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In today’s adventure, I figured I would do an unboxing and assembly of a classic action toy that started in the 60’s but is still selling strong today. It’s one from my childhood and perhaps from yours too. I’m talking about none other than the bang em’ up, clang em’ up action of Rock Em Sock Em Robots 2021!
I won’t be doing a full-on review here, just an unboxing and my ham-handed attempt at assembly without reading the instructions!
BUYING MY ROBOTS:
I started by ordering online from Walmart for a pick up, so as to avoid shipping charges. I immediately hit a snag when the Walmart I ordered from promptly canceled my order about 30 minutes after processing it and didn’t give an explanation, just that they needed to cancel and offered their apologies. This despite there being 4 Walmarts in the town I live in, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I then placed my order online once again, this time simply choosing a different store for pickup that was about an equal distance from my home. This one went through, I began my day by pulling up in front of the store and a nice man in an orange vest brought it straight out to my emasculating minivan. Thus I had my prize and was so excited that I took a selfie with it and posted it absolutely everywhere. And this selfie is indeed the thumbnail for the installment of the Dandy Fun House you are hopefully enjoying right at this very moment. One final complaint about my Walmart Pick Up experience was that they stuck the pick up label directly to the box which was not shrink wrapped. The not being shrink wrapped part doesn’t bother me, but now if I want a nice, pristine box for showing off, I have an unwanted project on my hands of trying to figure out how to remove this label without damaging the box. (insert sad face here).
In my opinion, Walmart could improve their online ordering and pick up process by simply offering a different pick up location instead of outright canceling the order should the initially-chosen location be out of stock. But I digress. Let’s move on to the packaging!
THE OUTER PACKAGING:
The toy is still to this day, produced by Mattel. So I’m guessing the sales of this product over the years has been strong enough to keep as a forefront item rather than licensing to a 3rd party to market as a niche throwback. Which is nice to see.
Looking at the box, it is obvious that they are attempting to evoke nostalgia with subdued colors, a matte finish to the box, what I can best describe as very simplified vintage-style graphics and even the picture of the two kids playing with the toy is in black and white with the exception of the toy itself which they did colorize. The main picture is 2 giant fighting robots! What could possibly be better than that!? It’s obvious that they really went out of their way to keep this thing looking retro, probably to market to adults like me desperately clinging to their pasts.
The sides have the logo for the product, a smaller version of the main fighting robot graphic and the text which says “Knock His Block Off!” So it’s safe to assume that both robots are still male.
On the back of the box, the pictures are more vibrant and less throwback showing how to play the game by using your own robot to punch the other robot in the face via thumb controllers until you dislodge your opponent’s head from his shoulders which just means that the head pops up. To continue, you just pop the head back down and keep fighting.
You have a red robot (The Rugged Red Rocker) and a blue robot (The Bruisin’ Blue Bomber) and apparently, the red one is the defending champion and the blue is the challenger.
UNBOXING THE BOXERS! :
The first thing that struck me as I opened the box and emptied the contents was that there was absolutely nothing individually wrapped. No extra cellophane bags of items. No inner boxes. No padding and no space fillers. You basically just open the box and dump everything out on the table. I think this is great. Every piece is large and there’s nothing small to keep track of and worry about losing. And the fact that this is indeed a game of violent contact means that all the components are durable and don’t require any gentle handling which is also very nice.
The very first thing I did was to pick up the small paper assembly instructions and set them aside without reading them at all because… I’m a guy and that’s what we do!
Then I set the boxing ring upright and of course immediately checked out the fighters who both felt very solid. More solid than I remember them from my childhood (IF I’m remembering correctly) which was also great to see. I then tested them to see how they get their blocks knocked off, which is with a direct blow to the chin and both heads did indeed pop up and away from their shoulders. I’m not sure if my childhood memories are accurate in this regard or not, but I seem to remember some sort of buzzy sound when their heads would come up and away and sort of a sawtooth gear which would become exposed. With these fighters, the heads just pop up and that’s it. No sound. No exposed sawtooth gear in the neck. But overall, my initial feeling is that the components seem to actually be of better quality now than they were back then.
Continuing on, I slide my controllers through the undersides of the ring and snap the fighters onto their platforms and then try and try and try to snap the platforms with the fighters onto their controllers. This took a long while and many attempts before finally getting them to successfully snap into place. After I finally succeeded, I took a peek at the instructions and realized that you are supposed to snap the platforms to the controllers first and THEN snap the fighters’ feet onto their platforms. This could be why I had a lot of extra struggles.
The last piece of the assembly was the ropes for the ring. You would think this would be the easy part, right? Well… this actually took a few attempts because I would get three posts snapped in and then because the ropes were a bit tight, as I’m trying to snap the 4th post into place, the tension from the ropes would pull another post out of it’s socket. But after a bit of gentle rope-stretching, I did manage to get everything properly seated and snapped into place and thus my assembly of one of the greatest toys ever created was completed!
Of course I did box with myself a bit which is not easy because I just don’t have enough thumbs! But anyway, there you have it! The unboxing and assembly of ROCK EM’ SOCK EM’ ROBOTS in the year 2021! Who would have ever thought!?
Be sure to come back for our next installment because I’ll be sharing the history of this toy, doing a full on review of it, challenging someone to a best-of-seven tournament and also sharing some exciting upcoming news about ROCK EM’ SOCK EM’ ROBOTS which I will only hint at here by saying “Coming soon to a ____ near you!”
Once again, thanks for hanging out with us here at the Dandy Fun House where everything is always… FUN AND DANDY!
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