Zanbot 3 - Die-Cast Toys
You know how there are those certain playthings that you're really sentimental over? This is one of mine. Perhaps a missile firing robot isn't a typical winsome image, but this guy is for me. There isn't a lot of info on Zanbot 3 on the internet, but it was a Japanese anime series from the late 70's. When sniffing around to learn more about these toys I've gotten the impression that they may be worth a few bucks (if you've got any info, please post it in the comments section), but these are among the few things I will never, ever sell.
It's not because I'm a crazy fan of the program (entitled "Invincible Super Man Zanbot 3" to be precise) - in fact I've never seen it. Since the late 70's I've have two of the three "space base" toys, and they combine into two-thirds of a mega-vehicle. Hopefully we'll be okay if we ever have to fight with two-thirds of Voltron.
Also great is that each space-base actually shoots a missile. Zanbot came out before the 1979 ruling that forbad toys that shot missiles small enough to choke a child. So it looks like I had my robo-fun just in time, but that's still not why I'm hanging on to Zanbot.
I've kept these toys over the years (in their boxes too... I was a real pain in the butt kid...) because I still like the same aspects of them that I did as a child. I guess that I'm always going to love robots and spaceships, but now I also appreciate the bright color scheme and the design aspect. American spaceships tended toward the monochromatic, and I don't remember any domestic robot with a spiked helmet like this guy.
If there is some melancholy in my reminiscence, it comes from my memory of first getting these ships. As a boy, my father was frequently in the hospital, and sometimes, just sometimes, my mother would take me to buy a little toy. These mini rigs were inexpensive enough to get a pair, and I whiled away many hours in that hospital room the way that only a little boy can - far flung battles across the galaxy, crazy mouth sound effects, and I seem to recall the destruction of a space fort made of plastic spoons.
I had some other simple toys to litter that room with - erasers shaped like rockets, a gyroscope... lots of the sorts of things that we've talked about in these pages. I wish that I could somehow thank all the simple, cheap toys for their help back then. I don't think that you should hide big problems from kids, but the big thrill from a little toy can certainly help in taking on Real Life Stuff.