Thursday, April 24, 2014

Robo Force Magazine ads: Manglors and Trouble Shooters

If you didn't catch my post on the Robo Force Fan Club over on Doomkick, stop right now and go check it out. Then come back here and check out a couple of ads from the magazine that I didn't use over there.

The premiere issue of the Robo Force magazine is a treasure trove of toy and games ads from Ideal. I'm here to talk about two of my favorites.

Right off the bat, I love how Ideal has almost, kinda stolen the tagline from Hasbro's Transformers. Trouble Shooters even has the same number of syllables, though it doesn't roll off the tongues as nicely as Le Transformers. The basic gist of the toys is that each vehicle has some hidden feature tucked away inside. As a lover of gadgets and Swiss Army knives, I would have been all over these. My personal favorite is the Back Packer model, with its hidden compass and magnifying glass. I was always interested in camping gear, even though I rarely got the opportunity to actually go. I could see my 8 year old self right now, imagining great adventures, guided only by the compass hidden in my truck. When I needed a fire, I could just whip out the magnifying glass and start burning leaves. The best part is each trailer was a functioning flashlight. I would have loved to have something like that while I was walking home in the dark from my neighbor's house all those years ago. The other trucks had different features, such as a hidden coin slot, or built in tape measure and detachable pencil.

I'm not sure these were on the market very long, because I haven't been able to find much on them anywhere. An eBay search only turned up one completed auction within the past couple of months. It's a shame really, because it was a neat concept, even if it was a bit unusual.

The next ad shows off a toy that wasn't around for very long, but for a very good reason.

If there was one toy out there that could teach a child about disappointment, it's the Manglors. Ideal claimed you could squash, crush, and tear these guys apart, and they would go back together like new. Unfortunately, these claims were a bit...optimistic. I learned this lesson many years ago, after what I now like to call "The Greatest Christmas Ever". It was the Christmas of 87 or 88, and my parents had gone all out. Supernaturals, Visionaries, Battle Beasts..boxes upon boxes of toys. Then I opened up Manglor Mountain. It must have been sitting in a store for a while, because the box was pretty beat up by the time it ended up in my hands. Manglors didn't last long in the stores, so this one had probably been shuffled around the shelves a few times.

Pulling everything out the box, I couldn't help but notice that the slime, or as they called it on the box, Mang-Lava, looked a little dry. The idea was that you dump the Mang-Lave in the top of Manglor Mountain,  stick Manglord in his cage, and drop him into the slime.

Photo from
Then you push down on the red tongue pump, and the Mang-Lava would bubble up, lifting Manglord to the top of the mountain. Sadly, my slime was pretty much dried out, so all it did was hiss and flarp a few times before I got tired of pushing the button. Attempts to put Ideal's claims of the Manglor's indestructibility to the test resulted in me being left with a bunch of torn off rubber limbs and a bare torso. All I needed was a bunch of action figure sized briefcases, and Manglord could look like he washed up on a Jersey beach after a being the target of a mob hit. Aggravated, I tossed Manglord and his limbs back into the mountain, sealed them up and promptly forgot about them. Years later, I would excavate Manglor Mountain and find the Manglord's shriveled remains covered by the dried residue of ancient Mang-Lava.

I learned several lessons that day. Toy slime definitely has a short shelf life, cheap slime even shorter. Second, toy manufacturers don't always test their products before they're released. Or, they do, and just choose to outright lie about what they can do.  Lastly, toy slime is impossible to clean out of something after it's been sitting for a couple years. It's almost like it was engineered to make a toy useless the one time a kid forgot to clean it out. Still, if you managed to keep your Manglor Mountain clean, it made an excellent torture chamber for your G.I. Joe or Star Wars figures.

Thanks to John Kent of Toyfinity, we might be seeing more Manglor madness in the near future. Thankfully, they'll probably be using the Glyos system, so this time their action feature will actually work. He hasn't posted any images of them yet, but you can always check out the resurrected Mordles and Robo Force while you're over there. Have fun, but don't forget to clean up your slime.


  1. "Crap! I lost my Troubleshooter in the dark!"

    "Wait! I have a flashlight!"

    "Crap! It's on my Troubleshooter!"

  2. I wish i could find some Manglors in the wild but no such luck....yet. : )

    1. Unfortunately, I think most Manglors have turned into a puddle of goo by now :(.

    2. True but it would be cool and amazing. : )


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