Jump to content


Custom Search

Photo

The Story Of Mini Robert The Robot's Revival


  • Please log in to reply
30 replies to this topic

#1 ToyMemories

ToyMemories

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 332 posts

Posted 10 June 2011 - 06:27 AM

I thought it would be nifty to tell the story of mini Robert the Bulldozer Robot's rebirth, for anyone interested.
He may not be everyone's favorite, but he is one of mine :)
It's surely not best-seller material (and I may not be the best writer), but here it is for what it's worth! I apologize for the long read, but hope some of you guys enjoy the tale.
I'll update, change and add as I can. I'll also unveil the 3rd mystery color here (soon), and that one is definitely my favorite.
Some details may be a little off (at this point, I certainly don't remember exact dates, and even today I was pleasantly surprised to find out today was Thursday, yee-haw!) and I may miss something, but here goes...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The Beginning
It was a dark and stormy night... the wind howled, the air was so frigid, it was like standing in a frozen hell... It had been so long since I could feel my fingers, that when my cigarette burned down, I didn't realize my skin was blistering there... cold...

Yeah, yeah, it was something like that. Kind of.
Actually, it had been 5 degrees outside earlier in the day. The unheated warehouse I was in was in a pretty open area, not much in the way of trees to block the wind, and months before apparently there had been a pretty decent fire, and to help clear out the oily smoke they had opened the windows. And, what do you know? It seems closing them was not much of a priority... not even when Winter came along. Sure there were broken windows too, every old warehouse has them, but it might have been a little better with the windows closed... and no, I couldn't just go and close them myself. They were way out of reach, and there was nothing there to bridge the gap.

Now it was night, and I'm pretty sure it was colder than 5. It was so cold, that when I tried to tape some boxes to ship (using pretty good quality packing tape), the tape just fell off the boxes. I'd say it was a bit chilly. I'd been there for hours and hours, regretfully with no gloves, and I was pretty numb.
I walked over to a dimly lit corner, and stood there looking down at the hunk of metal I'd bought earlier in the day. Honestly, I was still in shock. Something that was so cool, classic, and to me, historic; how was it that it was now mine? How did it still exist, and not get scrapped decades ago? The original injection mold for the little Robert the Robot bulldozer robot, pretty much untouched for near half a century... I must be dreaming.

I fell in love with the mold at first sight, and I couldn't think of a better (or cooler) mold to have. Regretfully, the mold for the bulldozer was missing in action, but at least the heart and soul of it was here... mini Robert.

I took a couple of pictures of the mold, as I knew I wouldn't be able to store it nearby (molds aren't the best thing to collect, as not only can they be expensive, they're pretty heavy most of the time. One you've found a place for one, likely it will be there for a long time!), and I could at least look at those when the urge struck.
"One day" I thought... "One day I'll have to try and see if I can get the mold going again... one day when I have extra money..."
Those of you that know me, know I have a bunch of molds, but truly this one has always been my favorite. Always I wanted to run it, even if just a handful of samples. One day...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A Problem?
A few years go by, and reviving the mini Robert mold is never far from my mind. Like many people, there never seems to be "extra money" for me to do it, and another expense (or find) always pops up. At one point I'm somewhat determined to figure a way to do it. I go back to the pictures, and go over every detail... yeah, there was something... something I had thought might be a problem... and looking at the picture of the cavities I remembered what it was. I was pretty sure the mold had damage, and not in a good place. And the thought of that damage may have contributed to my not making the revival happen...

You see, in my experience, the best old molds have beryllium copper cavities. Cavities are the hollows, or individual part "molds" where each part is formed in the overall mold structure. The frame-like channels that run to the various parts are called runners (most people refer to the runner as a "sprue", which is incorrect, and I, myself have gotten yelled at years back for that mistake. You can use either term and most people will know what you're talking about it, so don't worry). Anyway, Beryllium copper is strong, and ages very well... unlike steel which can rust. Beryllium costs a lot more, but is well worth it if you want a mold that will last.
The most important part of the mold would be the cavities, as that's where the items are actually made. You can transfer the cavities to a different mold base (or repair a damaged mold base or its' parts), but if the cavities have a problem, well... you've got a big problem.

