Author Paul Woods.  email

Project Sword: The Forgotten Plastic Anderson Rockets of the Sixties:

Long, sleek, curved, big fins, astrodomed, big retros, futuristic shapes, prolific - these are all words describing that forgotten range of plastic Gerry Anderson space-ships and vehicles of the sixties - Project Sword. Forgotten, perhaps, but how many baby-boom Xmas mornings were lit up by the wondrous coloured lights of the moonbus or the moon prospector? How many airfix plastic- soldier carpet- battalions were blasted by the Booster Rocket! More than we think I bet. For me, the toys completely eclipsed the other Anderson craft by Century 21, Lincoln et al. For 1 or 2 Christmas's in the late sixties, Project Sword- the ships, badges and space- age boxes- were my only reasons for getting up at the crack of dawn, falling over the dog and raiding the pile at the bottom of the tree!

Always destined to be in the shadow of their more famous cousins, Thunderbirds, and the other Gerry Anderson TV series, Project Sword was one of the most exciting and futuristic fleet of space toys around, particularly in the UK. Yes, they never made it onto the small screen or even the scriptwriters' desk and some of them were straight out of NASA, but the toys were masterpieces of plastic design and the peak of space- cadet cool.

The one exception to this lack of fame is, of course, Zero X - the star of the Thunderbirds are Go Movie and a fantastically huge toy to boot, which graced the pages of all the Project Sword publications.

The 'Sword world of toys was conceived through a mixture of Century 21 Toys purchasing some old Hong Kong/ Taiwan toy moulds and then doing there usual magic on the designs. All this was way back in 1967/68. The full range of 'playthings' consisted of: plastic toys, one annual and comic strips.

It is unclear who at Century 21 Toys oversaw the Project Sword range, although it is likely that Jack Rosenthal and Keith Shackleton were central. Allen Fennel had a role in creating the concept/ story. The design work will have included Derek Meddings, most likely on Zero X. Other staff included Angus Allen, Richard Curtis and Todd Sullivan. Gerry Anderson will have certainly endorsed the whole Project Sword line.

The plastic toys were neatly bound together in stories featured in the Annual and the comic and text strips in Solo and TV21respectively. At the nub of the Sword concept is Earth in the year 3031- struck by a meteorite and dying, global civil war and a mass evacuation to other planets- this last challenge being the reason for all the Sword ships and vehicles. Pity it never made it onto the TV!

As a collectable, Sword has everything: a defined but numerous range, a degree of obscurity and hence is challenging, relatively modest prices, stunning good looks and a few real rare nirvanas like the Nuclear Ferry . A particular area worthy of further exploration is the precise number of different American Sword toys by Tarheel - there could be a whole replica US Sword universe out there (let me know if you find any!)

They deserve not to be the forgotten plastic rockets of the sixties because they are as good as anything else produced by Century 21 or any other sixties space- toy outfit. Then again, I don't want everyone to start collecting them! I have written a Checklist for collectors and I am always interested in talking Sword, so please email me - To the Checklist………………….
    NAME                                    DESCRIPTION                                TRUE SWORD?            DATE                            VALUE
1. Cape Kennedy Set Century 21Toys – very large plastic battery-operated launch pad and Apollo rocket. An adjustable crane lowers the ship onto the gantry. A hand held control drives the pad forwards and backwards on caterpillar tractors. The rocket is friction drive and about a foot long. Wow, what a toy! The words ’Made in Hong Kong’ appear underneath. 

Beautiful huge oblong 2- piece box. The toy is actually called ‘Cape Kennedy Three in one Toy’. The artwork shows a painting of the rocket and gantry coming out of the hanger. On the box is ‘Made in Hong Kong for Century 21 Limited’. No reference to a badge on the box, although the set comes with the Official Manual and a plastic Sword badge ( Commander - see badges)


True Sword. First one in the Official Manual and comes with the Sword stickers on the ship. The Sword emblem appears on the box. 

SWORD is shown on the box as the abbreviation for: 



Organisation for 

Research and 


1967 £100 mint boxed 

with Official Manual

(shortened to OM from this point)

and Badge

( or B from this point on)

  Space X Major by Rovex Triang – Mobile Launching Pad (number 16 of the series). This large plastic toy has an adjustable crane, rocket and platform with caterpillar tractors. If only! 


Not true sword – a replica. Pictured in colour on the back of some of the SpaceX carded packs. 1969 – retailed for 14s 11d. £50 mint

boxed/ carded?


2. Probe Force Flight 1 Century 21 Toys – very long plastic space- plane – friction driven with built- in siren. Tailfin is detachable. Wonderfully sleek ship. The words ‘Made in Hong Kong’ appear underneath it.

The box is a thin card one- piece about 1.5 feet long. It contains a single inner sheet of more rigid card of the same length. Titled ‘Probe Force No.1 Friction Drive’. States its’ Made in Hong Kong for Century 21 Toys Limited’. First appearance of the words ‘Star Features’ – in this case such as ‘Realistic siren sound’ ‘Powerful friction drive’ etc. the box refers to the badge inside - ‘Astronaut’. The art is a brilliant painting of the ship blasting toward a planet.

True sword – second one in the OM. Yep, stickers on the ship. 1967 £40 mint boxed with detachable fin, OM and B.
Tarheel Industries Inc. of Tarboro, North Carolina, USA – very long grey plastic ship just like the one above. The box cover is a colour photograph of the ship flying through space past a huge gas cloud. The words ‘Project Sword Probe Force No.1- powerful friction motor, realistic rocket sound, giant 18 inches long’ appear on the cover of the 2- piece card box. Also states ‘Made in British crown colony of Hong Kong No.5920’. also ‘Tarheel Industries Inc. Tarboro N.C.’ ( this company is now called Empire Industries Inc., P.O.Box 4000, 501 Daniel Street, Tarboro, NC 27886-4000 - no link to 'Empire-Made' on some C21 toys and boxes, which refers to the British Empire( i.e. Hong Kong ).

