Period: Painted Head
Dates: 1967 until c.1970
Cat No: 34705
"Every Astronaut needs a capsule before he can blast off into outer-space. Action Man Astronaut has his! Designed from the Mercury space craft blueprints and scaled to fit him perfectly, it will float in the water after splashdown!".
The Action Man Space Capsule first appears in the 1968 Equipment Manual, being inherited from the GI Joe range in America. It was a very popular at a time that man was only months off of landing on the Moon for the first time. Stanley Kubricks '2001: A Space Odyssey' was launched to universal acclaim at the cinemas, and it seemed space adventure was everywhere. The Action Man Space Capsule was based on the 'Mercury' Missions. The vehicle was the ideal craft of the Astronaut of 1967.
The sliding window that allows access into the capsule becomes scratched easily. As this piece was reputed to 'float' many of the instrument panel decals have buckled in bathwater (replacement stickers are available here). In the interior there are two orange plastic seat belt straps that pass over Action Man's lap and are buckled together. Often missing are two blue plastic grab handles that look like two gearsticks either side of the seat. There is a hole in the rear bulkhead to take the Astronaut helmet's comms lead wire. Once in the Capsule Action Man is really snug as his helmet back pushes firmly into a concave dish in the rear bulkhead.
The first capsules to arrive in the UK had the G.I. Joe nose name plates turned to show their blank side, before the Action Man Logo versions were produced to replace them. In the US Sears produced a inflatable collar / life raft for the capsule as a special edition. Some US capsules have tan or yellow interior plastics.
The base part of the capsule is bonded to the main capsule with glue, and attempts to separate the halves (to access/replace the window section for instance) will break the capsule.
In 2016 an adapted Action Man Astronaut (named Major Bob Tom) and Space Capsule were successfully sent into near space on Art+Science Mission Mercury 10