"The Transportation System of the Future"

Resembling something right out of the movie Logan's Run came the Micronauts Rocket Tubes. Released in 1979 as a very large and heavy boxed item, the Rocket Tubes were snapped up by Mego when Takara rejected the design for use in their Microman line. From a 1979 Mego catalog, "This is it…the automatic transportation system of the year 2000, and the Micronauts have it now! The completely enclosed transparent tube swiftly glides the Micronaut vehicles and personnel from the central power station to the transfer point, their speed and direction controlled by a lever…silently and dramatically propelled on a cushion of air". Well, I don't know about dramatic, but it was a neat idea for a child to play with at the time. That is if you liked to watch a capsule shoot around in tubes all day long…
The main unit behind all this madness was the Power Terminal, which was a blower unit that plugged into your wall with the standard 12volt adaptor. The blower had a handle that controlled the airflow, and 4 ports to connect the tubes to. The horizontal tubes were controlled when the handle was pushed in and down, causing the air to flow forward in the port near it, then when it was pulled down and out, the airflow reversed. There were 2 ports on the top of the blower for the vertical tubes to be placed. The handle pushed in and upward caused the air to flow up in the tube nearest to it, and then pulled out and down to reverse the flow.
The 2 tubes that attached to the top ports held a (flat) vertical transfer chamber that connected the 2 together, and also had a port to connect another tube above it. This is where the special Micronaut figure included came into play. This was a non-movable figure, supposed to resemble a man in a space suit with a Time Traveler head. This lucky guy got to ride in the tubes themselves, up and down, but the figure could only be used in the vertical Tubes section.
He was too large for the capsule vehicle, that could only fit a Time Traveler inside. The 3rd tube atop the vertical transfer chamber could be slid back and forth, connecting it with 1 of the tubes below it. The Sears version of the Rocket Tubes came with something extra: a Space Ship launching pad. This launcher was placed atop the highest vertical tube, and when the figure zoomed up and bashed his noggin on the underside, it shot off 3 Styrofoam spaceships.
The figure would hit a lever that moved, releasing the "ZingWing" ships held in place by included clips, the tension being held by rubber bands. The commercials and Mego catalog show a prototype that has a vinyl parachute included, and a slightly different structure. The main Rocket Tubes function although, was to zip a Time Traveler around the tube in the 2 small orange plastic capsules included. You could shoot them around separately, or together as a "train" with a small connector. The Rocket Tubes basic tube assembly was a 2-piece section, a lower black plastic half and an upper transparent half held together with small plastic c-clamps or clips. The basic set contained 4 curved sections of tubes and 6 straight sections.

Another tube section was added, called the Recycler. This was a connecting piece that joined to tubes into one completing the circle as the figure came back around the loop. The tubes were held off the ground by white stanchions or support legs, and could be raised higher by putting the gray step adaptors below them.

As the capsule made its way around the 4th turn, the track would be raised above the tubes emerging from the Power Terminal, and enter the Recycler. The Recycler had a small-hinged door inside that could be raised to shoot the capsule into the lower section of tubing, and away it would go. The Recycler also had a panel that slid back and forth on its top to open it up.

The Power Terminal was supported by 3 gray support legs, and other accessories included white support beams for the legs that held up the Tubes, and cool orange plastic Anemometer and Radar units. These units could be placed onto the vertical ports when the rest of the tubing was used for the oval track, and spun around with a small fan inside.
The last added bonus was a sticker sheet that contained glow in the dark strips, that could be placed all along the tubing sections, so you could operate your Rocket Tubes in the dark! Heavily advertised in the Mego commercials, the Rocket Tubes were kind of a let down toy wise. Although the feature was kind of cool, when the Power Terminal stopped working, you were pretty much SOL.


The Tubes were very rickety, and if your seals weren't tight, airflow escaped, and the capsule didn't shoot around very well. Besides, how long could you actually watch the capsules shoot around before you got bored…? The Rocket Tubes also came with an instruction and sticker sheets. A 3rd set of Rocket Tubes was released as the Deluxe Rocket Tubes, containing 4 extra feet of track.