Jul 20, 2013
Sometimes the actual name of a toy says it all. Today I have for you a series of figures from a line cleverly called Robots, Lasers & Galaxies (no Oxford comma here, thank you very much. These guys are far too hardcore).
A man came in to my shop yesterday and sold a large collection of toys, and buried in the bottom was a set of largely unremarkable figures. I could instantly see that they were cheapo knock offs and not typically my thing, but in this case the name was all it took to grab my attention. Seriously, for a sci-fi fan like me, could there even be anything missing from a name like Robots, Lasers & Galaxies? Doubtful. I guess they could have called it Robots, Lasers & Galaxies & Explosions & Aliens… that would be perfect.
Made by legendary knock off toy maker, Imperial, these uphold their tradition well.
To truly recognize how cool these things are you have to first understand what a knock off is, that is, in technical terms. Knock offs and bootlegs seem like the same thing and I hear collectors use the terms interchangeably all the time; however, they are in fact quite different. A bootleg is an unauthorized copy of something, the idea is that a manufacturer makes an exact copy (or as close as they can) of an existing piece of merchandise and then passes it off as the real deal. Luis Vuitton handbags at a fraction of the cost of regular prices are either stolen or just bootlegged copies. The people who make them or sell them can actually be prosecuted due to the criminal nature of bootlegging.
Knock offs, if done right, are totally legit. They tip toe the line between copying something and merely hinting at it. If we go back to the handbag analogy, a Louie Vitton labelled bag would now be a knock off and not a bootleg. Sure, a large number of people may buy it thinking it is the real thing, but if they look more closely it is quite definitely not the correct spelling. Sneaky right?
At 6″ tall, these are inexpensive plastic robot figures released in 1984. Initially these would have sold in five and dime type stores for today’s equivalent of about a dollar a piece. In 1984, kids were looking to get their hands on Transformers and it is not too difficult to see some similarities between these and their more expensive Hasbro counterparts. I’m sure many a grandparent picked up one of these thinking they had scored a deal for little Johnny and hoped he would not notice. In almost all cases kids noticed – D’oh!
Each figure comes with a couple of weapon accessories which can connect to either of the fists and can be interchanged with the other robots in the line.
Barring the coloration, the bodies are identical for all four of these guys. The only difference comes in the chromed-out heads which are unique designs.
One stand out feature for me is the art on the backing card. Usually, even for more pricey toys, the same design is used on all cards. In this case there is a different design for each of these Robot Warriors: Radon, Exnon, Exceller, and Avatar. The quality is pretty great and each depicts an action scene with robot in question doing what they do best.
In terms of value, well that is really up to you. These are generally tough to find as nobody ever thought to keep them. That being said, without a specific license attached, they typically have a limited audience. I would say $20-25 each would be fair, and the person paying it would be a collector of something like Voltron or Transformers looking for an interesting curiosity to add to their extensive collection of more legitimate items.
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