Thursday, February 25, 2010


The fourth seal of the Roboplastic Apocalypse shatters like a brittle roll of South Floridian microfilm as I record the Podcastalypse during Vintage Space Toast Tour Miami! Thrill to the adventures of the Nostrodomatron as I try to figure out why people who live in Florida don't all their spend time at the library looking at old newspaper ads of 25 year old toy robots.

Or download it directly

Circus World 11/28/84

I was thinking the other day about how the podcastoscape just doesn't have enough shows about 25 year old toy robots that are recorded at the library. I was also thinking about how very difficult it is to relate the thrill and excitement of staring at a microfilm scanner for nine hours in a blog post. Then the idea hit me to take the Podcastalypse on the road so that I could share with you, my fellow Macrocranians, my hobby that is equal part excitement and equal part torture (but mostly torture) and record a show while I was at the library. But then it was hard to try speaking into my voice recorder while sitting at the microfilm scanner while being really quiet and not freaking out the people on the internet computers next to me who were looking at porn. So this show was recorded in multiple locales in and around the downtown Miami public library, but mostly at McDonald's.

The Family Mart 11/25/84
  • Intro poem: The Roboplastic Podcastalypse (Vintage Space Toast Tour Miami version)
  • I just realized Minnie mouse does not live in Miami
  • Hanging outside the library in February 2010 mentally preparing for Black Friday 1984
  • The Miami library is like a Stargate through which I see newspapers from Tampa
  • Rubber band collecting in Miami
  • Live from Lunch: reel wrap up
  • TIC, TOC, GONG!-Robogasms over an ad featuring carded GoBots watches
  • That Circus World black friday 1984 ad that I'd seen on Vintage Space Toast Tour Denverado but not as clearly
  • Zobots-Mighty Robots, Mighty Zehicles
  • Robo Force, Robo Force, Robo Force
  • Apparently newspapers are good for more than ads-ask Zartan
  • Setting the record for saying "Robo Force" repeatedly in a show not specifically about Robo Force
  • The demise of Playworld circulars in newspapers circa 1987
  • Looking through a November 25th, 1990 Playworld ad with buttloads of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle merchandise (and other stuff that was not robots)
  • Wrap up of the show / final thoughts
  • 1990: No newspapers for old robots
  • Shout out to Computer Warriors
  • Two reasons 1990 was a good year to die
  • Recap of being grateful for Playworld circulars
  • Exit poem

Monday, February 22, 2010

A cursory evaluation of GoBots case assortments numerology and other indications of my distinct tactical deficiencies

One thing I love about old toy robots newspaper ads is how they occasionally provided case assortment numbers within the ad text. I can't think of any good reason for retailers to include this information or how it could possibly have had any value to consumers. The only other place I've seen assortment numbers used is in Toy Fair catalogs and those were distributed by toy manufacturers to the retailers for the behind the scenes purpose of ordering these toy assortments. I don't think these numbers were really meant to be shared with everyday shoppers and not all stores put them in their ads. Their inclusion was probably just a matter of style but it is always possible a deeper conspiracy exists and some stores put these assortment numbers in their ads to torment me 25 years later because they knew I would find the challenge of compiling and cataloging them irresistible. This might sound weird but I don't wake up everyday thinking 'You know, what the internet needs is a chart correlating the first year's worth of GoBots releases with their case assortment numbers'. But I guess this is just one of those days.


