Great work! Mentoring has to be exhausting. I like the ball elevator design. At the Kansas City regional, we saw many bots with surgical tubing. That worked pretty well, but as the tubing stretched and the balls got beat up during the competition the longer travel designs started to slow down.
Good luck at your competition. If you are interested, I blogged the Kansas City regional at FIRST KC Regional 2012
As Taiwan robots go, he is actually kind of average. It might help if it were complete... or not.
I have some of the really bizarre Taiwan and Hong Kong robots and I like them better than some of the old standards partly because no one else has them. Or perhaps it is because no one else wants them. But you would be shocked to learn how much ripoffs of 1970s and 1980s Japanese robots go for.
If you want an overdose of robot ugly, you must check out the Fugly Challenge at http://toyboxdx.com/phorum/read.php?4,165748,page=1
I've gotten into knockoffs of various descriptions lately. Some are still reasonable and some have gotten pretty expensive. I won my second Star Wars knockoff with this body before Christmas (Super Astronaut) and am shocked to see what they are going for now. It seems people have gotten more optimistic about the economy and prices across the board are on the rise.
I had a watch on this auction. Mazinger is a classic Japanese giant robot and this mashed up some off favorite things. The sale price was pretty shocking.
On the bright side, I won a truly strange cross between a Cylon robot and Mad Max themed Lamborghini/police car (Cosmic Raider Force Robot) for $1.25 plus shipping. The thing is mint and one one of the most obnoxious toys I've seen in a long time.
The weird toys on the margins are often the only cheap fix for those of us that didn't get into tin ten or fifteen years ago.
It turns out that some of the later original Horikawa robots also had plastic gears mixed with brass and steel. I have an original silver Giant torn down and was surprised at the number of plastic gears mixed. None of them are slipping, but there is an alignment issue with the main drive gear for the legs that keeps it from engaging properly. I think this from a worn brass bushing and I'm still trying to determine a fix. So the depressing news here is that vintage is no guarantee of functional - more likely given brass and steel drive trains, but these were mass market toys in the beginning so quality only goes so deep.
For what it's worth, most of my 80s Tomy mini bots have slipping gears as well. My plastic body Horikawa and Yonezawa bots have fared pretty well, probably since it doesn't require as much torque to move lighter bodies. The Hong Kong plastic clones are running about 50/50. I pick them up cheap knowing that they probably won't move for long.
Branching out sounds great. My personal collection started with tin and tin reproductions. Lately, I've been buying some of the 1960s American plastic robots and the evolved form of the Japanese hybrid plastic/tin combinations from the 1970s. The latest aquisitions include a 1981 Yonezawa Talking Missle Robot and a 1970 Mr. Brain just like the one I got for Christmas that year.
Part of the branching out process involves the enjoyment of seeing evolution in action. In all honesty, 1960s tin is a little pricey. It's hard to build a collection on anything vaguely resembling a budget. However, if I were to be totally objective, a Shogun Warrior like Mazinger/Mazinga probably isn't a lot stranger than Mr. Mercury. Technically, they are both antiques and are super robots controlled by people in their heads. If only Mr. Mercury had shooting fists (OK, just kidding with this one. I lust after a minty second version Mr. Mercury)
My collection has branched out to Japanese super robots of the 1960s and 1970s. I grew up on after school Johnny Socko, Ultraman and Godzilla movie reruns. I'm old enough to have missed the Shogun Warriors era, but I love the early diecast Japanese robots and the blow-molded jumbo machinders. They don't have the brass gears and mechanical quality of 1960s robots, but they are visually appealing and have their own distinct charm.
One of the funnest reproductions in my collection would be hard to categorize in the current Alphadrome scheme. It's an OTTI repro of a 1964 Tomy Tetsujin 28. It has a hard plastic body, battery driven record based talking feature, blow-molded arms and legs and litho tin eyes. It could fit under a general heading of Super Robots. As a member of the database, it could be one of a handful of available internet information sources on this particular robot toy. The Alphadrome database really is amazing.
