Saturday, May 31, 2008

What I would like to get is a card showing that horrible Optimus Prime from the new Transformers movie burning in hell-HOLY CRAP THEY MADE ME ONE!

I found a Transformers Father's Day card the other day and I told my wife to buy it for me because although it has that awful robo-chupacabra Optimus Prime on it, it has Peter Cullen doing the whole "Autobots, transform and roll out!" line that nerdy fans always ask him to do when he goes to Botcon. It's like your own personal Peter Cullen panel! I close my eyes and pretend it's 1984, although I don't think he ever said that in the original cartoon.

I can't afford to make a state of the art fully immersive virtual reality simulator, but who needs that when I have YouTube and some Robitussin

I'm having dreams about Botcon again. This is weird because I usually dream about things I am excited about before they happen and Botcon already happened over a month ago. This can only mean I have some sort of post traumatic stress disorder, except it's a rare RoboPlasti-Bergers variant of it where I keep reliving Botcon in my head. I think I feel shame over having decided to skip the Hasbro new products presentation so in my dream I'm stuck in the dealer room surrounded by people in robot costumes and they keep announcing over the intercom that the Hasbro panel is coming on in five minutes but I can't find the exit to go see it. I keep yelling dumb stuff like "Wait for me Hound! Wait for me Cyclonus!" and then I wake up. I decided I have RTSD, or RoboTarded Stress Disorder.

I SEE SCARY FANS THEY DON'T KNOW THAT THEY'RE SCARY

Luckily I have found out that the military is having success with a new form of immersion therapy treatment for recent war veterans with PTSD. They call it Virtual Iraq and the idea is that they put these guys in virtual reality environments that reproduce the wartime scenarios the patients were in originally, eventually numbing their mind to the stresses of the original experience. I think I can use this concept to help me with my Botcon induced RTSD.

WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Your Moment of Zoid

video

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

This post combines the fantasy of outer space with the creativity of interlocking building modules and the fun of cucaracha eggs


PAGING DOCTOR ROBO
It takes a lot of balls to set up a little table in the middle of Disneyland where you try to sell people bootleg video CDs of that Wall-E movie, but that's pretty much what Takara was trying to do back in the 80s with their Robotroid toyline. They tried to out-Lego the Lego people and of course it failed but what an awesome try. Don't call them Lego blocks! When Takara makes them they're "interlocking building modules". Over the weekend I added a couple new Robotroid pictures to the FlickrMacrocrania Takara Cultural Blocks System Bloccar set, including pictures of the robot modes which is what it's all about.

REMIND ME TO STOP BUYING TOY ROBOTS FROM CRACK HOUSES
This FlickrMacrocrania update came about because I won some Robotroids on ebay a couple weeks back. I knew from the auction description that the boxes were pretty beat up but boy was I unprepared for what I found when I opened them up. One of them had parts of a dead bug that looked to me like a cucaracha! Plus I thought there were cucaracha eggs in there, too. Holy crap I've heard of eBay sellers packing little extra surprises in with the items when they send them to you but I never expected a bonus cockroach infestation. I definitely have to readjust the scale of the F'n-A shitty toys grading service after this.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Would you rather have been there when it was new, or would you rather be here now that it's good? OR: Great balls of Jetfire


IS THIS THE GREATEST TOY ROBOTS CARTOON EVER? IT MACROSSED MY MIND

Back in 1982 there was this Japanese cartoon called Macross. It got adapted for the US and showed up here in 1985 as the first third or so of the syndicated cartoon Robotech and pretty much everybody who reads toy robots blogs knows this already so why am I writing it. Well in the latest cartoon series sequel to Macross they're modernizing and retelling the story and it's awesome. I've been watching this latest Macross cartoon, Macross Frontier, on my TV thanks to the fansub group Shinsen Subs and the playback capabilities of my PS3. Instead of waiting three years and watching the show over a crappy, staticy UHF signal like I did with Robotech when I was a kid, I can watch the latest episode of Macross Frontier cleanly and crisply within a couple weeks of when it airs in Japan. What a difference 25 years makes! The original Macross/Robotech had CRAZY stuff in it like cartoons with interracial relationships that liked pineapple salad and weird talking soda machines that humped people and most of all, badass transforming robot jets. Which brings me to my next point-

HASBRO IS A BUNCH OF FUCKERS
Forget the military guys with the bizarre haircuts, the big stars of any Macross cartoon have always been the transforming robot jets. Thanks to some sneaky corporate maneuvering on the part of Hasbro, back in 1985 the Robotech toyline by Matchbox never released the star of the show-the transforming F-14 looking VF-1. This toy robot ended up as part of the Transformers line as Jetfire, and again, anybody who was over 5 years old in '85 knows this so why am I writing it here. Hasbro's stealing the star of the Macross toys effectively doomed the Robotech toyline in the US. Imagine if Matchbox secured the distribution rights to the robot that eventually became Optimus Prime and instead named it TruckyTron.

