Category Archives: ROBOTS

ZEROIDS – workers of the future

“From the planet Zero come the incredible workers of the future – grabbing, pinching, clawing, carrying, attracting, throwing, pushing, pulling and hauling. From turret to track they are realistically simulated in awesome detail.”

I love how in 1972 the Ideal toy company was using the word “awesome” to describe one of its products – awesome being a word heavily in use today to describe… well… awesome things. Things like toy robots. Things like Zeroids!

Zeroids was a line of battery-operated motorised robots able to propel themselves across surfaces. They appeared on toy shelves in 1967 and underwent a rebrand in the late 70s and more recently in 2016 by the Toyfinity company. The original robot characters in the line are Zobor the Bronze Transporter, Zintar the Silver Explorer, and Zerak the Blue Destroyer.

UK. Ideal catalogue page. 1972.

Hey, Ding-A-Ling!

Ding-A-Lings. Not to be confused with: scatterbrains, telephones, Chuck Berry, Ding-A-Ling Dolls, or Dead Deadly Ding-a-Ling the Deranged Clown (currently in prison).

US. Pep. 1972.

Ding-A-Lings are plastic, motorised toy robots made in the early 1970s by North American company Topper. Driven by an interchangeable ‘Ding-A-Lings Power Pack’ each robot was able to perform movements. The colourful line included many characters as well as ‘Ding-A-Lings Space Skyways’ track parts.

For more info on the Ding-A-Lings line check out: Topperdingalings 

Robots and other retro toys from Christie’s 1988 auction catalogue

TVTA loves robots, and couldn’t resist acquiring this summer 1988 auction catalogue from Christie’s of South Kensington. Complete with a colour cover featuring a 1960s tinplate robot toy called ANSWER-GAME, this 40 page catalogue consists of black and white images featuring robots, games, trains and lead soldiers dating as far back as the 19th century. Here a few images fresh from the scanning room. Thanks for looking.


ANSWERGAME. From Christie's South Kensington auction catalogue. 1988.

ANSWER-GAME. From Christie’s South Kensington auction catalogue. 1988.


ATTACKING MARTIAN, battery operated tinplate robot, by Horikawa, Jaman, 1960s. ANSWERGAME, battery operated tinplate robot that executes simple mathematics, by Ichida, Japan, 1960s. From Christie's South Kensington auction catalogue. 1988.

1. ATTACKING MARTIAN, battery operated tinplate robot, by Horikawa, Japan, 1960s. £150-250. 2. ANSWER-GAME, battery operated tinplate robot that executes simple mathematics, by Ichida, Japan, 1960s. £150-250.


ATTACKING MARTIAN, battery operated plastic and tinplate robot, by Horikawa, Japan, 1960s. From Christie's South Kensington auction catalogue. 1988.

ATTACKING MARTIAN, battery operated plastic and tinplate robot, by Horikawa, Japan. £300-500.


PISTON ROBOT, battery operated plastic and tinplate robot, by Horikawa, Japan, 1960s. From Christie's South Kensington auction catalogue. 1988.

PISTON ROBOT, battery operated plastic and tinplate robot, by Horikawa, Japan, 1960s. £200-300.


DUX-ASTROMAN, battery operated remote control robot, by Dux. W, Germany, 1950s. From Christie's South Kensington auction catalogue. 1988.

DUX-ASTROMAN, battery operated remote control plastic robot, by Dux. W. Germany, 1950s. £150-200.


SOUCOUPE A REACTION, friction powered tinplate flying saucer, by SFA, France, 1950s.

SOUCOUPE A REACTION, friction powered tinplate flying saucer, by SFA, France, 1950s. £50-80.


MOON ROCKET, battery operated tinplate spacecraft, by Masudaya, Japan, 1960s.

MOON ROCKET, battery operated tinplate spacecraft, by Masudaya, Japan, 1960s. £150-250.


W.H. SMITH & SON kiosk. Circa 1928.

W.H. SMITH & SON kiosk. Circa 1928. £130-190.


RACING COLOURS OF FAMOUS OWNERS, by Britains, UK, circa 1937.

