Rocket Gun (Astra Pharos)

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index
Exhibit

Rocket Gun (Astra Pharos)

Astra Rocket Gun, box lid.jpg (i)
BTMM map 017.gif
location:
Arch Two , Area 17
Toy Variety (display)
1948

A green-painted metal Rocket Gun, made by Astra Pharos Ltd. in the 1940s.

Details

Designed to be towed behind another military vehicle, the toy is mostly heavy green-painted cast metal, with some of the moving parts and joints executed in unpainted aluminium sheet. A bare metal screwshaft with a knurled cap allows the elevation to be adjusted via a worm gear, and while it appears to have two wheels, each of these is a stacked pair of rubber-tyred wheels, reflecting how heavy the original gun would have been.

On the upper surface of the base, towards the towing coupling, is a red disc with white lettering, reading "ASTRA". "MADE IN ENGLAND".

Operation

The gun has six chambers with spring-loaded plungers that can be loaded up with missiles. and there are three silver levers on the back, which via a clever pivot, each releases a pair of two missiles.

Construction

By modern standards, the toy would be considered totally over-engineered for its purpose – the toy uses an impressive amount of heavy diecast metal, and the wheels and levers are held in place with split pins to allow servicing.

1948 advertising text:

The New Astra Rocket Gun

This most spectacular gun can be used with or without caps. Fires single rockets or salvos of three or six. Supplied with 6 rockets.

Price 18/10 inc. purchase tax.

— , Astra Pharos, , Meccano Magazine, , August 1948

August 1948 advert in Meccano Magazine: The New Astra Rocket Gun