Flight Deck!

Today a toy that will bring back memories for the seventies Airfix generation.

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It was issued in two forms; the original blue Royal Navy McDonnell Douglas Phantom and a later yellow version, much simplified overall.

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Here, above is the simpler version. The exciting box contained the bits to enable you to launch a Phantom jet up a wire, turn it around then then ‘guide it down to a carrier landing’ and hopefully catch the one arrestor wire. The more detailed version is seen below, and was the version I’d have been after.

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The instrument panel looks cool, but it was really only the joystick that matteredĀ  (or ‘worked’).

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And if you were good, here’s your Phantom on the wire, with the flag flipped up for a successful ‘trap’. All else aside, this toy was based on the real nature of some elements of aircraft carrier operations. (Maybe not “all the thrills” as promised though. No chance of an underwater ejection here, if it all went wrong.)

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That’s the excitement out of the way. The design element is clearly of a sophisticated level by Airfix’s engineers, and it’s interesting that the later version is much simplified – the original may’ve not been as cost effective as required. The box top promised more dynamic fun than the reality, like all box tops, can be accused of doing – each version though is a painting, not a photograph. Maybe it wouldn’t have had the recruitment effect that the Top Gun movie did a few years later for the US Navy, but it would’ve been inspirational at the time – check out the Yesterday’s Toys blogger for the thrill revisited element…

James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.

Sources. Worthpoint here, and Yesterday’s Toys here for the two versions, where I have taken the images from, though there are many other online references to the Airfix Flight Deck.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Rich b says:

    Always wanted one of them!.

    Having worked in toy development a few years ago the box is always signed off at about the same time as the contents…so in reality the contents have not keen made so no photo can be taken. You still see a lot of prototype model pics on box fronts.

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