Polar Lights' Robby the Robot


By Michael Benolkin



Polar Lights has come through yet again! They have been systematically re-releasing figure kits that haven't been seen since Aurora went out of business. Then PL went to the next step they began releasing the kits that Aurora should have released years ago. One major example was the stunning Jupiter II spacecraft from the Lost In Space TV series. As I said, PL has come through again. This time they have given us a never before released Robby the Robot.

Back in the early 1950s, a revolutionary science fiction movie called Forbidden Planet was released. This was one of the first (if not THE first) sci-fi movies released in color. It was also the first 'serious' science fiction movie ever produced. Its special effects were ahead of its time and served as the inspiration for future movies, including Spielberg's Star Wars series.

One of the notable characters in this movie was Robby the Robot. This mechanical man was capable of producing everything from a cup of coffee to sheets of lead alloy shielding. Robby was one of the first real robots seen on the silver screen (not counting Metropolis and a few other visionary classics) and has made cameo appearances on subsequent movie and TV series, including Lost in Space.

The Polar Lights' kit is comprised of 57 parts molded in beige plastic or clear. One parts tree is chrome plated. Assembly appears to be straightforward. The kit includes a base, similar to the earlier Lost in Space Robot release, and options for two styles of chest plates and two styles of hands. The clear parts are very clear, so everything under the 'dome' will benefit from some careful detail painting. A trip to the video rentals for a copy of Forbidden Planet will help you research this project (not to mention give you an entertaining show, and a glimpse at what Leslie Nielson looked like as a young actor playing serious roles).

Aside from some use of reds and blues for small details, Robby is basically colored an overall Titanium (or dark grey if you prefer), making the finishing steps rather easy. As with the LIS Robot kit, the best approach to building Robby is to work in subassemblies, arms, legs, etc., and work out the seams before moving on. It will be far simpler to apply any fillers and sand/file the seams before performing the final assembly process.

While the small clear detail parts can be assembled with careful application of liquid cement, I would seriously consider using white glue or watch crystal cement on Robby's clear dome 'head'. This is one spot where the slightest glue goober will be very visible. Watch crystal cement is available through most hobby shops and (as you can see with your own watches) it dries clear and provides a strong bond. Please do not use cyano to assemble these clear parts, as cyano will craze clear parts when it is curing.


I recommend this kit to any science fiction lover and I am very grateful to Polar Lights for their continued production of cool science fiction subjects. Now how about a nice Gort robot from 'the Day the Earth Stood still'.

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