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May 30, 2004

A Tale Of Two Blockheads

Filed under: Toy News — Rumble Crew @ 10:41 pm

This has happened to all of us at one time or another. You read something about a toy you never knew or cared much about, and then, soon after, THE CRAVING sets in.

Well, this happened to me recently, but in this case, I zapped myself: it was me writing the article. You see, this tale began with two non-robotic blockheads, myself and Rob Duban. Super7 Magazine had tasked me with writing a Dougram article, and I figured I’d get more familiar with the pieces I didn’t already have by digging through the Duban Archives.

We did it proper: 40-ouncers were broken out and we began carefully liberating the toys from their cardboard and styrofoam cryo-chambers: the 1/48 Dougram, the Magnetype, and so on, and while I admired them, there was a strange reassurance as to why I didn’t own these: for whatever reason, they didn’t float my boat. That was, until we uncrated the Blockhead.

In my opinion, the cream of the 1980s “real robot” toys are the 1/72 Dual Models. They have the best of the best: great designs, solid construction, and kick-ass packaging. However, the Blockhead stands out because:

  • Blockhead Is Big – Yeah, yeah, yeah! It’s not small, no, no, no! Even with those hard-to-find antennae attached, the Dougram and Soltic only come up to the shoulder of the Blockhead.
  • The Visible Blockhead – The robutt comes with a set of translucent armor so you can see his futuristic innards.
  • Not Your Mom’s Box – Unlike the “art box” versions of the Dougram and Soltic, which require a little bit of hunting to acquire, all Blockhead boxes feature a classic Okawara painting of Ol’ Blocky, printed on that sensual textured cardboard.

Not that there aren’t a couple of downsides:

  • Low In Zinc – The metal chest that the Dougram and Soltic is missing here The Blockhead only has metal in the feet and the spring-loaded shins. That’s it.
  • Losing His Head – The head is held on pretty loosely, compared to the Dougram and Soltic. However, unless you want to hang him upside down, this usually isn’t an issue.
  • Red Is For Girls – Why Takara chose to make the red Blockhead instead of the much more manly desert tan one is a mystery. I guess it could be worse, Char’s Pepto Bismol pink…

Once I got back home, I started writing the article, and as you could expect, once I started writing about the Blockhead I started asking myself why in the great blue hell I didn’t have one. I reached out to my pal Tadayuki in Japan and asked him to start hunting for me, because I didn’t have much hope for finding one on the home front for a reasonable price. Days became weeks, then months, and still the lust burned deep within…

Eventually, my daily eBay searches yielded success. I shot, I scored! Amazingly, I was the only one bidding on it, so the price was more than nice. I was so ecstatic that I neglected to tell Tada that I found one. Of course, roughly eight hours after the end of the auction, he emailed me to tell me that he got one on Yahoo Japan. It was already paid for and on the way to him. Again, the price was right, so I thanked him and bought that one.

But what was I supposed to do with two of these? I thought about it, and finally I came up with a solution here. What the hell, they say the economy’s picking up, and we can go back to lighting our cigars with $100 bills, right?

For more of that down-home Dougram you crave, check out Super7 #5, with pictures by Rob Duban and words by yours truly. Buy it at your local book store or through their web site. I hope you enjoy it, and feel free to send me pictures of toys being crushed by cars.

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