IN 1985, INSTEAD OF THE AWESOME AND WONDERFUL FULLY TRANSFORMABLE THIS:


THE ROBOTECH TOYLINE GOT THE HORRIBLE AND TERRIFYING NON-TRANSFORMABLE THIS:


SHOW ME THE BOOBY (DUCK)
If I were working for Bandai back in '84 I would have ensured that Jetfire would not have existed. If Matchbox could have used the Bandai 1/55 Valkyrie as it was intended to be used-in a Macross related toyline-maybe we would have gotten all sorts of different VFs from the different head variations to the various Super Valkyries with the big phallic fast packs here in America. Unfortunately there were some short-sighted dumbasses working at Bandai and the Hasbro wolves took advantage. The whole Jetfire debacle derailed the proper course of toy robots history. As kids we should have all grown up with a 1/55 scale Valkyrie air force in our closets. Who gives a crap if the entire toyline would have been composed of essentially the same robot airplane over and over just in different colors with weird heads? They were cool heads. Jetfire may have its fans, but that toy sold out a generation and we all missed out on owning what may have been the greatest toys of our lives (which were really just the same doll AWESOME TOY ROBOT over and over wearing different clothes AWESOME ROBOT PAINT APPLICATIONS).

I WOULDN'T HAVE WAITED AN ETERNITY FOR THIS
Thankfully, a great wrong is being righted and this summer an American toy company will be distributing the newly reissued Bandai 1/55s like we should have gotten in the first place 25 years ago. This is wonderful but there's two little problems I have: a) another company called Yamato is doing a better toy of this robot at about the same scale, and b) holy crap I'm 34 years old. Personally I think it's nice that the ancient old versions are going to be made available but the Yamato perfect transformation 1/60s are so pretty that if I were to buy anything it'd be those. It all boils down to the question of which is best-an 80's childhood with no Jetfire but where the Bandai 1/55s got released in the states as Robotech toys OR the current situation where great stuff with fantastic toynology is being made but we never got the Bandai toys in our youts? I guess if I could choose I'd still stick with my current reality, but I'd really like to know what Hasbro would have done without their precious TruckyTron.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Autophobia is not the reverse of Deceptiphobia OR:There's a lot I love about toy robots collecting hobby, just not the part about collecting toyrobots

COMMENTING ON SOMEONE ELSE'S ROBOTSBLOG IS NOT UNLIKE GIVING THEM A HAND JOB

I was trying to get myself all pumped up to write a post about how I've been spending a lot of time making Zoids this last couple of weeks. Writing about toy robots doesn't come easy to me and it takes a lot of thought and preparation so I have to get myself all psyched up beforehand, like a sort of mental foreplay. Kind of like blogsturbating, but in my case roboblogsturbating.

So I try to get myself in the mood by going to someone else's blog I like and commenting there. You know, spunk out a few roboplastic thoughts using somebody else's ideas as inspiration. By doing this I was trying to create roboplastic thought sperms to fertilize the egg of my Zoid post idea. This is a similar process to how some guys* create real sperms using internet porn and some Vaseline. Except the only difference between reading toy robots blogs and masturbating to internet porn is that afterwards I feel so ashamed that I delete the robot blogs from my browser history.

After leaving silly comments I started feeling a little more in the mood to write and I figured to bring myself to robowriting climax I would read some of my own latest blog posts because maybe they'll be funny and interesting and self-inspiring. Boy was I wrong. I've been reading my last few posts and I come across as a totally burnt out a-hole all angsty and butt-hurt by Hasbro. I wondered to myself-how did this happen? I never wanted to come across as angsty or butt-hurt!

ITS LIKE I AM VICARIOUSLY GAY THROUGH TOY ROBOTS

I could feel my spermozoids or zoidosperms or whatever they were dying with each whiny tirade I'd written about the emotional holocaust I'd suffered after seeing Optimus Prime at a pawn shop or something like that. Why do I suffer from this bizarre roboplastic dementia? I'm not ashamed of the idea of someone liking 20 year old Zoids or someone being 34, I think there's just something bothering me about the combination of me liking Zoids and me being 34. What trips me out is that the guys my age and older who like toy robots like the new toy robots that I jsut don't get into. It's enough to make someone like me who's all stuck in the past feel self-conscious. How fitting that a toy robot dinosaur like myself plays with toy robot dinosaurs. I'm like the toy robots collector equivalent of some stuck-in-the-eighties, Iron Maiden t-shirts wearing guy with long hair. Oh wait, I'm that guy, too.