Campbell Supply 10/30/84
And so it is with GoBots that looking over all these ads I found I had just enough numbers to assemble a very basic list of GoBots case assortments. I started keeping track of these numbers and a rough outline of GoBots releases emerged. But were these all of them and which robots came in which cases? There were still questions. As I looked at my embryonic little list I wondered if taking it further was even worthwhile, considering there are already four really good GoBots checklists by Remi the Reminator, Super Toy Archive, and But as I was looking at all those I noticed none of them arranged the information in quite the way I was thinking about. Instead of being discouraged that similar lists had already been done, the work of others served as inspiration and motivation for me to assemble a new kind of listing of GoBots. It could link each toy to the case assortment it came from, much like what Jon and Karl Hartman did for Transformers at their Transfomers Case Assortments page. Since it would be a list that focused on case assortments instead of individual figures a list like this could provide insight into not just when the figures were released, but how they were released, giving consideration to special packaging like giftsets which had their own assortment numbers. It would also help define what the GoBot 'waves' looked like in a certain year. Then I realized this was all most likely information found in the pages of the Tonka Toy Fair catalogs of the GoBot era. With my luck someone will scan and post the relevant GoBots Toy Fair book pages to the internet immediately after I spend way too much time and effort piecing the puzzle together myself. The imminent obsolescence of anything posted to the internet is sort of why I don't believe in heaven-I'm sure if the Book of Life really existed someone would have posted scans of it by now.

Pay&Save 12/03/84
Playland 11/27/85


What got me started on all this was when I noticed that occasionally ads from 1984 for the regular GoBots would reference their case assortment numbers as being 7200 and 7201. Then ads from 1985 for the regular figures referenced them being from assortments 7253, 7254 and 7255. I wondered if it would be possible to figure out which GoBots were released in the 7200 and 7201 assortments. Sure enough, it turns out the figures from these initial release case assortments were packaged differently from later figures. GoBots from the 7200 and 7201 cases had their assortment number printed on the upper right hand corner of their card. [Check out the 7200 series Pumper, Dozer and Buggy Man cards and the 7201 Rest-Q and Geeper Creeper.] I was then able to assemble the following lists of which GoBots came out in the 7200 and 7201 cases by looking at the cross sells on the cardbacks and searching the internet for other carded GoBots pictures:

Assortment 7200 EnemiesAssortment 7200 Friendlies
8Buggy Man (blue)12Hans Cuff

What's interesting is that in addition to the assortment number, each GoBot was also assigned a GoBot number with Cy-Kill kicking things off at #1. Assigning sequence numbers to toy robots was a tradition started by Japanese toymaking company Popy, who kicked off the modern Roboplastic era with their GA series of die cast toy robots (some of which were later distributed in the US by Mattel as Shogun Warriors). It was Popy's Machine Robo line from which the early GoBots came, so GoBot numbers are a cool little shout out to their Japanese lineage. However, GoBot numbers did not run sequentially with the case assortments and although there are 24 different robots in assortments 7200 and 7201, the GoBot numbers within are not #1-24.

Assortment 7201 EnemiesAssortment 7201 Friendlies
20Spoiler18Road Ranger
21Crasher (white)19Royal-T
22Screw Head23Blaster
24Crain Brain25Leader-1 (grey)
28Geeper Creeper26Rest-Q
29Path Finder

I found that each case had 12 different characters-Assortment 7200 was evenly split with six each of Friendly and Enemy GoBots while 7201 had five Enemies and seven Friendlies. 7200 contained the GoBots with the first 12 sequential GoBot numbers but the 7201 assortment broke it up a bit and did not contain GoBots with numbers sequentially from 13 through 24 as I expected. Instead, #13 Fly Trap, #14 Small Foot, #15 Dive Dive, #16 Slicks and #17 Block Head were skipped entirely and wouldn't appear until later assortments. Case assortment 7201 starts with GoBot #18 and continues sequentially until it ends with GoBot #29.


