#3364: Rocket Launcher Robot



I’ve talked exactly once before here on the site about the 1998 Lost in Space movie.  It’s got quite a reputation of being quite bad.  It’s a well-earned reputation, I’ll tell you that.  There’s a very short list of things about the movie that don’t totally suck.  Amongst them is the handling of the Robinson family’s companion the Robot. Voiced once more by his original series voice actor Dick Tufeld, the Robot got a radical redesign for the film, but one that was still pretty solid.  He also stuck pretty closely to his original characterization.  Unsurprisingly for any adaptation of Lost in Space, the Robot was also the most heavily merchandised member of the cast, forming the backbone of Trendmasters’ tie-in toyline for the movie.  He was available in all manner of styles and sizes, and I’m looking at one of the smaller ones today.


The Rocket Launcher Robot was one of two smaller-scale Robots released in 1998 to go with the main 5-inch scale Lost in Space line of tie-in figures.  This was the more standard of the two Robots at this scale, meant to serve as the Robot in his basic configuration from the first half of the movie.  The figure stands about 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation, as well as the same spring-loaded pop-up legs feature and rolling wheels seen on the Battle Ravaged version of this guy.  He’s also got a grabbing feature for the pincers on his hands, and his head extends outward on his “neck.”  The Robot’s sculpt is one of the best offerings Trendmasters had from its output for the movie.  It’s got a couple of parts in common with the Battle Ravaged release, though not as many as you might expect.  Obviously, the most of the upper half is unique, since the design is different, and all.  All of the arms are shared with the other release (though, the other figure only used one of the larger ones), as are the legs and outer treads.  The inner portion of the treads is different, so as to allow for rocket storage.  Everything makes for a solid recreation of the Robot’s updated design from the movie.  Some of the technical details are a little bit on the soft side, but it’s not out of line given the era, the price point, and the general style.  Since the figure gets “Rocket Launcher” as his descriptor, he understandably works in the shoulder launcher he has in the movie.  It’s a more complex mechanism in the movie, actually folding out and all.  While the larger Robot from Trendmasters did it more like the movie, this one goes more rudimentary.  The launcher is held to the back with a single peg.  You pull it out and re-orient it and boom: rocket launcher.  The paint work on this figure is generally pretty solid.  He’s more basic in his color work, but that’s more appropriate for this particular design.  He still gets all of the proper details he needs to.  Some of the application is a little sloppy around the edges, but it’s overall pretty good.  The Robot is packed with two rockets for his rocket launcher, which he can store in his treads.  He also got a sound feature.  When the button on his base is pressed, he alternates between “Weapons systems armed!” and a blasting sound effect.


I’m quite nostalgic for this movie, regardless of its quality.  I saw it in the theatre when I was 6, and I had a bunch of the toys.  This was the one main Robot release from this movie that I never had as a kid, and one I’ve been low-key keeping an eye out for in recent years.  Cosmic Comix got a run of Trendmasters Lost in Space figures in a little while back, and this guy was there for $5, and at that price, he was an easy grab.  He’s a fun figure.  Nothing fancy.  Just fun.

#1182: B-9 Robot




Last Monday, I took a rare look into the world of Lost In Space.  That was cool.  Why not do it again?

Minimates are a frequent topic of reviews on this site, and today’s focus comes from what is effectively the big-brother line to Minimates, Vinimates.  Now, Vinimates is a relatively new thing.  The line was officially launched at SDCC in 2015, but didn’t really get any proper releases until early 2016, and it really started picking up steam towards the end of last year.  They share a lot of stylings with Minimates, but in terms of actual feel, scale, and general design, they’re a lot like Funko’s various Pop! lines.  I’ve yet to really break into Vinimates, so why not start things off with one of my favorite designs of all time, the B-9 Robot!


