Update 1: after many discussions, comparing said piece with actual show
screenshots, many believe this isn't an original 'used in the serials'
Some of the thoughts on this include this recent post:
"The guy on eBay is selling a replica, not an original film-used item. That it is made of aluminum is fine, since the original was likely metal (I agree that the primitive pyrotechnics likely required that), but the rivets noted were not on any photo I've found yet of that design, and there would have been no need for a practical opening door on the model, only on the full-scale prop (and Universal borrowed that, as well)."
"The dead giveaway that this is NOT a filming model is that well-embossed Universal on the fin. This is likely some high-dollar item that was sold at the gift shop at Universal around the time of the Flash Gordon movie with Sam Jones, or has something to do with the release of the old serials on DVD."
"Is it nice-looking? Yeah, but I could build a more accurate replica. Is it genuine? I would have to say no. If the seller bought it thinking it was, then he was taken, and appears to be trying to recoup some of what he paid by hoping to find a bigger sucker."
Update 2: Andrew B. wrote me and thought that the likely origin of that Flash Gordon (serial)
rocket prop is that it was made circa 1981 for Universal Studios Tour "Special Effects"
show, which featured this particular style model and a demonstration of it flying and
sparking (courtesy of sparklers). See below, from the 1981 souvenir booklet sold at
Universal Studios as part of the tour:|
So you decide if it's an actual prop or if it isn't. - Buc (July 2013)