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Big Building Bot

Imaginext
by yo go re

No longer content to merely homage their own toys or to homage other companies' toys, Mattel has now started homaging toys that never existed.

Series 12 of the Imaginext blind bags continues the trend started in Series 10 and 11 of figures updating the old Fisher-Price Adventure People - but since I never had Adventure People, I don't care about those at all. (For the record, this series' entry in the trend is a nod to the black "Clawtron" robot; looks pretty cool, but it's just not my jam.) No, the thing I wanted could be found in the bag with a small number "60" stamped unobtrusively along the top edge - this totally oddball robot. But that's because this oddball has a history.

In the 1988 movie Big, an adult woman tries to have sex with a 12-year-old boy. Or, if you prefer recaps that aren't accurate-yet-wildly-misleading, 12-year-old Josh Baskin makes a wish on a fortune telling machine and overnight becomes Tom Hanks. In between faking his own kidnapping and stocking the coolest loft ever, Josh managed to land an executive position at the MacMillian Toy Company. Attending a meeting (in which he inadvertantly created Beast Wars eight years earlier than Hasbro), Josh badmouths a toy being pitched by his co-worker. That toy was a skyscraper that turned into a robot - quite specifically, this robot.

Looking at the fake toy in the movie, it had a blue face with large red eyes that looked translucent - like they would light up. The mouth, too. They're red here, but solid. The movie bot also didn't have big ear-flaps like this version does, but there are some sort of details there; maybe they were meant to fold open like this, and it was just never shown on-screen? It's entirely possible (since nearly all the toys in the movie were Mattel products) they had access to the real prop, or at least its specs, and included a feature nobody knew about until now.

Transformers in the '80s were already basically just rectangles, so a robot that disguised itself as a building would take that to new extremes. The Imaginext toy doesn't have to suffer under the same restrictions, so its body is wider at the chest and narrower at the waist, and curves organically. The "windows" sculpted on the body follow the lines of the torso, getting smaller and closer together as the waist squeezes in. There are 11 rows of them across the front and back, and 10 columns - though not 110 windows, because the doors block some of them. There are more on his sides, and the back of the head. The blue arms end in blocky red claws, and his robotic legs end in large silver boots.

Imaginext figures move at the hips (both legs swivel up as one), swivel wrists, swivel/hinge shoulders, and swivel neck. Sadly, the limbs cannot collapse into the body, leaving us with a plain building, but we knew that was going to be the case from the outset.

The Imaginext blind bag figures usually come with an accessory, even when they don't need it. This one does not need it. Included in the bag with the robot is... a giant purple hammer. Wha-huh? It's reused from Harley Quinn, with big holes cut out of the sides, and it fits in the claws well, but... why? Why, other than "we feel like we have to" did they bother including this superfluous bit of needlessness?

The Big Building Bot is at once an homage to an old toy and an homage to a toy that never existed. That's a pretty awesome oddity, and a clever inclusion in this line.

-- 05/23/19


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