto the post.
  A spring is part of each rocket, and allows it to launch, albeit not very far, from the Scout Car.
  Here is a close-up of the astronaut. Kind of a fifties spaceman motif!


Other interesting notes:

Here are some of the other sets and color combinations!



This box is blue tinted. Mine is almost identical but is white in the light blue areas.











Here is a red base unit, much more rare. This unit was identified at an auction as the model that lights up. More information on this lighting effect is forthcoming. Notice the red/blue color combination on the car.













Here is an interesting combination, plus the car is in the original cardboard insert. The car's coloring matches mine, as does the box type, but the know colorings are slightly different.


Besides these variations, there are other combinations.







Instruction Sheet--Click for full size

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