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Bruce Hansen's Type III Erector Space Models

Bruce writes: "A.C. Gilbert retooled the Erector line in 1963; type III sets were introduced. The smallest of the new sets was the Lunar Vehicles set (#10127). The instructions included (3) loose pages describing (9) different models.

The first model is a Lunar Vehicle. The action is forward/reverse motion via the Powermatic motor and ladder chain driving an axle. The crane rotates about its base and the ball hook is manually cranked up/down. There's also a shot under the hood to see what make it go.


The second model is a Space Station. This is a static model; no action other than your imagination.


The third model is a Lunar Transmitter. The motor drives the antenna arrangement around at about 12 rpm.

I've seen the Lunar Vehicles set on eBay for anywhere between $25 - $75. The set came in a steel box with a slide out clear vinyl lid making for a nice display. The Lunar Vehicles set is comparable to a 4½ or 6½ set of the type II era. Here's a picture of my set:

There were four sets in the 1963 lineup. The only one available in a cardboard box was the unnamed #10120 set. Another unique feature of the set was that it was the only one to contain the instructions for the Lunar Construction Crane pictured below.


The action in this model is Powermatic powered forward/reverse through a sprocket off the hoist assembly. Also the hoist is used to raise/lower the boom. The ball hook is raised lowered with a P24 crank. The model was fairly simple to build and does contain the somewhat scarce tappered girders (only available in 1963/4), hub caps, and clear windshield.

The second largest of the four sets introduced in 1963 was the #10128 Planetary Probe Set. The set included the typical array of girders, plates, battery pack, powermatic motor and hoist. However, in 1963/4 the now scarce treads, tread pulleys and buckets were part of the Erector system. This model is called the Planetary Probe and uses most of those parts.

The action in this model is forward/reverse movement with a chain drive from the motor/hoist, rotating tread or conveyor belt with buckets (for presumably sampling the surface of some far off world...), and the ability to raise/lower the conveyor belt structure in preparation for moving to another excavation site.


Here's a couple of shots of the conveyor assembly in the up/down position. The hoist is used to do the work through a back and forth pulley/string setup. Here's a picture of the tread and buckets which are driven by sprockets/ladder chain off the Powermatic motor.


I didn't have too much of a problem putting the probe together. I gave up trying to make the figure 8 arrangement shown for the ladder chain driving the conveyor sprocket. After fiddling with tight and loose chains, I finally gave up and went to a typical loop with no problems."