Steve Jones builds Polar Lights' Robby the Robot.

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Polar Lights' Robby the Robot

By Steve "Stingray" Jones - images & text © 2002

Scale: None stated. About 8"/ 20 cm tall when complete
Parts: Over 50 injection molded styrene
Instructions: 6 - Only one diagram; assembly sequence seems all wrong. Painting guide very incomplete
Decals: None (none needed)
Molding Quality: 8 - Only minor clean-up needed, but I did have a problem with the transducer fins
Detail: 8 1I only wish it didn’t include ‘chromed’ parts
Accuracy: 9 - It looks dead-on to me, but Forbidden Planet fanatics might see a few problems
Fit: 9 - One of the best fitting kits I’ve ever built
Ease: 9 - Mostly large easy to handle parts, small parts fit together well
MSRP: $12.99 USD (~€ 15.00 EUR) available from hobby shops and discount retailers
Overall Rating: 8.5 - Easy assembly with satisfying results)

[For your convenience, I am programmed to respond to the name Robby...]

[Click to enlarge]




^ With his famous cousin

I always wait until the last minute. By the time I decided to buy one of the great Polar Lights Robby the Robot kits, the only ones left were those goofy chrome plated models. Recently I discovered a local hobby shop tucked back in an out of the way area. On my first visit, what did I spy on the shelf? A Robby kit minus chrome! I snatched him up and made him my own.

Most of my styrene modeling experience is with AMT/ Ertl Star Trek kits, so I was pleasantly surprised when examined the parts. The kit also includes alternate hands and chest plate to build the robot as he appeared in Lost in Space. I chose to build the Forbidden Planet version. The parts were thicker and heavier than the styrene with which I have become accustomed to dealing. Flash was nonexistent, and the edges only required a very light sanding. The fit was also impressive leaving only the smallest of gaps. After looking over the instructions I decided (as usual) to put them aside, referencing them only occasionally. The assembly sequence in the instructions make little sense if you intend to paint the kit, as anyone would.

The most logical way to go about building this kit is in three main sub-assemblies, head, torso/ arms, and legs/ feet. I started at the bottom.

As I stated earlier, the gaps between the parts are quite small. After cementing the feet together with Tenax, I found that the gaps were mostly filled with the Tenax that squished out the seam when I applied a bit of pressure. The same was true for the legs, torso, and arms. After a couple of hours of light sanding with 400 grit paper the gaps were almost completely gone. The few areas where the seams were still visible were easily filled with a tiny bit of carefully applied liquid paper. Another few minutes of light sanding later and the assembly of Robby’s body was finished. At this point I went ahead and airbrushed Model Masters gunmetal on the legs/ feet, torso/ arms, assemblies and the head part.

Next came the chromed parts. Now, of course this is only my opinion, but I think that chromed plastic parts look exactly like what they are, plastic. After asking around a bit on the forums, I decided to use bleach to strip the chrome. After a 30 minute soak, they were all completely devoid of chrome, but the shiny finish under the chrome was still there. I looked them over and I didn’t think there would be any problem with paint adhering to them so I airbrushed on a coat of Model Masters Chrome Silver. The end result is a set of parts that look far more like real metallic piece.

The only real problem parts that I encountered on the entire kit were the “transducer fins”. These are clear parts, half of which should be painted the color of Robby’s body, the other half should be left clear.
The problem with these parts is that they are molded in two pieces and, once assembled the seam runs right up the middle of the clear parts. I couldn’t see any way to fix the seam, so I was forced to let it be, although I did fill the seams on the half that was to be painted. If Polar Lights had molded this part in three pieces, one solid and two clear the overall effect would have been much better.

The head entails a fair amount of detail painting and assembly, but there was nothing that I found to be terribly difficult. I had a problem trying to find references of the ‘real’ Robby, all I could find were other built kits, all of which conflicted as far as colors went. I finally decided to just follow the included painting guide as far as it went, which wasn’t very far, and make the rest up as I went along. I’m pretty happy with the results, though I’m sure there are folks out there who would argue with some of my painting choices.

A quick glance at the base and it went into the scrap bin, it’s very cheesy. Considering that I plan to display Robby in my office I wanted it to look more like a scale model and less like a toy. With that in mind, I bought a small wooden plaque, gave it a coat of cherry stain and three coats of acrylic clear, lightly sanding with 400 grit paper between coats. It’s a very simple base, but it looks great with the model. I also made a matching base for my B9 Lost in Space robot.

Overall, this kit was a whole lot of fun to build and the finished product looks great displayed with my B9 robot. I can highly recommend this kit to Forbidden Planet fans, Lost in Space fans, or just general fans of vintage sci-fi.

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