I was listening to Dan Savage's podcast, Savage Love Live and in episode 80 he said something that I thought described my situation perfectly, except that instead of being a thirtysomething toy robots collector, he's talking about being gay and instead of hating myself, he's talking about the mental bombardment that society makes gays deal with:

"Young queers can be totally fucking nuts. Gay people can be totally fucking nuts. Just because somebody's gay or lesbian doesn't mean they're more highly evolved, more interesting or saner. It actually often means the opposite. Because we have to battle so much and many of us are so terribly abused by our culture and by our families and by our churches that we don't arrive like Venus on the clamshell all healthy and happy riding in on the foam. We arrive at outness kind of as refugees and wrecks."


Now I'm not making light of the ostracizing that homosexuals have to endure their whole life, but yeah I kind of feel like this whole toy robots hobby has similarities. There came a point in my teenage life where I had to decide come out about the toy robots collecting lifestyle and take shit for it or just pretend to be 'normal' and play Nintendo (which I hated). Of course I decided to live a life of autophobia, which is a new word I learned from Wikipedia that describes being embarrassed about collecting roboplasticos (more or less). I remember being 13 in '87 and feeling like I had to hide my toy robots liking in front of my family. I still remember the day I told my mom that I was no longer into toys, I was into electronics, whatever that meant. I think hiding what I was made me a lot like a transforming car robot, looking like a car to everybody on the outside but on the inside being a homicidal robot. A homicidal robot with feelings. GODDAMNIT I'M BEING EMO AGAIN!

*Some guys? Who am I kidding?

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.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Can someone put all the episodes of Mighty Orbots on veoh.com?

YOU BET THEY CAN!



Online Videos by Veoh.com

Who needs time travel when you have plastic injection molding machines and 25 year old toy molds

There's this one antique store here in Rapid City that I like visiting because their definition of antique covers everything from early 1900's furniture to Harry Potter toothbrushes. They occasionally have stuff I'm into like old Star Wars and Robo Force and even Shogun Warriors figures. But I never in the three years I have lived here seen this or any other antique store with a single piece of Transformers merchandise. That was, until last week when to my amazement I found an Ultra Magnus soap dish on sale for $2. In other cities I've lived they have toy shows at least once a month and I'd usually laugh at something like this but here in Dakota del Sur, Ultra Magnus soap dish is equivalent to finding an Arby's on Cybertron. I thought that's about as lucky as I would ever get in terms of Transformers on the South Dakotan secondary market but boy was I in for a surprise when I went downstairs in the antique store.



There he was, the most wonderful super perfect robot Jesus that has ever lived, reduced to sharing shelfspace alongside a giant smurf, a piggy bank that was shaped like a headphone wearing pig and a ceramic cocker spaniel. Optimus Prime amongst the toy animals was like a pop culture consumerist (per)version of the baby Jesus being born in the manger. In my house Prime gets put up on the high shelves in the fancy glass cabinets with little spotlights shining down on Him in the center position amongst all the other toy robots worshiping Him as He deserves to be worshiped. So it struck me as odd that the antique store would not pay him the same reverence, even if this was only his Generation 2 incarnation. Still, it is Optimus Prime and if the antique store people had any flair for presentation they'd at least put him up on the shelf with the more respected antiques like the talking Mister T doll and the Empire Strikes Back drinking glasses from Burger King.

The antique store wanted twenty bucks for their G2 Prime and that would be great if it WASN'T missing everything except Roller and the sound box. If I saw this same thing at a garage sale I wouldn't pay over 12. I thought it was funny that even this inflated asking price was a bargain compared to what Hasbro expects people to pay when they re-release Optimus this Thanksgiving. At Botcon it was announced the 25th anniversary Optimus would have an MSRP of $69.99. It made me laugh because I remember getting irked when some podcaster guy reminisced incorrectly about Optimus Prime costing $60 back in the eighties. At first I thought he was an idiot, but now I realize that podcaster guy was a fuckin' prophet.

The 25th anniversary reissue comes with a DVD of the first three episodes of the old cartoon and a reprint of the first comic. In other words, recreations of all the things that started my life down the road to financial ruin and made me the robotarded societal outcast I am today. I get the feeling that Hasbro is waging some kind of war against me trying to get on with my life and be a productive contributing member of society. They may as well throw in a cassette copy of Iron Maiden's "Somewhere in Time" and an issue of Playboy from '88 and call it the "My wasted, wasted teenage years giftset".

Well it ain't gonna work this time. I am totally immune to their attempts to get me to rebuy yet again the most overhyped, overproduced overrated robot ever. I'm tired of the retreading this guy keeps getting, from the '93 G2 release to the '02 TRU rerelease to Pepsi Prime last year and all the multiple reissues this thing has gotten in Japan over the last 8 years. Doesn't it ever get old? I'm getting so tired of this that it's getting to the point that Optimus Prime is what I think about during sex to make it last longer. I should go to Wal-Mart and spray paint "BREAK OPEN IN CASE OF ERECTION" in big blocky Army letters on every last one of the damned things.