Pay&Save 12/03/84
Many of these 7200 and 7201 GoBots would be included in later case assortments, some unchanged and others in different colors but with their same GoBot numbers. Later GoBot cards didn't put the case assortment numbers in the upper right hand corner so it's easy to differentiate between an initial release Cy-Kill and a later one for instance. Rounding out the rest of the 1984 GoBots assortments were the six Super Gobots from Assortment 7202, the GoBots Command Center which was assortment #7240 and Enemy Monster Zod from assortment #7241. (I have found one ad from a store in Anchorage, Alaska called Pay&Save that seems to reference an assortment #7203 but I think that may just be a mistake or typographical error.) I've also been able to piece together an overall list of case assortment numbers for the GoBots line but it's not complete and does not have every case number nor does it have individual figure breakdowns for each assortment. I'll do that list in my next Gobotical post along with observations comparing Tonka's figure selection and case assortment strategy with that of Hasbro's Transformers.


Thursday, February 18, 2010


The third seal of the Roboplastic Apocalypse is shattered by my podcastalyptic reading of select rhythmic revelations written about toy robots! Listen in horror as I decide which incomprehensible poems of the Nostrodomatron get chosen to be read aloud during open mic poetry night at the library near my house!

Or download it directly


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

THEY DON'T ROBOT 'EM LIKE THEY USED TO: The five four greatest toy robots merchandising tie-ins of all time, plus Voltron bedsheets

Okay so last time I blew 700 words complaining about Transformer shaving cream and how lame Power Ranger fishing poles were. Now it's time to put my childhood on the line and prove the crap they made when I was a kid did a better job of transforming every facet of my mundane daily existence into an awesome toy robot commercial. Here then are the iconic items I grew up with that combined perfectly the themes of their toy robot franchises with the purpose and functionality of their intended uses. These are...



I've given Voltron some crap before for being the most inappropriately overlicensed toy robot ever. World Event Productions (the people responsible for creating and distributing Voltron) licensed those space lions to any third party gadget manufacturer regardless of what they were making and consequently we ended up with Voltron calculators, binoculars, flashlights and even 110 film cameras.
Richway 11/28/1985
This was stuff that had nothing at all to do with the idea of five combining robot space lions from Planet Arus defending the universe. WEP should have concentrated more on products that emphasized Voltron's whole defending shtick, like Voltron bedsheets! Usually I consider bedsheets amongst the lowest common denominator merchandising that all licensed characters end up on but Voltron made bedsheets special. Voltron turned bedsheets from just something else I peed on into an intergalactic defense against all my terrible enemies like closet ghosts and the Loch Ness Monster. I tell you if you were a kid back then you believed Voltron bedsheets were the one impenetrable defense those evil beings could not overcome, despite having the technology to regularly travel across billions of light years and various dimensions on a nightly basis to come get you while you slept. You were double protected if you wore Voltron underwear, which was defense against the alien butt probers from Planet Anus. Muppet Babies bedsheets did not afford you these protections! In fact I'll bet the aliens actively sought out kids with Muppet Babies bedsheets to kidnap and torture. I know because I never had Voltron anything and was thus constantly under nightly attack from the Loch Ness Monster and various intergalactic butt probe aliens. I don't know how I made it out of childhood without going insane. You would think that growing up under those circumstances would make me bitter and angry at Voltron for not saving me despite my family not purchasing his brand of bedroom accessories and I would see him as my mortal enemy and grow up obsessed with murdering all five members of Voltron Force as revenge for being butt probed by the Loch Ness Monster, but I don't feel that way about Voltron at all. I feel that way about Muppet Babies.


Zayre 12/08/85

Before I ever heard of GoBots I was playing with those big metal trucks Tonka made. Before the Toy Robots Wars of the 1980s, Tonka was synonymous with giant metal big rigs, Jeeps, 4x4s construction vehicles and any other kind of badass toy truck you could imagine. So then they do the GoBots thing and immediately it occurs to them that it would be awesome to create a giant metal GoBot semi truck. And it was! This was the perfect fusion of toy robot franchise and pre-robot era iconic company mascot product and it was badass. What was Hasbro's iconic company mascot product before robots came along? Mister Potato Head. People are always asking me what life was like before the Roboplastic Apocalypse and how the world has changed for the worse in the post-Roboplastic Apocalypse. I can think of no better way to illustrate how it has all turned to crap than by comparing the greatness that is Tonka GoBot semi truck with that horrid monstrosity that is Optimus Prime truck potato.


