& Collectibles................
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The Gang's All Here


Charlie took this group portrait of this gang of recent robots. Except for three metal models that hail from the '60s, all of these robots came out after the Lost in Space movie, or were still available at retail prices, as in the case of the Masudaya windups and the Rocket USA spaceships. They all retailed at between $20-40 US.

Six lunches later

Want a good deal on a great toy? How about free?

Spin through the Jack in the Box drive thru, and six kids' meals later (or six bucks), you'd have yourself an Exploration Ship. You could be forgiven for passing up the offer. How exciting does an Exploration Ship sound? And it's free--how good could it be? But look at all it does. The six components in the second picture combine to make the ship in the first picture, but they each do something too. From left to right, top row: Strata 6; Argus 4; Nexus 5; left to right, front row: Manta 2; Sentry 1; Triad 3.

Pull back and release Strata 6, and it runs forward while the drill spins. Push the button on Argus 4, and the scanner dish pops up and rotates as you push it along the floor. Push Nexus 5 forward and sparks shoot up under its clear dome. Push a button on Manta 2 to eject the space glider. Press the button on Sentry 1 and its dual laser LEDs light up. Give Triad 3 a shove and it rolls across the floor.

Put these all together into the ungainly looking ship in picture one, and how much still works? Push the button and the space glider still ejects. Push the button on Sentry 1 and now its lasers shine through engine ports in Manta 2. Surprisingly, pull the whole ship backwards and let it go and it races across the floor a lot better than Strata 6 did by itself.  So three components, Strata 6, Sentry 1, and Manta 2 still operate. Arguably, Argus 4 and Nexus 5 don't do anything in the transformed ship, unless they help stabilize it (and it would look odd without side engines). Triad 3 looks the oddest, riding piggy back at the rear, but it does provide a second dome. Jack in the Box brought back space-themed giveaways in a big way with this 2003 follow-up to its Create-a-Bot line of robots with interchangeable parts. You're alright, Jack!

the Doctor!

Soon destroying a universe near you.

Dr. Who's nefarious nemesis, the Daleks, invaded the new millenium via Britain's Product Enterprise Ltd., the new BBC licensee for Dr. Who. Left is the talking Dalek, with five authentic Dalek commands and flashing LEDs. Reminiscent of the early Marx talking Dalek, the new models are very well-made, available in three colors and retailed at around $40 US. Wreaking havoc since 1963, the Daleks may be celebrating a fortieth anniversary of destruction. Not to be outdone, the three little roll-a-matic Daleks shown here plot the Doctor's demise. "Menacing Motor Action! Fully Articulated! Highly Detailed!" touts the ad copy, but that is almost an understatement. They are very-well made and finely detailed, and have pull-back motors. Four different sets, each with three 2.5 inch daleks were available for around $25 US per set of three. Product Enterprise also released talking Davros and Cyberman, and a radio command Dalek.