An incredible and rare sword toy. Did they make any more?

Yes its Sword but not Century 21 Sword!

Sword emblem on the Box and yes, those official stickers on the ship. The Tarheel logo of a large black T with a red world at the T-junction ( looks a bit like Transogram’s) appears next to the Sword logo on the box cover. No full title ie. ‘Space World ..' As on C21 Toys boxes.

1967 £100 mint boxed with detachable bagged tail fin & tail- fin fitting sheet. No badge with this one.
3. Probe Force Flight 2 Century 21 Toys- This brilliant space-rocket is titled 'Probe Force No.2' on the box. Its plastic, about a foot long and coloured off- white. Has a bit of an XL5 look to it, but with extra fins. The exhaust area is bright red translucent plastic, as is the cockpit . has 'made in Hong Kong' on the base.

The box is a one parter of thin card. The 'Star features' on the front and rear are ' Powerful friction drive, realistic siren sound, SWORD insignia.' The Astronaut badge is advertised as being inside with the free Manual. A sheet of thick card came as inner- packaging. 


True sword – third one in the OM. Has those stickers. Sword emblems and full title ‘Space World ….’ Appears.


1967 £40 mint boxed with OM and B
4. Probe Force Flight 3 Century 21 - chunky plastic space- plane with friction drive and siren sound. The plastic wings are detachable. It’s a corker!

Rectangular one - piece box with great artwork showing the ship , painted, zooming through space. 'Star Features' are 'powerful friction drive', 'realistic siren sound' and 'sword insignia'. It states that it is 'Made in Hong Kong for Century 21 Toys limited'. Unusually, the artwork of the ship only appears on two of the four sides. The other two contain a large Project sword emblem and the above manufacturers details on a largely yellow (with some red) background. 

There is no mention of a badge on the box.

True sword – fourth one in the OM. Stickers too. 1967 £40 mint boxed with OM and B
5. Apollo Saturn Rocket Century 21 – tall plastic rocket in 3 stages. Battery –op, this fantastic craft has flashing lights and a spring-loaded parachuting nose-cone. On its main body appear two transfers stating ' Apollo Saturn' .It looks like a big Cape- Kennedy- Set rocket. On the base is written ' A 21 Toy ' with the familiar tunnel-like circles, together with 'Century 21 Toys Ltd Made in Hong Kong'.

The box is a long narrow rectangular two parter. The lid is of thinner card with the base being much thicker. Two pieces of thick card inner- packaging hold the rocket in place at either end of the box. 'Star Features' are 'Ejectable space capsule with parachute, battery operated, hand steerable front wheel, three stage rocket, lights at rear, clips on fins.' It states that it's 'Made in Hong Kong for Century 21 Toys Limited'. On the two longest sides appears the words 'This super badge - Sword Commander - free inside, plus official manual, Project SWORD, collect the series for other great SWORD badges, Century 21 Limited'. The Commander badge is red.

True Sword – fifth in the OM. Those stickers as well on the rocket and emblems all over the box. 1967 £100 mint boxed with OM and B
6. Nuclear Ferry Century 21 – rare and wondrous spaceship. It has a hand-held remote control, flashing lights and an ejectable passenger shuttle. This is serious Sword indeed. True Sword – ultra rare Sword too. Sixth in the OM.  1967 – was it ever made? £100 + mint boxed with OM and B
The Nuclear Pulse of the Space X Major range by Rovex Triang – large blue plastic ship with wingtip rotors, two spring- wound for independent release. Comes with a rocket launcher. No.17 of the series. Not Sword but is obviously related to the Nuclear Ferry (see also the Nuclear Freighter of the range (Space X no.13) and the Nuclear Freighter plus Salvage Craft of the Pippin/ Rovex SpaceX II range. Pictured on some of the card backs. 1969 

retailed at 12s 11d

£50 mint

boxed/ carded?


7. Scramble Bug Century 21 – an amazing futuristic lunar roving vehicle can climb over most things. It has six huge wheels and a central domed cockpit. Flashing lights add to the battery – op magic. On the base of the vehicle appears the manufacturers symbol of JR21 Toys (?)or Jack Rosenthal Toys Ltd - the symbol is a diamond with the initials J and R inside it. The initial M could also be said to be part of the jumble. Also next to this symbol is 'no.6'.

The box is a large rectangular two parter. The lid is thinner card with brilliant painted artwork of the Bug going over lunar terrain. The box has a sturdy card base. 'Star features' are ' battery operated, forward control, powerful climbing action, universal linking joints, flashing lights, official Sword decals'. Also stated is 'Made in Hong Kong for century 21 Toys Limited'. The smaller sides , amongst other text, carry the line 'Scramble bug , Command vehicle for the Project Sword Series'. The Commander badge is advertised as being inside, along with the Official Manual.

True Sword – number seven in the OM. Lots of stickers and the emblem is on the box. 1967 

retailed at 39s 11d RRP

£60 mint boxed with OM and B
  Century 21 Books – card model of the scramble bug in the Project Sword make a Model book series ( of 2 ). Its companion in the book is the Sand Flea ( see Sand Flea and Snow Train). The model is largely light brown and black with red hubcaps and a blue windscreen. Number 6 appears twice on it. True Sword – it has the emblem on the model 1967 £10 – mint whole book
  Century 21 – Miniature Scramble Bug from the ultra rare Moon Base Set. Push along action. It's real rare see! True Sword – pictured twice in the Moon Base Set page of the OM. 1967 £5 loose

(see Moon Base Set)



Edai Grip - Scramble Bug die cast miniature vehicle packaged in a rigid plastic clear box with a thick card base. One of a large series of vehicles including many Anderson inspired. A long narrow fold- our strip of colour photographs of the vehicles came in the plastic box. Sword inspired and like many other of the Grip die- cast toys, Anderson inspired. 1974 £40 mint boxed
8. Moon Prospector Century 21 – large battery operated plastic toy vehicle with flashing coloured lights and bump ’n’ go action. Big, blue and round, it came boxed with the Sword manual and the Sword badge. A stunner! The century 21 symbol of the 21 inside the concentric circles appears on the base of the vehicle.