Friday, May 16, 2008

From the mouths of wives

So I was looking at what search terms people use to get to PSMR and I noticed I have fallen considerably far down the google search results for "Princess Leia gave me herpes". I used to be the number one resource for people who contracted VD from Princess Leia, but now I guess they go somewhere else. Now if I could just get ranked a little lower on the search results for "my grandma gave me my first blowjob" I'll be happy. HOW DO YOU GUYS THINK UP THESE THINGS?


But one search term I thought interesting was "Botcon 2009 location". So I searched that myself and found some GI Joe message board where one guy wrote that his wife told him that a guy at work told her that the next Botcon would be in Las Vegas. And I'm thinking I would totally pay a couple hundred bucks to get strippers and sluts to dress up like robots and dance all sexy. Then I remembered there were lots of chicks doing that for free at the last Botcon. I guess it depends on your definition of sexy. Some people are worried that Vegas is the wrong type of atmosphere for Botcon. I wouldn't worry about Vegas being too sinful or perverted for the toy robots crowd. Actually, I'm worried about THE REVERSE BEING TRUE.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

New crap over at the webpage with crusher arms and gripper bases!



I'm beginning to process the material I got from the Cincinnati main library for the Vintage Space Toaster Palace. If you're a fan of old GoBots, Starriors and Transformer ads then you're going to have to wait until next week because this update is all about Max Steele and his crazy Robo Force! This first round of Cincinnati updates includes 28 new ads, half of which are Robo Force material. Break out your Robo Force underwear and check 'em out!

I made new sections for GoDaiKin, Zoids and Zybots. There's only 4-6 ads in each new section because those lines didn't get advertised very heavily, but it's some good stuff. The GoDaiKin ad from December of 1983 has some of the corniest text ever written about toy robots. It's also always fun to see ads for the early OAR* Zoids. And when was the last time you saw a blurry , grainy monochrome ad for the Zybot watch? Did you even know there was a Zybot watch? You'll need this information once the impending Zybots revival swings into full gear and you find yourself at Zybotcon competing in the Zybot trivia challenge.

*Original American Release. People who speak Zoid prefer this term over my personal favorites-"Zoids:Generation One" and "the first Zoids".

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hello old friend, it's good to see you, too!

video

Hey I don't bust out the old Care Bears lyrics for just anybody

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The rhyme of the modern Zoidoler

"I come from the future where everything is stupid!
We watched too much robot cartoons and our minds got polluted!"

So cried the crazy stranger who came from nowhere.
Speaking to future beings I should not have dared,
but in my knight's armor I begged in despair,
"Telleth us past peoples more, that we may yet prepare!"

"Well first, beware gas! It gets real expensive!
And don't spend your money on collections extensive!"

You speaketh in riddles, my time travelling friend!
Of what do you speak that causeth mankind to descend?
Collections of what, dear sir dideth you spend?
What leadeth our future to this dire dead end?!

"TOY ROBOTS I SAY! PLASTIC MECHA TRINKETS FROM HELL!"
We go-bought them all day like crack addicts!" he yelled.

"We should have made energies, studied science and invention!
Instead we spent our time going to toy robots conventions.
And nobody would kill their toy robots collections
and 2008 was too late to correct our directions."

I saideth, "You speak madness! How could man be so insane?
To squander precious petrol making robot dinosaurs and planes?"

He said, "We just wanted escape from life's hussle and fuss!
And blessed escape our toy robots sure brought us.
But it got hard to escape, I think back now in disgust,
when all our toy robots were made of petroleum products.

"It will never cometh to pass! I say, future boy!
Plastic from the earth is in unending supply!
and collecting toy robots is not civilization's decline!"
My anger at a boil, the stranger looked at me and smiled
"You can live in denial, mister knight from old times
But we used all the oil to make Optimus Primes!"

I'd hadeth enough! It began to dawneth on me
Maybe we really did have a Transformer based economy
And maybe the Zoids really did make us poor
But that the stranger knew the real truth I had to ensure

So I saideth "You're no time traveler from some terrible robot future
of priorities goneth awry via antisocial roboculture,
And if you are, future man, tell me who made us this way then
Name thine future robot lord, the plastic king that ledeth astray men!
Who is he with whom the blame layeth the largest portion?
So thateth we may prepareth for his coming with roboplastic abortion!

And the stranger lay stunned, shocked by what I'd wanted done
but after struggling in his mind he resigned and sighed:
"I am your future lord, your troubles are all mine!
I was the last robot boss, I was the captain of the Macross.
I was the king of Optimus Primes."

"But my name I cannot give-with the life's path I've in mind
I'll go back and craft a Robotroid free future for you to find!"
Then he vanished in a flash-the evil king departed from his past
but on the ground he droppeth a shiny clue behind!