Alphadrome is a great forum and I look forward to fleshing out the robot family tree. If you want to get a sense of the depth of Japanese toy arcana and their classification schemes, visit www.robot-japan.com, www.toyboxdx.com, www.collectiondx.com and www.skullbrain.org (my daily rounds after Alphadrome) All are wonderful and populated by obsessive toy nerds, but none have a singular focus on vintage robots like Alphadrome. One of my favorite daily reads is the "Brog" on toyboxdx. Basically, it is a moderated set of high-level forum contributors who share their personal collecting revelations. It's like some of the auction and show reports posted in the general category on Alphadrome - except for being even nerdier and more robot obsessed. Collectiondx also has a great Youtube channel for video reviews that might be worth emulating.
Super Robots - this includes Tetsujin/Gigantor, Shogun Warriors, Machinders, and the aforementioned Transformers that comprise their own sub-genre
Kaiju (Japanese monsters, normally fighting against heros and super robots when not fighting among themselves)
Movie Monsters (all the other non-Japanese monsters)
Knock-Off and Bootleg Robots - this includes such toys as the Silver Warrior rip-off of Star Wars and Horikawa rotate-o-matic fighting robots
I have opened up the top end of a first generation Horikawa Space Giant and started loosening everything up. He was completely locked up. I've got the guns working and the top half rotates pretty reliably. It still hangs up a bit, but loosens up more with each run.
Now I have to deal with the arthritic leg movement mechanism. With a little assistance the legs will move when the torso is pointed one direction, but not the other. I can hear the mechanism trying to work; it sounds as if a clutch plate of some sort isn't engaging all the way. Any tips on how to get things working would be greatly appreciated. Photos would be great if you have them.
Getting into the torso was easy. Tearing into the pelvis just isn't very obvious. Access tips, anyone? I've been lubing what I can with the legs moved to one end or another of their range of motion.
Last item: where can I get a grain of wheat red bulb for one side of the guns?
General comment: this sucker is loud! It is absolutely the loudest robot in my collection. I normally work on bots when the rest of the family is in bed, but the popping noise this one makes is just amazing.
This one belongs in tips and tricks, but thought I would share here, anyway. I also work on bikes and my favorite light lube for small moving bits is Shimano's HypoSpitt. This product is very handy for bot maintenance. It is a light weight lube designed to minimize dirt pickup and is in a handy pen shaped squeeze dispenser with a hypo needle on the end. This makes reaching tight spots inside bot bodies easy and precise. It's heavier than a cutting oil and thus far hasn't contributed to gears wearing faster than they should.
Looks great! Try a little salt solution or dilute muriatic acid. Chloride pitting does an amazing job when it comes to aging steel. It will find the pinholes in the paint and work its magic. Think 1970s vintage cars.
No, I don't weather toys for fun or profit. I work in the chemical business. I like the weathering contest idea ;)
Thanks for the group shots. I had wondered just how big one of these would look next to the average tin bot. I like it.
Some may say it is just a bigger hunk of tin. But I tend to like my toys big. I started with diecast 1:18 race cars and then got some 1:12 beasts. I have some 70s and 80s diecast Japanese giant robots and have taken a liking to jumbo machinders and 1:18 mecha bots. My favorite space toy is the humongo Ideal Astro Base. Now you are tempting me with big tin. :D
Awesome collection! It's funny that mine has evolved in reverse. First I fell in love with tin and tin repro. That's expensive, so I also picked up on some of the 70s and 80s vintage plastic robots.
Then I discovered Chogokin. That's good and bad. As you know, good vintage can be scary expensive. Some of the repro gets cheap if we can wait long enough. And dang, I am really liking everything Tetsujin. If I had the bucks right now, your OTTI talker would be mine.
Are you going to put your spare Chogokin on your website or straight to ebay?