The box is a rectangular two parter with the familiar thinner lid and the sturdy base. The lid's artwork is excellent showing a silver and yellow Prospector amid an alien landscape. The 'star features' are ' Battery operated, mystery bump'n'go action, rotating radar scanner, flashing lights and working searchlight, sound effects.' It states that it's 'Made in Hong Kong for Century 21 Toys Limited.' The Captain badge and the Manual are advertised on the cover as 'inside. The list of badges misses out the Astronaut for some reason, although the space is there for it. As on some of the other toys, operating instructions appear on the box - on the longer sides - showing the position of the two batteries and the on- off switch on the base of the craft. 

A true Project Sword vehicle – the’ brand ‘ Project Sword appears on the characteristic stickers on the vehicle (same shape as the plastic badges which came in each box) Appears in the Sword ‘Bible’- the one and only Project sword Annual from 1968 and the brown paper Official Manual , which came with each boxed Sword Vehicle. 1967

retailed at 24 s 11d RRP

£60 mint boxed with Official Manual (OM) and Badge (B)
  Century 21 – miniature plastic prospector – non- battery-operated , a simple push- along craft. Came as part of the Moon Base Set along with a mini Scramble Bug and Lunar Excursion Vehicle. If only I had one!  A true Sword vehicle – appears in the Official Manual under Moon Base Set. 1967 £5 loose

( see Moon Base Set)

  Space X by Rovex Triang – miniature prospector and replica of the Mini- Sword prospector above. Came carded as part of the Space X 1 series(number 8) together with a small plastic gold astronaut. Called the Golden Astronaut series in the US. I love ‘em! Not true Sword – a replica (also featured in the SpaceX Moon Base Set – see below)  1969 – retailed at

2shillings (s)11 pence(d)

£5 mint carded
9. Moon Ranger Century 21 – wonderful plastic space bulldozer. It has forward and reverse action on caterpillar tracks. There is a large clear dome cockpit with driver, a rotating radar and a front- shovel. 'Made in Hong Kong' appears on the plastic base.

The box is the oblong two parter - thin top and harder inner. The artwork depicts a painted Moon Ranger - blue and yellow - charging over a rocky landscape with a shovel- full of lunar rocks. The 'Star features' are ' Battery operated, forward and reverse control, powerful climbing action, operating shovel, flashing rear light, two headlights, rotating radar scanner'. It also states that it is 'Made in Hong Kong for Century 21 Toys Limited'. The Captain badge and Manual are shown on the front as being inside. The 'Operating Instructions' on one of the long sides shows the battery positioning and the forward- reverse switch at the base of the vehicle. 

True Sword – appears in the OM and has the stickers on the vehicle and emblems on the great box.

The box also appears in colour toward the bottom of the back-cover of the superb Gerry Anderson Memorabilia Guide (see Reference Material)

1967 £50 mint boxed with the OM and B
10. Moon Bus Century 21 – superb plastic lunar bus with mystery bump ‘n’ go action. It has a blue domed cockpit and an Astrodome full of cool flashing lights (battery operated). A rotating radar scanner completes the picture. The Century 21 Toys symbol ( 21 in the circles) appears on the base, along with Made in Hong Kong. Variations do exist in the base seal – either screwed on or heat sealed.

The box is the two part oblong with thick base and thin card cover. It's 'Star Features' are ' Battery Operated, Mystery Bump' n 'go action, variable lighting effects, blinking rear lights, rotating radar scanner.' Also stated is 'Made in Hong Kong for Century 21 Toys Limited'. The cover and side artwork portrays in paint the Bus rolling along the Moon's surface with the Earth clearly visible in the background. The Bus has a clear cockpit on the picture. The captain badge and Manual are shown as being inside. Again, the Astronaut is missed off the badge list. The operating instructions on the two long sides depict the location of the on- off switch and the battery hatch.

True Sword – appears in the OM and yep, its got those stickers and box emblems. 1967 £50 mint boxed with the OM and B
  Space X by Rovex Triang – Mobile HQ – a beautiful little miniature of the Sword Moon Bus. It has a small dome cockpit, a large scanner and a scanner on the front of the ship (unlike the Sword craft). Caterpillar tracks finish it off. Not real Sword – but inspired by it. The Mobile HQ is pictured on the back of some of the SpaceX 1 cards 1969 £5 mint carded 
11. Space Glider Century 21 – magical battery operated space jet. It has mystery bump ‘n’ go action, a clear cockpit, flashing tail- lights and a frontal antenna. The rear light housing doubles as the on- off switch. Excellent! Colour variations exist – grey and orange. The jet noise is way out. On the base of the vehicle appears the diamond with M and R initials inside it.

The box is triangular with the point lopped off! It comes in 2 parts - thin card lid and thicker card base. The 'Star Features' are ' Battery operated, Bump'n go action, jet sound effects, tail light, nose antenna'. The standard 'Made in Hong Kong for Century 21 Toys Limited' appears on the lid. The Captain badge and Manual are shown as being inside. Unusually, the full badge list appears including the astronaut. The cover and side artwork shows a wonderfully painted white, red and blue craft gliding through space. The operating instructions appear on the two long sides depicting the battery and switch positions.