It was a magic demon iPod that with but a touch and a nod
came alive through some accursed scroll wheel wizardry
Radiating brightly on tiny screen a betrayed identity!
At last I knowedeth who the robotastic pied piper will be!
So a warning I give to thee; beware the letters R-F-C
And the roboradio activity of its author-Brian Kilby!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Avoid the Troid! OR: Maybe I would care about the rising cost of gas but between eBay and YouTube I never have to go outside

As a self-diagnosed sufferer of roboplasti-tardation, I understand that other "normal" people think I am a "weirdo". But since the American Medical Association doesn't recognize roboplati-tardation as a "real" mental illness, I must create my own complicated bullshit relationshipial analogies to asses the severity of my "made up" condition.


The one that got away-Mint in Shitty Box
I felt I was making some progress with my RPT last August when I decided I'd rather drive my family to Wyoming to see Devil's Tower National Monument than stay at home so I could win an eBay auction for a Robotroid set I didn't have. Robotroids are extremely rare and only pop up an average of once a year on eBay. In the big scheme of things I figured a chance to see Devil's Tower would come up less often in my life than Robotroid auctions. After making the decision I felt mature and grown up in a way that only dads who take their unwilling families on long boring drives can know. Honestly, knowing the Robotroid set came already opened and with a huge tear on the side flap of the box made it a little easier to miss out on. As I drove I just kept repeating to myself-I don't collect Mint In Shitty Box! I don't collect Mint In Shitty Box! I don't collect Mint In Shitty Box!

But my roboplasti-tardation made enjoying the drive difficult and consequently there wasn't a single second of the 250 mile round trip that I wasn't thinking about skipping the sightseeing and going home to win the auction. My wife would've been happy if we went back, too, because on any given day she would rather be home instead of going on some existentialist robotarded quest to Wyoming. But I had to prove to myself that there was more to life than toy robots and blowjobs. Boy was I an idiot.

Speaking of blowjobs, last Saturday Bill Clinton was speaking here in Rapid City. It was just my luck that at the exact time he was speaking there was another Robotroid auction ending on eBay. It would have been fun to see and hear him up close, but with YouTube nowadays I don't even have to leave my house if I want to see things happening in my own city. I decided to stay home and do the eBay robots thing even if it meant I'd miss out on a once in a lifetime chance to see someone famous in Rapid City that wasn't lost. In the end I did get a better idea of where my roboplasti-tarded head is at in terms of priorities and it goes something like:

Bill Clinton < Toy Robots Auctions < Oddly Shaped Geological Formations

Of course more data is needed if I am to ever get a clear picture of the severity of my RPT. Seeing a former president is cool and all, but he was up against an auction that had four sealed Robotroids. I CAN ONLY THINK OF ONE SUPERSTAR CELEBRITY LINEUP THAT CAN COMPETE WITH THAT.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Yes sir I am only ten years old but I am highly motivated and I can start right away

This Kenner help wanted ad was run in the Cincinnati Enquirer November 24th of 1984. Ideally having this job back then meant you'd get to work on some legendary toy lines in '85 like M.A.S.K., the tail end of Star Wars, Droids and the DC superheroes stuff. It would have been awesome to be a part of the creation of the A-Wing fighter from Star Wars or the Thunderhawk from M.A.S.K. Then eventually through the years you'd be around to work on Batman, Star Wars (again) and Beast Wars. With my luck if they hired me I'd be stuck working on Care Bears and the only vehicles I'd have had a hand in would be Grumpy Bear's cloud car and Strawberry Shortcake's wheelbarrow. But I would have found a way to make them transform into homicidal robots with lots of guns. Then they'd fire me. I would have loved that job anyways. Heck, I'd love it now. It probably belongs to someone in China today, though.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

HOW ABOUT ROBOTS! OR: Vintage Space Toast Tour Cincinnati-Space toasters up and down the dial


I got a Zrkload of good stuff for the Vintage Space Toaster Palace while I was in Cincinnati. It may seem stupid that I showed up to Botcon three days early since I didn't preregister and wasn't doing any of the special tours or classes, but I did it because Botcon was actually secondary to the real reason I was there-to collect old toy robots newspaper ads for the VSTP at the Cincinnati main library. Instead of the library being where I went when I wasn't at Botcon, it was more like Botcon was where I went when I wasn't at the library. Making ad collecting the main focus of my Botcon vacation was only possible because the Botcon convention center/robot fan containment facility was downtown within walking distance of the library.

The Cincinnati library had some really nice microfilm readers and good quality microfilm. I was able to get better copies of some ads I'd run across before which was great, but what made Cincinnati an ideal place to look for old ads was the variety of stores they had back in the day. Along with robot heavy ads from well known chains like Gold Circle, Zayre, Toys R Us and Children's Palace, they also had some crazy named stores like Shillito Rikes and Swallen's. I'd never heard of these before but that's because I'm from the desert southwest where we considered stores like Revco and Pic 'n Save blessings from the retail gods.

