Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Inspiration and Descendant

Pictured: a Block in robotic configuration, and what Matt D. calls "Tomy Maxx".

The lineage of robotic figures goes all the way back to the walking tin-toy robots of the 1950s, passes through various Marx and Ideal figures in the 60s, Star Wars, Micronauts and Star Team in the 70s, Robo Force and Transformers in the 80s, Z-Bots in the 90s, all the way through to today.
I bring this up because a lot of people ask me about licensing. Over the years, all of these different lines had robots, but they each had something unique to bring to the table. So my question to "you" is - what do you want a license for?

Manufacturing is a gamble. Any business is a gamble. You are trying to express something (or/and make some cash while doing it) and why would you want to hamstring your business by being locked-in to something which manages expectations? Is the robot in the above picture Maxx Steele/Maxx Zero, the invincible warrior of the Robo Force? Some people have stated they don't think it is, because their view of Maxx is something different - a bulky, suction cupped, bendy arm robot. Or a giant personal assistant robot who could actually talk. Nothing that anyone can do would meet those expectations.

Given a choice, I would have pursued my own original property*. I've spoken about it before - we were actually thisclose to an entirely different original concept being the launch line from Toyfinity. What expectations would people have if the line was something never before seen? None. It can be anything, as Glyos is. The relevance of the Block in the above pic, for people who are somewhat new to Glyos, is that the partial inspiration for it WAS Zeroids and Robo Force. That's part of what I love about the Block, and Glyos overall - it is like many things in aspects, but it isn't a copycat.
So, my advice to anyone who has dreams of starting their own toy line is to ask themselves "what is it that I want to have inhabit my life for the next few years?" Do you want to be dealing with licensors and quotas and all of the rest that goes into a standard license? Where's your inspiration? Why settle for "Crystar" when your Crystar is out there?

*I know this begs the logical question "why did you get licenses then?" The answer is really two-fold: one, I wanted to bring back the Mordles, and I'm sure any original property I would have conceived would have had a Mordle-inspired figure in it somewhere. Two, as I have said many times previously, Maxx didn't get a fair chance at retail because of the environment he was introduced into. If Robo Force was released in 1982, the conversation might be entirely different; 1984 was not a place where Robo Force as a concept was going to be able to stand up against Transformers and Go-Bots. Letting Maxx rot away forever in limbo was not something I was willing to let happen.


  1. I for one am very happy to see roboforce back I had the original toys and they had a tendency to break. I find that your design is nothing but an improvement in every way I just hope that you are successful enough to add some new parts so you can creat even more roboforce charecters.

  2. I am glad you made the choices that you did, but this was a very thoughtful and inspiring post. :)

  3. Revamping of anything can be like the story of the five "visually impaired" men who seek to understand what an elephant is truly. Each person brings a predisposition to their own way of thinking. No two people ever actually imagine the exact same thing. That being said, I really appreciate the world you have created and hope to continue exploring it along with you.

  4. I think you made the right choice Dr. Kent! Robo Force is what got me engulfed into Glyos and I eagerly anticipate each release you have. These toys are exemplary & a ton of fun! I still play with your original Maxx Zero Genesis version all of the time, as it is still one of my favorite toys ever (& over a year later!) Just keep bringing the magic! I think the new incorporation's you have with WOM for Cruel is exciting! I also hope that you will still see fit to release Deena & Mark someday soon as I need them to complete my Robo Force universe! I also hope that you continue this line as long as possible as I am in it for the total duration! It's an exciting brand with so many possibilities that I can't wait to explore, I have so many builds planned just from the inspiration of your fans, keep up the great work and we'll always be there! One of my hopes for 2015 is just MORE ROBO FORCE!!

  5. I consider myself more of a Toy Lover/Affectionado then a Toy Collector, but I enjoy Glyos because you can do more with it & have more options. I don't buy as much Glyos anymore as I used to, namely because back in 2009-2010 I used the parts to make custom characters so having Buildman parts & Phase Arms in a dozen colors was needed.

    Since then I'vd been doing more whole sculpting where I'm working on an entire figure as opposed to just a head, a pair of fists & a pair of feet. I don't make custom characters out of my Robo Force figures, I more just make unique robotic builds.

    As someone who has made Glyos resin figures, it's hard to differentiate from what I'd like to make and what I "need" to make. Growing up I was always very creative and imaginative, drawing my own characters and creating stories for them but I could never sculpt. Now, I can finally sculpt and seem un-able to do anything with this ability. It's almost like a cruel joke: I can finally do what I've wanted to do for years, but am un-able to due to financial restraints.

    The figure I am creating I'd like to had inhabiting my life as I feel it deserves it's shot in the ring. I think it has enough fun and design possibilities to give it longevity over the years. I just need to tweak a few things and after finally figuring out a design problem I can move forward.

    I am very curious to see what your original concept would have been Doc, have you ever mentioned what that was before? Or, will we ever see that first concept finalized?