Keith Meyers, The Space Station!

Stock #6300 Major Matt Mason Flight Pak.


Click image for back of card

Major Matt Mason Flight Card.  Photo by Bill Ystrom. From the collection of Bill Ystrom.

Copyright 1966--first year available 1967

Mattel's Man In Space, Major Matt Mason makes his debut in this fully equipped, wonderfully packaged adventure blister card. Coinciding with four other carded accessory paks, two individually packaged battery operated lunar vehicles and the towering Space Station. These were also packaged in several other various combo sets as well.

Also on the store shelves were a few non-toy but compatible treasures, a vinyl wallet, lunch box, and the three ring notebook binder. These exciting space accessories would complete the first year of the many adventures our young minds would render.

This card carried the 6 inch Major Matt Mason astronaut figure in his flexible molded on space suit along with his helmet, a Space Sled and Jet Propulsion Pak, all against a "blue" background. Like most accessory cards that would follow this card has two nice photos of Matt flying on the space sled and jet pak. Instructions on how to use the equipment are printed on the back of the card.

10" x 13" punched blister card

Standard pack of 1 doz. Wt. 6 Lbs.

figure variations: There are at least two different head molds for the character. A small head and a big head. The larger head is often believed to be with later figures only. This is not so, the big head, though least desired and not liked by most collectors has been around since the first "white" rubber figures were made. Early figures have a pale looking flesh tone in either variation. Later ones are more colorful and a deeper "pinkish" tone. All have "brown" hair and "blue" eyes.

There are also several molding and paint variations of the Major Matt Mason astronaut figure. I have figures with larger hands and thicker appendages than others. Some are just molded incorrectly. Below is a list I've put together by examining over 80 figures in my own collection. On and off cards. They are as follows:

variation #1) The "White Rubber Matt". The MMM figure is molded in "white" flexible rubber with a bendable wire frame skeleton, with "blue" painted belts or straps and a large "red" dot on each arm and leg, "silver" paint on arm and leg cuffs and the helmet neck rim. Accordion joints and gloves were painted "black". With "silver" pockets and zipper. And an American flag over his heart. With hard "black" plastic boots with grooves around the edges of the soles to let the figure stand in the Space Station and other Space equipment. The back of the figure has a small "1966 Mattel Inc. US patent pending" in the mold. Also behind the right lower leg is "Hong Kong". The "white" rubber Matt is the scarcest of these figures. Sometimes one is found without the "silver" paint on the cuffs. This could be because the paint was very fragile and could easily be rubbed off.

variation #2) MMM figure sports the same color scheme as above #1 but this time is molded in "black" flexible rubber and will continue this through the end of production. Being molded in black the accordion joints and gloves are unpainted and for the first time the space suit is painted "white". All other painted details and mold characteristics remain the same.

variation #3) MMM figure is the same as version #2 but the "silver" paint on the arm and leg cuffs is no longer part of his suit. The cuffs, as the joints and gloves are the same unpainted "black" rubber.

variation #4) The body mold has a change in this variation on. The patent on the back has large lettering stating "1966 Mattel Inc. US and Foreign patents pending" and larger "Hong Kong" lettering on the same lower leg on the backside. The paint scheme is as variation #3 but now the "red" arm and leg dots have disappeared. This is the last of the more colorful "blue" belted paint scheme.

variation #5) The "black" belted Matt. Gone are the colorful "blue" belts and straps to be replaced by a more bland less attractive looking "black" paint. The figure now has only it's "silver" painted pockets, zipper and helmet neck trim with the American flag for color.

variation #6) Same as #5 but now even the helmet neck ring has discontinued it's "silver" trim paint. These figures are quite common as they were in additional playsets added to the line towards the end providing more ways to obtain the figure.

It would seem that in each succeeding cycle of figure production a little color was sacrificed in order to speed up production, keeping the little old Hong Kong lady factory workers from having to keep up with as many jars of paint and of course cutting production costs.

Now we've seen how Major Matt Mason devolved from a colorful favorite to the less popular almost B & W toned figure. Very boring indeed.

Helmet variations: The helmet , molded in "white" plastic with a moveable visor tinted a transparent "amber" color and a "black" band at the base. Earlier "black" neck bands were painted on. Later these were applied as a decal. There are two different helmet molds. One with a short neck below the ribs that contour the "black" neck band, the others have a longer or taller neck from the base to the "black" line. The taller helmet is the most common.

The jet propulsion pak and the space sled are the most common of the first year accessories. These both came packaged in a wide array of carded paks and boxed sets.

The jet propulsion pak could be strapped to Major Matt Mason's back by a belt or used to operate the space sled. The jet pak operated by pulling a string that would actually lift the astronaut up in the sky, to crash into the space station or the bedroom ceiling whatever the destination. The jet pak is molded in a "silver/gray" plastic with an interior "black" wheel with a hypnotic like "red" swirl design that would rotate as the pak traveled along the "black" thread. It also had some "chromed" detail on the back. This would fasten to the astronauts back with a "blue" belt that would snap in place. Each end of the thread had "red" attachments. The upper one being a hook to fasten to the space station or mom's furniture, the lower would be what you would pull to operate the contraption. Of all the accessories this was perhaps the most fun to play with of the non- battery operated equipment.

The space sled consists of two pieces molded in "white" plastic with "black" painted details. A decal sheet labels the sled with an American flag and headlights. Of the two pieces that make up the sled, the control column and the platform, there are two different mold variations of the control column. Earlier ones had handle bars that were smooth and thin, making them more fragile. These were later changed to a thicker bar with ribbed hand grips. The earlier ones are the most uncommon. The sled could be operated by attaching the jet pak to the platform with a guide for the control line under the control column. When the string is pulled the sled would carry the Major across the lunar surface.

All items included in this carded set are commonly found loose.

The jet propulsion pak and space sled (most always a combo) were also packaged in the following ways:

#6303 Major Matt Mason with Moon Suit - carded
#6310 Space Station / Space Crawler Deluxe Action Set-boxed
#6311 Space Crawler Action Set - boxed
#6317 Sgt. Storm Flight Pak - carded
#6336 Major Matt Mason and Space Power Suit - carded
#6341 Firebolt Space Cannon Super Action Set - boxed. This was the onlyset
          that just the jet pak without the sled would appear. However, later sets
          did include the sled even though it was not listed on the box label.
#6347 Space Travel pak - carded
#6353 Lunar Base Command Set - boxed

Major Matt Mason was also packaged in each of these boxed and carded sets making him available in a total of 16 different stock numbers:

#6303 Major Matt Mason with Moon Suit - carded
#6310 Space Station / Space Crawler Deluxe Action Set - boxed
#6311 Space Crawler Action Set - boxed
#6318 Major Matt Mason with Cat Trac - carded
#6336 Major Matt Mason and Space Power Suit - carded
#6337 Space Mission Team - boxed
#6341 Firebolt Space Cannon Super Action Set - boxed
#6353 Lunar Base Command Set - boxed
#6361 XRG - 1 Reentry Glider with Major Matt Mason - carded
#6362 Talking Major Matt Mason - window box
#6378 Talking Major Matt Mason with XRG - 1 Reentry Glider - boxed
#6379 Major Matt Mason Super Power Equipment Set - boxed
#6380 Voyage To Galaxy 3 Set -boxed--This set has never been found,
          probably unreleased.
#6386 Star Seeker Walk in Space Set - boxed
#8178 Astro Trac Gift Set - boxed---Was available in Canada only.
#8874 Small window box generic style package sold through space centers.

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Copyright 1997 Keith Meyer. All rights reserved.
Revised: February 25, 2006.