Monday, November 2, 2009

Atom Robot (Yoshiya / 1964 / Japan / 6.5 inches)

Digging way back into the early days of my collection again for this next entry. Atom Robot was either the second or third robot I ever purchased; it's a little tough to tell, because I won my first three vintage robots on the same day, and this was either the second or third to show up in the mail.

I love this toy. I remember when I first saw it on eBay. I didn't really have any great robot books at the time, and didn't know much about it. I agonized for a few days, unsure about whether or not I wanted to risk my limited funds on it. Like I said, two other robots had caught my eye, one of which was very much a first-love kind of piece. But something about the Atom Robot kept calling my name... Then a large freelance check rolled in and suddenly I decided to do something rash: Bid on all three toys! It's a story I've told before: See here and here. Spoiler alert: I won all three.

It's the smallest of the skirted robots, but apparently, no one told its designers because they crammed in enough intricate lithography to fill a robot twice its size. Front, back, sides -- beautiful graphics are everywhere.

Perhaps even more impressive are all the details stamped into the tin itself. Japanese craftsman -- masters in their field -- managed to give Atom Robot complex angles and raised rivets all over its body. Getting that sharp an impression from that small a piece of tin without distortion -- or ruining the litho, which was laid down prior to stamping -- is mind boggling.

So many of the lithoed details are also stamped into the toy's tin.

As if that weren't enough, the toy designers took the time to add separate pieces of trim, those neat ear pieces, textured arms, and that amazing face -- which features a separate nose/mouth plate and those reflective greenish-yellow eyes. Expressive!

The robot's "ears" are part of the head trim.

All the details on the arms are raised as well as lithographed!

Note all the different components that make up the face and head. I particularly like the reflective elements in the eyes.

For all the complex details, the Atom Robot is a surprisingly simple toy. It features fly-wheel powered bump-and-go action that's powered by a small crank. The arms swing freely as he rolls around.

The Atom Robot isn't rare, making it a fairly easy and relatively inexpensive toy for collectors to add to their shelves. It can be found in three versions: Green eyes, red eyes, and red eyes/red litho mouth. Personally, I like the green eyed version the best -- the color really pops amidst all the red litho.

This toy has followed me for many years and through many moves. Since getting it, my collection has grown considerably, and some mighty rare and impressive 'bots have joined it on my shelves. But to this day, it's still a robot that draws my eye and makes me smile.

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