Karls Toys 12/20/84

When I was growing up it was absolutely essential for major toy franchises to have model kits. There were Masters of the Universe models, Star Wars models, Battlestar Galactica models and even G.I. Joe models. You'd think that toy robots being mechanical beings would inspire all sorts of awesome model kits but as it turns out most of them were rather hit and miss. The Shogun Warriors model kits were quite primitive looking despite having some cool features like firing fists and an impressive height of 9 to 10 inches tall. The small motorized GoBots model kits by Monogram were fun to build and play with but ugly to look at. Also the larger GoBots kits weren't originally modeled after Leader-1 and Cy-Kill so while they were impressive, they looked nothing like the characters. I've seen pictures of proposed Transformer model kits but Hasbro never went forward with those for whatever reason. None of this mattered anyways because Revell's line of Robotech Defenders model kits were the most awesome toy robot models ever. I'm specifically talking about the 1/72 scale Macross Valkyrie based kits but they did other scales and other robots in the line. Revell's Robotech weren't as easy to put together as the smaller GoBots kits and they didn't have flying fists like Shogun Warriors or pull back and go motors but they were still great because they were the only way you could get an officially licensed Robotech Veritech that didn't totally suck.


Gold Circle 12/01/85

This is the toy robot tie-in that needs no introduction. This is easily the most iconic toy robot cross merchandising effort of all time-the real working Soundwave cassette player. To understand its greatness we must first know the history of the toy and how the character became a larger than life icon that was so much more than the action figure could ever hope to deliver. The Transformers version of Soundwave was originally a toy called CassetteMan from Microman's Micro Change toyline. The concept of the Micro Change line was that the alternate modes of the robots were the approximate size of real life household objects, so the toy that would become Soundwave was intended originally to be a microcassette player. Soundwave was thus actual size. The problem I had as a kid was in the cartoon and comic he was always portrayed in the larger, more common standard Walkman cassette player scale. So it was that size that I grew up most familiar with and it's that size I thought Soundwave "really was". This toy then was a total no-brainer and that's why it's the most fondly remembered toy crossover in toy robots history. Although it didn't transform it did what all kids who grew up in the 80s expected the perfect Soundwave toy to do-play Iron Maiden tapes. It is almost blasphemy for this guy to not top my list but I'm sure even die hard Transformers fans will agree that Soundwave cassette player comes in second behind the greatest toy robot licensing tie-in of all time....


Gold Circle 12/01/85

Unlike Voltron where almost every licensed product was inappropriate and embarrassing, every licensed Robo Force tie-in was gold. Robo Force set the standard not only for how a toy robots line should be translated into other merchandise, but also for how to launch an invasion of planet earth by alien robots pretending to be toys. From Erector Sets to phones to an actual friggin' $300 robot, Robo Force licensing was suspiciously brilliant and quite possibly the first step of a much larger overall agenda that's ultimate purpose was the robotic slavery of mankind. It was a brilliant scheme where they'd get us to build them and give them control of our communication networks and then their $300 drones would kill us all. Since the robotic overlords knew they couldn't get one of their killing machines into every household with such a steep price they also ran an Alpha-Bits cereal giveaway promotion where 1 in 2000 people would win one of these 'personal assistants' which may or may not have been a robotic infiltrator programmed to slaughter human families as the first stage of the domination of mankind by Max Steele's Robo Force. Shiver in fear and realize how close we came to species wide extinction at the hands of Robo Force as I leave you with the chilling text from this ad, which very well may have been the obituary of all humanity:

I am Maxx. You can program me. I talk. I walk. My hand moves, turns and grasps. I know the time and can wake you up. I play games and music. I am the life of the party. Controller requires one 9 volt battery (not incl). Ages 8 and up.