RACING COLOURS OF FAMOUS OWNERS, by Britains, UK, circa 1937. £60-100.


DANCING SAILOR, clockwork tinplate sailor in cloth uniform, by Lehmann, circa 1912. £70-100.

DANCING SAILOR, clockwork tinplate sailor in cloth uniform, by Lehmann, circa 1912. £70-100.


HORNBY BOOK OF TRAINS (lot), 1925-1940. £250-350.

HORNBY BOOK OF TRAINS (lot), 1925-1940. £250-350.


BRITAINS SET N° 460, Scots Guards, circa 1933. No price listed.

BRITAINS SET N° 460, Scots Guards, circa 1933. No price listed.


Rear cover: K. BUB LANDAULETTE, clockwork tinplate car. Germany, circa 1912. £1,500-2,500.

Rear cover: K. BUB LANDAULETTE, clockwork tinplate car. Germany, circa 1912. £1,500-2,500.


 

 

Robotix

Robotix is a robot-themed construction toy first manufactured by the Milton Bradley Company (MB) in the mid-1980s. Derivatives included a 1985 animated TV series and a Marvel Comics-produced single-issue comic book in 1986.


France. Pif Gadget. 1988.

France. Pif Gadget. 1988.


 

Voltron Force ad by Neil B Vokes

I discovered some great info today on this excellent and colourful 1986 UK advert for Voltron Force. After posting it on Twitter I  was contacted by the artist Neil B Vokes, who told me,

“I drew this ad (with Rich Rankin) while doing the pencils on Comico’s Robotech Masters series – was paid a pretty penny for it too…;o)”

Wow, that’s so cool to hear from one of the actual artists involved in the toy advertising process, and it’s made my day. Here’s the ad.


UK. Hex. 1986.

UK. Hex. 1986.


Robo Machines

Sold in the UK by the Bandai toy company, Robo Machines were transforming vehicle/robot toys made from sturdy plastic and die cast metal. Characters included RM-01 Motorcycle, RM-02 Tank, RM-03 Aeroplane and others. Robo Machines was also a British comic strip serialised in Eagle comics between 1984 and 1985. The story, though titled after the Bandai-owned Robo Machine toys, can also be connected to the Tonka-owned names of the Gobots, another toyline.


UK. Eagle. 1983.

UK. Eagle. 1983.


UK. Eagle. 1983.

UK. Eagle. 1983.


UK. Eagle and Tiger. 1985.

UK. Eagle and Tiger. 1985.


 

Star Wars Transforming X-Wing Fighter by Takara

 

NEW Takara X Wing 02

In 1977 Japanese toy manufacturer Takara was licensed to produce and distribute toys and merchandise from the first Star Wars film up until Popy took over for The Empire Strikes Back in 1980.

Takara Star Wars toys often came with cool action features such as Missile Firing R2-D2s and C-3POs, a wind-up walking R2-D2 (often rumoured to be George Lucas’ favourite toy) and many other interesting and quirky items such as the Transforming X-Wing Fighter which is the subject of this post.

 

NEW Takara X Wing 01

NEW Takara X Wing 03a

The Transforming X-Wing Fighter was released in 1978 in Japan by Takara. The vehicle came in kit form and included fuselage, four wing sections, a sprue tree containing the smaller parts, a decal sheet, instuctions/catalogue and Luke Skywalker Pilot and R2-D2 figures. Working features included cockpit and landing gear, open/closed wings and spring-loaded missile-firing laser cannons!

But that’s not all… Takara also held the license for Microman which was later rebranded as Transformers for the western market. What could make better sense than to fuse the two lines together to create a super-cool X-Wing Fighter that transformed?

And so, with just a few snaps and clicks the X-Wing Fighter goes from this…

NEW Takara X Wing 04

… to this…

NEW Takara X Wing 05

… to this…

NEW Takara X Wing 06

… to this…

NEW Takara X Wing 07

… to this…

NEW Takara X Wing 08

… to this…

NEW Takara X Wing 09

… to this…

NEW Takara X Wing 10

… and much more! There are a few suggestion examples on the box to try out but essentially this toy is ideal to let your imagination fly.

