Here is something irresistible: Share your life with a bunch of cute Japanese toy robots!
Oh, the glory days of Japanese vintage toy making! All sorts of Robots from Outer Space were popping up in the minds and imagination of Japanese designers - to be treasured by human collectors, and ultimately preserved by some kind of Wall-E disposal unit.
In our previous "Robot Art" articles we featured some of the modern miniature robots (which will surely become collectible in the future) - but today we're focusing on the fabulous metal toys of the 1950s:
Robot toys tend to grow into considerable collections. They are rarely seen only as single individuals. The first purchase somehow always leads to another, and another - until there is a good crowd of'em:
"The Robot Hut" is where all good robots end up in afterlife
"Every Time You Use the Internet, a Robot Goes to Heaven" - verseguru
John Rigg from The Robot Hut built a whole barn for his immense collection of toy and movie prop robots. Most of the movie prop robots he builds himself including Robby, B-9, Star Wars droids and Huey, Dewey & Louie from the movie "Silent Running" to name a few. He also built a replica of the Time Machine from the classic movie.
Here is Tobor the Great huge robot (a couple of them) from 1954 - recreated:
Check out its remote control unit, too -
A mean-looking character, for sure (as a rule, most of 1930s-50s sci-fi robots were not very friendly) -
He also made the "Forbidden Planet" Robby Jeep (a looker in traffic, for sure) -
Russians were sending dogs into space, Japanese sent little toy robots instead
It's possible that Japan will go down in history as the manufacturer of toy robots, rather than anything else - when our sentient robot successors like Wall-E start digging out the long-buried treasures from the rubble. These beauties will take a most prominent spot on Wall-E shelves, only to be upstaged by better-looking (designed by Apple, of course) EVEs from outer space.
One of the most gorgeous Japanese toy robot galleries on the net is located here (from a collection of Tom Geismar). Check out this valiant green warrior, next to atrocious Outer Space Spider - eeek!
(images credit: Richard Nichol)
The packaging was something else, too - click to enlarge:
Mr. Atomic is a potential winner of "Vintage Robot Beauty Contest", if there was such a thing! It's got 16 blinking lamps to show off its considerable intelligence:
The ugliest? Perhaps this weeeeird creation (with a cigarette lighter inside). Can you say BLING!..
(photo courtesy Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame)
No one knows why these vintage space kids are grumpy. They would look good on some Cheese Moon together with Wallace & Grommit, I dare say:
Let us know about your robot collector's treasures, or that dear little metal guy that brightened your childhood... I don't need to remind your that they don't make tin metal toys any more.
Popular culture moves by leaps and bounds, making whole categories of toys obsolete and unexciting in a blink. New looks of heroes and sequels of franchise movies set their own production rules. For example, the new generation of Transformer toys made all previous ones a (possible) collector item:
(image credit: Archimedes Chen)
Next installment in this series will feature some great Russian futuristic toys:
A few other mentions and links: Robot Mania site features some nifty retro-look icons and site design, besides being full of great images of vintage toy robots and such. Buy, sell, trade vintage toy robots on this site - a collector's community page.
"Dark Roasted Blend" - All Kinds of Weird and Wonderful Things, Discovered Daily!"
DRB is a top-ranked and respected source for the best in art, travel and fascinating technology, with a highly visual presentation. Our in-depth articles in many categories make DRB a highly visual online magazine, bringing you quality entertainment every time you open your "feed" reader or visit our site - About DRB