Sean Conlan 🍺 is a user on mastodon.club. You can follow them or interact with them if you have an account anywhere in the fediverse.

So I'm looking in to this Space Patrol Lunar Fleet Base which was a mostly paper premium that was offered during the second season.

I'm not sure what episode this was first offered on (because I haven't digitized everything in my collection yet, and also there are literally hundred of episodes that are lost) but I know the last offer date was Episode 21, which aired on the 24th of May, 1952.

(This run of episodes is fascinating, I'll talk about them later.)

If I had to guess, the premium would have gone on offer near Episode 14 of S2 from April 5th, which is the first reference I can find to the lunar fleet base in the show's history.

Anyway, the Lunar Fleet Base premium is kind of neat, and I'm going to talk about it now.

First, pictures.

So the majority of the Lunar Fleet base premium --I'm calling it a premium rather than a playset or a toy because it was only available as a mail in, for a quarter and a boxtop, and because it-- is made of paper.

Well "paper" in this case means a pretty strong cardstock with a wax coating. The upshot of the majority of the premium being made of paper is that, in spite of the more than 200,000 of these that were made, scant few actually survive.

I said "mostly" paper on purpose.

The 4 character figures, smaller spaceship, telescope, and the other thing (... I think that's supposed to be a space car, let me check the instruction sheet.) are made of plastic.

Specifically, they are almost certainly printed pieces of paper enclosed in a die-cut clear plastic sheet. (similar to how novelty knives are often made.)

They are, in the parlance of tin soldiers, Flats. That means they are two dimensional. I don't know if they are also printed on the backs. I've never seen.

The instruction sheet just says "Full Color Plastic Figures and Equipment".

Every numbered item on that list is one or more paper punched pieces that has been folded in to the shape of a toy, with the exception of the last 6, which are the stamped plastic.

This is really neat!

What's even neater, IMO, is that the non-plastic components of this premium could be reproduced in essentially perfect quality with no specialized equipment other than a printer (and, if you want, some kind of heating element to wax the paper and make it more durable.)

Well, they could be reproduced if I had good scans of the originals.

I don't.

As far as I can tell, no one currently does.

On the other hand, there's a set of Tom Corbett Space Cadet paper craft figures on the Bay right now that I might snag for this very purpose.

I wonder if, with all our modern technology, there's a way to make the flats at home (with or without the plastic coating) that is still reasonably durable?

Papercraft toys have the potential to be really cool, especially if they can be re-created after they are inevitably destroyed through months or years of use.

(this probably isn't a new fact to many of you, but papercraft wasn't a thing in my community when I was a kid, outside of the things I made for myself out of cardboard and construction paper.)

If I ever actually *do* something with the Space Age Serial Box, this would be a really neat addition.

(one option would be thick cardboard with a thin printed contact paper and a small (plastic? metal? cardboard?) base, as is often used in cheap board games from the 80s and 90s.

This, to me, is less playful than a standard cast plastic toy, in that it's likely to be terribly fragile.

But there's definitely more to explore here.)

The last few episodes that this premium was offered on were about an alien species that invades the minds of people, and renders them drones.

At least, I *think* that's what they're about. Unfortunately, the episode that sets up this conceit is only partially available (or, if it is more widely available, I only have access to a damaged copy.)

I found some better (though still too small) scans of the pieces of the Lunar Fleet Base.

I'm going to upload those somewhere and share them here.

I'm also going to try and enlarge them I have no idea if that'll work out at all, but I'm going to try.

Here are some of the better pictures I found of the lunar fleet toys.

Mostly these are better by virtue of being on axis.

They are still way too small to do anything with, and I still have no idea how I would emulate the die-cut plastic pieces, but here we are.

I'm running the two punch out images through some of the filters I normally use on comic books but
1) they are much smaller than the comic book scans I'm normally working with
2) the target image size is much larger for these than the comic books I'm normally working with,
3) the computer I'm doing this on is my cheap i5 thinkpad x220, not the i7 desktop or laptop that I would normally use, so doing this in parallel was a mistake and now it and everything else is SLOW.

Three images, 6 filters, running four in parallel. None have finished, it's been almost 20 minutes.

Okay, a couple have finished.

Here are the results.

One of them actually almost looks okay? I might try printing it on some cardstock or some photo paper when I get home.

Wish I had a way to cut it out automatically... Is there a consumer product that cuts pieces of paper (or whatever) in to programmable shapes? Like a slower, die-cut?

Sean Conlan 🍺 @sconlan

@ajroach42 i have a decal cutter called a Silhouette that would work. I’ve never tried to print and then cut but it claims that is possible. You’d have to import a scan, run the trace routine/cleanup and figure out how to work with the loading/registration.

· Tootle for Mastodon · 0 · 1

@sconlan this looks like exactly what I need. If it'll work with Linux I'm sold. If it won't, I'm probably still sold.