Marx Toys had much of their molds made using Beryllium. Other companies (from my experience), not so much.
Ideal's Mini-Robert cavities are steel. And it looked like some of them had a rust problem... If you have rust in a cavity, some of the metal will be taken away by the rust, and as you know rust isn't neat. So, would you want to make something that will have very noticeable defects in the final product? I was sad...
Sure, I could try and do something else, but my heart wasn't into it.
So, once again the project got shelved...

Attached Images

  • AlphaRobertStoryMold.jpg

Edited by ToyMemories, 11 June 2011 - 07:59 AM.

Mike (NY)

Now on Facebook!  https://www.facebook.com/ToyMemories
ToyMemories.com ~ Preserving Toy History
The Marx Files ~ Preserving the History of Marx Toys
MultipleToymakers.com ~ Home of the MPC Collection


#2 ToyMemories

ToyMemories

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 332 posts

Posted 10 June 2011 - 07:40 AM

Could It Work? Was Now The Time? (or "Rust? What Rust???")
Now, move forward a few more years, and though I still regularly thought about the Robert mold, I'd pretty much given up hope on running it. Sure, I'd love to maybe run it and get a handful of samples done, that would be cool, but I couldn't afford doing it just for fun. Sampling can be expensive. And then, if the mold needed some repair to function on top of it, I'd be in a hole.
But fate works in mysterious ways... and my motto has always been that "everything happens for a reason, and things will always work out in the end somehow".

A perfect example- I had casually collected old radio premiums for years. You know, those silly little toys and things like you would get in a cereal box when we were kids, except these were older ones, and the type advertised on radio shows and TV back in the 1930's to the 1950's or so. Captain Video, Lone Ranger, Orphan Annie... decoders, rings, Ovaltine mugs, all that nifty stuff. To me, there was always something special about them, and they were little treasures. Well, to make a long story shorter, I'd always wanted one from the Shadow radio show called the Shadow Blue Coal ring. A cool plastic ring with a blue plastic stone on top (for, what else, "blue coal", the show's sponsor) that came out in the 1940's. And, to make it even better, it was a glow-in-the-dark ring! Stuff like that always gave me a thrill, I'm a sucker for gimmicks. Problem was, at the time, the ring went for $400. or so (which was a bit much for me), and worse there had been fake rings made in recent years that were pretty close to original looking. Well, one day I was out going to garage sales, and there was a sale I decided to try even though it was 2 in the afternoon, and my wife had wanted me home before that. I was drawn to the sale for some reason, but after looking a bit, there was really nothing worthwhile. Just some happy meal toys, junk jewelry... but wait! There amidst the junk jewelry was a white plastic ring. And it had a blue plastic stone. Not much to look at, I picked it up, and saw the price... "15 cents". I looked at the ring, and it was as it should be... damn. How could this ever happen? I asked the man there (after paying) where it came from (of course, I considered it might be a fake one), and he said "an old man down the street is friendly with my kids. He gave that to my son, and he had no use for it, so there you have it". Yes, it was 100%, and yes, I was totally numb and in shock... so yes, fate is mysterious, and pretty cool. And yes, I still have (and treasure) that ring...