True Sword – has the emblems on the box and stickers on the vehicle. Its eleventh in the OM and appears on the back cover of the Annual. 1967 

- retailed at 8 Shillings

£50 mint boxed with the OM and B
Unknown Make – NASA 2001 Space Glider – replica of the Sword Space Glider. Red in colour, battery – operated radio- control with forwards and reverse action. Made in Hong Kong. ‘United States’ and ‘ NASA’ appears on the sides/ tail fins respectively. Also states’ Solid state electronic toy’ on the small sides of the lid to the two part oblong box. The lid is thin card and largely dark blue in colour. The base is completely polystyrene with compartments for the ship, the radio- control and 3 batteries. Not real Sword – a later replica with no mention of Sword at all on the ship or the rectangular box. Is it one of the original mould designs before C21 got hold of them? Unknown – not stated on the box. Serial number on the box is No.2001 £25 mint boxed
12. Dyna- Soar Glider Century 21 – a futuristic stealth- like blue plastic space jet. It is friction driven and has a see- through cockpit with seated golden astronaut. 'Dyna - Soar' appears in white lettering on both sides of the fuselage. Two hard- wire antennae can be retracted from the wings. Cool. That strange diamond and MR initials appears on the base of the craft, along with the number 202 and the words ' Made in Hong Kong'. True Sword – has the stickers on the ship and the emblems on the box. It’s the twelfth craft in the OM. 1967 £50 mint boxed with the OM and B
13. Moon Base Set Century 21 – super rare Sword nirvana! This unbelievable toy has a section of moon terrain on which stand four large lunar constructions. These are: Housing Unit, Radar Station with searchlight, vehicle housing unit and a LEM ( Lunar Exploration Module). Lights flash and things rotate all over the place on this amazing set, all operated by a four- switch control panel. The set is completed with six astronauts and three miniature vehicles: scramble bug, moon prospector and lunar excursion vehicle. Words fail me. True Sword but seriously scarce Sword. Its thirteenth in the OM with a whole page devoted to it. If you’ve even seen this set you’ve done well. This is the Holy Grail!  1967 £150 – 200

but it’s a guess. Does this set actually exist and is it boxed?

  Space X Major by Rovex Triang – Moon Base Set or Moon Base Headquarters : a medium sized plastic set comprising of a four detachable cylindrical pods ( M.B.1 to 4) forming an X by way of a x- shaped connector pipe. Each pod is a different colour : blue, green, yellow and orange. Each pod – top- half is a clear plastic roof space showing the contents of either a rest room, a playroom, work room and transport garage. The set came with 5 Space X 1 mini – vehicles: Moon Prospector, Lunar bus/ Mobile HQ, Explorer MEV2, Base patrol Cricket P1 and Reconnaissance 2. The set was completed with 4 small gold astronauts, 16 gold pod feet and a thin plastic lunar plan. This fantastic and rare set came in a large rectangular box fronted with a moonscape of the Base and vehicles . On the Box appears " Space X Moon base Set with lunar plan". 


Not Sword but obviously inspired by the Moon Base Set. It is referred to on the backs of the SpaceX 1 cards as number 18 "Moon Base HQ". It may be pictured on some of these cards also. A very scarce space toy indeedy. 1969

retailed at 14s 11d

£70 – 100

mint boxed

14. Booster Rocket

and Little Silver Jet


Century 21 – my favourite Sword craft – a sixties milestone of plastic engineering! It is a long rocket with its middle encircled by large white plastic ‘fuel’ pods which are detachable (yippee!). The ship has forward and reverse motion, tail lights and a cool silver ejecting nose jet with its own landing gear/wheels ( you may come across this on its own). 'Made in Hong Kong' appears on its base. The Queen of the Plastic Skies!

The box is tiny compared to the size of the fully set-up toy! Nevertheless the artwork is great, with a white and red painiting of the rocket whizzing across space. 'Star Features' are the ' Ejectable nose module, battery operated, forward and reverse control, tail light, official SWORD decals'. As standard it states that its 'Made in Hong Kong for Century 21 Toys Limited.' The cover doesn't refer to thje badge or manual, only the four sides of the lid. It's referred to as the 'Space Captains badge', but the picture of the badge simply states Captain. The full badge list appears including astronaut.

True Sword alright. Number 14 in the OM and yup, its stickered up and those oh, those emblems on the box. 1967 £60 

mint boxed with the OM and B

  Space X II by Rovex Triang Pippin – Booster Rocket as referred to on the back cards of the series. Not true sword but likely to be inspired from it. I’ve not seen this ship or even a picture. 1969

retailed at 3s 11d RRP

£30 – a pure guess
15. Re- Entry Task Force No.1 Century 21 – beautifully sleek arrow- shaped plastic space jet, friction driven. Maybe colour variations. Made in Hong Kong appears on the base.

The box is shaped as a single triangular sheet of thin card - Toblerone shaped. The three sides have a pianted picture of the red ship zooming over the Moon. The Astronaut badge is shown - light blue - along with the obligatory Manual inside. A badge list doesn't appear on the box at all. The box states its 'Made in Hong Kong for Century 21 Toys Limited.'

True Sword – 15th in the OM and it's got the stickers and emblems on the box. 1967  £30 mint boxed with the OM and B
16. Re- Entry Task Force No.2 Century 21 – second in this ace series of plastic jets, this being more rounded on the edges. Friction driven. A yellow body, red retros and a blue cockpit make up this one. Looks like a classic cigar- shaped rocket. Again, maybe colour variations. 'Made in Hong Kong' appears on the base. True Sword – 16th in the OM. Stickers. It also has 2 unique stickers showing lipstick shaped rocket outlines, blue- tipped, with the words ‘Task Force’ in them. Emblems. 1967 As above
17. Re- Entry Task Force No.3  Century 21 – third and last in this jet range. More jet than rocket , this red plastic plane has double tail-fins and a clear cockpit. Friction drive and colours can vary. 'Made in Hong Kong' appears on the underside.