There was this one Shillito-Rikes ad from December 8, 1985 I especially liked where the lead-in text is simply "HOW ABOUT ROBOTS!". IT IS NOT A QUESTION! Jim the ad guy was probably trying to figure out how to fill that square of ad space and he asks the other ad guy, "What should we put here, Bob?" and Bob goes, "I don't know, how about robots?" And Jim goes "Sounds good to me!" The ad goes on to describe their "great selection" that included "Zibots (sic) and Convertors". The problem is that if your selection included Zybotz and Convertors, then by definition it is not great by the standards of the day. But man it sure is awesome that this ad featured the Convertors Maladroid Zardak! Zardak is also known as "weird black recolor of the VF-1S from Macross/Robotech". Good job, Bob!

But the first ad that made me do a double take in Cincinnati was a Maijer ad from 22 November of '84 that featured the Max Steele Erector set! I couldn't believe I found an ad for something so obscure. I started thinking that I may be the world's foremost enthusiast of old robot newspaper ads when I found myself crapping my pants about a Max Steele Erector set ad. Maybe it's not so obscure, though. Max Steele's Robo Force was another one of those marketing onslaughts with all sorts of cross promotional tie-ins from books to board games to telephones. I've already found an ad for the Robo Force Pop-O-Matic game so I don't know why I got all excited about the Erector set ad. Max Steele's Robo Force was just like every other mega popular robot toyline in the mass merchandising aspect, except that nobody bought it.

But the Max Steel erection was nothing compared to when I found this Children's Palace ad from December 11, 1983 for the Zoids Giant Zrk! I was absolutely floored! I was Zrking off! Zoids newspaper ads have been extremely rare in my searching and now I had the big daddy bad ass of the original line. I still remember having the first three and I really really wanted the Giant Zrk when the commercials for it started airing, but I never got it. I remember Giant Zrk being an unstoppable colossus of plastic robot dinosaur parts, its mighty frame barely held together by countless thousands of little blue rubber Zoid pegs trembling under the massive nuclear-level power generated by two C batteries. Now looking back I think my childhood perceptions may have been distorted by commercial camera trickery and too much Froot Loops.

I really don't know jack about GoBots but I do recognize rarity when I see it, and this Toys R Us ad from December 5th of '85 advertises a pretty rare GoBot thing. It's the Guardian Headquarters, a put-it-together yourself GoBot base that's fascinating to me because it's scaled to interact with the Super Go-Bots. Unfortunately it's one of those cardboard cut out playsets that every kid thought was lame back in the day, which means now that they're adult collectors they all think it was awesome and everybody wants one, so consequently nobody can find them because there are probably only three surviving samples in existence. This is actually not that bad because by "everybody" I mean every hardcore GoBots collector, and those guys are rarer than the Guardian Headquarters.

But easily the rarest of the rare ass rare robot ads I have ever found was this Meijer ad for Takara's Kronoform Attakon and Invacepton robot spaceships from December 1st of 1985. I usually see Kronoform ads pop up but it's always for the Multiforce 14. I have never ever seen one for either of these two robots and for it to be so late in the eighties is pretty astounding for me. It only my speculation based on this ad as evidence, but I think Takara didn't stop distributing their own robots in the US despite having the Transformers license granted to Hasbro. Kronoform still being advertised as late as December of '85? I used to think the only post-Transformers product of theirs they kept distributing were the the Kronoform robot watches. This could possibly be dead stock or some sort of warehouse clearance so who knows. All I know is that the Invacepton is hard to find information on and thank almighty Chai Chai Rodrigweez for MicroForever.

That wraps up this sneak peek into the ads I found while in Cincinnati. I've got a lot of updating to do over at the VSTP. I kept wondering why I only had about 80 pictures of Botcon on my camera when the total number I took while I was on vacation was over 600. Around 500 pictures ended up being toy ads from 1983-1985. I guess I really didn't go to Botcon 2008, I went to Cincinnati 1984.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Orko, a Smurf, and David Hasselhoff walk into a bar...


Back in December, Dr. Geektarded did a post showcasing a bunch of vintage newspaper toy ads that just blew me away. I do a lot of searching through old newspaper ads, but I've never found any like the doctor's of toy stores announcing special guest appearances by celebrities like He-Man, Skeletor, Rainbow Brite and Grimlock the Dinobot. Hell, one toy store even had the Ecto-1 show up! When I was a kid I only remember seeing Spider-Man at K-Mart and Darth Vader at Sears.

