Rabbit Engineering Mini Machines

tWe live in an age of wonders. Well, okay, you could say that of any point in history, but I have to remind my kids that things like my oldest son’s 3-D pen simply did not exist when I was a kid. Somewhat haphazardly, he can create three-dimensional objects on an empty table where that object did not exist before. He didn’t have to prototype it in a CAD program and send it off for someone to do a test shot. He just…drew something in 3-D. I was born in the 1970s, and was present for the transition from foot-tall G.I. Joe figures to Star Wars figures that fit in my shirt pockets. I had Spirograph. My kids have pens that draw physical constructs in mid-air. My mind boggles. I want to play in that world. I can’t afford a 3-D printer. But maybe I can dip my toes in the water by obtaining something 3-D printed. Like these.

Rabbit

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Star Wars 40th Anniversary: Stackable “Trading Card” Mugs

Star Wars 40th Anniversary: Stackable Trading Card MugsEvery once in a while, I’ll see or hear word of a product that fills me with such enthusiasm that I order my own pretty quickly, looking without leaping as it were. While that kind of impulse buy can occasionally lead to a facepalm and some buyers’ remorse, this time I lucked out with Underground Toys’ set of stackable mugs celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of Star Wars.

I have found that my Star Wars fandom has aged in a very particular and peculiar direction: stuff that takes me back to the heady early days of Star Wars fandom, I’m a sucker for. Continue reading

Space Toys II: Unmanned

As many science fiction toys as I collect, you probably wouldn’t think of me as someone who bemoans the lack of science fact toys. But the fact of the matter is, there can never be too many toy replicas of real spacecraft on the market to keep me happy.

Ironically, 2/3 of this this diverse cross-section of three American space trailblazers in toy form don’t even come from the United States at all. To find readily available toy replicas of the Voyager and Viking probes launched in the 1970s, one must apparently be able to get them from Japan. Continue reading

Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer

Lego Star Wars Star DestroyerThe time had finally come. I had longed to get my hands on the Ultimate Collectors Series Star Destroyer, but that $300 price tag was an effective deterrent. No more. A quick order from Lego.com (whose S&H is quite reasonable, I might add) and a week later a BIG box arrived in the mail.

I realized that I was in for quite a project when I opened the box and discovered four more boxes plus a 226-page spiral-bound instruction manual. The first task was to figure out a place to assemble this behemoth. Continue reading

Blake’s 7 1979 Annual

Blake's 7 1979 AnnualPublished by the same outfit that was turning out Doctor Who “annuals” at the time, the Blake’s 7 1979 Annual is a curious snapshot of the BBC’s eyebrow-raising marketing of what was supposed to be an adult science fiction drama series.

It’s even made clear, in the opening pages which introduce the characters to young readers, that some of Blake’s crew are murderers, thieves, and embezzlers – this is fairly stout stuff for kids. Continue reading

Q*Bert

Q*Bert figures - photo copyright 2000 Earl Green / theLogBook.comThe year was 1983. The Star Wars franchise was winding down, and the Pac-Man craze had mostly subsided. What was a toy company like Kenner to do? The next best thing to Pac-Man at this point was to hop onto a multicolored flying disc with Q*Bert.

The D. Gottlieb Co. video game was an almost instant hit because of its unique game play and an extremely marketable cast of characters. CBS rushed a Q*Bert cartoon onto the air, and Q*Bert merchandise began to hit the store shelves. Continue reading

Donkey Kong

Whereas Coleco only had non-exclusive toy and electronic game licenses for Pac-Man, the company had grabbed almost all rights to Nintendo’s Donkey Kong. The primary reason for this was to ensure that the game would be the first game packed in with the ColecoVision game console. But Coleco also took advantage of the license to produce small PVC figures of three main characters from the Donkey Kong games in 1982. Continue reading

Pac-Man

In 1982, at the peak of Pac-Man Fever, Coleco introduced a line of Pac-Man toys, including a half dozen bendable PVC figures based on the game. The characters included Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Blinky the ghost, Mr. Pac-Man, Mrs. Pac-Man, and – perhaps oddest of all – “Pac-Angel.” Other companies also cashed in, and Midway – Namco’s American licensee for the game – handed out the rights to produce Pac goods like a bunch of dots in a maze. Continue reading