The oblong box is a single piece of thin card. The artwork is a painting of the red jet blasting toward the moon. Virtually the same as the box text for the Task Force No.1, it shows the Astronaut badge too. 

True Sword – 17th in the OM. Stick.Em! Sword on the box. 1967 As above
18. Zero X or OX

and MEV

Century 21 Toys ( there may also be a Regents Toys/ Century 21 Toys UK version) – the fabulous peak of rocket toydom! This is it – the top dog! Zero X is quite simply the biggest, best- looking, most gadget- laden and futuristic space plane in the Sword - or any other - fleet. Kids went to war for this baby!

OX is battery- operated through a remote control pad. It comes with a detachable nose- cone, front – end car – the MEV or Martian Exploration Vehicle ( independently b/o ) , two sets of wings bristling with jets and fins. The box is a classic too. I’m agog. You may come across the MEV loose – ie. on its own. On the base of the main fuselage is the diamond MR symbol with ' NO.7 ZERO X REGD. DESIGN NO. 927493 MADE IN HONG KONG'. ( The Regent/ Century 21 Toys UK design no. is 200)

The box is a huge oblong thin card outer casing and a thick card inner draw. The box also has a large cover flap which lifts up in a desk- like action. This depicts, on both sides, an ecstatic young lad talking into his remote- control console. The box is titled 'The fabulous Zero-X, five toys in one, the space vehicle of tomorrow.' No mention is made of Project Sword, but the manual and the white Supremo badge came inside the box. On the box is written 'Made in Hong Kong for Century 21 Toys Limited' and ' Zero X copyright 1967 Century 21 Productions'.

The Company XEROX ( photocopiers) is no relation to this!

True Sword and yet not. It doesn’t have the Sword stickers on it nor the emblems on its huge box. But it is the last but not least ship in the OM and takes pride of place in a superb exploded colour picture in the Annual. So who’s arguing! It’s claim to fame is its appearance in the movie "Thunderbirds are go" as stated on the box. 1967 £150 – 200

mint boxed 

19. Scout 1 Century 21 – first of a series of 3 smaller Sword craft. This one is basically a white plastic space speedboat with red side rockets. It has a radar and rocket launcher in its nose. Friction drive. Looks super.

The box is a small 6 inch long single sheet of thin card. The two larger cover areas show paintings of the white Scout 1 zooming across space. The title is ' Scout 1 Rocket firing, friction drive'. On the two thinner sides is simply stated ' Project Sword ' , whilst the end flaps say ' Free inside, badge and Specification sheet, SCOUT 1, Made in Hong Kong for century 21 Toys Limited.'

True Sword – it's not in the OM or the Annual, but it has the stickers and the emblems on a really cool little box. 1967 £15 mint boxed – no OM ( but has a specification sheet). Comes with a badge
20. Scout 2 Century 21- second in the series – a small yellow space jet with retractable wings. It comes with a nose rocket- launcher and a neat little blue plastic domed cockpit. The plastic firing trigger acts as the front landing gear. A big one would be amazing.  True Sword – not in the OM or Annual, but it has the Sword stickers on it and the box no doubt has the emblems ( never seen the box!) 1967 £15 – mint boxed ( as above)
21. Scout 3  Century 21 – third and last in the mini- scout series – this a dart-like red plastic space plane with the familiar front rocket- launcher. friction drive. A scarce one.

The box is identical in form and text content to Scout 1.

True Sword – not in the OM or the Annual, but its stockade –up and has the emblems on the small cute box. 1967 £15 – as above
22. LEM or Lunar Exploration Module Century 21 – this is part of the Moon Base Set ( see above). It's like the Apollo Lunar Landing Module. It has elevating action and blinking lights. Carries astronauts. I’ve never seen this so it's rare, like the set it comes from. True Sword – It's in the OM as part of the Moon Base Set. 1967 £25 loose
23. LEV or Lunar Excursion Vehicle Century 21 – like the LEM this is part of the Moon Base Set. The LEV is a miniature four- wheeled moon go- kart with a radar mast. A little drivers- seat is in the middle. True Sword – as above. 1967 £10 loose
24. Sand Flea Century 21 Books – a paper model version, in different shades of blue, of this futuristic craft. It comes as one of the two models, the other is the Scramble Bug, in a large format card and paper book called "Make a Model of …" ( coded as SW2 – no doubt Sword 2). The vehicle’s unique design is a single huge tyre in the middle of the main body, this being steered by an articulated hovercraft- like craft. The accompanying story is entitled ‘Out of the ice’ and featured both sand fleas and scramble Bugs.  True Sword – but not a plastic toy this time, a paper one! It's not in the OM, but is seen on the Annual cover rumbling across a lunar surface. The craft is featured on pages 86 and 87 of the Annual, although it's referred to as the Survey Vehicle. It’s the main same picture, however, as on the cover of the Make a Model book. 1967 £10 mint ( the whole book)
25. Snow Train ( aka Beetle and Thunderbird 7) Century 21 Books – like the Sand Flea, this is a paper model in a card/ paper Make a Model Book of 2 vehicles, the other being the Hover Tank. Looks like a Snowcat with a train carriage attached to it, running on caterpillar tracks with a snowplough at the front of the craft. The front cover picture is of an orange – coloured Snow train, although the card model is light brown. The accompanying storyline is called Blood Ties, featuring both the Snow Train and the Hover Tank. The Model book is coded SW1. True Sword – its origin lies in the Annual where its called the Beetle, taking centre stage on a double page spread across pages 4 and 5. The Beetle is the focus of a colour strip up to page 13. On page 11 we see for the first time how the Beetle is transformed into what later became known as Thunderbird 7 through a rolled Heatshield. This gives the craft a worm like appearance, best seen on page 12.  1967 £10 mint ( the whole book)
  Thunderbird 7 by Imai – plastic model kit of the Heatshielded Beetle. A smallish yellow plastic kit that is remote controlled, although the motor is not supplied. The top of the craft flips open to reveal a rocket launcher. Caterpillar tracks finish off the kit. The box art is of two T7’s , one firing rockets, one driving off, along with Thunderbird 2 pulling away from its open pod on the ground. All this happens on a beach with a wild sea in the background. Thunderbird 7 is clearly a T2 Pod vehicle in this incarnation. True Sword – but it has no Sword emblems at all. It is the only cross- over craft into the main Anderson brand- name of Thunderbirds ( although Zero X spans both Sword and TB’s). See Beetle for the Annual story origin. 1972 £10 mint boxed complete with Imai models marketing sheet of all the kits available including a photo of T7 itself.
26. Hover Tank Century 21 Books – card model of the Hover Train in the book ‘ Project Sword Make a Model of’ . Its companion in the same volume is the Snow Train. The tank model is silver- black with a dark red cockpit housing. The craft features in a story called Blood ties running throughout the Model Book. Big pity they never made it into a plastic toy. True Sword – it has the emblem on the Model. It's not in the OM but features on pages 72 to 78 of the Annual. The colour picture on p72 is the same as that on the cover of the model book – the tank being numbered 6 ( but the actual model has the number 10 on it) 1967 £10 mint – the whole book
27. Moon Crawler Imai – Japanese plastic models featured in these kits:

