Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Robo Force Punch-Out Toy Book PART 1: Robots really do grow on trees!

Last year I got totally ripped off when I spent 80 bucks on a copy of the 1985 Transformers punch out book. And I don't mean because I paid four times what it usually goes for, I mean no matter what I paid I would have felt ripped off because all it consisted of was thin paper stand ups of drawings of Transformers. (To be fair the Transformers also had transforming Starscream and Bluestreak puzzles that were nice, but ENORMOUS.) Back when I was a kid I was already cutting out the box arts so I had the two dimensional cardboard stand up angle totally covered. It is then understandable based on my experience how I was extremely suspicious when I learned from intensive internet searching that Robo Force had a punch-out book. I prepared to be disappointed. I also found it dubious that while many people online were selling the book, none of the solicitations I found showed its cover. But when I found one store selling it for 8 bucks I figured I'd jump on it. I didn't in a million years expect to get the most awesome robot punch out model book I have ever seen in my life, which is exactly what the Robo Force Punch-Out Toy Book is! Here then, my fellow Macrocranians is the cover to that most glorious of toy robot paper puzzle publications. Notice how the title says it's a punch out TOY book. It tells you right there that what you will be getting are toys in punch out book form and that's exactly what it delivers. What you get is not just punch out drawings of robots like the Transformers punch out book, but punch out parts of robots that you then assemble into robot toys! Holy crap it's brilliant. This is exactly what I was imagining I wanted when I was ten years old and I would cut out all those Transformer box arts-a super paper robot army that could be folded, spindled and mutilated to my heart's content. Also, super flammable!

Since I knew it was inevitable that a paper robot would ultimately end up a bent, crushed and crumpled mess I decided not to construct the models straight out of the book. I instead scanned them and printed them out on poster board. So my models ended up about 5% smaller than what the actual book versions would be but I got to keep the original patterns for posterity. Still they're pretty big and are just about the exact same dimensions as the actual figures! I did Maxx first but honestly was kind of disappointed when his paper version didn't match up the shape or proportions of the original very well but maybe I'm being too harsh. The likeness is pretty good for the minimum amount of robo origami needed to construct these things. Luckily my disappointment was forgotten immediately after I constructed....

Paper Hun-Dred! This model was so good I wished I had a million paper Hun-dreds (actually I'm always wishing that). What impresses me the most about these models aside from the inventive way they did the accordion arms was that each robot also has some vestige of its action figure features replicated in origami form. In Hun-Dred's case it's his flip up visor that reveals his pop out laser cannons. One thing I did do differently from the instructions was angle Hun-Dred's arms a bit so that his hands and weapons would be more discernible from different positions. Going just by the instructions (as I did with Maxx) means the hand details are only viewable from a straight on side view. Since I was dealing with my own print outs I didn't feel bad about modifying the slots a bit, quite literally forcing the robos to bend to my will!

In addition to the robot models the book also contains a space station style background in front of which to wage your paper robot wars. There are also two other Robo Force robots included and I'll cover them in part 2. Since I'm cutting everything out manually it takes longer than it would to get them assembled normally. But it's totally worth it because the Robo Force Punch Out Toy book really delivers in three dimensions the kind of destructible robot mayhem you can only get from playing with paper! (Rocks and scissors not included.)


Shawn Robare said...

Holy crap those are neat, not to mention like 20-odd years ahead of their time (considering all of the artsy papercraft stuff you find on the internets these days for pop culture characters.)

Also, scanning and printing them was genius (I would have thought about that right after constructing the last of the Robo Force army and then I would have smacked myself silly for not thinking ahead.)

Loving this week!

Evil King Macrocranios said...

Thanks for the loving! I realize it started out kind of slow and Robo Force ain't the most popular toyline but hopefully my posts will find their audience in the future when someone is Googling for info on them.

The trickiest part of doing the scans was finding a decent weight paper to print them out on. I obsessed over finding a quality paper of sufficient thickness and wasted a lot of time. I was about to cave in and buy some very expensive 60 lb paper (or whatever weight it is) from a stationary store. It would have cost more than I paid for the cut out book! Then one night we're at KMart and my son wants to go buy fingerpaints and there in the craft aisle is good ol' reliable posterboard. On clearance for 79 cents, even!

I was dying to ask you which minicomic you got with Vulgar. I was hoping it was different from the ones I found. I've asked around and nobody I emailed could come up with a definitive answer as to how many different ones were made. I'm hoping it was as many as one for each figure but I'd be surprised if it's half that.

Shawn Robare said...

Yeah, I think you're right about the comics. I received Assault on the Fortress of Steele. I'm going back up to the store where I found this guy, so I'll check the other figures to see if there are different comic issues from what you've got.


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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.