The First Moon Landing - A downthetubes 40th Anniversary Guide in British comics and related art

Moon Landing: T Plus 3 Days – The Future

As the Apollo 11 Command Service Module covered the quarter of a million miles back from the Moon back to the Earth, NASA had big plans for the Moon with Apollo only being the first step. However, with the Apollo 11 flight accomplishing President John F Kennedy’s pledge to go to the Moon before the decade was out, as well as giving the USA its biggest propaganda victory over the USSR during the Cold War, the political will was no longer there to fund such expensive undertakings whilst the country was still fighting a war in Vietnam.

Airfix Astronauts - Original Release
Airfix remained optimistic however and produced this set of astronauts and their equipment for their HO/OO range of figures. The HO/OO scale of 1/76 was virtually indistinguishable from the 1/72nd scale of the Lunar Lander kit while the set of figures includes extra equipment such as Lunar Rovers and equipment packages. Indeed, the Lunar Rover proved somewhat of a problem for the company, after they got in touch with the real Rover manufacturer Boeing, who had to get permission from their only customer for the Rover before allowing Airfix to produce their version of it.

Spanning the Apollo missions to the Moon, this 59 part set includes action figures of U.S. Astronauts and the equipment they used, including the famous Moon Buggy which was used to transport them on the Moon's surface.
Spanning the Apollo missions to the Moon, this 59 part set includes action figures of U.S. Astronauts and the equipment they used, including the famous Moon Buggy which was used to transport them on the Moon’s surface.

NASA agreed – on the condition that it was as accurate a representation as possible so that it could be used for educational purposes if required, no doubt oblivious to the fact that in back gardens in Britain the Rover was more likely to be confronted by similarly-sized German soldiers and tanks taking imaginary pot shots at it…

Yesterday – The Return Trip Begins
Tomorrow – Splashdown

Airfix Astronauts are still on sale today and available to order from Airfix.com

• Coinciding with Jeremy’s countdown to the 40th Anniversary of the first Moon Landing, downthetubes published “Moon Landing 40th Anniversary: A Comics Celebration” – a gallery of illustrations and comic art inspired by space exploration

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Jeremy Briggs

News, reviews, interviews and features for print and on-line: Spaceship Away (since October 2005), Bear Alley (since February 2007), downthetubes (since June 2007), and Eagle Times (since October 2008). Plus Titan’s Dan Dare and Johnny Red reprints, Ilex’s War Comics: A Graphic History and 500 Essential Graphic Novels, and Print Media’s The Iron Moon and Strip magazine.

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