Nintendo Toy Automatic Ultra Scope Japan
Introduced in 1971, for a retail price of ¥2,980, the Ultra Scope did not repeat the phenomenal sales success of its two ‘ultra’ predecessors, but still sold decently. Based on the periscopes used in warfare (in particular submarines), with two mirrors at a 45-degree angle, this toy allows viewing over high obstacles and around corners. The top mirror is mounted on a four-piece retractable arm, which, when fully extended, stands a cool one meter high. Look on a high shelf Watch over a tall crowd The Ultra Scope is very solidly built and weighs around 1.2 kilogram. It’s heavy! A black plastic carry strap is mounted to the side, which is no luxury given the Ultra Scope’s weight and the need to keep it steady when spying observing an object of interest.
On the front, two big square red buttons control the up and downward movement of the mirror arm. You can easily operate these with your thumbs when holding the Ultra Scope and looking through the visor. The visor with the the bottom mirror needs to be flipped outward before use. The light gray button on the side of the visor allows the angle of the bottom mirror to be slightly adjusted, to ensure bottom and top mirror are perfectly aligned. The top mirror is safely stored inside the body of the Ultra Scope. Only when the arm is moved out, by pressing the ‘UP’ button, will the mirror automatically (through a spring) take the 45 degree angle position.
The upwards and downwards movement of the mirror arm causes a nice satisfying whirring sound. It is pretty loud though, so this somewhat limits the options for stealth espionage use. Looking the opposite way from normal use: from the top mirror down to the bottom mirror The fact the arm is motorized gives the toy a sophisticated feel, but it is also functional – as it allows precise positioning of the height of the top mirror, while looking through the visor. Looking through the visor, the two mirrors allow you to view up to one meter above your normal eye level