My mother moonlights as an eBayer, which is likely a byproduct of watching me support myself that way when I still lived at home. Her walk-in closet is perpetually littered with garage sale finds, and has that familiar, dank aroma that can only be caused by the trash of seventy families conglomerating into a small, enclosed space.
I haven’t had much time lately to go garage sailing myself, so I kinda live vicariously through her. I got fed up with garage sales once everyone became vaguely familiarized with eBay and marked their used salt shakers up into the double digits. Still, if her purchases are any indication, there’s still plenty of good, cheap crap just waiting to be plucked for couch change.
On my most recent visit, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Somehow, someone held onto and sold a boxed Robo Force “Command Patroller,” apparently unused, and it only cost my mother fifty cents. Back when I was still hunting, these were the kind of finds I dreamed about.
She said she bought it a few weekends ago, and the fact that I didn’t even bother asking for permission before loading it into my car probably explains why she didn’t mention this to me sooner. Her fifty-cent investment bought me a blog entry, and for this I am eternally grateful.
If you don’t remember Robo Force, it was a mid-’80s series of robot action figures with Pop-Oid style arms and suction cup bottoms. Though obviously created as a direct result of Optimus Prime’s popularity, Robo Force toys were nothing like Transformers. The series wasn’t exactly a huge hit, but despite its obscurity, everyone who ever had a Robo Force toy remembers it. Robots with Pop-Oid arms and suction cup asses…not easily forgotten. There are some things you just cannot unsee.
I’ve already reviewed the largest toy in the series, the impenetrable Fortress of Steele. This Command Patroller was the second largest, and actually, it was the only vehicle in the entire Robo Force line. Why don’t we see what it does?
Right off the bat, the toy comes with the plus of being ridiculously gigantic. It’s bigger than it needs to be, sure, but that doesn’t falsify its size. Even shitty toys seem wonderful when they’re big enough, so if this thing has any cool features at all, I may have to ask it out and buy it lilies.
I just realized that this particular Command Patroller is missing several of its originally included plastic guns. That’s odd, considering that all of the cardboard was still in the box and the stickers weren’t even applied. Why would someone ransack the box for a few cheap guns? This is clearly the end result of a drunken dorm-wide scavenger hunt. I hate kids.
The weird shovel thing in the front…I’m not really sure what it’s for, and the description on the box nor the included instruction manual is helping to clue me in. I would assume that it’s intended to “scoop up” another Robo Force figure, but that seems like a pretty weak central offense for a vehicle large enough for me to hide inside.
There are two “revolving airlock bay doors,” which allow you to alternatively hide and reveal random Robo Force figures. The bay doors don’t lead anywhere, so all the robots can really do in there is wait for the right time to push the door open and yell PEEK-A-BOO at unsuspecting comrades. If that line didn’t read funny enough, remember to use your robot voice when you get to “peek-a-boo.”
Also of note is the “telescoping robot lift arm,” which is a longer way of saying, “claw.” The “claw” narrowly succeeds in holding single figures above ground, and I guess that was the robots’ way to imprison spies until they could be properly set on fire while their enemies engaged in ritualistic dances around them. If these guys would go through the trouble of building two gigantic, revolving doors that lead nowhere, voodoo sacrifice could not have been beyond their scope of interest.
Finally, there’s a big door that opens to reveal a fairly large compartment in the back. It isn’t big enough for the figures to fit inside (well, not without smacking them in sideways with some kind of metallic gavel), so I suppose that the robots use the hatch for weapons storage.
When I first popped down the big door, I found a neat Robo Force mini-comic hiding inside. It said PEEK-A-BOO. I haven’t gotten around to reading its substantial eight pages yet, because I’ve had enough fun this Fourth of July weekend and really don’t deserve to have more.
Okay, so it isn’t the most amazing toy in history, but as a fifty-cent garage sale find, it’s a roof-raiser. I would’ve paid more than quadruple that for the box alone, which would’ve then been cut up into tiny pieces and reformed into a beach-scene mosaic. I’d start doing that now, but even I know that I’d be pushing into a dangerous territory if I made a mosaic out of a Robo Force box on a Saturday night.
Happy SNT, the first of several for the Summer Megaparty!
Why don’t we try a totally unrelated survey? I honor of my recent cruise, discuss some of the worst vacations you’ve ever taken. I’ll post a few of mine in the comments later tonight.
Correction: I said that this was the only Robo-Force vehicle in the series. That was a huge lie. There were two. I was testing you.