So at that point, the running of the mini Robert mold was but a lost hope. Or so I thought.
Now, the mold was stored in a friend's warehouse (with other molds of mine, as well as his), and my then current thought was that it would be very cool to somehow get the mold to Joe K.'s for a future Botstock to display, as I thought Botstockers would really get a kick out of seeing it up close. Ideally, I'd finally get to attend and bring it with me (it happens to be one of the smaller molds I own, weighing maybe a couple hundred pounds. Each mold has two halves, so I figured I'd be able to handle moving it one half at a time without killing myself). When I found this recent Botstock would be at John's, that put the idea off at least until next year, as making PA was a "maybe", but there was no way I could swing Washington this year. My car (my baby!) a 1991 Jeep Cherokee (which I bought new) recently decided it was time to expire... and not smoothly nor quickly, costing me way more than I could handle... along with the usual bills and money being tight, as I'm sure many of you can relate to. It was hard to let the old girl go... She'd done right by me through flood, storm, freight, you name it... but her time was up.

Now comes March of this year, and a mistake of sorts... or you could call it a misunderstanding. I'd like to call it fate. I can't elaborate too much, but somehow my mini Robert mold got mixed in with a few other molds that were to be sampled. With sampling, which is not inexpensive, a small number of shots are made in one or two colors or so basically to have examples (or samples) of a product to see what they look like, what can be done with them, etc. It's really not feasible to do sampling with the intent to sell the samples because of the high cost. So, anyway, it's mentioned to me that the samples were done, and I was in shock (seems I'm in shock on a regular basis, eh?)... "What? How? Huh?" So after seeing a picture of the 2 colors that had been sampled (blue and silver), I insist on getting one of them, as I'm dying to see how it turned out (my samples had been shipped out with the correct samples). I received the blue one (seen below), which had been glued, and the hands put on backwards. But, to me, it was perfect otherwise... Holy cow, what then happened to what I had been sure were areas of rust in the cavities? Well, it turns out the spots certainly appeared to be rust, but in reality they were just solidified concentrations of 50+ year old dirty grease... yikes... Yikes! This means my mold works just fine!!! I then proceeded to make it clear I wanted one of the silver ones as well. Nice, I could finally have a couple of examples from my favorite mold. It was a happy day.

And though I didn't realize it, my brain started working in the background... gears clicked... stuff bounced around... ideas gestated... and began to break out.

Attached Images

  • AlphaRobertStoryBlue.jpg

Edited by ToyMemories, 11 June 2011 - 08:01 AM.

Mike (NY)

Now on Facebook!  https://www.facebook.com/ToyMemories
ToyMemories.com ~ Preserving Toy History
The Marx Files ~ Preserving the History of Marx Toys
MultipleToymakers.com ~ Home of the MPC Collection


#3 ToyMemories

ToyMemories

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 332 posts

Posted 10 June 2011 - 07:42 AM

Of Course He Had To Be Done In Red... But What Else?
My brain was working overtime, which I'm used to for a number of reasons... sometimes I think I have a few parallel brains functioning on different planes all working on different stuff at the same time... yes, crazy. What to do? How can this work? Can I afford to do it now? At the moment, Botstock's date had slipped from my mind, and I was trying to think of a way to just finally do this. I called a friend to have him get me a quote on one or two colors in a small quantity (total quantity in the hundreds) from a molder we've used before that would actually do small quantities (some won't even take the job at any cost). A lot of the cost is on set-up fees (and can also be for obtaining material or color if it's not commonly used at that molder) so if you're going to make something with intent to reduce cost, and make lots of money, make it simple and make a lot of them. It doesn't hurt to make something that everyone wants, too. One standard color, 50,000 pieces would be great; molders appreciate quantities like that. Problem there, is that would be the same as asking to borrow a million dollars from me... it won't happen in my lifetime! No one wants to do small jobs, there's no money in it. It's too much hassle. They charge you to death on every little detail and then some. Now this is pretty much USA molders, I'm sure you could possibly work something a lot better with China if you desired. Problem is, I want my stuff done here, in the good old USA... It's important to me. I also like to do my best to keep things on the quality side, and not cut corners.

So, time is ticking and my friend finally comes back with a quote for two standard common stock colors. And it's high. To me, it seems goofy-high. I got depressed... It wasn't going to work. A few days later, I'm desperate to work it out, so I ask him to forget TWO colors, and just quote one. There's decent expense when you add colors, especially in small numbers like this. Better one than none, I think. He comes back with a "grab this one, or you're crazy!" price, and I got excited. "Are you sure???" I ask. "Something's not right... promise me you're sure...". He insists it's on the level. My brain dances around, excited, thinking of possibilities. Now, dear reader, don't be fooled... remember, most things "too good to be true", are... just so.

Well, with my brain dancing and all, I'm on top of the world with the thought it was finally going to happen. I think "hmm... maybe the original quote was off, a bad day thing, or such. Let me try another quote with extra colors." He comes back with the same "slam-bang, you snooze, you lose bargain of the century". So, heck, it's a go! Time to work on the details...

Now, some of you know me and all my crazy behind-the-scenes stuff... my priority is pretty much to try and find the special stuff first, then if I can (and can afford) the production toys I'll pick them up. Because the way I feel, the special things are usually one-of-a-kind, and you'll likely have only one chance to get them. Production stuff will turn up again and again. Of course the Ideal mini Robert Bulldozer is one I hadn't had the opportunity to get, and it's also not that easy to find. So what to do? Why, call my friend Joe K. at THE Robot Museum, of course! He'll surely know it all...

So I get Joe K. on the line, and yes he has one. We talk for a bit about details. I love Joe K., he's the best! (my son loves him too, and surely made him earn his pay on our last visit, haha). Joe tells me about Joe M. (Electric Robot & Son), who I knew on Alphadrome, as we'd had some interaction in posts before. I always liked ER&S, but never thought we'd connect beyond the board. But Joe K. says the "other" Joe has a few of the Robert Bulldozers, and maybe I should get in touch for further details, as he might know more. So, I left Joe K. with the color red a definite (and at the time, thinking orange would make the best 2nd color), and went off to connect to Joe M. to iron it out further...

Now, it took a little to initially get Joe M., but let me tell you that here's where things finally started falling into place. I'd never talked to him directly before, but it was like we hit it off right away. I found out pretty quickly that he was a real nice guy, about his collecting, and his beautiful son; the logical (and perfect) foundation for his Alphadrome ID- Electric Robot & Son, and the inspiration for his robotic collecting interests. Joe is one great Dad, and hearing about his son, who has sadly passed, really touched me.

It was pretty amazing... Joe loves toys just as much as I do! He was very helpful in anything I asked about (I'm quite sure I was a pain in the butt at times, sorry Joe!), checking his examples, discussing details and possibilities, and so on. Honestly, his enthusiasm helped me realize this could finally be a reality, and I thank him wholeheartedly for that. I'd hoped to pin down the proper shade of red for the "new" primary color, and he was nice enough to send me a pin that had broken off one of his originals so it could be matched. And thanks to Joe, I dropped orange as the 2nd color in favor of black, which I personally like very much too. Joe reminded me about Botstock, which was coming up soon. Yes, that would be great, surely this could be done and get to Botstock with no problems and time to spare. And now we had black and red... a cool combination.

Things were working out well. What next? How about recreating the elusive light contact/mechanism? No way to get that hammered out before Botstock, so it was a possible idea for the future, to figure it out and make it available reasonably some time down the line. That would be cool... Who the heck might give me some idea if it could be done, or any tips on how? It would have to be somebody that had one already to work from (I couldn't ask Joe M. to send me his, I'd never take the chance for something to go wrong). Maybe... just maybe... I could ask... the wonderful wizard of Alphadrome...

Attached Images

  • AlphaRobertStoryBnR.jpg

Edited by ToyMemories, 11 June 2011 - 07:58 AM.

Mike (NY)

Now on Facebook!  https://www.facebook.com/ToyMemories
ToyMemories.com ~ Preserving Toy History
The Marx Files ~ Preserving the History of Marx Toys
MultipleToymakers.com ~ Home of the MPC Collection


#4 ToyMemories

ToyMemories

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 332 posts

Posted 10 June 2011 - 07:44 AM

The Wonderful Mr. Rigg (or Holy Crap! The Man is Amazing!)
Thanks to Joe Markee, I actually had an original part to get a color match from for the red color that would definitely be used for color #1. This was the important one, as I (and others) thought it would be great, and a needed service for those out there that had originals with damaged or missing limbs, and of course the majority of collectors who had the robot bulldozer and were missing the elusive head cap or dome. The cap never was very secure, and it's a real necessity if you want his light to function, as it doubles as the "switch". This way people could have an authentic replacement, made from the original molds, and very close to original in appearance, without paying for an inferior reproduction. I've always tried to pursue such things, as there's nothing better than a part that's technically "original". I sent the pin off to go to the molder to match the shade of red, and I believed it was in more than enough time to have it matched by the lab, color formulated, and material arriving back at the molder's. The hard part was done, right? The planned two colors (red and black) were decided and in the works, and that was all... or not.

I made sure the molder knew I wanted the "in-betweens" somewhere around this time. The misfits... when the color pigment is being added, they usually shoot the liquid plastic through without running the mold, and then run the mold when it's close to correctly mixed. There occurs here the odd shots, parts that have swirling, weird partial mixing, and so on, oddities that I've always loved. Usually, there are only a few of these misfits with each color change, and then of those maybe a couple that look (to me) extra cool. I had to have 'em.

The light/contact mechanism that goes inside the original mini Robert is basic, but sweet. It's a narrow strip of brass that holds the bulb in a hole at the top, and also holds the battery loosely between the ends, so it doesn't make contact unless you want it to. You turn the head cap which "screws down" a little, pushing the bulb, which flexes the brass strip (kind of squeezing it) and causing the contact to be made, lighting the bulb. Simple, right? Kind of... but what makes it complicated is that the hollow inside Robert is very tight (Joe M. had it when he reminded me that modern batteries are a little fatter than vintage, and dollar store batteries would likely fit better) and everything has to be just so to work right. It's pretty much the same as putting a key in a keyhole. Because time was steadily getting shorter, contacts definitely would not get produced in quantity any time soon. I figured to try to understand the design now, crudely mock something up, and then some time in the future maybe it could be done professionally. But I didn't have anything to work from, nor had I seen one in person... I thought "let me email John Rigg... if anything maybe he could point me in the right direction with a couple details and I can work it out". And if anyone really knew their stuff, and could explain it to me so that I could understand, it would certainly be John.

I've earnestly read John's posts here on Alphadrome for years, and look forward to them. No flattery intended, he is a genius. What impresses me is that he is so far advanced, yet never looks down on others. He is so knowledgeable, yet explains things so plainly that anyone can understand and learn. He is one of the "guys", yet so much more. I've had my fill of "experts" (many of them self-proclaimed), and am sickened by most, with their "I'm on a higher plane" attitude. Puffing their chests out, putting others down... you know the kind. John is such a breath of fresh air, and such a departure from that mentality.

But, I know John has to be stretched real thin on a regular basis... his services and knowledge are in high demand, and I couldn't pick a worse time now that he was hosting Botstock, which came ever closer as each day passed. So I hoped against hope that maybe he could just give me a few tips; maybe tell me an appropriate thickness of brass... voltage of the bulb... basic shape of the part... and then I could struggle with the rest. So I sent an email off to Mr. Rigg, realizing I may or may not get a response.