Thunderbird UFO Secret Dome Kit No.4 

Thunderbird UFO Secret Doom Centre

UFO Combined Base

UFO Attack Base

Space Attack Unit

Project Sword Moonbase Set

True Sword – isn’t in the OM but originates on P.18 to 19 (the vehicle is coloured red and numbered 16) of the Annual. A Comic strip continues up to page 23. It looks like a mechanical lobster on four- thick wheels. 

It also appears on the box cover picture of the unlicensed UFO Missile Tank (Hong Kong 1970’s)

‘73 (B166-200)No.56 Space Science Series. Re-released ’79: B684-200

‘76 : B183- 1500 no.73 Space Science Series

’78 : B363 –500

’79 : B701-500

re-issue of B363-500

’74 B304-80

Re-release ’77 :B304-100

After 1968: Contains Crawler, Prospector & Scramble Bug

£75-200 mint boxed
28. Lunar Climber Century 21 Toys – plastic battery operated spacecraft. The four wheels are themselves made up of four smaller wheels in a square formation. This odd looking craft has a rotating scanner, two headlights and a double rocket launcher on its back. Wow! Never seen this one.


This is semi – Sword! It appears in Toys International magazine July/August 1969. The text clearly states that the toy is part of the Sword range,! I don’t think that this is the case. It is pictured with a plastic Moonship – a long cigar shaped finless rocket- and states that this one of C21’s general space toys ( which I have in tinplate). I believe that this also applies to the Lunar Climber and that the Magazine got it wrong. I’d love to be proved wrong! 1969 £90 mint boxed
1. Sea Sword  A high-speed boat – a mix between a hovercraft and Sam Loovers car from Joe 90! For speeding between inter- continental oceans. Looks great! Appears on pages 7 to 9 of the Annual. Annual 1968 N/A
2. Sword 2 A sort of Lunar Beach – Buggy! It has six high- suspension wheels for whizzing over dried – up riverbeds. The number 2 appears on its side. Appears on page 7 of the Annual. As above N/A
3. ANT A vehicle, transport and people carrier. Looks like a Monster truck with huge wheels. It has a split- windscreen, a scanner and carriages can be added to suit – three are attached in the Annual. Would have made a fantastic toy! Appears throughout pages 50 to 53 of the Annual. As above N/A
4. Trans-Oceanic Sword Jet Ship A brilliant looking Sword Ocean Liner. Looks like the QE2 with fins! Carries personnel and craft across the World’s oceans. Acts as a base for the Diver 1 submarine ( see below). This should have been in plastic! Appears on pages 89 – 93 of the Annual. As above N/A
5. DIVER 1 A yellow 2-man submersible housed on the above Jet Ship. Used for exploring sunken cities in the Survey Vehicle comic strip on pages 90 to 93 of the Annual. A giant mutated jellyfish electrocutes it! Pages 90 to 93 of the Annual. As above N/A
1. Project Sword Annual Century 21 Publishing and City magazines Ltd – the one and only Sword Annual for those lucky kids in’68 (like me!). The colour cover of the Sword Matt Mason like-astronaut and the Survey Vehicle on the moon is instantly recognisable. The rear cover is even better with the Space Glider, Saturn Rocket, Moon Prospector and Scramble Bug, together with 6 little astronauts, all in one ace lunar setting. It looks great. The book contains 94 pages of detailed colour drawings of the main Sword craft, along with comic strips about them. There are also stories without pictures, photo articles about gadgets, quizzes, jokes and a gallery of Sword personnel. I have been told that some of these photos are of real staff from Century 21 in the late 60’s! There is no indication who the artists where at all. It was printed and bound by Jarrold and sons Ltd of Norwich.

Lots of B/W photographs of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey appear on the inside cover and pages 14 - 17 and 56. The Bible.

