Uncle Milton's P-Brains
by Mr. Stinkhead
I love brains. I love robots. I love robots with brains. I love robots that talk... so when Uncle Milton (yes of Ant Farm fame) introduced these talking robot figures with interchangeable squishy brains, I was sold immediately. Yes, they've been out for some time, but I haven't seen a lot of decent exposure, and you know how we love to expose ourselves. The premise is that there are four robot stereotypes with strong personalities. Press down on their squishy brain and they say a bunch of phrases appropriate to their character. Pop off the squishy brain and place it on a different figure, and it will start to say things from the brain, but in the voice of the body, thus being hilarious. Actually these new phrases are different, and the context of what they are saying is funny too.
I have to say I've very impressed with the look and feel of these guys, matched with a great execution. The robot form is subtle. There are joints and gears on the arms and the face is clearly robotic. But also bug inspired. There are large bug eyes, tiny mouths and little anntennae forms. Why bugs? Because Uncle Milton's claim to fame is the ant farm. I told you this in the first paragraph, sheesh. Actually I thought that subtle call-out to their heritage was well planned. They're not robot bugs, but they have that flair. I love how the overall design has that Japanese inspired "super-deformed" mentality for a tight, squat little package. The figure is nice and solid, offering a little bit of articulation at the shoulders, but poseability is not what you're going for here. You want to hear em talk.
Really, it's a lot of fun to pop their brains off (they come right off when you try, but hold on snuggly) and switch em around to hear what each brain will say on the different bodies. Oh, when they're talking, a light illuminates their eyes, and the brain from underneath. It's a cool effect. But let's start with the army sgt inspired Sgt Ruffhauser. Press down on his brain and he burps and says "Army chow... get used to it" or he yells for you to drop and give him 20, standard, yet kid friendly army orders. Now pop off his brain and pop it onto the baby, P-wee. Squish his head and he says "Permission to go poopy in my diaper sir" in a baby voice. Hey, if you're 7 years old, that's hilarious. If you're unbelievably immature, like myself, it's pretty funny still. Now he says a bunch of other baby stuff, but switch the brain to Mrs. Moorework the hard-nosed teacher, and she says (in her bossy teacher voice) "You call that a spit ball?!" So it's funny stuff for kids. But the whole squishy, interchangable brain thing is fun too. The fourth character in Series 1 is a Ollie McTwist, skater-dood. He comes with a skateboard and laid back attitude.
I'd love to see what they come up with for Series II. (There's a teaser on their official site) I like the "Here's our robotic ant version of a ____________." And I'd like to see their translation of other stereotypes. Each of the figures say "Wave 1 brains only." Which leads me to believe the sound clips are stored in the body, not the brain. So the Wave II brains won't work in Wave I. However, they could make it so wave 1 brains add some fun to the wave II figures... I don't know if that one-way street will confuse the target audience though.
I love these guys and want them to make more. My Target only had single character packs, and for $8 it was a cool toy that you could play with by yourself, but ultimately its more fun to trade the brains with other figures. At Toy Fair they had multi-packs, which would be a great place to start.
Stay tuned to MPb as we hope to bring you pics of the second wave.
Holy Cow, ToysCamp.com has the Teacher-Skater two pack for $5 and Sgt. Ruffhauser single pack for $3.25!
But visit the official P-Brains web site for a cool Flash demo and the TV commercial. They also have links to SpeedyDog.com to buy the whole Series 1 Collection online for $30.
Also check out their gel ant farm. You don't need to feed or water the ants, the gel they burrough in contains all the nutrients they need. Plus the gel is less vulnerable to cave-ins. