Art & Science Mission Mercury 10

Period: 50th

Dates: June 26th 2016


Action Man Astronaut

Action Man Mercury 10 Commemorative Astronaut outfit:

Space suit (numbered 1-5)
Space helmet
White Gloves
Silver Boots
Blue Supply Pipe
Wrist Mirror
Box (numbered 1-5)

Mercury 10 Gold Dog Tag

Mission Patch

Mercury Mission 10:

In June 2016, to celebrate Action Man's 50th birthday year, a 1966 vintage Action Man in an adapted 1967 vintage spacesuit, helmet and boots traveled 11.4 miles into near space inside a customised 1967 Action Man space capsule. The 'Unofficial' Mission was Kickstarter funded by Rob Wisdom, and the special met-balloon flight was co-ordinated by Chris Hillcox. Art & Science became mission backers during the funding process. Bob Brechin (Palitoy Chief Designer 1967-84) launched the mission at 3:53pm on June 26th 2016 from the training pitch at Coalville Town FC. The capsule broke apart at 18,384m above sea level and the tracker, Go-Pro camera and Major Tom all fell to earth separately. The mission lasted one hour and twenty minutes. Major Tom remains missing along with parts of the capsule and gold dog tags somewhere between Creaton and Cottesbrooke in Northamptionshire. The mission was a success - it remains the highest recorded altitude for an Action Man figure or vehicle.


Visit Mission Mercury 10 Facebook Page


For the Mission a blond painted hair Action Man, christened 'Major Bob Tom' was used, wearing an original Action Man Astronaut suit, with reapplied mission patch and Union Flag. The name was a fusion of David Bowie's Space Oddity hero, and Bob Brechin (and Rob Wisdom's) Christian names. A vintage publicity capsule and flight capsule were both painted satin black with unique decals applied. There is a £200 reward for Major Tom's safe return.


To reward 'Gold' backers, 5 specially commissioned contemporary space suits were made - in the style of current NASA spacesuits. These were numbered 1 to 5, and each of the backers had their surname applied to the name tag on the suit. The 5 Action Men chosen represented 5 decades of the original Action Man - 1966 painted head, 1970 flock head, 1981 eagle eye, 2006 40th, and 2016 50th figures. In fact the 50th figure was the first circulated in the UK. The Astronauts came in a one-off box (approved by Hasbro) in the vintage style associated with Palitoy, with a matching number - 1 to 5. A prototype suit and box also exist.


250 gold (brass) Mercury Mission 10 dog tags were commissioned and manufactured in the UK and were given to bronze and above backers. 101 were sent to near space, and 100 of these are still missing. Major Tom's solitary near space tag has been recovered.

100 woven mission patches were produced and given to backers at silver level and above.


5 black baseball hats bearing the Mission Mercury 10 patch were produced for the launch day and were worn by Rob Wisdom and Chris Hillcox (mission co-ordinators), Bob Brechin (Guest of honour), Richard Weston (additional drone footage), and Peter Rooke (Art & Science Int).


The mission captured the imagination and gained widespread coverage on the BBC, radio, TV and many leading Newspapers.


See the documentary film of the mission CLICK


Capsule sponsors were: 3 on the Dot, Wisdom Design, Bob Brechin, Weston Digital Imaging, Roll Out Roll Call and Eagle Eyes Action Station.


The remaining Mercury 10 gold dog tags and mission patches are available to buy from AMHQ SHOP


The next mission will be to submerge Action Man deeper than ever before in Mission 55 Fathoms. More details to follow on 55 Fathoms Facebook Page


In 2016 an adapted Action Man Astronaut (named Major Bob Tom) and Space Capsule were successfully sent into near space on Art+Science Mission Mercury 10

Missing in action: 1966 vintage Astronaut 'Major Bob Tom'

Action Man Major Bob Tom

Mercury 10 Backers Rewards

Mercury 10 tags and patches

The five special contemporary Astronauts numbered 1 to 5

Mercury 10 Astronauts

Peter Rooke (A&S), Rob Wisdom, and Bob Brechin.

1966 Action Man Astronaut No.1 - Dunn

Action Man Mercury 10 No1 Dunn

1981 Action Man Astronaut No.3 - Atkinson

Action Man Mercury 10 No3 Atkinson

2016 (50th) Action Man Astronaut No.5 - Pearn

Action Man Mercury 10 No5 Pearn

1967 vintage Action Man publicity Space Capsule 'Jubilee 7'

Mercury 10 Jubilee 7 space Capsule

Action Man Mercury 10 Astronaut and Capsule publicity shot

Action Man Astronaut Leaflet

The 5 boxes, with unique 1 to 5 numbering

Mercury 10 boxes

Concept drawing for space suits (Rob Wisdom)

Action Man Astronaut Box

1970 Action Man Astronaut No.2 - Bennett

Action Man Mercury 10 No2 Bennett

2006 (40th) Action Man Astronaut No.4 - Bauer

Action Man Mercury 10 No4 Bauer

Mercury 10 Mission Sponsors

Action Man Mercury 10 sponsors

Mercury 10 Mission images


Mercury 10 Mission above Coalville

Action Man Mercury 10

Mercury 10 Mission leaving the cloudsAction Man Mercury 10

Mercury 10 Mission and the sun

Action Man Mercury 10

Mercury 10 Mission capsule failure

Action Man Mercury 10

The Go-Pro found days later by Mr Holt

Action Man Mercury 10 Holt

Mercury 10 Mission crash scatter zone. We have plotted the route taken and three items have been found along this southerly red path. The most likely area for the recovery of the 100 dog tags and Major Tom is the red shaded area - agricultural fields on the Cottesbrooke Estate. Permission has been requested to search the area but denied by the Cottesbrooke Estate. There is a £200 reward for his safe return. The Go-Pro camera was found some way south along the red line out of picture.

Action Man Mercury 10 crash zone

Mercury 10 Mission above Leicestershire

Action Man Mercury 10

Mercury 10 Mission in near space

Action Man Mercury 10

Mercury 10 Mission turbulance

Action Man Mercury 10

Mercury 10 Mission Major Tom falls

Action Man Mercury 10

Mercury 10 Mission graphic

Action Man Mercury 10 graphic

Mercury 10 Comic of mission

Action Man Mercury 10 Comic