In Telford Tony kindly brought along the rare Dr. 'X' Adventure Train Set he had so kindly taken delivery of after I bought it on eBay. These sets are huge and I can imagine sellers not wanting to ship these abroad. I was glad to save the hefty postage on this one!
The box is the worst part of this set. I knew it was in need of a lot of TLC, but is was worse than I thought. Luckilly most of the main structure is there, just in pieces. The content however is near mint, with only minor repairs that I had to make to them:
I must say I can't help feeling this set is even more dubious in playing value than the companion Wild West Adventure Train Set. The A1A Class 31/4 Diesel Locomotive struggles to get around the tight corners, but its weight helps to keep it on track. The 1st Class Inner-City Open Coach MKII however is a third longer and a lot lighter, and moving it by hand would hardly stay on the track, and I cannot imagine it will do so when pulled by the Diesel Loco... Apart from that the concept of the game is wasted on me. I cannot help but think that a tunnel through a rock barely wider than the tunnel is not good planning on behalf of the Railway Company:
I must be loosing my inner child...
I will step aside and will let the text writers of 1975 take over to explain what the adventure is.
The Instruction Cartoon wrote:Dr 'X' Aventure Story - a threat to the World
Somewhere in England, a top security operation is under way. Its onbject: to transfer a deadly new nuclear missile - to a secret testing ground.
The sinister, international arch-villain, known only as Dr.X. has discovered the plan and he intends to steal the rocket and hold the world to ransom!
It looks like an ordinary goods train. But one van conceals a nuclear missile bound for a testing ground.
In his secret tunnel laboratory, Dr.X brings his radar scanner into action. "The train is on its way1"
(actually, it is spelled "it's" in the cartoon, I could not help taking this spelling error out)
The Instruction Cartoon wrote:Up the line, a breakdown truck approaches the level crossing - driven by one of Dr.X's henchmen.
According to plan, the truck stalls - in the path of the train!
[traindriver:] "What the ...!"
The Instruction Cartoon wrote:Suddenly the side of the moutain swings open. Dr.X and his men rush out.
[Dr.X:] "Don't anybody move!"
The cartoon skips a few steps here, because it all has to fit on one page. According to the instructions inside:
The text instructions wrote:Position container lorry on trackside piece so that it faces the rear of the train and lines up with lowmac trailer
The text instructions wrote:Depress lorry's ventilation housing unit rocket will transfer automatically from lowmac trailer to lorry container.
(actually, it will not, as the side of the container lorry fails to touch the bottom clip of the secret rocket van, and that van's side does not come down enough to let the missile roll out...)
This fact not withstanding the Instructions wrote:The gang automatically transfer the rocket.
The rocket is taken into Dr. X's laboratory.
Apart from referring to the bomb now as a rocket, where perviously it was a missile, the instructions inside ask us to
The text instructions wrote:'Drive' lorry to tunnel and open tunnel side A by depressing catch.
I could be a purist and state the side was already open to let Dr.X out, but I won't. Oh no, I already did...
The text instructions wrote:Remove rocket shield from rocket launcher and place alongside lorry container. Depress lorry's ventilation housing unit - rocket will automatically transfer from container to rocket shield.
The text instructions wrote:Offer up shield complete with rocket to launcher (making sure lugs marry up). Rocket is now ready for firing
The Instruction Cartoon wrote:[Henchman:] "There's no answer to our ransom demand Dr.X!..."
Will the government give in to Dr.X's demands? Dare he fire the rocket and blow the world to bits? How long can both sides bluff it out? Can Dr.X even trust his friends? How will it end? It's up to you!
I would suggest to Dr.X not to fire that missile/rocket. I tried it and it doesn't come much higher than 40 cm!
An unusual addition to my collection, so typical for 1970's toys. I can almost imagine the hyped-up TV commercial - and the inevitable deception when playing with it. Toys hardly ever lived up to the excitement the adverts were so full of.
There's always room for ONE more kit!