lisrobotvini2The B-9 Robot was released as part of the Lost in Space sup-set of the larger Vinimates line.  He hit stores in mid-October, wedged in-between the Ghostbusters and Predator Vinimates.  The figure in today’s review is the standard version, but like the big electronic B-9, there’s also an Anti-Matter variation, which was available through select specialty retailers during Diamond’s Local Comic Book Store Day event.  The figure stands about 4 3/4 inches tall (about twice the size of your average Minimate) and has 1 point of articulation at the neck.  Most vinyl figures don’t sport more than that one point (including Pop!s), so it’s no surprise to see Vinimates follow the same pattern.  Of all the Vinimates currently available, the Robot is the one that least follows the Minimate aesthetic.  There’s no sign of the usual arm articulation (which is present on other figures in the line), and all of his details are sculpted on, rather than the usual painted line work we usually see on Minimates.  This isn’t too far removed from the Robot’s smaller predecessor, who made use of a pretty extensive selection of sculpted add-ons in order to properly convey the character’s unique design.  I’d say the closest connection this guy has to a Minimate is the slightly squarer shaping of his legs (and even then, it’s not that far removed from the Robot’s on-screen design).  Nevertheless, this figure has a pretty impressive sculpt, which does a great job of caricaturizing his show design into something slightly more goofy.  Even with his more cartoony nature, he’s still sporting quite a bit of detail work, which is quite impressive for this style of figure.  The paintwork on the Robot is pretty solid too.  It’s mostly basic color work, but it’s all appropriate to the design, and the application is nice and sharp.  As a larger figure, he’s able to make use of more clear plastic in in the appropriate sections than the mini version, which makes for a slightly more interesting look.


The Robot was given to me for Christmas by my parents.  No goofy story for this one, I’m afraid, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy him.  I’d been looking for a good entry point into Vinimates, and this guy was definitely the one for me.  He’s certainly different from what I usually expect from DST, but a solid offering nonetheless.  Who knows, maybe Vinimates will be the next big thing?


#1175: Electronic B-9 Robot – Anti-Matter




For Day 8 of my post-Christmas reviews, I’m switching gears and taking a look at a property I’ve only looked at a few scant times before, albeit one of my personal favorites, Lost In Space.  The last time I looked at something Lost In Space-related, it was one of the Trendmasters figures from the less than stellar 1998 movie.  Let’s try and do a bit better, shall we?

Instead, let’s turn to 1967.  It was the year of parallel universe stories.  Everyone remembers Star Trek’s “Mirror Mirror,” but all the cool kids remember that year’s *other* mirror universe story, Lost In Space’s “The Anti-Matter Man.”  These days, Lost In Space toys are pretty much limited to variations of the Robot, and the only merchandise from this episode follows suit.  There are not Anti-Matter John and Don to be found, but we did get the slightly less “goody-goody” incarnation of the B-9 Robot (who wasn’t quite so “B-9” in the Anti-Matter world), which I’ll be looking at today!


lisrobotantimatter2The Anti-Matter Robot is one of three available decos for Diamond Select Toys’ Electronic B-9 Robot.  This particular version was a Previews Exclusive and was released late last fall.  The figure stands 11 inches tall, has 8 points of articulation, bendable arms, and moving wheels on his base.  His sculpt (which is shared by all three Electronic B-9s) is a solid recreation of his design from the show.  It’s probably one of the closest recreations we’ve seen, so kudos to DST for that.  Some of the details are a little on the soft side, especially on the “feet.” There are also some obvious points of assembly on the clear sections of his head.  For the dome, it’s not a big deal, since it’s mostly hidden by the mechanics within, but for the top of his torso, it’s a little more annoying.  For the price, it’s not unreasonable, but it’s still a slight tick against the figure.  I do also wish the “mouth” on my figure was a bit better seated; it’s a bit crooked on mine, and that makes him look a little less like his on-screen counterpart, and just makes the figure look a lot cheaper in general.  While I appreciate the design of the arms, and really do appreciate how much movement you can get out of them, I do feel like the ability to slide them back and forth as seen in the show would have added a lot to the figure.  However, I suspect the lack of said movement may be tied to the presence of the electronics within the body.  Since the electronics were a major selling point of the figure, I can understand the need for some compromises.  As I noted above, the main difference between this figure and the basic B-9 Robot is paint.  The three Anti-Matter characters we see in the episode are all denoted as such by their black and while color schemes. Overall, the paint is pretty good, but there’s one notable inaccuracy; the colors on his right hand and arm actually reversed.  The arms should both match in color, and the hands should be black and grey.  I’m not sure why they get the colors wrong, but the same issue is present on the Vinimate version of this guy.  Maybe it was a licensing thing?  The Robot includes no accessories, but he does have some cool electronic features.  When turned on, he replicates the blinking light effects the Robot always had going in the show, and when the button on his side is pressed, he’ll say one of twelve phrases from “The Anti-Matter Man” (okay, they actually cheated it a bit.  I don’t think the Anti-Matter Robot actually has twelve phrases in the one scene in which he appears, so the last four phrases are just from the first episode).  It’s a much cooler feature than I was expecting!


