Have blue tubes, will build airplanes

blue tube toys transformed into military vehiclesWhat’s a boy to do with an hour or two on his hands and a box of old toys?

If it’s a box of “blue tubes” and imagination is involved, no problem. (That’s a P-38 Lightning on the right, by the way.)

These 3/8-inch (10 mm) diameter blue plastic tubes have a nominal length of by 1-1/16-inch (28 mm). Besides the straight pieces, there are elbows, red gears, red wheels with (or without) black tires in a couple of sizes, yellow collars and spacers, flat square fillers in two sizes and colors and, of course, the necessary yellow friction joiners. At least, those are my names for them. There’s no instruction booklet with handy designs to try out, no indication of where they were made toward the middle of the 20th century. We’ve searched the web for clues; now it’s your turn to let us know if they’re not unique gifts left by extraterrestrials.

Found in a neighbor’s garage in North Carolina, they survived my intensive use and are bearing up well under A.J.’s over thirty years later. They compete well against (or get creatively combined with) K-nex. They even offer periodic distraction from his first remote control model airplane purchased with some of his hard-earned cash – and now dangling safely from the ceiling.

Mere days until Urbana and that’s all we’ve got? No, but it was an excuse to see if the new Blogger was any better at uploading images than the previous one. Much better. On to less trivial items – j

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