Here is a nice little presentation of “what were they thinking?” about miscolored/mis-engineered toy Eagles “back in the day”.
Did you know that the first best commercially available accurate (well, sort of) was produced in 2003 by Konami? Everything prior was not really that close, miscolored, wheels added, copied from other toy manufactures, miniaturized and bloody well geared toward no one but the kids. I’m not referencing the MPC/Airfix models of the day since they were kits to assemble and one can call them a toy, but adults use kits for displays, as well. So, I’ll stick to the actual toys. Marketing in the 1970’s was very different than what you’d expect in today’s standards.
Perhaps the most prevalent Eagle release in the United States was the misnamed “Hawk” Transporter (No. 2000) manufactured by Hanna Barbera/LJN incorporated into their Road Stars line. The Road Stars line had vehicles from a number of American television shows of that era such as Emergency, the Flintstones, SWAT and the Rookies to name a few. Originally packed separately, this little Hawk/Eagle had a number of issues such as the engines falling off. LJN quickly redesigned the ship but used the same packaging. The redesign was not nearly as aesthetically pleasing, but was more durable. (There are references to the reverse, but not proven.) The boxed three pack (No. 341-20) of the Caldorian ship, the Moonbuggy and the “Hawk” Transporter was released in extreme limited quantities and is highly sought after by hardcore collectors. It’s obvious that the producers from LJN copied the “Hawk Transporter” from the Dinky Eagle. It seems that the Dinky was the main platform to copy from regarding a number of produced merch, as you will see below. The Road Star was also compared to the Konami for size reference.
An extremely unique die Cast Eagle from Japan: the Space Eagle (PB-21) from Popy. Best known for their anime toys, this one off production looks very much like a super miniature of the huge American Eagle One Spaceship from Mattel. Measures about 5 inches in length when assembled. This ship is ready for almost any reconnaissance adventure. The Japanese were infatuated with not the Dinky, but rather the Mattel big Eagle Transporter toy. The Popy was almost a carbon copy miniature version of the Mattel Eagle. To include most of the functionality of the Mattel with some added playability such as missile launch (something not seen since the Mattel Battlestar Galactica choking hazard lawsuit in the late 70’s) and another storage container to be played with the winch action added. Love it or hate it, as a toy, the playability was quite extensive at this size.
The Yot Toys Eagle Transporter is very sought after by collectors due to it being unlicensed and it was almost a miniature carbon copy of the Dinky Eagle but with wheels (ugh!). The Passenger Pod is removable and the side entry doors are not only red like the Dinky, but open up the same way. As with the AHI friction toy Eagle, it came with either a yellow or white Passenger Pod. Even the frame work was either white/yellow and came in two different packaging’s. It wouldn’t be surprising if the folks from Mecanno/Dinky were not too thrilled to see such a release into the toy market. Yot toys also released a number of Thunderbirds mimic ships, but all were not aesthetically pleasing and all had hideous wheels. The Eagle measures at about 4 inches, and it is rather durable and very displayable to those hardcore collectors. Manufactured out of Taiwan and released into the NA and UK markets with a very limited run. Shown below with the Konami and the new Sixteen12 5″ die cast Eagle (2022 release).
These are essentially the Eagles that were around the Matchbox/Hot Wheels size and geared towards that market. Which were your favorite?