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Member Since 25 Feb 2003
Offline Last Active Aug 28 2014 06:47 PM

Topics I've Started

Some Alphadrome Features I'd Love To See

11 June 2014 - 03:12 PM

I don't know how much of this is at all feasible, but I'll toss it out there...


The mobile version of Alphadrome is pretty good, but the one thing I can't seem to do is upload photos to the site from my phone. Is this possible and I'm just missing it? And if not, do you know if this is a feature that can be added to the mobile version? 


I know there was a hint at an Alphadrome App... Any further movement on this? Will it allow mobile image uploads? 


In a perfect world, I'd love to be able to snap some pics of a trip to Morphy's and then send them to you guys without having to get back to a computer. Fun for everyone! :)

Defining Variations: Five Distinct Categories

28 May 2014 - 08:05 PM

Recently, we've seen a few good threads having to do with variations of different robots. A friend and I were discussing variations recently and after a while we realized that they all seem to fall broadly into one (or more) of five distinct categories. There's wiggle room and the definitions aren't always rock solid, but generally speaking, this SEEMS to hold up. 


I'm curious to hear what others think. And before you shout out exceptions... Check to see if it does, in fact, fall into one of the following categories. 


1. Variation due to Intentional Design & Marketing

2. Variation due to Intentional Evolution

3. Variation due to Factory Region

4. Variation due to Factory Tolerance

5. Variation due to Factory Error


Here's how my friend and I define the categories.


1. Design & Marketing

This is when a toy company intentionally produces a toy in different variations. They could include different colors, different mechanisms, different ammo (if a gun), different power sources, etc. The key here is that the toy maker consciously decided to create multiple versions of the toy and then marketed the toy as having those variations. 


Examples: Smoking Spaceman, Zoomer, the Buck Rogers Sonic Gun, the three colors of the Robot 5


2. Evolution

This is when the design of a toy changes over time, but not with the intent of introducing a variation. The changes aren't marketed by the company, but they are deliberate and intentional. Often these changes are there to cut costs, but not always. 


Examples: Planet Robot (rubber vs. metal hands; thick vs. thin legs; etc.) Note: The Planet Robot's color variations WOULD be a Category 1 variation. But not these other differences. Another good example would be Robert The Robot, which lose the lights and tool drawer over time. A good ray gun example would be the Martian Guided Missile Bloon Gun; the two versions have different methods of holding the balloon in place, and the second version lost the rear sight. Yet another example would be the recently discussed Golden Robot, which has two different styles of feet and thick vs. thin legs. 


3. Factory Region

You don't see this variation as often with these old robots, but it pops up all the time with more modern toys. For instance, some Luke Skywalker action figures have light brown hair and some have yellow (and some have orange). Over the years, collectors have traced each version back to different factories -- Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc. Why the different colors? Who knows -- it's just a regional thing. 


4. Factory Tolerance

Because these old toys were made before the use of computers and computer-controlled color matching processes, we often see slight variations. These aren't mistakes, they're just the result of toys being made 50+ years ago. Maybe a batch of litho ink didn't go down properly; maybe the metal particles in metallic plastic settled too quickly; maybe the plastic pellets didn't mix right -- any of these could lead to variations.


5. Factory Error

This variation is the result of someone screwing up. Maybe an assembly worker puts the wrong arms on a robot, or puts them on backwards, and no one catches it. Maybe the injection molding machine wasn't flushed properly and some of a previous color mixed in with the next color batch. Maybe someone sticks two green knobs on a gun instead of a green and a yellow, or grabs two left hands, or puts the wrong colored nosecone on a rocket. This happens all the time, and often we end up with some pretty cool variations!


Factory Error isn't the same as Factory Tolerance. A mistake isn't the same as natural variances in the manufacturing process. 


Anyway... That's my thinking. I welcome other people's thoughts on this.

Botstock 11 Giveaway: Alpha Squadron Figures!

20 May 2014 - 04:17 PM

With Botstock 11 less than two weeks away, I thought I'd pull back the curtain on a give-away I've been working on with Karl Tate (Phase Pistol).


Presenting: Alpha Squadron! 


Inspired by the Archer spacemen, I decided to sculpt two figures, an Alphabot and an Alpha-naut, which I then cast in blue, red, or yellow resin. Karl designed some old-school space art for the header and backing cards. The run is limited to 24 sets of two figures, and each set is signed and numbered. 


I'll be giving the sets away for free at the Botstock banquet on Saturday night. I also cast a few special Alphabots using spacey metallic colors -- I'll be including some of these in the evening's raffle.  


Unfortunately due to mold deterioration, I only have the 24 sets -- this means only one set per Alphadrome household + Bryan Hayes and John Rigg. It's possible I'll do another run in the future once I've made new molds and I'll offer them here. 


Apologies for the cruddy camera-phone pics.


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Reminder: Botstock Attendance Thread

25 April 2014 - 04:01 AM

I just wanted to remind everyone that if you're planning on attending Botstock, PLEASE add your name to the attendance thread in the Botstock Sub-Forum. Many people are bringing giveaways and stuff -- for instance, John's new Alphabot -- and it would be really helpful to have an accurate head count.

I'm posting this here just in case there are people who aren't regularly checking the sub-forum.

If you need to add yourself to the list, remember to do it in the official thread, not here.


Hake's 3/20/14: Anyone else win anything?

20 March 2014 - 08:28 PM

Hake's just wrapped up another fun auction. I picked up two things -- neither is super high end, but both are pieces I've wanted for a long time.


The first is an original program from the very first World Science Fiction Convention (New York, 1939). A classic piece of science fiction memorabilia! 1939 was an awesome year for science fiction and genre publishing (and therefore all the things I collect). Not only the World Con, but also the NY World's Fair. It was also the year the first paperback -- Lost Horizon (Pocket Books No. 1) -- was published (it's a story about lost cities, Shangri-La, etc.) I've only seen two of these programs for sale -- one of them sold for three times what I paid. So yeah... I'm pretty happy about this one! :)


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I also won a mint-on-card Ideal Space Solar Watch. It's an odd little toy and I'm not really sure why I like it so much -- but I do! It's very mid-century spacey, just the kind of piece that inspires dreams of interstellar adventure! (Not sure how accurate that sun dial would be on a planet with a different rotational speed, distance from its sun, and orbital velocity... but why be a killjoy? Ha ha.) It'll go nicely with my Ideal Space Goggles and Ideal Futurama Gun. (I've got an old ad sheet with all three on it, too.) I've never seen a carded example before. (I'm sure there are others out there, I've just never run across one.)


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There were some other GREAT items up for grabs -- especially the amazing boxed (with instruction sheet!) Flash Gordon Signal Pistol. By far the best complete example I've ever seen! Wow! Also original comic book art (including preliminary pencils for Alan Moore's "Batman: Killing Joke," one of the finest Batman stories of all time...); amazing Disneyana; an original on-set painting from Rod Serling's "Night Gallery" (drooool...); some rare Buck Rogers artifacts (a glass slide from the serials, transcription records, etc.); and a nice selection of robots. I just wish I had more money! :)


Did anyone else pick anything up? Share your victories here! 


(BTW, if anyone picked up the Buck Rogers slide or transcription records, and if you're going to Botstock, I'd love to take a look at them up close if you feel like bringing them along. Fascinating stuff, I've never seen anything like them before.)