Monday, February 15, 2010

MANIC EXPRESSIONS: Toy robot shaving cream won't turn you into a man, but if you hold on they'll probably do Transformer brand Megan Fox blow up dolls

I was at a comic book store over the weekend where I saw two old board games from ages long ago-"The World of Micronauts" and "Voltron: Defender of the Universe". They brought tears to my eyes because they reminded me of how awesome my childhood was, full of toy robots and meaningful tie-in merchandise. Back then they didn't just slap a toy robot name brand on an existing game like Risk, Stratego or Monopoly as they do nowadays. Back when I was a kid board games were custom designed specifically for each franchise and everyone from GoBots to Robo Force to Transformers had one. Of course other properties like Smurfs and Muppet Babies had board games, too, but there were also instances of toy robots merchandising crossing over into areas Smurfs dare not tread. There was the Transformers Battlin' Robots game, which was a pretty good ripoff of Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots that combined the classic brutal Rock 'em Sock 'em style boxing ring combat with the fun of Cybertronian civil war. You couldn't do that with Muppet Babies!


Here we are 25 years later after the Toy Robots Wars of the 1980s and all the classic robot lines are dead, save for the one surviving victor and a newer line in which the robots are a tacked on sideshow. I'm talking about what Hasbro passes off today as Transformers and Bandai's Power Rangers, which I count as one and a half toy robots lines since Power Rangers is less about robots and more about kids in color coordinated costumes dancing around like spastic ninja Teletubbbies. Transformers is getting increasingly watered down, too, with Hasbro devoting more and more attention to Transformers that don't transform.

From Weeble Wobbles to their RPM line of die cast cars with the robots molded on the bottom, it's getting trickier to figure out what it means to be a Transformer. There are more toys to choose from but they're increasingly removed from the traditional notion of what a Transformer is. As Habro's focus moves further away from the manufacture of transforming toy robots and more to creating "expressions of the brand" the line between product and advertising blurs. Just putting the picture of a robot on a toy doesn't make it a robot, does it? And boy do they love putting pictures of robots on stuff. Toy robot marketing has gotten way out of control in this age of Power Rangers fishing poles and Transformers shaving cream where they'll put a robot on anything. Robots licensing has run amok and you can see it in the sad dead eyes of this kid who did a video review of the Transformers shaving set on YouTube. Much like the fake razor with which he shaves Optimus Prime's robot cream from his face, toy robots and their associated cross promotional merchandising have lost their edge.


Just pointing out how much it sucks to be a toy robot fan nowadays doesn't get us anywhere and it doesn't help the poor kids born into this dilemma. In addition to complaining what must also be done is a good amount of gloating about how much better I had it 25 years ago. Now I'm not saying the 1980s toy robot lines were devoid of their share of absurd cross promotional merchandising like underwear, big wheels, slot racing tracks and Halloween costumes that transformed children into miniature mascots of their parent's favorite toylines. But occasionally toy robots got it right and made it onto promotional items that struck a perfect balance between things that were not action figures but still did an incredible job of capturing the character and spirit of la vida roboto. So instead of feeling bad for the kids today and their Transformer themed fishing poles and personal hygiene equipment, I instead choose to retreat into the past and look at the greatest examples of toy robot cross promotion of all time. Actually this is what I do whenever I'm feeling bad about anything in general.


Thursday, February 11, 2010


The second seal of the Roboplastic Apocalypse is broken as I battle the mighty Shogun Warriors and thank them for saving a generation of seventies kids who would otherwise have grown up playing with dolly doll dolls and pansy robots!

Or download it directly.


