Showing posts with label robots. Show all posts
Showing posts with label robots. Show all posts

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Marchon little Explorer Scout

I guess I didn't learn my lesson after discovering  the Orguss figure I used to love was a cheaply made piece of junk. I decided to go searching around for another toy that I owned and loved, hoping that it wouldn't end up being another disappointment. Was I successful? Let's meet the Marchon Mysterian Explorer Scout and find out.


I found this guy on a random summer day in 1987. I had gone with my mom on our weekly shopping trip to Roses. As we were walking up to the store, we saw that the People's Drug next door was having a sidewalk sale. I know most modern drug stores' toy selections are rather slim, and overpriced, but this place had an amazing toy section. Their prices weren't too terrible either. Sure, it started going downhill as the store got older, but for a few years, they carried toys I could never find at Roses. That's a story for another post though. So, I was walking along the tables set up in front of the store, scouring their surface for toys, any toys at all. That's when the little blue fella up there caught my eye. I snatched him up off the table, and ran over to my mom, asking if she would buy him for me. I was a good kid and the price was cheap, so of course she agreed. 

I'm assuming I must have immediately tossed out the packaging, because I had no idea who this guy was supposed to be. Most of the time, I pretended he was my very own phaser or Tricorder device. I had seen a few episodes of the older Star Trek series, and I was obsessed with the gadgets on that show. Every now and then, I would include him with my Transformers, but even they didn't know what to make of him. Still, sometimes not knowing is for the best, since it meant I could make up my own stories for the character. 

I can hear you all now, "But, it's just a little blue box!". Ah, that's where you're all wrong. 


Open the panels on the bottom, and give the whole thing a twist, and now we have some tank treads.



Flip the panels open on the sides to reveal a laser cannon and a communicator device. Now our little Explorer Scout can choose between vaporizing his enemies, or calling the space cops. I'm sure you're wondering what that pink thing is in the middle. Don't worry, we'll get to that in a minute.


Swing the top panel open, and you'll reveal Explorer Scout's tiny little head. The stickers are starting to come off this one, so he looks a bit cross eyed. I think it only adds to his character, and may work to lull his enemies into a false sense of superiority. I can see it now, the little blue robot rolls into the bar, and the biggest baddest bot starts picking on him for his pink head and crossed eyes. Then he looks down and realizes that the Explorer Scout has blasted a large hole through his chest. That's something we would all do well to remember. Just because someone looks a little funny, doesn't mean they don't have the ability to completely disintegrate you. 


Since this guy is an explorer, he obviously needs a compass. Sadly, it's not a working compass, but still a neat little feature nonetheless. The Explorer Scout also incluced several maps that could be hidden in his chest compartment.


I couldn't even begin to read them, but then again, I'm not a robot. They're probably not supposed to make sense to me. I was never quite sure how these were supposed to be used, so I would just pretend they were super secret plans that the robot was tasked with keeping safe. I think I finally figured it out the day I took all these pictures. 


It seems right at least. The pink lens actually acts as a magnifier, though it's not much more than 1x. I was also expecting it to reveal something different on the maps, but alas, it only gave them a pink hue. It only took me 26 years to figure out how this thing worked. Good job me.

So, does this toy really live up to the memories I had of it? Surprisingly, yes. It's well made, and more importantly, durable. Explorer Scout's panels come open a little too easily now, but it's a 30 year old toy. I doubt anyone expected it to last this long, let alone in such good shape. This one easily washes away the bad taste left by Orguss. 

I guess that'll teach me not to stick old toys in my mouth.






Friday, July 19, 2013

League Assignment- Robots!

league robots

We had a great assignment from the League of Extraordinary Bloggers this week.

"Robots"

There was only one robot I could think to cover, Short Circuit's Johnny 5.



 If you've never seen Short Circuit, it's about an experimental military robot that gets struck by lightning, and gains sentience. He wanders off the military base, and meets up with Stephanie Speck, an animal lover who mistakes Johnny for a space alien. During their time together, Johnny 5 develops a personality based on the books and television he's seen, leading to him becoming quite the goofy character. Eventually, the government finds out where Johnny 5 is, and they send the other SAINT robots after him. I won't spoil the ending, but since there was a sequel, I'm sure you can figure out what happens. After I saw Short Circuit, I was obsessed with having my own Johnny 5, even if it was just in action figure form. The sequel only made things worse, since Johnny 5's inventor was making a living by selling toy versions of his original creation. I just knew there had to be a Johnny 5 action figure out there somewhere, and it was years before I finally gave up hope. As far as I know, there still hasn't been a mass produced toy made of Johnny 5. I used to think it was a shame we didn't have a Johnny 5 for every child, now I think the world is a better place without him.

"But Chris," you may say, "Johnny 5 was such a loveable and caring robot. Why shouldn't every child have a toy version of him?" I would say to you, think of another robot that came out within the past 10 years that looks similar to Johnny 5.


Okay, fine. I can see why you would think of Wall-E. The expressive eyes, they both run on tracks, and they both have friendly dispositions. Even though Wall-E's version of the future isn't exactly sunshine and daffodils, he's not the robot to which I was referring. . I was thinking of something more like this:




That's right, Johnny 5 is the T-1's great grandaddy. Think about it for a second. Johnny 5 was originally developed as a Cold War weapon. You could airdrop a handful of the SAINT robots into a battle zone and wreak havoc without losing a single human life. These things are super strong, and later versions would have been heavily armed as well. The T-1 is just a logical progression of Johnny 5's design. The military would realize that there was no real need for the robots to have arms, so they would just replace them with miniguns. The three track design would increase the robots' speed and maneuverability, and the body would become armored to better withstand damage. All human like characteristics would be discarded until the development of the next branch of the T-1's design, and I'm sure you all remember what that looked like.



So there you have it. Johnny 5 was the precursor to the machines that will eventually kill us all and take over the world.

Johnny 5's alive..b*tch.
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