One of the two primary sources of all things Sword. It came after the Manual, so you might say that it is less important in that sense ( see below). No collection is complete without it. 1968

retailed at 12s6d or 62.5 new pence

£8-10 mint
  1. Project Sword Official
Century 21 International – the words ‘TOP SECRET: AUTHORISED PERSONNEL ONLY’ appears on the front cover of this small light brown paper booklet, which came as standard issue with every official Sword vehicle toy (see also badges). This 12-page book of magic has either red and white or black and white line drawings of all the big hitters – Scramble Bug, Saturn Rocket etc. It's wonderful to handle and read because of the distinctive crinkly paper. Its full of space lingo and jargon, loads of acronyms for amazing spacey organisations and lots of technical stuff about the vehicles, later built on by the Annual. You could write your name on the back. The Gospel. The other and most important of the two Sword paper collectibles. You can pick up lots of these as they came with each and every boxed craft. You may even spot some printing date differences. Who knows! 1967 printed in Hong Kong ( it also states ‘L.F.P.C.,Issue S.W.O.R.D. 600ZM/X’. £2-3 mint
3. Project Sword Make A Model: The Scramble Bug and Sand Flea Century 21 Books - Large format colour card covered booklets of 10 pages. The central pages are card templates with punch-out coloured models. The final story – Then and Now – explains about Jose Feraz, the Designer of Sword, the Rejects and Casuals and Air City. Don’t you just love it! ( see Scramble Bug and Sand Flea/ Survey vehicle). Secondary sources for sword information, but still important. Some more vehicle drawings in the story. 1968? Unsure.

Printed in Spain.

£10 mint
4. Project Sword make a Model: Snow Train and Hover Tank Century 21 Books – as above ( see Snow Train/ Beetle and Hover Tank) As above As above As above
5. TV21 Comics Sword appeared rather late in this incredibly popular UK comic. Artists included Malcolm Stokes, who worked on the Annual. as well as the strip, which lasted from issue 168 to the end , various advertisements for the toys appeared in TV21 pages. The stories were written by Angus Allen.

February 3, 2068 carries an advert for C21 Toys stating ‘Blast off into the unknown with Project Sword Phase 2’ - showing a line drawing of the Saturn Rocket. October 7, 2067 carries an Advert for Scramble Bug, Prospector and Re-entry ships. It states ‘Become a Space Pioneer’ and ‘Prices are from 3/11 –39/11’.

True Sword – one of the scarcer paper collectibles From 196 to 196 £4+ per mint copy of TV21
6. Solo Comics/ TV Tornado A very scarce and collectable set of British comics in which Sword ran as a strip. The run was from issue to . Its relationship to the TV21 strip is .37 issues with Sword strip and craft cutaways. True Sword – very rare paper Sword indeed! From 196 to 196 £5+ per mint copy of Solo
7. Shop Adverts Window advertisement for Toyshops said 'This is your project Sword Supply base’. The Sword logo appears on it. Shops stocked 16 different Sword model toys. True sword – supplied by C21 Toys to shops 1967 £20 mint
8. Badges Each toy vehicle came with the standard issue Sword plastic badge, proudly worn by budding Astronauts in the late sixties. Each one had a pin on the back of the Sword logo with one of the following at the bottom: Captain, Astronaut, Supremo or Commander. Badges came in different colours with silver lettering, wrapped in tissue in each boxed toy. Each one is 50 millimetres long. True sword – the embodiment of that cool ‘foil through the words’ flying ‘v’ sword logo. Gems every one! 1967 £2+ per mint loose badge
9. Astronauts Plastic astronauts came with the Century 21 Project Sword Moonbase Set – a set of six figures. Each one is about 1 inch tall. Similar to the smaller gold astronaut figures which came with SpaceX toy spacecraft (see Moonbase set) True Sword – shown in the OM under the Moonbase Set section. 1967 £2+ per mint loose figure
10. Boxes See individual craft descriptions      
11. Reference Books
  1. The Gerry Anderson Memorabilia Guide 1994 by Denis W. Nicholson – excellent bible for the Anderson collector. Short section on Sword based largely on the OM, with superb reference and pictures of Imai kits. Check out Dennis's Website.
Reference Works 1994 

Cooee concepts ltd

£30 mint (see Dennis’s website!)
  • Starlog Sci-fi Models Guide – picture of the Saturn Rocket with a robot – black and white
  • Reference work – very little on Sword 1984 £5 mint
  • Sixties Toy Trade catalogues- e.g. Toys International
  • July/August 1969.
    Reference Works- authentic Sword Adverts/write-ups 1967-9 £5 mint
    1. Echo Cars Beautiful small sized plastic spacecraft - three different ones in total: a yellow or pink flying car, a green lunar mole vehicle and a pink missile launcher. The Car looks a bit like the Scout 1, the mole looks like a cross between the Beetle and the Lunar Bus and the Missile Launcher looks a bit like the Century 21 Lunar Climber (not Sword).

    These craft were made in Hong Kong - No. 215A - and came in one- part thin- card boxes about 7x4inches. They are described as 'Quick fit kits - No glue, no glue needed, buy the other two and get the delight'!. The box art is wonderful with paintings of the craft in space. The Echo car box looks a lot like the Scout 1 box.


    Just remind me of Sword 1960's

    retailed at 3 shillings

    £5 - 10

    mint boxed

    2. Spacex - Stage One Triang - Here's a full list of the two miniature plastic spaceship series - brackets are the toy number.

    Earth Base:

    Mobile Launching pad ( No.16)*

    Tractor T5 (1)

    Fork Lift 7 (2)

    Helicopter P3 (3)

    Space Station:

    Nuclear Pulse (17)*

    Rocket Ship Hawk (4)

    Supply Force Mercury (5)

    Reconnaissance 2 (6)

    Needle Probe (7)

    Moon Base:

    Moon Base HQ (18)*

    Prospector (8)

    Explorer MEV2 (9)

    Mobile HQ (10)

    Base Patrol Cricket P1 (11)

    Outer Space Travel:

    Rocket Nova 1 (12)

    Nuclear Freighter NF2 (13)

    Space Patrol 1 (14)

    Pleasure Cruiser 1 (15)

    *- these are Spacex Major, the larger craft/ sets in Stage 1.

