Monday, May 19, 2008

I can't get a robot radio cuz I ain't got a car, so I'm looking for a robot that turns into a radio and a car-LOST IN AMERICA LOST IN AMERICA

Man, when somebody said "Tonka" back in the late 70's/early eighties, the first thing I thought of was those gigantic steel toy trucks. Tonka meant bad ass toy trucks back then. One of my favorite toy ads over at the Vintage Space Toaster Palace is a new one I found in Cincinnati for a Tonka toy semi truck with GoBots graphics on the trailer. Compare this to Hasbro who put their toy semi truck on a potato.

There's 28 new ads over at the VSTP and the majority of them are for the Mighty GoBots. I found some good ads with nice clean line art of the Command Center and Zod. I even found one for Thruster and the Guardian Headquarters I mentioned earlier. But one of the best ones was for some weird GoBot that doesn't just turn into a robot Trans Am, it turns into a robot Trans Am that's also a working radio. Hasbro may have had the more famous robot non-working radios, but GoBots went the extra mile and made them work. With toynology like that, how did these guys ever lose the toy robots wars?

So you might be thinking, did anyone just make a goddamn toy robot that turned into a working radio? Well yes they did and I even found an ad for that guy and put it up in the new Miscellaneous Robots section. Miscellaneous only has six ads now but they're really good, unfortunately the next 20 miscellaneous ads I put up will all be total crap like the Moto-Botz from Walgreens or the Buddy-L RoboTron robots. But there's still a ton of good stuff coming like more Takara Kronoform ads and of course a couple dozen Transformers ads, which is the reason the VSTP exists in the first place. Because you know, eventually Hasbro became synonymous with more than just potatoes. MUCH MORE.


Rob said...

"So you might be thinking, did anyone just make a goddamn toy robot that turned into a working radio? Well yes they did"

New question: Did anyone make a toy robot that turned into a working FM radio? The one in the ad you posted is only AM.

Evil King Macrocranios said...

That's a great question. I don't know (and I don't know that much) of any working FM radio robot produced in the 80's. The pre-Transformers release of the robot that eventually became Blaster was only AM. RadioShack's RadioMan was only AM and so was the one I found the ad for, which also came in a different box. Even the licensed Transformers Radio AM Robot from Argentina was only AM. I'm stumped on this one. If there was ever a transforming, working FM radio robot toy from the 80s I have never seen one. I don't know if one was ever been made after the 80's either.

agentmorris said...

EKM: That YouTube ad for "the robot that eventually became Blaster" is one of the funniest old Japanese ads I've seen for a TF. Great stuff.

Even the music is awesome!

Rob said...

Cool video. Two of the robots in that commercial became Transformers: Blaster and Perceptor.

What ever happened to the binoculars robot?

Evil King Macrocranios said...

It never got picked up by Hasbro for inclusion in the Transfomrers line. I have a couple of ideas why. Back in 2004, there was a panel at Botcon featuring two of the Hasbro marketing executives that worked on the Transformers in the early days of the line. (I transcribed that panel if you'd like to read it.) One of them, Bob Pupris, emphasized that what Hasbro wanted was toys that had fun transformations and looked great in both modes. I think the binocular robot looks like total ass in robot mode and that may have contributed to its exclusion.

Bob also was overly concerned about how the robots and their alternate modes would fit into the story aspect of the line. He repeatedly stated that it was important that there be a clear reason for why these robots turn into what they do. My thinking is that in the case of the non-vehicles without obvious offensive capabilities it becomes
difficult to justify having a guy in your army that turns into binoculars when you're all robots with robot-vision. Perceptor and Reflector were really pushing it but they did get a couple of transforms in during each episode they showed up in. It would probably be hard to find multiple reasons for Binoculo-bot to transform from episode to episode.

Also he mentioned that they wanted the opposing factions to be somewhat balanced, and maybe figuring out a worthy opponent for Binoculo-bot proved too difficult. They really liked to pair up the opposing sides' warriors. The best example of this balance would be legendary rivalries like Blaster and Soundwave or Devastator and Omega Supreme. Who would Binoculo-bot fight? Maybe Telefono-con?


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Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.