Ever since I was a little kid I've had this one daydream I'd dream whenever I was in embarrassing or uncomfortable situations, like when I pooped my pants in first grade or forgot my lines in the fourth grade school play or when I wrecked my first car at 17 or nowadays whenever I'm recording the Roboplastic Podcastalypse. In this daydream I imagine Godzilla explodes through the walls of whatever building I'm in like a terrible green Kool Aid man with atomic laser breath. And then he destroys everything and kills everybody in a two mile radius with his heat rays and patented Godzilla scream and stomping. Once everyone's dead and after everything's been reduced to smoldering rubble, he lifts me up and he bites off the top of my head like how you pop the top off a marker and keep it in your mouth before you write with it. While holding my body like a pencil he then smears my brains all over whatever's left of the nearest wall. It's like Godzilla graffiti with my brains and blood and whatever else he can squeeze through my body and out the top of my skull. The resultant message written in a splattered mess of brain matter and crimson ink would be exactly what we'd imagine Godzilla's terrible screams would look like if he could write them down. Unfortunately this never actually happens in real life and I am left having to live with the horrible consequences of my actions like poopy pants (and this podcast) but I keep holding out the hope that one day if I accept Godzilla as my personal savior he will indeed come and kill me and use my brains as the ink with which he writes his message of love and redemption for all mankind.


Gibson's 12/17/79

So basically what happened was back in 1972 a Japanese cartoon about a giant robot named Mazinger-Z got made and a toymaker named Popy made toys from it and all the other subsequent super robot cartoons that followed. These toy robots came in two sizes-jumbo two foot tall ones and five to six inch die cast metal ones. Then in 1977, American toy company Mattel distributed these toys in the US and called them Shogun Warriors. They lasted here until 1980 when for whatever reason they got canceled. Now listen to me take 45 minutes to relate that same story I just told in four sentences (and still leave some parts out). As I re-listened to this episode it occurred to me that I left a ton of Shogun Warrior stuff underexplained or unexplored but holy hell it went over 40 minutes already. There will definitely have to be a future episode of the Roboplastic Podcastalypse revisiting the Shogun Warriors but I already promised the next one would be about Micronauts. So much for keeping these Podcastalypses down to 20 minutes! This illustrates how I underestimated three things: a) how much history there is to relate in regards to these old toylines, b) how long it takes me to say something and c) how dumb I am about podcasting.

Pose may require hand support-and nitroglycerin

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Behold the Lunar Podcastalypse!

The never ending intergalactic robot war continues as the Kingdom of Macrocrania dispatches its mighty king to do battle against those who fight robots on the moon! Yes I'm talking about me dropping in on the Moon Masters episode 179! I explore various issues of ethics and technology with my podcast heroes Apoc D and Mick Aloha as we take a look at using podcasts to scam money off of anime fans, the legality of running a site full of 25 year old toy robots ads, why hates Antarctica and how I'm probably not cut out to be a motivational speaker.

Monday, February 08, 2010

CY-KILLING TIME:I sat down here at the computer to eat cereal and write about GoBots,and I'm all out of cereal but still don't wanna write aboutGoBots

A lot of times I wonder what it must be like to be someone whose time is truly valuable-a person whose life has real worth in the overall scheme of things and who is significantly impacting the course of human history with each breath they take. People like the leaders of countries, heads of state, European heavy metal musicians and the scientists who keep inventing bigger and bigger televisions. These are the people whose seconds of life are worth many times what hours or days of my life are worth. Then there are people whose contributions to mankind I don't quite value as much, like dinosaur archeologists. Dinosaurs are nice and all but there is no discovery a paleontologist could make that has any practical application in my life short of discovering a really cool new animal that Hasbro could make into a toy robot*. This leads me to the following conclusion:


