Friends, I have mentioned in the past on the Retroist and on this site my overwhelming fondness of all things robotic and Droid related. Naturally it is the truth that my love of things robot related has more than a little something to do with catching Star Wars in 1977. In my youth it didn’t matter to me if it was a wind-up or battery operated robot, they would all manage to find their way on my birthday and Christmas wish lists. The more futuristic and gadget-laden the robotic toy was all the better in my book. That is most certainly why I think it’s a shame that I was born too late to see the first release of the Mighty Zeroids toy line from Ideal Toys back in 1968. Thank to the small removable DC motor installed in each of the Zeroids, they could move forward and backwards on the command of their ‘master’ with a flip of a switch. In addition the cases they were packaged in acted as a playset, for example with Zobor’s case, it could transform into a rolling container allowing it to haul precious discoveries back to base.
Ideal Toys originally introduced only three Mighty Zeroids back in 1968 with the likes of Zobor of course as well as Zintar and Zerak. Each of the trio of Zeroids had a function – with Zerak being nicknamed “The Blue Destroyer”, Zintar as “The Silver Explorer”, with Zobor being “The Bronze Transporter”.
Shortly after they debuted and perhaps due to their pricing which was around five dollars, the series was widely embraced by young fans which meant a new Zeroid would shortly arrive on the scene, which Ideal Toys felt wold be the perfect time to introduce Commander Zogg as part of an action playset. The toy allowed for Zogg to ‘power up’ his station, which possessed moving parts such as a radar dish and a monitor that would present a spiral image. Zogg did not possess a throwing arm like the others but he did have an internal light bulb and could carry a light up laser beam weapon.
It sounds like the Zeroids certainly needed those defensive capabilities when Ideal Toys introduced the Zeroid Alien. Besides having a clear dome head to witness his computer brain in action, it allowed you to replace cogs within to alter how it moved. You could have the dreaded Alien move in a zigzag pattern or even allow it to fire off it’s parts when you added the self-destruct cog.
The crazy thing about the Mighty Zeroids is they managed to return in the late ’70s as a new toy line called Star Team – an attempt to cash in on the Star Wars craze of course. There were two hero robots produced for this go around – the Zeroid Pilot and Zem 21 – both bearing a little resemblance to R2-D2 and C-3PO. The duo would face off against the evil Knight of Darkness – which was a reused body mold from the Captain Action line with a new head.