I went to my first Hot Wheels auction a few weeks ago. The auction site was a warehouse full of hundreds of items and it was a nice opportunity to bid on some things that I don’t often see. These three Hot Wheels Action Packs were among my prizes for the evening.
Action Packs were first offered in 1997 and again in 1999. There were about two dozen varieties, some with the themes you might expect like firefighting, construction and police, and others based on popular TV shows or movies. I went after the space-themed packs as a nice addition to some of my other NASA vehicles.
The John Glenn, Great American Hero Action Pack was issued to commemorate the famous pilot, astronaut and senator’s return to space after 36 years. Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth aboard the Friendship 7 as part of the Mercury Space program in 1962. In 1998, Glenn returned to space at the age of 77 as a Payload Specialist – a test subject for geriatric studies – on the Space Shuttle Discovery. This Action Pack includes the Friendship 7 capsule and the Space Shuttle Discovery, along with molded figures representing John Glenn the Mercury astronaut, John Glenn the Space Shuttle astronaut and even John Glenn the Senator.
The Apollo program, which ran from 1963 until 1972, was launched with a goal of putting a man on the moon. The Apollo Mission Action Pack was released in 1999 to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, which was the first to achieve the program’s goal. Five subsequent Apollo missions also landed on the moon. This Action Pack represents Apollo 15, which was the first mission to utilize the Lunar Rover. In addition to the Rover, the pack also includes the Lunar Landing Module, two astronaut figures (presumably Commander David Scott and Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin) and the U.S. flag.
The Mars Rover Sojourner was landed on the red planet in 1997 by the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft in a mission that was directed by the the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL). This was the first of a series of Mars missions that successfully deployed rovers. The JPL Sojourner Mars Rover Action Pack includes the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft, the Mars lander, and the Sojourner Mars Rover.