by Mick Hall
In 1965, Cherilea added models of a Dalek and Mechanoid to their range of toys.
The original version of the Mechanoid is very rare and the three examples shown below in Figures 1 and 2 are the only ones known to exist. However, Cherilea subsequently re-used the moulds of the Mechanoid body (with slight alterations) to produce a Space Pod for their range of Spacemen toys. This range was very popular at the time and, in fact, with the inclusion of the Space Pod was produced until the mid-1970’s.
Over the years, therefore, the Cherilea Space Pods have often been mistaken for Mechanoids. However, there are key differences between a Mechanoid and Space Pod that allow for accurate identification. Notably, the Mechanoid has a unique antenna design (see Figures 2 and 3), while that used on the Space Pod resembles a simple crosshair sight on a gun (see Figure 4).
Second, the top half of an original Mechanoid body has a hole on the front panel for the flamethrower and two holes in the rim through which the arms pass (see Figure 3). The Space Pod version, on the other hand, has the hole in the front panel filled in (as can be seen clearly on the left side of Figure 4), two lugs on the side of the rim to hold booster rockets (see Figure 4), and a single hole in the rear of the rim to hold a ladder. However, a transitional Space Pod top section is known to exist that has three holes in the rim; two on the sides for the booster rockets and one on the rear for the ladder (see Figure 6).
Third, the top section of the original Mechanoid body has ten narrow bars and no solid panels leading to the antenna. Alternatively, Space Pods have five solid panels and five hollow panels leading to the antenna. However, the transitional Space Pod shown in Figure 6 still has the ten narrow bars leading to the antenna that were part of the Mechanoid version.
Finally, the base of the Mechanoid version, which is moulded in one piece, is very different to the Space Pod base. The Space Pod base has four holes around the rim for the landing feet to fit into and two further holes in the center for the exhaust (see Figure 5). Interestingly, the Space Pod’s landing feet are often used in place of the rocket boosters on the centre section in an effort to represent the Space Pod as a Mechanoid (as shown in Figure 4). The arms on the true Mechanoid version are a reasonable representation of the screen version and are moulded in one piece.