GoBots Robots Robots Robot Fun Fun!
I am worried about the possibility that I may do something that makes me of worth to humanity because then my time will be too valuable to spend writing about GoBots. I wonder where that line is-what is the exact weight of a man's importance that tips the scales of his time's value so that he can no longer afford to blog about toy robots from 25 years ago. Let's say a guy who currently blogs in a deeply meaningful, distinguished and wonderful way like Roger Ebert was also a big GoBots fan. I swear right now Roger Ebert is not at all concerned with spending his last moments writing about GoBots because after his lifetime of great accomplishments what remaining time he has is too valuable to waste on such trivial pursuits. But the relative worth of GoBots blogging becomes more meaningful when it's something I do because my time is not as valuable as Roger Ebert's. So when I wake up and say "Hey, I think I'll write 900 words about GoBots today", it's not as damaging to the net intellectual output of humanity as it would be if Roger Ebert decided the same thing. This is why I hope to never have the burden of being a productive individual making any meaningful contributions to mankind, and also why if I ever do get a real job I will make sure it is in paleontology.


So instead of doing as I promised myself I would and devoting a good chunk of time to updating the GoBots section of the Vintage Space Toaster Palace instead I goofed off all last week, watching old Japanese robot cartoons, reading Transformer comic books and coming up with what I call "The Theory of Gobotivity". It is my unified field theory of toy robots blogging and its directly proportional relationship to my wasted, wasted life. Simply put the equation is G=Fme2, where 'F' is defined as how much dumber the world will be after you blog about GoBots (measured in the number of lolcats and retweets your inane 900 word ramblings will inspire); 'me' is the value to humanity (measured in happy laughing children) of the pathetically small collection of miserable little accomplishments you call your life; and the solution for 'G' is either a yes or no in answer to the question of whether or not you should write about GoBots and/or if paleontology is the career for you. My next theorem will attempt to establish a conversion factor for turning units of Roger Ebert time into the lesser time value currency that is my life so that I may figure out how much longer I need to spend watching old Japanese robot cartoons and reading Transformer comic books so that I may one day write a deeply meaningful, distinguished and wonderful blog post about GoBots, or failing that-dinosaurs.


*I'll bet the only reason paleontology even exists at all is because Hasbro underwrites that entire branch of study so paleontologists can discover dinosaurs that would make some awesome new Dinobots.

Friday, February 05, 2010

What this blog needs is to preach to the Convertor'd!

Zodys 12/01/85

Convertors was one of those other transforming toy robots lines of the 80s that most people my age don't remember but I can almost guarantee everyone owned a couple of these when they were kids. In Pasadena I came across two ads for Convertors that I thought were pretty cool-the above one for the Avarian and Insector giftsets and the one below for the awesomely named American Minibots. While I previously found ads that mention the Convertors giftsets, I hadn't come across ads with pictures of the boxes before so these ads are kind of cool. It is my hope to one day open up a Convertors section at the Vintage Space Toaster Palace. I have enough ads to make it interesting but right now it'll have to wait until after I redo the GoBots and Voltron sections and that'll take a while. If you want to read more about the Avarians and Insectors, go check out the Super Toy Archive and for some good reviews and background on the American Mini Bots I recommend Counter-X's Convertors page.

SavOn 12/04/85


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

What this blog needs is to put the "B" in Bots

I was reading a blog post a guy wrote about his custom Challenge of the GoBots shirt and he ends it with "Remember-Transformers are Gobots in disguise"! I thought that line was really funny, especially if you sing the Transformer song with those lyrics. One retailer who took that connection and ran with it was Thrifty, who in this November 1985 ad consistently capitalized the "b" in "Autobots" and "Dinobots". Maybe they got used to capitalizing the "b" in GoBots so they figured if there's "Bot" in the name of a toy robot title then that's how it's spelled. This is one of my favorite ads from Pasadena because of the choice of robots. It's notable for featuring photos of a boxed Skids and Swoop. It was rather rare for retailers to use pictures of boxed Transformers for their newspaper ads back then and modern roboplastic archaeologists believe Skids and Swoop to be the shortpacked figures from their respective case assortments. I also like this ad because I believe Grimlock to be awesome.

