Astro Base was a toy made by the Ideal company in the early 1960’s. The toy ran on 4 D Cell batteries. Other than a power switch, it had several features that includes the following modes of operation:
Astro Scope: Switch to Astro Scope and a scene of spaceships, rockets, and jets rotates through a view finder just below a radar dome on the top of the toy. A button on the console let the user ‘fire’ at objects seen on the screen, which would pause the rotating images and emit a machine-gun style sound.
Space Lock: A crane emerges out of the hatch on one side of the toy. This crane has a hoist operation that can be used to raise or lower a plastic astronaut figure, or other objects that the user may have that can be connected to the hook at the end of a chain. The main purpose of this crane is to insert or remove the astronaut from a scout car.
Scout Car: The scout car can be plugged into a port on the console and controlled by a two position switch marked Turn and Drive that can actually be used to steer the vehicle with a bit of practice. The scout car also has missiles that can be launched.
Ideal made two variations of the Astro Base. The original all-red version featured a lighted Astro Scope that illuminated the pictures spinning around the Astro Scope. Ideal Toys discontinued this version and offered the common red and white version.
I also liked this Moon Patrol XT-978 Tank, because I’m amused at the mental image of tooling around the lunar surface… in a tank. Any tank, really, but especially one with bodacious tail-fins!