For me the Takara is a winner. One of my favourite retro toy collectables is the vintage Star Wars line – in particular Kenner’s original X-Wing Fighter and its foreign variants. So hats off to Takara for not only producing a version of this iconic space vehicle but for taking it to a completely different level.

NEW Takara X Wing 11

 

NEW Takara X Wing 03

And finally, some collectors wonder about the scale of the Takara Transforming X-Wing in relation to the original Kenner model. The Takara version is almost the same size although the Luke and R2-D2 figures are significantly smaller than their 3 3/4 inch Kenner counterparts.

Below is a pic of the Takara, Palitoy original, and Micro-Collection X-Wings to give you an idea of the scale.

To learn more about the many variations that exist for vintage-era X-Wing Fighters check out my guide on TIG

Takara comparison 1

MICRONAUTS

Micronauts was the North American rebranding of the Japanese line of Microman toys released by Takara. Mego handled the license in the US, while in the UK it was the companies Airfix and Lion Rock. Airfix also handled the license for the German market. You can read more Micronauts info here by Ron Pringle.


UK. Star Wars Weekly. 1978.

Advert for the Micronauts comic series. UK. Star Wars Weekly. 1978.


UK. Star Wars Weekly N° 1. 1978.

Airfix Micronauts advert. UK. Star Wars Weekly. 1978.


Airfix Germany. 1978.


Airfix Germany. 1978.

ROM the SPACEKNIGHT

ROM the new Micro-electronic action toy from Parker Brothers, 1979.

“From outer space to the pages of Marvel comics… to your toy store comes the mighty champion of justice and truth, the greatest of all Spaceknights… Rom!”


US. Iron Man. 1979.

US. Iron Man. 1979.


 

MORPHODROIDS… warrior robots you bring to life

Morphodroids are a range of driving vehicles that can transform into laser-firing, walking robots controlled by a remote control command unit. Four plug-in light cannons were available to increase battle power. An ambitious effort by Vector Intercontinental – the company that produced this toyline – who seemed to be trying to offer another angle on the whole transforming robot craze of the eighties.

USA. The New Mutants. 1985.

USA. The New Mutants. 1985.

TRANSFORMERS… heroic Autobots against evil Decepticons

Transformers_logo

Based on the Japanese TAKARA and BANDAI characters, Transformers were introduced to the US public in 1984 by HASBRO. Using the classic scenario of good guys versus the bad guys (Autobots vs Decepticons in this case), the concept of ‘transforming’ action figure robots into vehicles, weapons and animals proved to be hugely popular. TVTA is happy to present a number of international ads featuring some of the toys, comics and merchandise available back in the eighties.


UK. Return of the Jedi comic. 1986.

UK. Return of the Jedi comic. 1986.


Denmark. The Transformers. 1989.

Denmark. The Transformers. 1989.


ROTJ UK 148 1986 Transform your holiday POST

UK. ROTJ. 1986.


Denmark. The Transformers. 1989.

Denmark. The Transformers. 1989.


UK. Eagle. 1984.

UK. Eagle. 1984.


UK. Eagle. 1984.

UK. Eagle. 1984.


UK. Eagle and Tiger. 1985.

UK. Eagle and Tiger. 1985.


US. Alpha Flight. 1985.

US. Alpha Flight. 1985.


UK. Eagle and Tiger. 1985.

UK. Eagle and Tiger. 1985.


UK. Marvel. 1980s.

UK. Marvel. 1980s. Image courtesy of @khakipillowslip. With thanks.


UK. Marvel. 1980s. Image courtesy of @khakipillowslip. With thanks.

UK. Marvel. 1980s. Image courtesy of @khakipillowslip. With thanks.


UK. Death's Head. 1989.

UK. Death’s Head. 1989.


Panini Transformers. Denmark.


MB Games. Denmark. 1988.

GOBOTS

Gobots was a Japanese toyline featuring transforming action figures and play-sets that were licensed to the Tonka company between 1983 and1987. Among the GoBots derivatives are magazines, books, video games, a 1984 Hannah Barbera cartoon series and model kits made by MONOGRAM.

US. The New Mutants. 1985.

US. The New Mutants. 1985.

More GoBots info at: Transformerland.com