Sunday, January 3, 2016

'Nostalgia' from BillA - Republic Robots

I was exposed to a lot of vintage horror and science fiction media as a kid.  I grew up renting the Universal Monster movies and getting out books from the library about the history of science fiction - books that were themselves written in the 1970s, and were thus "old" by the time I was reading them in the early 90s as a precocious eight year old.  At the time, I had no concept that H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, the Outer Limits (especially the episode "The Demon with the Glass Hand" - for some reason that was the episode cited in every book that referenced the Outer Limits), etc., were "old" and not new, current things.  One of the many things I was thus exposed to as a kid were the old Republic Serials.  These were precursors to modern TV shows, in that they were broken down into short episodes that would be shown for a week at a time at movie theaters, each one beginning with a recap of the last week's episode, and usually ending on a cliff-hanger with the hero about to (apparently) die a horrible death to ensure a return audience next week.


Republic's sci-fi serials often featured, in at least one episode, some sort of big, clunky tin-can robot, which has become known as the "Republic Robot." They first appeared as Atlantean "Volkites" in 1936's THE UNDERSEA KINGDOM, and later turned up robbing banks for THE MYSTERIOUS DR. SATAN and in 1952, one of them was still kicking around long enough to serve as an axe-wielding (!) "iron executioner" for the ZOMBIES OF THE STRATOSPHERE.  The Republic Robot would later be lovingly parodied on Star Trek: Voyager as "Satan's Robot" in the "Captain Proton" holodeck adventures of Tom Paris.


While surfing through the Brigade Games website, I spotted these little tin-cans labeled as "Robot Mk II"s in one of their pulp lines.  They're a clear homage to the simpler, water-heater-with-dryer-hose-arms robots of yesteryear, and I picked up a two-pack (they also offer five- and ten-packs for aspiring megalomaniacs) for my Nostalgia entry - not just because they hearken to an earlier era of science ficgtion, but because they remind me of the science fiction of my childhood.


The bases are a secondary homage; ZOMBIES OF THE STRATOSPHERE is a sequel to RADAR MEN OF THE MOON, so I decided to paint the bases as lunar terrain.


17 comments:

  1. I just love these Bill, well done! Cheers, PD

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  2. "The distant future, the year 2000!"

    Very cool!

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  3. Fantastic minis and great paint-job. Love'em!!

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  4. Nostalgia is so very personal. I have not seen the like of theses before. But that does not mean I do not appreciate them.

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  5. Excellent work on these retro robots, Bill, as a fan of MST3K and their riff on 'The Undersea Kingdom', I can only approve!

    BTW, ask Millsy about Dr Satan's Robot sometime, it's one of his faves!

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    1. ROFLMAO Ev. Beat me here by 8 minutes!

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  6. The Mysterious Dr Satan may well be my favourite film ever. Well done Bill!

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    1. So when will we see a 28mm fig of The Copperhead, Mr Mills?
      : )

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  7. I used to enjoy watching those serials on TV during the school holidays.

    Nice rendition of the robots :)

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  8. They certainly do the job, cracking stuff.

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  9. Awesome Bots! They definitely have that 50's sci-fi aesthetic about them.

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  10. Very interesting models. I too am going for a lunar landscape/ ash waste look to my sci fi stuff.

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  11. What fun little robots! I do remember those shows and even without your words, the models remind me of those earlier times.

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