great robots & toys
from the space age

Kids' Meal Toys

exploration ship

bobby's world


planet zero

  Exploration Ship

Want a good deal on a great toy? How about free? Spin through the Jack in the Box drive thru, and six kids' meals later (or six bucks), you'd have yourself an Exploration Ship. You could be forgiven for passing up the offer. How exciting does an Exploration Ship sound? And it's free-- how good could it be? But look at all it does. The six components in the second picture combine to make the ship in the first picture, but they each do something too. From left to right, top row: Strata 6; Argus 4; Nexus 5; left to right, front row: Manta 2; Sentry 1; Triad 3.

 Pull back and release Strata 6, and it runs forward while the drill spins. Push the button on Argus 4, and the scanner dish pops up and rotates as you push it along the floor. Push Nexus 5 forward and sparks shoot up under its clear dome. Push a button on Manta 2 to eject the space glider. Press the button on Sentry 1 and its dual laser LEDs light up. Give Triad 3 a shove and it rolls across the floor.

 Put these all together into the ungainly looking ship in picture one, and how much still works? Push the button and the space glider still ejects. Push the button on Sentry 1 and now its lasers shine through engine ports in Manta 2. Surprisingly, pull the whole ship backwards and let it go and it races across the floor a lot better than Strata 6 did by itself.  So three components, Strata 6, Sentry 1, and Manta 2 still operate. Arguably, Argus 4 and Nexus 5 don't do anything in the transformed ship, unless they help stabilize it (and it would look odd without side engines). Triad 3 looks the oddest, riding piggy back at the rear, but it does provide a second dome. Jack in the Box brought back space-themed giveaways in a big way with this 2003 follow-up to its Create-a-Bot line of robots with interchangeable parts. You're alright, Jack!

Bobby's World

Howie Mandel's alter- ego and cartoon son pedalled his trike into Wendy's one day, and brought Bobby's World to their kids' meals. Below left: Bobby as a robot made robot noises when you pushed a button. Here he's shown with keychain B-9 in Colorforms Dexter's Laboratory. The robot, here is speaking English while Bobby's speaking robot.
Below right: Bobby in the big chair dreaming of space flight. Flip the lever and he transforms into astronaut mode. Flip again to empty the chair.

Below left: Bobby transforms into an astronaut, and blasts off into space.
Below right. Landing on the moon, he transforms back. Look who's there to greet him. It's astronaut Mickey, breaking ground for Lunar Tomorrowland.

Iz and the Zizzles from Zizzle

Iz by Zizzle made a big splash in 2006, and even got its own TV cartoon show, Iz and the Zizzles. Its sudden disappearance made it an instant collector's item. But it likely returned home to ready a new assault, because in 2007, mini Izeses had infiltrated McDonald's kids meals. Each Iz inherited a trait from the mom or dad Iz, and either lit up or made noise when you variously turned its ear or touched its tummy (see Iz page).

Planet Zero