A mystery in the toy world: What's the "W" on the W Robot stand for? "Wonderful"? "Wicked"? "Wow"? I have no idea. Like I said, it's a mystery! What's not a mystery is that this little robot is super cool. (See what I did there? It's call reincorporation, and it's a writing technique that's so common it's actually a cliche. But I did it anyway, because that's how I roll.)
I've always liked this funky little 'bot. His unusual, round body, the playful litho, that cool sparking window on his chest -- he's a true original! The W Robot is a fairly common toy, relatively inexpensive, and often an early addition to many people's collections. I think he was my fourth or fifth robot, and I remember being excited to discover a toy I recognized immediately from one of the great books by famous Japanese collector T. Kitahara. (Not that this particular example of the toy appeared in the book, of course.)
The W Robot is part of a category of robots known as "paddle wheels," so called because of their unusual walking mechanism that employs a pair of off-axis wheels connected to paddle-like feet. Unlike his cousins, though, the W robot's mechanics are much more finished looking.
There are a number of variations on this particular robot. One version has more human-like arms, which are in fact taken from a paddle-wheel astronaut toy that uses the exact same body as the W robot, but entirely different lithography. Another version of the W Robot features a small, plastic spinner on its head. A third, extremely rare version -- I've only seen one -- has a different red gel on its chest. And lastly, there's a version of the toy produced by a Greek company that has a different symbol on its chest (and is marked as being made in Greece).
By the way, the background in these shots is yet another experiment. I was trying for something vaguely lush and organic, something weird with a lot of texture. I think I achieved it, but I'm not sure it actually works. It's a little busy, I think. Nice, but maybe not quite right for photographing robots. The opening shot, in particular, lacks sufficient separation between the subject -- the 'bot -- and the background. The lighting's too strong, and there depth of field isn't nearly shallow enough. Oh well, live and learn!
1 year ago