    Not Sword but similar in time and design. See earlier sections for more detail of specific links to individual Sword craft.

    They all came carded ( not sure about no.s 16 and 17,

    But 18 came boxed) and included a little golden plastic astronaut figure to play with. All the craft are listed on the rear of the card, together with four colour photographs of four of the other vehicles in the set.

    The Cards are titled 'SPACEX Interspace Miniatures'. Card fronts are largely black with a silver moon in the right corner, over which the craft are bubbled. SPACEX appears in yellow lettering.

    The following appears in six languages on the rear : 

    'Models of authentic designs created by scientists in man's quest to reach the moon and beyond - SPACEXplorers!'


    retailed at 2/11 *

    (2 shillings , 11 pence)

  • made by Triang (Rovex) of Merton, London.
  • *- no.17 was 12s11d

    and 16 & 18 were 14s11d.

    The US version of this series was called 'GOLDEN ASTRONAUT' with 3 sets or phases, each one having 4 craft:

    Interplanetary Patrol

    Moon Exploration

    Space probe

    These correspond to the UK sets respectively with the same craft:

    Outer Space Travel

    Moon Base

    Space Station

    Unsure if there is a set corresponding to the UK set 'Earth Base'

    £10 upwards mint carded

    Spacex Major craft 

    £25 - 100

    $79 for each set of four

    (courtesy of Toy Shop Newspaper)

    3. Spacex II Pippin Products for Rovex- Triang:

    LAMA or Lunar Anti-Meteorite Attacker

    Rocket Transporter

    Moon Buggy

    Crash Tender


    Lunar Transporter

    Booster Rocket

    Nuclear Freighter and Salvage Craft

    MOLAB or Mobile Laboratory

    Lunar Orbiter

    ATS or Astronomic Telescopic Satellite


    Large ones?

    The scarcer sister- set to the above range.

    The toys come bubble carded, the cards being about a half inch bigger all round to the Spacex Stage One cards. The cards are a silver- grey with SPACEX in purple lettering, the rest in white. Each toy came with a golden astronaut and possibly a red triangular plastic badge.

    The reverse of the cards shows four small pictures of vehicles available and one large picture of the craft actually 'bought' on the card. 



    Pippin Products made in Hong Kong for Rovex-Triang.

    £10 each mint carded



    Project Sword Collectables Checklist Update No.1

    January 1999 By Paul Woods

    This update supplements the main Project Sword Checklist published in December 1998 and is the first of many. The next update will add to the Solo and TV21 sections. Please contact me with items I have missed on
    4. Probe Force No.3 A newly discovered replica of the Century 21 toy - this one made by NASA, although this may not be the name of the manufacturer. The box is a two part rectangular bottom and lid. The top and 4 sides show a photograph of the ship flying. 

    The features are shown as: powerful friction motor, realistic rocket sound, 6 realistic rockets, 9.5 inches long with 7.5 inches wing span. The box states that it is made in the British crown Colony of Hong Kong. Overall, the box is identical to the Tarheel Probe Force No.1 box in the main Checklist, however no mention of Tarheel appears on the No.3 box. There is also no serial number.

    The ship itself is made of a white plastic, which looks inferior to the Century 21 type (the Tarheel Probe No.1 plastic is grey). As with the C21 ship, this comes in the box with the two detachable wings. There is no badge, manual or instructions (none are mentioned on the box). The markings on the fuselage are two NASA stickers with a black and red dagger- like shape. On each rear wing is a black P3. The nose is red, the cockpit and retroes blue and the six missiles silver. On the base is stated 'Made in Hong Kong'.

    No, this is a replica. There is no mention of Project Sword on the box or ship ( unlike the Tarheel Probe N0.1) 

    I believe this to be either one of the original Hong Kong moulded toys which Century 21 saw and bought in 1966/7 or an early prototype by Tarheel of the USA.

    A fascinating but mysterious find.

    No date given. 

    I suggest 1966/7.

    £20 mint boxed
    10. Moonbus Again, a recently- discovered replica vehicle, this time found on the Internet for sale in the USA! This is an exact replica of the Century 21 Moonbus by a company simply shown as T (the internet picture is not brilliant and there may be more detail than I am able to say). 

    The box appears to be a two- part oblong bottom and lid. All 4 sides and top have a colour painting of the ship on a lunar surface. No mention is made of Project Sword, although there appears to be the SWORD full definition at the base of the picture i.e. Space World Organisation for Research and Development.

    One side has a blue panel showing a red T in a white circle. There is more text, but it is impossible to make out on the internet snap.

    The vehicle itself has a white top with an orange base. The cockpit is a clear blue and the astrodome is opaque white. A small silver fin appears at the rear. The rear retroes are orange and the radar disk is silver. The tractor wheels are grey - four on each side. All this is as on the Century 21 version.

    You can see the picture on under the space-toys listing.

    A superb Sword rarity.

    Half-and-half. It's not Century 21 and I don't think its Tarheel. The T shown here is completely different to the Tarheel T, which has a small red World in its axis. 

    This is even more puzzling than the NASA ship above. At a guess I think this one is another Tarheel replica, with a different logo. Closer inspection of the actual toy and box would obviously help!


    No date discernible. $150 asked for on the net. 

    In the UK I would expect to pay £80-100 for mint boxed.

    Sword Collectables Other Than Vehicles 

    No.5 TV21:

    TV21 Diary

    I have been informed that a Booster Rocket appears in this diary, although I have never seen this TV21 item. 

    Can someone help with more info?

    yes Not sure ?