Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Return of Robo Force

It's funny. The return of Robo Force was never supposed to happen.
Then Tiltor showed up...
I've related the story before, but not 100% from my perspective.
I've had a standing search for Robo Force on eBay for years. The line was pretty difficult to complete, actually. I had a hard time finding four of the figures to complete my set: S.O.T.A., Maxx Steele himself complete and unbroken, Vulgar, and Cruel. Personally, I think Blazer is the most common one.
After years of using AOL for my e-mail, I switched over to Gmail a few years back and have greatly enjoyed the change - except for ONE THING. AOL could never be accused of trying to actually improve the experience - they don't back up your e-mails (or at least didn't five years ago). They have some kind of proprietary filing cabinet system where you can't open your e-mails without AOL (3rd parties have done some work on this since, but I haven't seen one that worked 100%).
Gmail is continuously moving buttons and functionality around. And such was part of the reason I didn't get Tiltor. The only Tiltor, potentially, in the entire world. At least, for now.

You see, Gmail has pretty strong spam filters. And one day, I tagged an eBay standing search as spam. Which caused Gmail to put ALL of my eBay searches into spam. A buddy of mine contacted me about a toy auction that he thought I'd be drooling over, only to find out I hadn't heard about it at all. Some digging in Gmail showed that I had missed over a week of e-mails from eBay.
It was around the same time that I saw this post over on Roboplastic Apocalypse.
Tiltor had come up for sale, and I missed it. Perhaps I would have been too late even with the auto searched, perhaps not. But Steve at the RA was kind enough to invite me onto his podcast to talk with him and Spacecaps, the buyer of said Tiltor, to help try and determine it's origin.

I'll admit - I was mega pissed off that I missed this figure. Prototype/test shots are rare finds from vintage lines - usually you find a bunch at once, such as the recent find of Animax prototypes at a cleanout. And an unproduced character! But such is life.
My OCD kicked in pretty hard and I started searching the internet for any possible information on where this Tiltor came from. Maybe another had popped up. Things are always being archived somewhere. This once led me to a set of unproduced Gi Joe Manimal figures:

Stuff is out there, all over the place. It just depends on time and place.
But little did I know that Tiltor was the key to everything.
While searching, I found the following drawing:
Image shown courtesy of my buddy Mike over at, without whom none of this would have been possible. The same image that I saw for Tiltor's head. If Mike had chosen to scan any other part into the computer, we might not be having this conversation. But that is how the universe works at times. You don't get a one-of-a-kind prototype, but instead are presented opportunity.

My big interest from the wreckage of Ideal Toys was NOT Robo Force, believe it or not - but an obscure line from the 80s called Rocks and Bugs and Things. My brother Michael carried around the accessory figures from that line, the Mordles, for years afterward.

I was highly interested in Mordles. Over a number of months, I talked to Mike about where he had obtained the blueprints from Ideal and who might own the rights. Skipping over months of legal fact checking and negotiation, and the rights to a few Ideal properties were mine.
This put me and the Toyfinity team in a strange position. Collectors frequently say "If I were in charge of a toyline, I'd do this!" Now we were in that position. What was the best way to bring back these lines - never the greatest selling lines of all time, but fondly remembered by many of us. How to stay true to what the intentions of these lines were?
Enter Matt Doughty.
Matt is the genius behind the Glyos System Series, a toyline which uses interchangeable pieces to bring to life a number of robots, aliens, and monstrosities from his imagination. Since 2007, he has made well over 300 products in the Glyos System Series, and a number of other independent toy production companies have released products fully compatible in this system, including the Weaponeers of Monkaa, the return of the classic Outer Space Men and Power Lords, Godbeast's Kabuto Mushi, NiStuff's 481 Universe, and the soldiers of the Banimon universe.

Matt has been a long-time friend and I love this product (even if I was initially skeptical of independent toylines after previous attempts). There was really no other way I wanted to bring these characters back other than as part of the Glyos System.
It all started with a drawing, which you'll see soon here and on the main Glyos blog, a little over a year ago. My main direction to Matt, who is the true architect of this figure design, was simple: "Make Robo Force Glyos." Later, I insisted that Hun-Dred, Sentinel, and Enemy be part of the design, as well as Hun-Dred's signature claws. But truthfully, the new Robo Force is much more than the sum of its parts. It's the realization of the dream of four friends to bring quality toys to the marketplace, and resurrect a beloved memory who never got his chance due to an insane suction cup selling point, huggy/crushy power action arms, and going up against possibly the biggest toy-originated property every known, the Transformers.

Below, see the Advanced Form Maxx Zero, buildable using all 41 parts from the first Robo Force kit, on sale tonight at 9 pm EST.
 Hundreds of robotic variations are possible with this kit, and can be increased with any existing Glyos system compatible product. Check out one crazy ROBO FORCE's Sentinel the Protector of Robo Force build created by Matt Doughty below.

The original Steele-Forged Heroes are back! Get your hands on them tonight at 9 pm EST.
Check back soon for the first installment of the all-new Robo Force comic book written by myself and drawn by Jerzy Drozd!

I couldn't end this post without special thank you kudos to my partners Mike Hart and Charlie Parry without whom this would not have been possible; my brother Michael for his unwavering love of Mordles; Mike K. and Jay for their inspiration and support; Marcus, Jesse, Ron D., Paul and the rest of the team over at Onell for all of their work on this project; all of those who have supported the Toyfinity project over the last year, with website coverage, encouragement, artwork, and such; James Groman for helping me realize a dream - we'll get REDACTED in here someday!; my father John Kent for always giving me the final push into following my dreams, no matter how insane they are; my wife Kelly for her endless support over the last decade in realizing these dreams, and my bestie Debbie for the same; and finally, Matt Doughty himself for all his work and inspiration on this project. Couldn't have done it without you, and wouldn't have wanted to. We did it! Looking forward to the next project! 

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