Okay, so there’s kind of a funny story to this guy.  My dad’s a huge Lost In Space fan, and is the whole reason I even know of the show’s existence.  As I’ve noted in previous reviews, the merchandise for the show isn’t as plentiful as you might hope, but I do my best to find him as many exciting new figures as I can.  Since the Anti-Matter version of the Robot hasn’t gotten a toy before, I thought it would make for a pretty awesome Christmas gift for him.  “But, Ethan, if you bought it for your dad, why are you reviewing it?”  Well, this isn’t the one I bought for my dad.  A day or so after I ordered it for him, he called me from a small toy store just outside of Philcon, and asked about this figure, saying he’d just seen someone buy the last one at said store.  I took this as a sign that he thought it cool and I’d chosen the gift well, and even went so far as to talk it up a bit.  Cut to Christmas morning, when I opened up this figure, and immediately started laughing, and handed my dad his present, which is when he joined in on the laughing.  See, he had taken my interest in the figure as a sign that *I* wanted it, and had contacted our local comic book store to order me one, completely unaware that I was getting it for him.  I honestly couldn’t be happier; I love the Robot and I quite enjoy this particular episode, so I’m glad to have my own.  And now I’ve also got this amusing story of that time my dad and I bought each other the same Christmas gift to go along with it!

#0677: Battle Ravaged Robot




You know when you hear about a bad movie, for like a long time, and it just builds up this reputation of being so bad, and you think to yourself “it can’t really be that bad”? And then you watch it and it is indeed that bad? Yeah, that’s the Lost In Space movie from the 90s. To be fair, the movie isn’t completely without its merits. Among the positives are the end credits (and no, I’m not just saying that because they meant the movie was over. I actually like the end credits. They soothe me.) and the film’s take on the distinctive Lost In Space Robot. There were also some toys, which always excites me. Most of them were garbage, but some of the Robot toys didn’t suck. Let’s look at one of those!


RobotBR2So, this is the Battle Ravaged Robot, from Trendmaster’s movie-based Lost In Space line. He was one of the two versions of the Robot released to go with the 5-inch scale human figures. The Robot is based on two separate looks from the film, all rolled up into one figure. As the name notes, he represents the Robot after he’s damaged while fighting the spider-things on the derelict ship, but that’s actually more of an alt look for the more show-inspired, second half of the movie look that is the figure’s default form. In his default set-up, the figure is about 4 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation. He also had wheels on the underside of his base, allowing him to roll, as well as legs that have weird spring-loaded feature to them. Also, the pincers on the larger arm are supposed to move via the very obvious lever on the side, but they really don’t. The main base of the figure, the legs, and the lower arms were all shared between this figure and the other Robot in the series, which seems sensible enough. They’re actually pretty well sculpted parts for the time. They have plenty of detailing, and they match up pretty well with the designs from the film. The figure also gets a unique “torso” piece, which features the joint for his more classically show-inspired head, as well as a socket to plug in his larger third arm. The head and arm are both just as nicely sculpted as the re-used parts and match up pretty well, so that’s good. Paint-wise, the figure is a little on the simple side, at least for the source material, but he’s not terribly handled. There’s a nice mix of greys and browns, with the occasional blue cropping up as well. The paint works reasonably well for the second iteration of the Robot. The figure is packed with a two-piece shell, allowing him to be “transformed” into the Battle Ravaged version of the Robot’s first iteration. This is a cool idea, but the execution ends up being a little off, mostly due to the color schemes of the two designs being different. It doesn’t look terrible, and, to their credit, they’ve added some brown damaged parts to the torso shell, so as to make it look like the brown-colored parts of the second Robot are just additional damage, but it doesn’t quite work. The figure also had a sound feature, but the batteries are long dead on mine, so I have no idea what sounds it would have made.