Thrifty 11/28/85


And although he's not a GoBot, Starscream here is facing some challenges of his own thanks to the guy who put his tail fins on backwards. I understand some people may have been burnt out on their jobs or didn't really know what these toys were supposed to look like transformed, but how in a million years does that resemble a real life F-15? What do planes look like in his world? Sometimes I see ads and I'm just happy the cars have their wheels touching the ground.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The pieces of the Puzzler!

I've had GoBots in my head for days because I've been reformatting the GoBots section of the Vintage Space Toaster Palace! It's been a monsterous undertaking just getting all the ads already there put into tables so the information is more clearly understandable. This doesn't include adding the backlog of GoBots ads I've accumulated since Vintage Space Toast Tour Denverado so I'm sure getting those up is going to drive me buggy, man! It is all so very worthwhile because although the complete update is only halfway accomplished, just getting everything sorted out has given me lots of oddball observations about the marketing of the GoBots line and how radically different Tonka's approach was in many ways versus what Hasbro did with Transformers. It's like each ad is a piece to a much larger puzzle and when they're all arranged they become this overall picture of the line and how it was marketed. I don't have ads for every assortment yet-the Dread Launchers, Secret Riders, Power Launchers and Sky Hawk just to name a few are all absent from the newspaper ads I've seen. I don't know what I have in the backlog, though. Hopefully there'll be some surprises once I finish putting everything up sometime around next week. For now I'm gonna take a break from GoBots. You could say I'm in need of a Rest-Q!

Monday, February 01, 2010


I have written a poem for you my fellow Macrocranians. It is twenty minutes long and it is the sound of the first seal of the Roboplastic Apocalypse being broken. It is also the sound of me confusing myself talking about celebrating the 25th anniversary of Zybots and how Tickle Me Elmo is the most mindblowing toy robot ever.

Or download it directly.


The Podcastalypse begins with thoughts about some toy robot I got at Wal-Mart the other day but I didn't tell the whole story. Being sick can make me do dumb things so back in November when I wrote about how I fell in love with a big toy robot airplane at Wal-Mart I thought it was the influenza. Ultimately
Someone did not love Powerglide.
sanity prevailed and after walking around the store with it all rubbing it and hugging it and professing my undying love for it, I did finally put it back. Then after Christmas it was gone. Lo and behold, I was at Wal-Mart in mid January and that same Powerglide was back on the shelves except the box was beat up and it was repackaged all roughshod and the toy robot was upside down inside and the saddest thing was there was a piece of tape with a portion of torn red and green Christmas wrapping still attached to the back. So immediately I start thinking about that whole "if you love something set it free" b.s. about stuff coming back to you, except in this case it was more like "put it back on the shelf at Wal-Mart and see if someone else returns it". At that point it occurred to me that if I truly loved this thing then I'd buy it now seeing as our love is so true that it came back to me but get this-they still wanted 30 bucks for it! And I'm thinking, hell, there was no way I wanted to pay that much for it when it was brand new, much less now that it's sloppy seconds. There's no way I'd pay that much for a Transformer someone else devirginized. So fast forward to last weekend when I found another one brand new on clearance for 15 bucks. I would almost call it a happy ending but anytime a 35 year old man leaves a store with a toy robot he bought, it's actually very, very sad.


  • Opening poem: "The Roboplastic Podcastalypse"
  • Little foil 25th anniversary triangles are Hasbro's victory flags from the toy robots wars of the 1980s
  • I am hip and cool because I know what a Power Ranger is
  • American podcasters love old Japanese robots, just not the American ones (that originally came from Japan).
  • Defining Roboplastico and how it differs from the all tickling, all dancing Elmo
  • The Powerglide Paradigm
  • If I can't be Walter Diakronkite or Tom Brokronoform I'll settle for Gary Gnu.
  • Will serious discussion about GoBots cause the podcastoscape to explode
  • Better podcasting through Roboplasticology
  • It's a great time to be 1985
  • Closing poem

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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.