A day went by (and of course I was like a jittery kid, thinking "yeah, he won't respond... a lot of time has passed" when a day isn't much in reality. Like waiting for Christmas to arrive, every minute seems an hour!) and nothing... Then, to my surprise, he replied! I kind of expected the reply to be "are you crazy??? Botstock is almost here and I don't have time for this now!", but it was quite the opposite. Within a wondrously short time he had laid it all out for me, it was a surreal experience... everything I could want to know, and then he even made samples. On top of this, he sent pictures of Robert, the relevant parts, his progress... yep, you guessed it, once again I was in shock. He liked the idea of mini Robert's prospective revival. Still, the contacts (for me) wouldn't get done in quantity really soon, but now it would be a piece of cake when I was ready, thanks to John. I also asked John if it were ok to have someone sell the mini Roberts at Botstock, and he thought it was a great idea. I then contacted my friend Joe K., hoping he could do it, and sweetheart that he is, he said yes. As long as the car survived the five day trip... haha... Joe M. came up with the great idea of the Botstock stickers for Robert, made them and sent them. Things were happening, it was getting closer.

During the Rigg experience, something else had happened which opened a new door. I'd had a buyer who needed parts that I had, which of course were long buried, and you know when you need stuff like that it never shows up. But this was different, as I knew the stuff was really close by, accessible... but had no idea where. My poor eager buyer had been waiting for many months (and yes, they knew the situation too). Then, fate tapped me on the shoulder again. Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye (or something like that!), the honest truth... "hmm... could the box be in this file cabinet which is basically within 5 feet of me for hours every week? Not possible..." So, I proceeded to move the stuff in front of it, open one particular drawer, picked one box out of 5 that was in there, and... I was right. You're likely wondering "so?", but my brain went "oh!", because finding this box meant that there was more money to try something, and at the absolute perfect time. See, the purchase order was due to finalize the molding, and it had to be in ASAP.

It was a difficult time, and difficult decision... Money's been pretty tight here in recent times, and now what do I do here? I'm already spending money I shouldn't trying to get this done (and the hammer hasn't yet fallen with the jaw-dropping "oh, by the way, it seems you've forgotten this, and this, and this... and...") and if things don't go ok I'll probably come up short in a few months or so... but I know things always work out somehow. Could I do the little dream that I always thought would be so cool? Or should I take the extra money and put it in the bank for bills... Fate, I believe in fate...

Yes, I Have To Have Those... It's Very Important To Me.

Attached Images

  • AlphaRobertStorySwirled.jpg

Edited by ToyMemories, 12 June 2011 - 05:38 AM.

Mike (NY)

Now on Facebook!  https://www.facebook.com/ToyMemories
ToyMemories.com ~ Preserving Toy History
The Marx Files ~ Preserving the History of Marx Toys
MultipleToymakers.com ~ Home of the MPC Collection


#5 ToyMemories

ToyMemories

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 332 posts

Posted 10 June 2011 - 07:45 AM

Well, I'm sure you're all dying to hear what comes next... or just dying of boredom from the never-ending story! But now we come to silly old color 3, and a depressing revelation. Also, the pace has quickened, it's getting closer and closer to Botstock, and things are starting to look like it just ain't gonna work out in time...

Holy Cow... That Would Be Perfect! Finally...
Most of my dreams are not extravagant... or fantastical. Some are small, novel, things like you got a kick out of as a kid. Some may not consider such things even in the realm of dreams, but hey, at least we can all have dreams of our own.

Remember now, the days are passing, robots still haven't gotten molded, doomsday is fast approaching. All along there have been all kinds of delays, details and changes. It's like a constant metamorphosis, leading eventually to a swift collision, and a return to quiet soon after.
The situation is-
*Mold at molder; mini-Robert will be made in USA. Estimate seems pretty cool.
*Colors chosen, red and black with corresponding pantone numbers (pigment said to be ordered, no problem arriving in time).
*Material chosen, original believed to be styrene, I prefer ABS (same like used for Legos); stronger, more durable... also costs twice as much as styrene. Must be virgin material (also more $)
*Botstock labels made (thanks to Joe M.) and ready to be applied after Roberts arrive here.
*Must ship approximately 50 to John, Priority Mail should be fine.
*Joe K. will handle them at Botstock. Rigg will make some working samples.
*Do I make the third "color"? Will it come out ok???

