InterestsStarted collecting robots in 1978. Sold many of them in 1989. I bought and sold tin toys for many years as a sideline business. I've collected many types of other toys over the years.<br /><br />Restarted collecting robots in 2004. Love all scifi. Fan of old "Lost in Space" series. Have built a full size B9 robot from show. <br /><br />I build replica laser weapons from "Lost in Space" and other sci Fi media for other collectors. As time allows, I plan to make some toy robots for myself. <br /><br />Other interests include traveling, working with my garden and large pond, and electronics tinkering. I work for a electronics and communications company, so the bug is easy to get ;-)
Jay from Robot Island posted some pics of his visit on his website sometime back. The stamping equipment that was being used looked ancient. There was a documentary on one of the cable channels years ago that showed these horrid sweat shops from the seventies over there. The reason I recall the program so well was they showed that large wind up jumping green horse (spinning tail and hind legs) with a acrobat atop being manufactured. The stamping equipment in the show was ancient looking then Even the floors of the building were dirt. The lighting sucked. Under those conditions, I don't think any toy would survive pristine. Picture of horse attached.
The reason why I always believed the early to mid 70's is when this stuff was all made is because China was a mess in the 60's with all the turmoil Mao started up with the Cultural Revolution. All the class infighting that resulted made for a country in a lot of turmoil where people were trying to survive, not to play.... Catalogs I have are from 70's.
Now in the U.S., within a few months of Nixon visiting China, ads for the Space boat, Universe car and other Chinese tin started to pop up in Antique Toy World and other antique publications. I was told by one dealer that because of the trade arrangement back then that Nixon signed, the U.S. was obligated to buy Chinese merchandise. But with the fairly new laws banning tin toys with sharp edges, the toys were auctioned off to a few brokers in the L.A. area who then distributed the merchandise through the "antique dealer" networks. I recall the stuff flooding shows and store fronts. In 1987, 88 I established a letter of credit and bought a container load of tin toys from a Chinese trading company in Shanghai (I believe they later morphed into the HaHa we know today). Back then they were state run. In that load was some of the first green Walkman robots I ever saw. And yes, about two out of every five worked. The quality of the stuff was terrible and it was actually dirty. Not sure where it had been stored, but it was a mess. I still have catalogs of toys from back then. No space toys per se, so I never posted them here.
Happy Holidays all!!!
I don't seem to post much anymore, but I still keep tabs. I still build sci fi stuff, its just not robot related, so I don't post it. With a new grandson, I see the need to create some more custom robots coming
I should go ahead and scan them either way, so the material and images are not lost. There is a lot of pages of toys that are not "space related" so not sure if posting them here is the thing to do. I can provide a CD/DVD of the scans.
I believe the blue (not green) "Space Tank" with red litho robby, was the first China made robot (common green came later). But Green painted Space Walkman (1988)) in clear window box was the first large robot--sorry nothing more elaborate than that. I think the Chinese back then (and perhaps still do not) get into robots like the Japanese. I guess when you have a billion people, why do you need robots?
I use to sell Chinese tin toys I imported (pre internet days) via mail order catalogs I advertised in ATW and the old "Toy Shop" newspaper.
Space toys aside, I liked the figural toys, Battery Op busses, and realistic looking (red flag convertible with mao driver) cars and vehicles they made. I had a pretty large collection until I disolved a fair portion of it around 2002 to raise money for other collecting interests. Based on prices today, I was premature (as usual).
I still have some of the Chinese toys catalogs from those days. Lots of cool toys, but very few space toys--sorry...
Having been a Chinese tin toy dealer and collector in the late 1980s through the 90's, you are all essentially right. A lot of the Chinese tin toys destined for "export" are usually copies of others. And yes, the quality of these is sometimes very bad. In the early 90's, I would have half a case of the toys not work at all (That's where I learned how to repair tin toys, otherwise my profit margin became a negative). But they did make some real gems (not spacetoys or original robots). Especially some toys designed to be sold at "home" in China are real treasures. Seeing some of the prices recently (Just like Japan a couple decades earlier) on ebay make me cringe a bit. To see a toy I bought for $4.00 go for $400 is tough.
Perhaps with China now getting into real space travel, perhaps something neat (toywise) will come out of it.
Count me in +1 as a strong maybe. I have been trying for several years to attend. My health is ok, and no other issues. Plus, my other Pilgrimage with the Lost in Space props group to Los Angeles is in April, so no conflict there. Anyway, count me in as a strong maybe..
1. Joe K./Joe
3. RobotHut / John Rigg
4. Kennetzel/Ken Netzel +1 (Pam)
5. phase pistol / Karl Tate
6. Robobob/Bob +1 (Machel)
8. Morbius/Mike +1 *Altaira (Kelly)
9. Eagle/Mark + 1.5 Teonia and Meg
11. Andyman/Andy +1 (Sharon)
12. David Kirk
14. Electric Robot & Son/Joe
15. Phil R./Phil +1 (tentative...)
16. THUNDER/Perry +1 (Karen)
18. Big X/Mark
19. laserman Bob Aucutt +1 (tenative)
Sorry I did not get back to you sooner. I don't get on Alphadrome as much as I use to due to health and work related issues. I abandoned this Horikawa missile robot project in favor of building a new design of missile robot atop the Masudaya Missile tank, and using the "Super Space Giant" fly-eye head and arms. Its about 40% complete.
As already stated here, there seems to be more questions than answers on how to make the original Horikawa design work, and what was Horikawa's original vision.
As a fyi, here is a pic of the Masudaya tank I was talking about.
In case anyone is interested in a half size Robby kit from Norm Sockwell. He does great work when he gets it done... He is considering doing a half size B9 kit also. There are a few of these completed B9's circulating around.
I may be able to make it. My wife and I are looking into moving some things around. We got a lot going on with our house on the market (house sales are decent around here), kid in college, work woes, health woes, etc. More to come.