The Catacombs Catacombs Reference Library
Speed and Power

The UK has a long tradition of educational children's magazines, starting with Arthur Mee's The Children's Newspaper (1919-1965), and later dominated by Look and Learn (1962-1982). The Eagle (1950-1969) was also known for technology cut-aways.

Speed and Power was a UK children's magazine launched in March 1974; every cover promised "Planes, Cars, Ships, Science Fiction, Trains". Two other competing magazines already existed, Look and Learn and World Of Wonder (from 1970, absorbed into Look and Learn in 1975). Publisher IPC had many long-running specialist magazines for cars, yachts, trains and planes, and Speed and Power was able to use their archives of art.

Most of the content was factual text articles on transport or history (long-running series like "fighting ships" and "armoured cars", and one-off articles like "riding with the highway patrol"). The articles were illustrated with photos and art. The only fiction was a 2-page comic strip ("SOS International" by Oliver Frey) and a serialized text story (in these issues, "Robot Runaround" by Isaac Asimov). Science fiction film was an unusual subject for the magazine, although issue 80 featured Straker's car from UFO (it also featured the Argocat, but with no mention of moonbuggies).

Speed and Power lasted 87 issues, ending in November 1975. It was then absorbed into Look and Learn, first as a special section. The market for educational magazines declined rapidly through the 1970s, and Look and Learn itself folded in 1982.

Speed and Power #71 25 July-1 August 1975

Pages 30 and 31 cover the Dinky Eagle

A strange craft appears out of the blackness of space and lands, amid a cloud of dust, on a bleak lunar landscape. The craft is called the Eagle Transporter, and it has just landed at "Moonbase Alpha"...

You may think that the vessel pictured here is some strange monster from outer space. Well, that is exactly what it is! Called the Eagle Transporter, it is one of the "stars" of a brand new space adventure series entitled Space 1999, which is planned to start on TV towards the end of the year.

The exciting Gerry Anderson story will be set in the not too distant future - year 1999 in fact- and will revolve around people working on the Moon when a nuclear explosion rips it in half. One part of the Moon is sent hurtling into space; the start of many adventures for those trapped on it.

One of the main forms of transport is the unusual Eagle Transporter, and Dinky have released an accurate model of this craft to be seen in Space 1999. The spaceship is designed as an interplanetary container ship of the future. and it is full of fascinating features.

The Dinky model comes complete With a detachable "Moonbase" container, which is released by pressing a lever on top of the model. This can then be picked up again, clicking into position on the main ship. Eagle's container has sets of steps on either side, and these open out to ground level for crews to disembark.

Eagle has four spring-loaded legs for landing, and four giant chromed propulsion units at the rear. and these look very impressive and powerful. The rest of the model is finished in white, with a metallic green nose cone and red engine combustion chambers.

The model is 200mm (7 7/8 inches) long and costs about £2,99 from model and toy shops. Eagle Transporter may seem a rather weird and unusual subject at the moment. but it is an exciting model and is bound to be popular when Space 1999 takes off..

Speed and Power #82 10-17 October 1975

Pages 14-15 is a nice double-spread of model shots. Page 29 showcases the Dinky Eagle competition in the next issue.

Scorching across your TV screens right now is a super new science fiction series starring the people and machines of Moon Base Alpha, a huge asteroid hurtling into deep space .

A brand new addition to our ITV screens is Space 1999. another fantastic spectacular from Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, who brought you such classic programmes as Thunderbirds and UFO. Packed with space-craft, lunar vehicles and exciting gadgets, Space 1999 looks like being another gripping scifi TV series.

The programme is set only a few years in the future- 1999 in fact-on a lunar base known as Moon Base Alpha. Whilst scientists are working there, the moon is violently ripped apart by explosions caused by nuclear waste back on Earth. Part of the moon is torn out of Earth orbit and sent hurtling into deep space. With our intrepid adventurers on it!

This leads to many nail-biting stories as the "inhabitants" of the new asteroid fight for survival and attempt to find a new home Some of the programmes have been written around scientific facts-such as a phenomenon known as a "Black Sun". This is a mass of gas which develops into a high-density ball with such tremendous gravitation that it pulls everything into it, even light. It upsets all theories of existence, even time itself. and makes an exciting story -the Space 1999 actors find themselves in eternity!

Also, they meet up with aliens from other planets, and discover strange powers from outer space. All the time these adventures are going on. Moonbase Alpha is threatened by asteroids and planets which might be on collision course.

The Moonbase is a colony of about 300 scientists who can leave the base only in space suits or in special transport craft known as Eagles. These are unusual machines which are powered by giant rocket motors at the rear, and land by means of four heavily sprung legs and retro-rockets. The fuselage consists of a gantry- like structure which houses the freight container These can be picked up or dropped automatically.


A whole fleet of Eagle Transporters is used for a variety of tasks at Moonbase Alpha. They are entered by means of travel tubes resembling underground train compartments.

Though the transporters form the main means of transport, other weird and wonderful machines will appear from time to time. These include tracked land vehicles containing all sorts of gadgets: Earth probe ships: space shuttles and a six-wheeled rover buggy. Some of the alien space craft look even stranger

Most of the craft produced for Space 1999 are in model form. constructed by Gerry Anderson's skilled modellers, and providing great animated excitement. Other craft have been built to the same size as they would appear in real life, to be used by the actors

One of the "stars" of the new series is the Computer - able to work out virtually any problem, warn staff of obstacles and plan a course of action in the face of danger.

Fantastic miniature scenes and dramatic effects. reduced to a fraction of full-size, help to create a realistic atmosphere, whilst interior sets will all be normal size. Electronic detonators and chemicals like naphthalene are used for "explosions" on the little sets,


Above A tense moment aboard the Moon Base as Dr. Helena Russell (Barbara Bain, right) and an assistant tend a casualty in the base hospital, wrapped up in protective clothing.

Above right : Commander John Koenig (Martin Landau) treads warily doing his job as protector of the fantastic asteroid colony. The special effects of "Space 1999" are by and Gerry Anderson, who brought us "Fireball XL5" and other amazing sci-fi TV serials.

Typical of the ingenious models in "Space: 1999" is the giant Earth Space Shuttle, which can carry hundreds of passengers through the dark void between the planets. The ship will be on your screens in the next few weeks, so make a date to watch this fabulous new series.

Left In one episode, radiation affects a base worker, who attacks his colleagues! All sorts of problems are tackled by the Moon base team in the series.

One of the amazingly-realistic spaceship models that "star" in the series is this Earth probe. You Can See the sort of lengths the model boys go to make screen realism in the stories.

Left When the Moonbase has trouble with foam, our heroes have quite a problem until the stuff is cleaned up. In this scene, two of the spacemen risk damage to their delicate suits as they're swept off their feet. Wonder what'll happen?

Below : When alien spacecraft attack the base, one is captured and brought inside for detailed examination. Known as a Kaldorian craft, the ship is seen here in the Eagle hangar on Alpha Base, about to give up its secrets...


Speed and Power #83 17-24 October 1975

The cover features the two page competition on pages 6-7 for the Dinky Eagle.