horikawa rotate-o-matic super astronaut (1968)

This is another childhood toy - its back story isn't as involved as the one for my Snoopy music box, but it still sounds a little like something out of The Velveteen Rabbit. Well, if The Velveteen Rabbit were sealed in a tin space suit with machine guns on his chest, anyway.

 

One of my father's co-workers had a son of his own, and that little boy was this toy's original owner. It seems that the robot had stopped working at some point, but by the time that my dad's friend had repaired it, his son had outgrown the toy. So my dad's friend gave it to my dad, and my dad gave it to me. It's a little sad, thinking about this toy just sitting around waiting to be played with again. Still, it got a new owner, and I can only anthropomorphize toys so much before I start to realize that I have one the biggest toy jails in the country...

 

Regardless, this is a beautiful toy! There's a lot of bright, colorful detail in the lithos, and the bulk of the robot is solidly constructed. I like the nifty 'astronaut' illustration in the head, and the plastic visor really makes it feel like a helmet. The sunken 'gauges' along the beltline are also awesome-looking. The main body shapes are suitably blocky and mechanical - in fact, they were re-used on several other models!

 

The walking movement looks great, with the extra bonus of a periodic pause, the chest doors popping open (moving the inner weapons forward), and a body spin as the machine guns noisily open fire, blinking red all the while! Clearly not a great toy for cat owners.

 

It's not a particularly rare item, but it's old enough and popular enough that it won't be cheap to buy. Here's one for sale on eBay for $165.00 + $11.62 shipping. Enjoy!

  • Joe Next Door 7y

    In Vintage Toys - Robots and Space Toys by Bunte - Hallman and Muller, they make the following comments about a "strikingly similar toy" called the Horikawa Astronaut which was manufactured in Japan circa 1963.


    Their comments:
    -----------------------
    This version of Horikawa's11-inch journeyman Astronaut battery-op hails from around 1963, and sports a new door covering theme: high technology. This particular combination - high-tech doors, grey finish, and human face behind the plastic shield - would reoccur under similar branding throughout the 1960's. O course, later runs suffer from cost reduction, affecting both the perceived and actual quality of the later pieces. First-generation Astronauts.....are very nearly all tin; the second versions use plastic feet and arms; and the final versions have flastic feet, arms and legs. Like virtually all Horikawa Astronauts, this one has the Big Surprise: cannon hidden within the chest which burst forth when the toy's chest doors swing open, firing mercilessly at unsuspecting enemies.

    Builder: Horikawa
    Released: 1963
    Operation: Battery

    The writers then give the following estimated values for an original toy:

    Values:
    Good Condition $200
    Excellent Condition $350
    Mint with Original Box $550
  • bloggerknight 6y

  • Elizabeth Taylor 6y

  • Gioser_Chivas 6y

  • A. Seiichi R. 6y

    vintage!!! just great!!
  • TOYPINCHER 6y

  • Spiralo Phobos 6y

    really cool :)
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Uploaded on October 22, 2007
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