- David Ranford
- Andy Blackwell
Wilmot Mansour called
its "Jet Helicopter" "the only toy helicopter in the world to rise off the ground
under its own power".
The instructions offered this explanation of the auto-rotation mechanism:
"PERFORMANCE: This Helicopter has been designed so that the Rotor Blades go into auto-rotation
the moment the power stops. It will then glide down without damage. Examination of the hinge
angle will show that the blades fold UPWARDS, so the angle of attack of each blade decreases.
This gives the blade less drag when running free and causes auto-rotation.
Centrifugal force keeps the blades in the horizontal position when the rotor is under power."
Zyra (Wilmot Mansour)
Artwork from the Zyra box, glowingly restored by Christian Bryan (The Boxart Den
Introduced in 1951 to take advantage of Paramount's release of "When Worlds Collide", Zyra was Wilmot Mansour's first venture into spaceship modelling.
The kit was promoted with this enthusiastic salute to the space age: Just as the atomic age has begun, so the day when mall first leaves the earth and travels to the stars is nearly with us. Already rockets have travelled 250 miles away from the earth's surface, and although latest developments are shrouded in offical secrecy, the fact that the Americans have a Government sponsored project for projecting and building a space platform which will assume its own orbit round the earth, shows that it is already within the immediate bounds of possibility to overcome the earth's gravitational pull. When this is done, there is every reason to believe that within a few years, rockets piloted by radar will sail away into space, orbit the moon, and return to earth with sufficient data to enable us to begin building the first man-carrying spaceship.
In view of this, films like the Paramount picture "When Worlds Collide" and models of space ships based on available technical data, will help to bring to the public new vistas opening to the whole of mankind.
We have the Zyra plan and instructions available for download, like the boxart above, restored by Christian Bryan of The Boxart Den.
Jetex Space Ship (Wilmot Mansour)
Artwork from the Jetex Space Ship box, glowingly restored by Christian Bryan (The Boxart Den
The Jetex Space Ship
was perhaps the most elaborate kit that Wilmot Mansour ever produced. The unnamed reviewer
in Aeromodeller magazine of March 1955 was suitably impressed, as can be seen from the
following write-up in "Trade Notes", from where the illustrations (right) come.
Left: Jetex Space Ship,
about to be clipped on catapult seat at ramp top.
Centre: parachute deploying from nose
Right, springs compressed and ready to fire.
Photos, captions: Aeromodeller Mar. 1955. Reprint contributed by Roger Simmonds
"In recent months we have printed pictures and complimentary remarks on and of the JETEX "tailored" scale kits. They are complete, they take advantage of prefabrication yet they require enough building time to keep any modeller happy for a week. We thought them top of the kit polluntil this Space Ship outfit arrived for review. This is enough to rock even the most hardened of American pre-fab kit builders. The box weighs twice as much as one would expect, and opening the lid is like revealing the proverbial Pandora's box. Everything, from injection moulded plastics, shaped hardwood and pressed balsa to a Jetex unit and augmenter tubeis provided in what must surely be the most involved piece of kitting this side of the Statue of Liberty.
"The spaceship, design influenced by Dan Dare the Hulton Press ace space rideris only part of the kit A launching ramp, complete with a formidable battery of coil springs and triggers, is the other essential half. It has a rotating base, range of inclination and four very necessary "feet" to take the launch reaction. In fact, first operation of the mechanism strikes one rather forcibly as the recoil is akin to a powerful air rifle.
"Ingenious Jetex unit mounting on a slider arranges to lock the parachute hatch while thrust is "on". This is locked too, when loaded on the ramp and ready for firing. When thrust dies "off", the hatch is free to open and a rubber band flings open the nose for a 'chute in bright red nylon to. let Dan Dare down with a modicum of safety.
"As mentioned in 'Motor Mart' the 50 unit is a new one and we suffered a blowout until we managed to get the springs in their right placeso see that you load up correctly. Red Spot fuel is definitely advised for maximum powerour efforts with standard fuel were of "false start" category and just in case you are inquisitive and want to see how high it will soar without the jet firingdon'tit will reach all of fifteen feet, the 'chute may not have time to work, and you'll be repairing the nose or fins if it lands on hard ground.
"47s. 6d. sounds a lot for this kit but you really get your money's worth. It needs only one thing to make it bettera polythene nose-cap for 'chute failure landings."