"Glow in the Dark" Action Transfers! The "Letraset Action Transfers" logo appears on some packs, but "Rub Down Action Transfers" on others. Reprinted as Thomas Salter 090/108 & 090/109.
Here's what the packets looked like, as you'd find them in the shops:
Clearly this example is a later printing, since the earlier version has a "Letraset Action Transfers" logo, replaced here by "Rub Down Action Transfers". Eventually this also was replaced, by "Salters Action Transfers".
This was a complicated time; Letraset had bought Thomas Salter in 1978, but when Esselte bought Letraset in 1981, they didn't take Thomas Salter — who thereby regained their independence for a few more years, taking Letraset's toys with them.
Goldi took on distribution of several Letraset/Thomas Salter transfer products around 1980, including Fun Doodles as well as this series — translated as "Die weiße Raumpatrouille Weltraumabenteuer".
Curiously, the 'Space Adventures' series advertised in the Thomas Salter 1981 Trade Catalogue appears NOT to be White Squadron, but another ten-part series — one which we've never seen. Looking at it carefully, I can think off-hand of at least four reasons why it might have been immediately withdrawn from sale.
This catalogue, being dated 1981 for the year ahead, would have been published before the Christmas ordering season in 1980. There were no signs back then that Esselte was about to throw everything into disarray.
Curioser & curioser, later on in the same catalogue we find…
This makes the sequence of events slightly mysterious.
The text for the "Space Adventures" box says "for the first time ever" regarding glow-in-the-dark transfers. Yet we know the "White Squadron Space Adventures" sets were available earlier in 1980, as were Thomas Salter's "Space Monsters", which are advertised in the same catalogue. So was the illustrated series the second, or the first?
The fact that we've seen a great many White Squadron sets on the second-hand market, but none at all of the other Space Adventures series, suggests to me that they were either a promotional mock-up which later turned into White Squadron — never making it to market in that form — or a series that was quickly withdrawn, to be replaced by White Squadron.
I favour the "promotional mock-up" hypothesis, but wonder if perhaps either the photos were taken much earlier in the year, or that using them was a simple substitution error — the correct photo being omitted by mistake.
Clearly, White Squadron was already a trademarked property independently of transfer products.
Top: all ten transfer sheets in the dark; bottom: the same, in the light.
As a matter of fact — yes, they do. After a fashion… as borders around some of the transfers, rather than the transfers themselves!
You can see each of the sets in this series by following these links, or the text links at the bottom of each subsequent page:
Picture Credit: the SPLAT Scan Archives
© Tom Vinelott 2023