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Zeroids

“Moving across the landscape, overrunning all obstacles as inexorably as the future itself, these amazing, efficient and powerful automatons have but one purpose – to serve their masters at work and play!”

The Ideal Toy Company’s line of poorly-selling Motorific Trucks were collecting dust on the factory shelves, and with Mattel’s Major Matt Mason already a popular seller, the space race was on.

Ideal thought of a way to get rid of their Motorific Trucks and get a foothold in outer space at the same time, transplanting the engines from the Trucks into the bodies of futuristic looking robots, and dreaming up a fictional background for their creations:

The robots were said to have come from the planet Zero, each with a different colour and a different array of capabilities. Presto! From the ashes of failure came the Zeroids.

Zeroids were released in 1968, much to the excitement of junior astronauts everywhere. Thanks to the borrowed battery-operated truck engines, a couple of treaded tyres and a power switch, Zeroids moved backwards and forwards upon command.

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The line was dominated by otherworldly names beginning with ‘Z’ – Zerak (The Blue Destroyer), Zobor (The Bronze Transporter), and Zintar (The Silver Explorer) made up the Star Team – because everyone knows that in the future, everything will start with the letter Z . . .

Zeroids all had colourful shiny metal parts, and interchangeable magnetic hooks or throwing hands that furnished them with the ability to perform multiple robotically-inclined tasks.

zeroids1The robots came packaged in their ‘control station’ (actually the box in which Zeroids were sold), which unfolded into a ramp so that the Zeroid could roll out onto the alien surface of a child’s bedspread right away.

And Ideal had the accessories and playsets market well-and-truly covered. There were Solar Cycles, Sensor Stations, Missile Defence Pads and Explorer Modules. In 1970, an Alien Zeroid with, *gasp*, an exploding chest stomped onto the scene, and the Star Team was re-introduced as action figures with smaller Zeroid-type companions.

There were Solar Cycles, Sensor Stations, Missile Defence Pads and Explorer Modules. In 1970, an Alien Zeroid with, *gasp*, an exploding chest stomped onto the scene, and the Star Team was re-introduced as action figures with smaller Zeroid-type companions.

Accessories got lost, antennas broke off, but the ‘roids were a hit.