I actually went and saw Lost In Space opening day. My dad and uncle had been big fans of the show growing up, so they took me and my cousin to see it. Truth be told, as a 6 year old, I didn’t mind the movie all that much. I really liked the Robot, so I ended up having a few of the toys of him, this one included. However, my original Battle Ravage Robot went missing, so I ended up getting this replacement from Yesterday’s Fun. He was the only LIS figure they had and I felt sort of bad for him. This figure definitely has some issues, and he comes from a pretty bad line, but he himself is actually a lot of fun. I’ve owned far worse.


#0134: Doctor Smith & B-9 Robot



The Marvel Minimates reviews wrapped up yesterday (well… sort of.  For a few days anyway.), but I’m not quite done with my new Minimates reviews!  Last year, Diamond picked up the license to sci-fi classic Lost in Space.  I was really excited!  Finally, a Joey Tribbiani Minimate!  I kid, I kid.  Anyway, they seem to be a bit apprehensive of diving into the line, so for the time being, we’ve only gotten Dr. Smith and the Robot.  This amuses me because they were the only two of the main characters completely absent from the original pilot for the series, and now it looks like they’ll probably be the only characters we receive from the show.  Kinda funny.  Anyway, the duo was initially released in black and white for SDCC, but they’ve just now released them in color, which is what I’ll be looking at today.


These two were released as a single set in the Lost in Space Minimates line, with no corresponding series.  So, there.


Have no fear, Smith is here!  Yes, first up, it’s the villain turned loveable coward, Doctor Zachary Smith.  Smith is based on his look a little ways into the series, after he had unofficially been added to the crew, and had received his own colorful uniform.  Well, maybe not as colorful as the rest, but still pretty out there.  He’s built on the basic Minimate body, so he features 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall.  He features two sculpted add-on: his hairpiece, and a collar piece.  The collar is reused from the Captain Pike figure included with the Enterprise.  The hair looks to be a newly sculpted part, and looks about right for the hairstyle that Jonathan Harris sported, though it may be a little full in the front.  The majority of the details rely on the paint, which is handled quite well.  All of the detail lines are sharp, and the basic paintwork is also pretty clean, with no slop.  The face has captured Smith pretty darn well, with a perfectly in character smug smirk.  Smith includes a laser gun, a clear display stand, and coolest of all: heads with alternate expressions!  There’s angry Smith and scared Smith, both important and frequent looks for the character, and both just as good as the standard head.


Okay, the package and all other material refers to this guy as the “B-9 Robot,” but let’s be honest: he’s THE ROBOT.  Plain and simple.  In a pinch, he might be “The Lost in Space Robot,” or “Robut,” depending on how you interpret Billy Mumy’s pronunciation of the word.  But I’m just calling him “The Robot.”  So, the Robot is based on his standard look from the show.  He never really changed like some of the other characters, but there were a few one-off looks he sported in a few episodes, so it’s an importand distinction.  The Robot is also built on the basic body, though the sculpted parts bring the articulation closer to 10.  The Robot’s kinda the anti-Smith in the sculpting department.  It’s easier to list what isn’t a new sculpted piece.  Seriously, he uses the standard arms and legs.  That’s it.  All the sculpted pieces look great, and are appropriately on model for the character.  This figure is an interesting case for Minimates, as it’s one of the few times a character’s design just won’t translate to the format without some serious use of unique parts.  I think they made the right call, but I can see how some people might think he takes away from the basic aesthetic of a Minimate.  The paint isn’t quite as good as the sculpt, with a few areas of slop here and there.  Nothing that ruins the figure, but it does pull him back a bit.  The Robot features no accessories, but that’s okay, given how many sculpted pieces he features.


I really love this set.  It makes me kind of sad that we likely won’t see anymore, because having the whole crew would be super awesome.  I’m a lifelong Lost in Space fan (it’s all my father’s fault), and I have always been on the lookout for cool toys from the series.  I can only hope that the sales on this set might encourage Diamond to release some of the others.