Mattel #6318 Major MATT MASON with Cat Trac

#6318 Major MATT MASON with Cat Trac Card Front

With the success of the Sgt Storm release in a similar, "w/cat trac" package, Mattel released this version of Major Matt Mason. Various Mattel retailer catalog images suggest that the Cat Trac was originally designed to be a more complicated, perhaps motorized vehicle. Instead the Cat Trac carded figures were accompanied by this two-piece solid-colored accessory.

Major Matt comes with an orange/red cat trac on a multi-colored moonscape background. This is the second most handsome background of the Cat Trac carded astronauts, in my opinion, after the Sgt Storm Card. The bright yellow embossed lettering shows up brilliantly against the background.

I believe the gold-lettered variation is the first, followed by the yellow-lettered blister (both with black ink on the back), then blue-back ink card and finally the tall card . As mentioned above, Matt could also be found on his own Flight Card, and in the window-boxed, Space Center "Astronaut" box (see below). He is also sometimes found on a white-card with Jet Propulsion Pak and Space Sled only, as part of the Space Crawler Super Action Set and Space Station and Space Crawler Super Action Set. There are many paint variations.

MMM Astronaut Major MATT MASON


The Card is full-color, process-printed and is 8" x 5" x 2 1/4" Copyright is 1967.

Sticker Sheet:

Mattel Catalog Specifications:

(First appearance: Mattel Toys 1968 "Toy Fair" Catalog Page 13)

NEW! Major MATT MASON #6318
Debut basic set features either Man in Space plus a molded Cat Trac, hard-working unit for short-run vehicular treks!
Bendable, posable astronaut wears molded plastic spacesuit and removable helmet and movable visor. Either Major MATT MASON #6318 or SGT. STORM #6319 on punched-hole blister card. 8" x 5".
Std. Pack: 1 Doz.
Wt: 4 ½ Lbs.


Mattel initially released both a Major Matt Mason Cat Trac card and a Sgt Storm Cat Trac card with gold painted lettering and black ink on the back. This changed to yellow painted lettering (it looks like the gold paint had an adhesion problem). Next came blue paint on the letter  (first peek at this is in the Mattel 1969 Spring Catalog so it may have only been for one year, and possibly only for the MMM and maybe the Sgt. Storm cards). At some point, Mattel went to a tall-card variation of Major Matt Mason (and all other Cat Trac carded figures). I've seen no explanation for the change...perhaps they were updating the look of the line (this can also be seen with the items released late in 69 and in 70, with the 60's/70's Mod color combinations). 

The figure may be attached via black twisty-tie or pipe cleaner (on German versions - which also may be found facing right-to-left instead of the typical left-to-right) - there's no rhyme or reason to whether the figure is tied to the Cat Trac or not - I own examples of most variations both with or without a twist-tie. 

Some cards have a sticker applied over the copyright information at the back-bottom - this may have been done to account for expansion into foreign markets - I'm not sure. The verbiage on the sticker is slightly different from the typical US version.

The plastic used for the bubble is particularly thing and more rounded on the German versions and lacks the embossing so it's often dinged-up or holed in the corners - the card back is also printed on uncoated stock so it's often quite yellowed or browned (this is true of all the German carded packaging from what I've seen).

Other variations are primarily in the paint schemes found:

John's Notes:

I like finding and displaying the variations. Of course not everyone is the geek that I am, requiring every combination! The tall cards appear to be the hardest to find. I've yet to see a cat trac card with a white rubber figure... I suspect that only the very earliest of flight cards/white flight cards contain them (I've yet to find an intact MMM flight card with a WRM figure that wasn't stapled to an insert or previously glued to a store display). I've seen one WRM on a cat trac card but the card had been resealed so don't believe the figure is original to the card.

He may also be found in:

All Mattel images and captions are copyright Mattel and used without permission. All other content, including images and editorial, is Copyright © 1997-2024 John Eaton and/or contributors unless otherwise stated. If there are any comments or objections, please contact John Eaton.

No comments: