The Rocket Tube Diaries.
A "NEVER BEFORE SEEN" Micronauts Homeworld Blog Exclusive featuring the infamous HMS Rocket Tube Blueprints with supporting article written by Ray Miller.
The year 2000 saw some new changes in the world. Computers were storming the world. Everyone was trying to cash in on it. Ebay being no exception. But Ebay kind of took everyone by surprise. Before it evolved into the evil monster it has become, it was a new found way to finally get those items that one needed for their collections. Finally one place to go to to be able to see if what you needed was available. If not, computers at least allowed one to 'hunt' for whatever they needed with greater ease than ever before offered. No more expensive trips to trade shows. Ebay was born.
I always say, 'Don't throw it away, throw it on Ebay'. Because someone always thinks your junk is better than theirs. And back around 2000 and up till about 2004 or 2005, people began going through their attics realizing that their own treasure trove of junk might actually be valuable to the right person. And then everything hit the market. People for whatever the reasons had their little 'thing'. Everyone of us has something. Fishing/cooking/action figures, whatever. We could now find the things related to what interested us. And the lists were endless.
In the case of Micronauts, Bubbletrons were seen every few months. A market was born. People began assigning values to various things. Price guides were now useless as the availability of alot of items that were before considered hard to get became available regularly. Slowly people filled their collections. And as they did, Ebay evolved and more people began to get interested in various things that made up their hobbies. And items once thought neat and nifty and commonplace...disappeared. More and more people became interested and as the internet grew so did demand on a dwindling supply.
Some were fortunate enough to occasionally be in the right place at the right time. While Ebay has become a place where most sellers believe every item they have is rare and swear at you if you tell them different, you can still get good deals from practical people. Other times however, you have to factor in just how important is it to you. While yes Ebay has organized a place where for the most part we can find almost anything we want, it can come with a price. Like anything...How BADLY do you want it? Lets face it...if after 10 years of searching you finally find that 1 item in the condition you wanted on Ebay, but its $20, $30...even $50 more than you know its worth...are you willing to wait another 10 years to see another one? Maybe longer?
I cant exactly remember when. I believe it was back around 2004 or 2005. I used to spend hours a day searching Ebay. Checking misspelled versions of things I was looking for. Believe it or not, for some people that IS their job. And I came across an Ebay seller who had some of the original HMS Micronaut Rocket Tube Blueprints. Sometimes you have to be greedy. I saw them and realized their intrinsic value. While to some they might think it ok to sell off page by page. I didnt. I set out to get as many as were available to be able to keep them together as a set. At the time I really didnt even desire them in my collection. But I saw the loss of alot of information if they weren't kept as a set. So I set out to obtain as many as I could. I at first missed one of the prints that was auctioned off to another collector. But seeing my desire and understanding what I was trying to do, this collector made arrangements to have the blueprint he had obtained donated to the set I had assembled.
Special thanks go to Phil Stevens of the UK.
Seeing my obvious interest and with the fees Ebay was now slowly ever increasing, The original seller offered me all the drawings he had and promised to inform me if he came across any more. While I dont believe for a moment that I have every blueprint or drawing related to the Micronauts Rocket Tubes and various other items, I believe I have managed to put together a very rare set of documents that shows just what MEGO had in mind and how they looked at things.
These NEVER seen before drawings and blueprints were lent to Micronaut Historian Ray Miller, who graciously gave up alot of his time to study, analyze and offer his opinions on what he found. The following is a short compilation of drawings with accompanying article by Ray Miller. Shortly after this article was done, another subsequent batch of blueprints and drawings emerged that as of yet have yet to be seen by anyone in the Micronaut Community.
I have been meaning to get all the drawings and blueprints put to disk for easier viewing, but its not something that is always at the front of my mind. So the pictures following this article are exactly that. Pictures taken of the actual documents.
"The Secret Ambition Of Rocket Tubes" As written by Ray Miller
Thanks to Gold_Dober we've been given a rare look into several lost pieces of the Interchangeable World of the Micronauts: A set of ambitious plans to expand on Mego's daring and unfortunately unsuccessful-Rocket Tubes System.
While it has been alternately implied and speculated that Rocket Tubes was a concept abandoned by Takara, the toy was actually conceived and patented almost exactly as we know them now by toy and product designer Gordon Barlow, and engineered by the now-legendary toy and hobby design firm "H>M>S> Associates" of Pennsylvania. The molds for the toy system-which were confirmed to exist in their entirety as of 2005 and went unsold at an industry auction-were created by PAC (later to become PAC Toys) in New Jersey.
|File Index of Drawings|
|A cross section of a standard tube|
|Modular Space Frame|
|Ore Loader Cross Section and Elements|
|Ore Loader Detailed|
The Command center illustrates another complicated mini-play set that could have become part of the Rocket Tubes System. This is something of a station house if you use railroad anthology, and features a small, simplistic vehicle (reminiscent of the shuttle pod seen in Star Trek the Motion Picture) and a spot identified for a crane. The module attaches to the Modular Space Frame and Web Connectors like the Ore Loader, and a tube segment can pass lengthwise through the module. The Command Center features complex technological textures, and decals for control panels. Also, an interesting element of this structure is that portals which allow a tube section to pass through the Command Center can actually allow the tube and module to orient themselves in directions other than simply a horizontal plane. If supported by the tube, the module could be suspended on a slanted incline, 90 degree angle or even upside down for a zero gravity feel. Or, the tube could pass through it at whatever angle was convenient to keep the Command Center flat.
|Spring Loaded Canopy|
|Spring Loaded Canopy Additional Details|
These designs may have been developed into physical prototypes. Notations seem to indicate that a physical example ( "an engineering model" ) of the Ore Loader vehicle was ordered to be made at the very least. But it is currently unknown if the toys developed beyond the paper and mock up stage before being cancelled. None of these elements were listed in the manifest of Rocket Tubes molds auctioned off in 2005. Astute Micronaut collectors will recall the glider launching station included in the Sears "Deluxe" Rocket Tubes Set, which serves as a possible example of the beginning of these sort of additional modules. The television commercial for Deluxe Rocket Tubes also includes a parachute drop feature, which doesn't appear in the final product. The drawings are all 1:1 scale, so looking at them gives an immediate sense of the proper scale of the items. They would have been comparable in size to the systems Blower Segment.
-Micronaut Historian Ray Miller.
The Ore Loader Detailed picture is taken from the original blueprint. As these blueprints are very old, it was altered for clarity and definition for easier viewing. There are still some more drawings (at least another dozen or so) that have yet to be analyzed that go with this set. Those will be posted as Part 2 in the VERY Near Future. But I believe the bulk of information into the insight of MEGO comes from this set of blueprints.
A very huge thank you to Ray Miller for the time he invested analyzing these particular blueprints. Ray was also nice enough to include the link to Mego's Rocket Tubes Commercial, as well as all the ORIGINAL patent information. With out his invaluable contribution, this article/post would not have been possible.