Posts : 7050 Join date : 2009-11-24 Age : 50 Location : Dutchess County, NY
Subject: Spacewar Playset Article from Joe Y Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:05 pm
The Outer Realm :: Arco Spacewar
ARCO TOYS Westbury, New York, United States
Arco toys, taking advantage of Kenner's slow response to the overwhelming demand for Star Wars toys, were there and on the shelf in early 1978 producing the Spacewar line of knock off Star Wars toys. The Arco Spacewar line was an offshoot of its Playkid line which was very similar to the Playmobil, Airgam Boys, and Fisher Price Adventure People lines. The Spacewar line was available in many retail outlets thru America, especially 5 and dime stores (the 70s equivalent of a "dollar" store) as well as Woolworths and K-Mart. The 6 Spacewar figures retailed for just under $1 each.
The human character (most commonly considered to be "Luke") in the Spacewar line is the only one available on both a Playkid header card as well as a Spacewar card. BOTH are exceedingly rare. The other major variation on this line's packaging was that the (at the time) retail giant Woolworth had Arco send them their version of the Spacewar line with a slightly altered card. Gone was the die cut detailing and the addition of the Woolworth logo at the bottom of the card to distinguish the product for their stores. The Woolworth versions are ultra rare, and in fact some figures have yet to publicly surface on a Woolworth card, although they were produced. So far no examples of certain figures are known to have survived.
One of the great things about Arco having been a US based toy company that produced knock off SW items, is that some examples of pre production material have surfaced. Here are two examples of prototype figures and packaging art that came up and are now in collector hands.
First is a mock-up for a multipack that was never released. It has alternative art on a cromalin that's been glued to thicker cardstock and the figures are hand painted with hardcopy heads.
Second is this mock-up for the "Luke" Spacewar. The package here is much different than what was released. I'd gather that they used the Luke for this early stage piece, as he was already produced in their Playkid line. Similar to the 3 pack, the "Luke" card is also a cromalin glued to thicker cardstock.
Playsets and Role-Playing
The Playkid Spacewar line wasn't limited to just action figures. They also made a Galaxy Control playset, as well as several dart guns, and a sparkling gun with some great card art.
Target guns in both blue and red. An odd packaging variant on the blue ones, one with the gun carded at an angle, and the other with the gun straight across.
The same gun carded without the metal target. Two variations, one with blue darts, one with red darts.
Last but certainly not least in our journey into this great US released knock off line we have the "Sparkling Space Pistol".
If you have any Arco Spacewar items not shown here or information about the line that was missed, please feel free to email the author at email@example.com, thank you.