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ray guns
Atomic Box
Space Patrol Rocket Dart

U.S. Plastics , 1953
United States

With it's barrel-shaped body and smooth curves, the Space Patrol Rocket Dart gun stands in strong juxtaposition to many of the more sharply-angled space guns. It's also big—big enough for a kid to feel like he's Buzz Corey himself, about to save the day.

The toy came in two standard colors—red and black. Seen on the left is an extremely rare (one of only three known examples) color test/prototype in yellow with silver accents. These were never put into production.

The Rocket Dart was just one of many tie-ins to TV's Space Patrol, and was popular enough with kids that many survive today. Of course, they're sought out by a wide range of collectors—ray gun fans, Space Patrol fans, dart gun fans, premium fans—so the toy, in good condition, can sometimes go for a bit more than one might expect. And if it's got the darts and packaging—forget it!

The darts—which are almost always lost or broken—could hold secret messages. They're bulbous tips made them unique in the world of darts, and perfectly complemented the ray gun's design.

The toy came in two forms of packaging—a display box and a header card/bag. Both are tough to find in good condition, though the box commands higher prices due to its great art and the way in which it shows off the toy. There were two variations of the box, one of which includes a "letter" from Commander Buzz Corey printed on the display flap and some graphics on the box insert.