|May 22, 2023
— After flying ten astronaut crews into Earth orbit, SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft is landing... on toy store shelves.
Matchbox, the classic die-cast toy brand, has released a miniature model of the commercial space capsule, which on Monday (May 22) brought the private Axiom-2 (AX-2) crew to the International Space Station. The collectible, which was not timed to the mission, is the first product to be released under a multi-year licensing agreement between SpaceX and Mattel, as was announced in July 2022.
"Well, this happened..." read a recent Matchbox World post to Instagram, which shared photos of the new model inside and out of its box. "The Matchbox SpaceX Dragon Capsule has shipped."
The 2.5-inch-tall (6.4-centimeter or roughly 1:128 scale) Dragon lists for $16.99 each. It includes both the capsule, in which astronauts ride to and from space, and the "trunk," which supports unpressurized payloads and provides power to the entire craft. Matchbox reproduced the look of the solar cells that cover one side of the trunk with a metallic silver and black finish.
The capsule and trunk do not separate, as they do in real life before returning to Earth, nor does the Dragon's hinged nose cap open to reveal a docking ring or, as the actual craft was once outfitted, a dome window. The capsule has molded hatch lines and raised fairings for the SuperDraco thrusters that power the spacecraft's launch escape system.
There are dimples for the Draco maneuvering thrusters and porthole windows, and both details are painted black. The livery includes the United States flag and Dragon and SpaceX logos, but omits the NASA or Axiom Space insignia that have adorned the real vehicle depending on the mission.
The capsule is made of metal, while the trunk is formed out of plastic. The trunk is also capped in plastic, on which the trademark and copyright info is embossed.
The Matchbox Dragon comes packaged in a display-ready, 5-inch (13-centimeter) black box with a cut-out window that frames the spacecraft — seemingly floating within a plastic case — against a printed backdrop of the blue and white of Earth and the blackness of space. The front of the box is only marked with the Matchbox and SpaceX logos. The lid is decorated with SpaceX's Dragon logo.
"Will be showing up at Walmart. Also at some online retailers," the Instagram post read.
According to last year's license announcement, more SpaceX-inspired products are to come, including "elevated collectibles" from Mattel Creations, the company's direct-to-consumer platform. No further details have been released.
The SpaceX Dragon is not Matchbox's first foray into space-related vehicles. The iconic brand has released NASA-logo adorned trucks dating back decades. Recent Matchbox sets have included NASA's Space Exploration Vehicle and, as part of the Sky Busters line of aircraft, a die-cast version of Sierra Space's Dream Chaser space plane.
|Mattel's Matchbox SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft comes packaged in a display-ready box that suspends the die-cast capsule against a backdrop of the blue Earth and blackness of space. (collectSPACE) Matchbox reproduced many of the details on the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, including its solar panels and thrusters. (collectSPACE)