Robots 2002-1999

Written by Ed on Thursday, December 23, 1999.

So what is the reason for collecting these strange chunks of diecast?


Well, in my opinion these are the best toys produced in the entire 20th Century.  -Period.  
I have enjoyed collecting, reading, and research on toys my entire life and time & time again these well engineered toys rank at the top of my list for overall excellence.  There is great deal to be said about products built so well that they caused their parent company to go out of business (Takatoku & Bullmark & Clover), merge (Popy to Bandai), or stop manufacturing this quality of item ( Bandai switched to plastic).  The word Tucker comes to mind as an example of such quality. Admittedly I am a biased person coming from a technical background, but hey, I think I have some good arguments.  

Are Hot wheels really that great?  Considering they are about 2" long I consider them "a bit" diminutive.  On a good day the hood and doors open.  Red lines don't make my day.  
How about the good ole' GI Joe?  Well my impression is that if you see one you have seen them all.  If you take the shadow of one versus the other do you really see much difference?  
Barbie?  Well, if you like cheap plastic things and are a girl........  

Star Wars toys are similar in that one is like another but various items are truly great.  The fact that Billions of these plastic items exist takes the edge off of my interest.  They were produced to make vast amounts of money and succeeded.  Complex features, multi-step paintwork, and detail were omitted in the quest for cash. 

-What else..........Tin Robots.  Sincerely, I do have a deep respect for them but they are a bit "typical" to me.  On numerous occasions they are quite impressive, but if you take a shadow of the toy you quite often see the same arm leg body look; or for that matter the same body or arm may be used.   Features often stop with what you initially see.  By that I mean that you rarely have a transformation or have an extra  dimension beyond walking.  There are definitely exceptions (i.e. Mr. Atomic) and wonderful items that provoke deep emotions (Robby the Robot) but I love the extra dimensions that diecast robots have such as missiles, swords, other accessories, mind boggling over-packaging,  artistic box graphics, and transformations. 

Other tin lithographs can be exceptional, however I often miss the deep character of a diecast robot.  Disney lithos are an exception, but that becomes a limited list as compared to countless members of the Japanese robot world.  

High quality dolls often fall in the same one-dimensional category where what you see is what you get.  Some of the art is exceptional but they truly had their "heyday" in the 19th century.  

Vinyls and Jumbo Machinders I respect also, but intrinsically I have problems with shampoo bottles or other petrol based toys.  Vinyls are a bit too one-dimensional for my taste; again the features are lacking.  They were designed for size at the expense of detail, color, and quality.   Jumbos are often amazing but I enjoy the weight of metal.  I will concede, though, that there are some J.M. that blow my mind.  In generalities though if you put a collection of these next to a diecast collection you may concede my point.  
Lastly, I will mention the early toys of the early 20th century such as cast iron cars or steel planes.  They are primeval and crude toys that have a difficult time matching the enamel work, sticker application, engineering, or features of a diecast robot.  Quite often these toys lack an associated story, name, or character.  These heavy collectibles do rank high on my list, but consider this: Does an observer see a great difference from one steel car to another or from a red Buddy-L truck to the yellow one to the next?  Can a box of Tootsie Toys stir the emotions of a modern teenager?    

My last point is that it often appears that each diecast robot has a history or anthology associated with it.  Anime, movies, comic books, and live action TV shows inevitably result in / were created for these toys.  Tetsujin-28 saved Japan in the comics; Mazinger Z was a part of so many kids mornings;  Shogun warriors such as Dragun had comics and shot (child safety problems) their way into infamy; and Voltes V captivated the Philippines on television (and ultimately was banned).  There is an entire pop culture associated with Japanese robots.

With this biased engineer/computer programmer's point of view and lengthy ramblings, I invite you to enjoy pictures of my collection.  My humble web page has just started and is in development.  
Additionally I welcome comments, information, items for sale, personal experiences, or any constructive help.


Best Regards,



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About the Author



Ed a.k.a. Admin is the once lost & traveling soul that is now found. Robot-Japan is his love child born of constant travel and consulting. Now that a few children have anchored his life, this site to literally come into focus. This robot consultant will gladly help with valuations and relish the fresh zinc fumes.