Store appearance ads aren't the focus of the Vintage Space Toaster Palace so when they do come up in my travels I usually don't pay them any attention. Sites like Dr. Geektarded's blog and Plaid Stallions already do a great job of documenting those. But while I was in Cincinnati I did come across two ads in the Cincinnati Enquirer from the 80's that advertised a couple of celebrity guest appearances. One was a typical Darth Vader appearance from November 9th, 1984, but the other ad...HOLY CRAP THE OTHER AD!

I cut off the bottom of the ad because who cares about the details. In a nutshell there was a TRU grand opening November 2nd of '84 in some place called Colerain and they got David Hasselhoff, a Smurf, Orko, Skeletor and He-Man to show up. That right there is a colossal lineup of just about every important celebrity in my life at the time. If I was the Beyonder, this is the group of super heroes I'd abduct to fight the Secret Wars and teach me the nature of desire.

Monday, May 05, 2008

These aren't the Zoids I'm looking for!

I wanted to see that Iron Man movie last Friday but then my truck Optimus Lime broke down Thursday and we had the Omega Supreme of snowstorms Friday so I couldn't get it fixed, then Saturday I got some Zoids I ordered in the mail, but they were the wrong Zoids. It was an incredibly crappy weekend. I can keep a positive outlook in the face of car trouble and bad weather, but getting the wrong toy robots in the mail is a soul crushing avalanche of disappointment.

I found out changing a starter in the snow is easy IF YOU'RE SANTA CLAUS

I've been having such a headache dealing with this online store that's sent me the wrong thing TWICE. They're called Toys N Joys and I'm so frustrated and confused at this point that I'm just going to keep these wrong Zoids. (I'll explain the specifics for people fluent in Zoid. I ordered the Helic Memorial 1983 box and they first sent me Zoids Graphics magazine #1, so I sent that back, then they sent me the Helic Memorial II 1983-1984 box. That's what arrived Saturday.) At this point I've wasted seven weeks dealing with their incompetence, I'm in the hole $100, and of course the set I originally ordered is popping up on ebay now for $75 shipped from someone who knows what they're doing.

But the most mystifying thing about this whole debacle is how I totally fell for their bullshit lies whenever I'd call them or email them about the trouble I was having. The conversation usually ended with something like me saying, "Okay, you sent me the wrong thing, you aren't reimbursing me for shipping this crap back to you, you don't know if you even have the right thing I ordered in the first place, and you want me to trust that you'll eventually get my order right? Okay that sounds good." It's as if I'm talking to Ben Kenobi running a crooked toy robots store and he keeps Jedi mindfucking me through the phone.

An example of ToysNJoys customer service mind tricks

Only now have I been looking at what other customers have had to say about their experiences with Toys N Joys. I wish I would have read beforehand the comment from the guy who wrote he had a "Horrible Experience" or the guy who wrote "They should be called 'toys & migraine'" and especially the guy who wrote "This was the worst experience I have had with any online store ever." I've only had seven weeks of my time wasted by this store. I feel bad for the people who have lost four months dealing with Toys N Joys and their awful online service. How ironic that they have "Joy" in their name and they suck but the guys who have "Bad" in their store name do a good job.

Oh well I say screw it. I'm just wanting to forget the whole thing so I'm keeping the wrong Zoids and never dealing with these scammers again. I'm quitting while I'm behind and cutting my losses. I'm going on ebay and getting the set I wanted. At least now I'll have all ten of the Helic Memorial Zoids that originally came out in '83 and '84 in both the US and Japan. Ordering toys from Toys N Joys was about as joyful as squeezing under my truck outside in the snow, trying to remove the starter while big gobs of ice, snow, water and grease from the engine compartment fell in my face. Dealing with Toys N Joys makes me want to build an invincible suit of iron armor so I can fly to Japan and buy all this crap myself. But mostly Toys N Joys makes me want to cry. Manly tears. TEARS OF IRON.

Friday, May 02, 2008

This is my boring 1,000 word Botcon report, except I took out all the parts about Botcon so that it wouldn't be boring (but it still didn't work)

So it's the weekend after Botcon and I'm doing my laundry and I just put all the clothes I wore to Botcon 2008 in the dryer. Nothing puts a fork in my vacation like washing away the food stains from my vacation wardrobe. Seeing that specific combination of clothes I wore to the show going in circles round and round in the dryer reminds me of all the good times I had in Cincinnati (also the crab rangoon I stuffed in my pants).

I like to think of them as little custom reissues of myself

One Botcon memory I will cherish were all the fantastic racks I saw on a lot of chicks. There was this one girl in particular that I didn't get a picture of so I am furiously scouring other people's Botcon photos on Flickr for pictures of this chick that I can hopefully use to masturbate to later. I always fall in love with at least one random girl I see at Botcon, in '03 it was some black chick and there was an Asian chick in '06 and a Canadian in '02. But I already have a son and a wife and unfortunately she has a strict "no repaints or recolors" policy when it comes to me making other babies.

