Monday, August 3, 2009

Alphabot (John Rigg / 2009 / U.S. / 8.5 inches)

This is Alphabot. Say hello.

Alphabot is the creation of John Rigg, a man I wrote about yesterday. Based on a logo designed by Charles Austin Miller, the robot's a walking, blinking, buzzing mascot for Alphadrome, the online forum devoted to vintage space toys. 

Using input and ideas from other members of the forum, John designed the toy as a kit that collectors could build themselves. The robot's body is made out of aluminum, and its arms and feet are resin. It uses an old-school pin-walking mechanism and has swinging arms, illuminated eyes and grill, a spinning antenna, and a vintage buzzer. It's a successful homage to the vintage toys we all love so much, and a damn fine continuation of that long tradition of toy making. Interestingly, it also stands as the only metal production-run toy robot manufactured in the United States (as far as we can tell). 

The toy hasn't be officially released yet, though a few early prototypes were created so John could test out the construction and mechanical elements. I'd volunteered to pay for one of these early kits, though I asked John to build it up for me (because I definitely didn't trust myself with something so untested). He agreed, and that's how I ended up with Alphabot No. 4. And yes, I plan on buying a kit, too. Hopefully mine will come out even half as good as the one John constructed for me. 

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