SpaceX’s Starship rocketed into space and landed as a Mattel Matchbox toy.
The reusable spacecraft, which made a mostly successful second test flight on Saturday (Nov. 18), are among the latest additions to the brand’s classic toy line of die-cast airplanes (and spacecraft). The spacecraft, along with two new SpaceX Dragon capsules and an upcoming Falcon Heavy rocket, are part of a multi-year licensing agreement between SpaceX and Mattel.
The Matchbox Sky Busters SpaceX Starship, which recently became available at select U.S. toy and hobby stores, replicates the 165-foot (65 m) stainless steel spacecraft as a 4.5-inch (11.4 cm) metal and plastic model. . The game version includes details found on the real ship, including its fins, thermal tiles and six Raptor engines.
Like the other vehicles in the Sky Busters collection, the spaceship comes packaged with a plastic display stand and play mat. The latter features an aerial view of the surface of Mars, so that the spacecraft appears as if it is about to land on the red planet.
Related: SpaceX’s second spacecraft launch test looks stunning in these stunning photos and videos
SpaceX has designed the Starship vehicle to carry crew and cargo to Mars, as well as other missions, such as serving as a human landing system for NASA’s Artemis III mission to the moon planned no later than late 2025.
Shipping with the same toy mix as Starship is the Matchbox Sky Busters SpaceX Dragon, a scaled-down version of the company’s existing astronaut and cargo transport vehicle for NASA and special missions to low Earth orbit, including the International Space Station. The 2-inch (5.1 cm) tall die-cast model reproduces the landing capsule returning to Earth.
The included play mat features a bird’s-eye view of a body of water, as rescue boats approach another Dragon capsule falling under four orange and white parachutes.
The SpaceX Starship and Dragon retail for $5 each where the Matchbox Sky Busters toys are sold. (Online, Entertainment Earth is now taking pre-orders for eight Sky Busters games, including Starship and Dragon, for $32, and are expected to ship this month.)
Sky Busters Dragon is different from two other similar Matchbox games.
Mattel’s first release under the SpaceX license was a die-cast Dragon spacecraft that included both the landing capsule and its non-pressurized box that provided power. The 2.5-inch (6.4 cm) tall Matchbox Dragon came in a display-ready box when it began shipping in May.
There is now a new, almost identical version of the Dragon in US stores, only this version is packaged on a card like the other Matchbox cars (or in a box for international sale). The Dragon itself differs from the previous version in one major way: it omits the silver and black metal detailing meant to replicate the solar panels that line one side of the spacecraft’s expendable trunk module. So far, the only version of this dragon to fly without solar cells on its torso was in a 2015 pad abort test.
The all-white, embossed dragon is shipping with Matchbox’s “Mix 12” for 2023. (Entertainment Earth is taking pre-orders for the box, including the Dragon, for $34 with shipping expected this month.)
In 2024, Mattel plans to continue its SpaceX-themed releases with a die-cast Matchbox Sky Busters model of the company’s Falcon Heavy rocket, according to a preview given at this year’s Matchbox Collectors Gathering in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
SpaceX vehicles aren’t the only spacecraft being built in Matchbox games. Previous sets include trucks emblazoned with the NASA logo, the agency’s space exploration vehicle, and as part of the Sky Busters line, the space shuttle and Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser space plane.
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