Space Patrol 1 and comic strip as origin

From the planet Jevo, Commander Kirid and crew take the Guardian spaceship on a vital mission: to destroy all the mutated plants on the planet Aridis before these send their deadly pollen through the universe, eventually killing all life. The fastest route takes them through the Unknown Zone, where they pass the planet Skaro, home of the Daleks. The Daleks intercept the Guardian ship with magnetic rays, and force it to land on their planet...

Drawn by Ron Turner and written by David Whitaker in a story for the Dalek Chronicles, published on the back pages of TV21 magazine, the Guardian spaceship as it generally appears isn't what the Space Patrol 1 ship is based on. As shown in an earlier panel of the story (below), the Guardian ship appears rather shorter, and actually has stubby swept-back wings, amidship between its body and engines.

panel from TV21 #90 p20

However, Turner uses more extreme perspectives for dramatic effect in some panels, and it's the most extreme of these, appearing in issue #92, published 22 October 1966, that served as the example for the design of the Spacex toy. As the comparison at the top of this page shows, the Guardian appears much longer than in other views, and its wings are actually completely invisible.
It would seem the Guardian therefore has wings that can be folded away, bringing the engines further back. But I suspect that Turner did this to save space in his layout, and create a striking panel as a visual schwerpunkt for the page. And since the Guardian uses alien technology, there's no reason why it can't have disappearing wings. :)

The similarity between this one panel and the Spacex toy was first noticed by Jeremy Briggs, who guest-wrote a post about it (1) on the Bear Alley blog, which Paul Woods found while trawling the internet for information on space toys.

panel from Zero X comic in Countdown #27

A simplified Guardian spaceship (again sans wings) saw subsequent use in another comic strip by Malcolm Stokes, published in Countdown magazine #27 in 1971 (above).
And very recently, the entire Dalek Chronicles story featuring the Guardian was turned into a very nice animation by Altered Vistas. (2)

TV21 #92 p28

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External links open in new windows.
1: See entry on Bear Alley blog. (Btw I'm not convinced by the suggestion that Ron Turner was influenced by the Blackbird design, since as stated above the Guardian ship looks quite different in all other panels of the comic story.) back to text
2: Have a look on YouTube. back to text