Sunday, February 19, 2012
This weekend saw not one but TWO St. Petersburgian events of great interest to toy robots historians and other retro roboplastic enthusiasts. Yes the Planet Retro Gallery was open for business Saturday and Robot Japan Summit 2012 was happening not very far away. Planet Retro is an interesting hybrid of action figure store and vinyl record shop with a retro focus in both areas. Robot Japan is of course an interesting robot themed website also with a focus on vintage action figures, but of the Japanese robot variety. The summit only happens once a year and Planet Retro is only open for a few days every month so to have them both happen on the same day was like a planetary alignment of robotastic proportions. (And you don't have to be a Nostrodomatron to know nothing kicks off a roboplastic apocalypse like a good planetary alignment.) Here's some highlights of my trip to Planet Retro Gallery and the full dump of all the pics I took there is over at the Robofacial Bookocalypse.
On the outside, Planet Retro Gallery looks like a store run from a storage locker unit but on the inside it's what I imagined heaven looked like when I was a teenager in the 80s. It's half full of vinyl records and the other half is loaded with toys from the 70s, 80s and 90s. I've never seen a record store combined with a vintage toy store before and I wonder why there aren't more like this because it makes so much sense. It's an awesome idea. When I was growing up I was always either into music or toys and this place is those two things combined. There's really no other place outside my own bedroom in 1989 that I've ever listened to Love Gun while playing with toy robots. All this place is missing is some posters from He-Man magazine on the walls and a dresser drawer full of Iron Maiden shirts and it'd be my bedroom circa 1988.
Ever since I got to talk to Michael Golden I've wanted an A.F.C. Blinky figure from Bucky O'Hare. Unbelievably, Planet Retro had not only Blinky but all the other Bucky O'Hare figures ever released. I didn't think the store owner would be willing to break up the set but he did. I almost regret not getting the rest of them but my goal in coming to St. Petersburg was to sell robots and not buy them. For someone who was trying to cut down on buying stuff I sure was in the wrong place. Still, I never in a million years thought I'd be staring a complete set of Bucky O'Hare in the face (or a Charlie Tuna, either).
GRENDIZER TEST-if you noticed the hula girl I've got some bad news for you...
IS THIS A DREAM OR IS IT NOW?
The selection of albums dominated the vinyl side of the store but there were a couple boxes of some great 45s. There were singles from Metallica, the Anti-Nowhere League, Madness, the Beatles, and all sorts of other British and American punk, metal and rock bands. There was even a single from the Banana Splits! It was great going through all those. The only thing Rob the owner didn't have was Whitney Houston. (I know because I asked)
Well there's a ton more pictures of the Retro Planet Gallery over at the Robofacial Bookocalypse. I still didn't get pics of everything but you can get a good idea of what it was like. I was impressed by the wide range of mainstream and lesser known items there in both vinyl and plastic. Seeing the gallery and getting myself a Blinky (and a Conky wind up from Pee-Wee's Playhouse for my son) was a highlight during my trip to St. Petersburg. It was a great lead-in to Robot Japan Summit 2012, which I will have pictures of later. The Gallery will open its doors again in two weeks on March 2nd and 3rd. If you go, tell Bucky O'Hare hi for me and have a great roboplastic apocalypse.
Posted by Evil King Macrocranios at 11:10 AM