I've handled the production of various things in the past, molding details, etc. etc., and they've all turned out very well, but none seemed as complicated as this was turning out to be. And my desire for color 3 I've always tried to figure a way to work into those things, but it really never was appropriate. Yeah, it was a big deal to me, though others might find it trivial. Now, here was an opportunity where it seemed perfect. I'm sure a lot of you will think after this "huh? THAT was the big surprise??? That wasn't worth the mystery, the wait... that's no big deal." But I must apologize, because for me, who again likes simple things, and gets a big kick out of novel ideas, it was super-cool...

We're at about 3 weeks to Botstock now, and I make the decision... the heck with middle-men I go straight to the molder. "Can you mold this in... glow-in-the-dark?" I get a big pause on the other end, and then "sure, I guess, but we've never done it before. it should be ok. I'll get right back to you and let you know." I get the call back; "yes, it should be fine, but the lab says it will be here in about 2 weeks. It's ordered, but we have no idea what the cost will be." Great, now we have a color #3, and my urge to glow is a reality. But I'm worried now... no word yet about the other pigments... and even if they come in 2 weeks before Botstock, there still needs to be an opening in the molding schedules to get it molded, which (from experience, and the fact that small jobs take low priority) could take up to a month. Holy smokes... once again worry and doubt set in.

Then the purchase order is submitted to make it official, and I think "ok, now it's just the waiting..." I inquire about the possible cost of the glow material, and am told it shouldn't be much more than regular pigment. Then, the response comes back... what I feared at the start, what would have derailed the whole production before it started, now had me aghast in my chair... "thanks for the purchase order, but you forgot to include..." $$$$$ for machine time, purges, etc. etc. and more etc.'s than I could handle. The cost exploded to a number of times what I'd been promised it would be. And, on top of that, it didn't include the cost for glow pigment. Doomed... I was doomed.

What could I do? Now we're around 2 weeks before Botstock, I have so much invested in this... it has to happen. I'm detremined. I curse the cretin that I'd had handle the original "reasonable" quote (his response about the increase- simply "sorry"). Ok, whatever... I'm in it, and it's almost done. Has to get better from here on.
Nope, a few days later it's more fun. Apparently, some confusion over the red pigment ordering and they don't have the color we picked. No problem, though... they can match it and have it ready... in about 3 weeks. Hahahaha... I'm about ready to go insane. I pick an available substitute. I wait for word of the pigment's arrival... I wait, I worry, I wait... It ain't gonna happen in time. How, even if the molding is done, will it get here, and then on to John's across the country in time? It's just not possible. Geez...

Wednesday, a week+ before Botstock, I get the call... apparently the glow pigment IS a bit more than regular pigment... quite a large bit... I laugh. And they managed to get 5 pounds of it. Normally it's a 25 pound minimum, so I should be happy. Oh, I'm happy... or is that numb? But the pigments haven't arrived yet, and no molding date set. I plead for a molding date ASAP after pigments arrive. It's useless, I know, but I'm determined... I ask if they can ship some Roberts direct to Washington, and the answer is yes. But we're running out of time, and now that seems pointless... Monday is a holiday, no UPS or USPS service. There are 6 business days left before Botstock, and Robert's not yet molded... It ain't gonna happen. I ship Joe M.'s stickers to Washington.