It's not about the show, but the people FOOD you meet EAT when you're there

I showed up in Cincinnati three days before Botcon would open for general admission attendees like myself. I was sure that this super anal behavior would make me one of the first Transformers fans in the area. I was at a sandwich shop Wednesday when the store manager got upset that the girl making my sub forgot to put bacon. I told him it was no big deal but he said it was important because some people get really angry and irate if they don't get bacon on their club sandwich. I said, "Come on, people really get pissed off over sandwiches?" And he goes, "Like you would not believe". IT WAS THEN THAT I REALIZED I WAS NOT THE FIRST TOY ROBOTS FAN IN THE AREA.

Zybotzcon ain't happening anytime soon so just pay your ten bucks and shut the hell up

I spent most of the next three days at the Cincinnati main library looking at old newspaper ads featuring toy robots from the 1980s like Zoids, Starriors, Zybotz, Roboforce, GoBots, TransMoBots and Voltrons. Saturday finally came and as I was waiting in the general admission line I started having thoughts about the general state of toy robotdom in the US over the past 25 years and I decided that Botcon would be great if it weren't so focused on goddamn Transformers. I was feeling sort of disgruntled about how those shitty Zybotz toys will never be getting a convention. After staying in line for an hour they opened the doors and I was about ten feet from walking in the door when one of the Botcon staff asks me "How did you hear about the show?" and I wanted to say "FROM YOUR MOM LAST NIGHT" but I didn't want to set the record for getting kicked out of Botcon before I was even technically in the dealer room.

WARNING: The following video is like Cloverfield because it's shaky except the horrible monster is inside the attendees in the form of an obsessive desire for toy robots



It is okay to crap all over people if they like your crap

I've been making little plastic robot party favors and giving them away at toy robots conventions for a while now. I think that at an American convention about an American line of toy robots (that are made in China) there should be at least some toy robots there that were made in America. This year my anti-establishment convention toy was a tetrajet Skywarp, which if you don't know what that means I would like to thank you anyways for reading this far. It is nice how over the years the feedback I got on my work has gone from a disappointed "You should have done it this other way..." to a disappointed "You should have made more." It pleases me when I invoke the latter type of enthusiastic disappointment in my target audience. It was also nice how I couldn't give them away-people kept paying me!

Un Gato con Chaqueta (de Shogun Warriors)

My homemade plastic robot ships were admittedly pretty lame so I tried to impress people with my bootleg shiny shirts instead. I did get one comment from a somewhat internet famous Transformers celebrity, Aaron Archer on the Shogun Warriors shirt I bought from Kurt's Shirts. Aaron works for Hasbro as the Transformers brand team lead and he just walked up to me while I was (unknowingly) talking to one of his friends and he goes, "Hey I like your shirt!" Dang I should have got a picture with him but I already have an old picture with him so I can recreate an approximation of the momentous (to me) time that I interacted with a member of the Transfan Illuminati.

Dissed by the human Xerox

My personal highlight of the show was getting one of the Hasbro toy designers to do a sketch of a robot that appeared for about five seconds in the old Transformers Movie that I have since named "Evil King Macrocranios". Everybody else was asking for famous robots from the new cartoon, which the designers would do by copying some model sheets they had on hand. I thought my much more (or less) original request would be a welcome change of pace for the artist. Instead, after I supplied her an EKM drawing I did, she turned to the other Hasbro guy next to her and said, "Hey remember that guy that asked me to draw Optimus Prime drinking coffee from Starbucks through a straw sticking out of his faceplate? Well this is kind of like that."

So the weekend came to an end and it was time to say goodbye to my friend John who I only see when we meet up at Botcon. The last one I went to was in '06 so I thought it had been two years since I saw him and who knows when we'd see each other again. But then John said that the '06 show was only 18 months ago, and at this rate they're knocking them out one every six months. And I thought, oh well, crap I guess I'll see you again this October for Botcon 2009.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I have no interest in taking toy robots pictures that lose their novelty once a new semi truck pulls up to the back of the nearest Wal-Mart


I made it back from Botcon and instead of writing some long boring report about what I ate with my friends while I was in Cincinnati*, I have been catching up on podcasts, eating Froot Loops and watching Ninja Warrior. But I did update Flickr Macrocrania with my pictures of Botcon and I wrapped up the CSF-11 in-progress photo set. So check my Flickr stuff out, unless you want full reports on what Optimus Prime was wearing or who Megatron's new boyfriend is or why Bumblebee checked into rehab, in which case the Thoroughly Informative Transformer Themed Internet Entertainment Sites got you covered. Otherwise check out the couple dozen pictures of me standing around trying to look cool while wearing t-shirts of 25 year old cartoon robots.

*Fear not! Full details on what toppings I ordered on all the pizza I ate are coming soon!
 

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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.