Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Zoids are back in Town! OR: Different Strux for different Folx

I started getting some hits from a Phillipines based Zoids site back in late 2008 when the Zoids section of the Vintage Space Toaster Palace was nothing more than a handful of blurry, grainy Zoids ads dumped together with no real organization. It was really embarrassing that I hadn't gotten my act together and formatted that page into something useful before people knew about it, but to my surprise those dudes still liked what was there. Well it only took a little over a year but this week I did get around to reformatting the NEW Zoids section of the Vintage Space Toaster Palace so that the information is more understandable plus I got all my Zoids ad backlog worked out. I'm really happy about getting it done, in fact you could say I'm overzoyed.


Walgreens 12/09/84
I was a little worried that my decision to lump ads for both Zoids and Robo Strux together would cause a roboplastic apocalypse because technically they're two different lines separated by a couple of years. Aside from being motorized prehistoric model kits by Tomy, Zoids and Robo Strux share little else in common design-wise. As I was doing my research into whether or not it was kosher to combine them I realized that even Tomy's been a little confused as to what to call these things, initially releasing them as Mechabonica in Japan, then Zoids in the US before the name change to Robo Strux in 1985, which never happened in Europe and Japan where they just kept calling these things Zoids. I'm still a little unsure after reading the Zoids wiki and other Zoids websites how the line unfolded over time, specifically how long the original American release stayed on the shelves and whether or not it stayed in production through 1984 during the time of Tomy's other motorized figure line Starriors. The only Zoids ad I've ever found in 1984 is actually a mistake where Walgreens used Zoid line art in an ad that was really meant to be for transforming cars from the Convertors line. If I were to come up with a chronology of U.S. Zoid releases based on the line's frequency of appearance in newspaper ads I'd say the originals came out in '83, went on hiatus in '84 and came back as Robo Strux in '85. There is one exception in the Mammoth, a Radio Shack exclusive Zoid that I've so far only found one ad for from 1985. Some Zoid fans say they got their Mammoth in 1984 so either I've missed seeing that one or Radio Shack may not have advertised it back then. It bugs me because they only pushed their other famous exclusive robot, Galactic Man, for one year (coincidentally also 1985). For me to miss an earlier Mammoth ad means either it doesn't exist or I'm shacking off.


One notable ad on the Robo Strux side of things has especially crappy line art from a store called Zody's. It is intriguing to me since I know official line art existed for Robo Strux because I've seen it used in ads from Playworld and other places. The Zody's ad is so awful I'll bet it was made internally by the Zody's advertising people because I cannot imagine Tomy would officially approve this monstrosity. Terox looks like a poorly drawn Grimlock with toilet paper rolls stuck to the side of his neck. I'll bet whoever drew it discovered the only thing harder than putting Zoids together is drawing them. It reminded me of another example of strange and awful line art that appeared in an ad for Ninja action figures from Longs Drug. That one too looked little better than what a 10 year old could come up with. I don't know why stores would occasionally run bad line art like this but it is fun to see. Thankfully the rest of the couple dozen new* ads in the updated VSTP Zoids section are nowhere near as crappy. Though they're still kind of blurry and grainy the big improvement now is that there's lots more of them and they're organized so you can more easily find that crappy, blurry, grainy drawing of Terox you've always wanted to see. Go tell all your Filipino Zoids friends!

Zodys 12/20/85
Longs Drug 11/16/86

*25 years old

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