Thursday, a week before Botstock, I don't know why, but I call again. No answer. Yep, it's over. Sure, they'll still get made, that will be great, but it had become a Botstock "dream" for me, to have something cool for Botstockers that was special. Especially since I hadn't had any prototypes, drawings, etc. going this year for display. I'd wanted to include one of the glow Roberts as a raffle item, that would have been neat... Oh well...
I called back later in the afternoon, and someone answered. I inquired...
"oh, yes, the pigments came in this morning".
What??!! When do you think they can be run? (yes, I still harbored a little hope)
"Well, the red is running now. Should be finished by tomorrow morning or so."
And...? "yes, we can ship tomorrow, most likely."
My God... there was still a chance.
Egads, what to do, how to ship? They didn't do USPS, so I checked on UPS schedules. Yes, Monday was a holiday, that made it iffy. I sprung for the 3-day select, which the site mentioned should arrive Thursday. Regular Ground for me. 40 red and 20 black to go to John's... and please let them make it in time...

Attached Images

  • TM3miniRobertsRWBa.jpg

Edited by ToyMemories, 12 June 2011 - 07:16 AM.

Mike (NY)

Now on Facebook!  https://www.facebook.com/ToyMemories
ToyMemories.com ~ Preserving Toy History
The Marx Files ~ Preserving the History of Marx Toys
MultipleToymakers.com ~ Home of the MPC Collection


#6 ToyMemories

ToyMemories

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 332 posts

Posted 10 June 2011 - 07:46 AM

You... Light Up My Life...
Because of the last minute craziness, I'd forgotten about sending a glow in John's shipment for the raffle. I'd thought about perhaps having Joe or John make a coupon entitling the winner of it to a "surprise third color!" but that seemed to me a little hokey. And also, with just a few days before Botstock, my brain was a bit fried from all the prior activity, and now the nervous Father bit worrying if the box would arrive at the Robot Hut in time, so I apologize for that.

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 the box arrived at the Robot Hut containing the first "revival" mini Roberts to be seen by anyone beyond the molder. And you know the rest! I got mine late that night. I could now die in peace... and believe me, I really felt by then that I could. It was a long and complicated journey to get here, and yet the journey can now continue. This, my little dream of bringing a very cool, classic half-a-century old little robot back has been realized... The goal was to make it happen, and as I've said, hopefully break even.
Thank you again to the 3 J.'s for your invaluable help... thank you to all who have bought, or will buy one of the little guys! Thanks to the Botstockers, and their enthusiastic response to mini Robert!
Once again, if these do ok, I hope to make a 2nd run in new colors; but if not I'll be content in the fact that it was done, and it was cool. ;)

Was it all worth it? What do you think?
My answer, at this time, would have to be... "yep." :D

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I don't know the appropriate place for this, but for those that asked (or are interested), the basics:
*3 colors made (red-$20, black-$20, white glow-in-the-dark-$25, those prices are for Alphadromers, + shipping), all pretty limited (black being the least at only 150 pcs. made)
*Made of ABS plastic (like Legos), I'm pretty sure Krazy Glue is fine to glue them.
*They can be painted!
*They'll mostly be available without the runner.
*I do not plan to run the exact same colors again.
*For those interested in possible "in-between" robots, I'll have to see what I have. I'm not ready to do anything with those yet, it may be a little while.
(I might just take some pics, number them, and offer like that as each is unique)
*email me at arkive5 (at) yahoo dot com for more details if interested (please include your Alphadrome name in email title and mention Robert so I know it's not spam)
Again, not sure where this info should rightly go, but I'll add it to wherever location is appropriate

Attached Images

  • AlphaMiniRobertPinkMarbledLight.jpg

Edited by ToyMemories, 12 June 2011 - 07:58 AM.

Mike (NY)

Now on Facebook!  https://www.facebook.com/ToyMemories
ToyMemories.com ~ Preserving Toy History
The Marx Files ~ Preserving the History of Marx Toys
MultipleToymakers.com ~ Home of the MPC Collection


#7 marco

marco

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 753 posts

Posted 10 June 2011 - 09:16 AM

what a great story, thanks for sharing this.

If you ever have the time them plz make me one in pink ! for my collection :-)

Marco

#8 Andyman

Andyman

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,334 posts

Posted 10 June 2011 - 11:31 AM

I can't wait to hear the rest of the story, Mike!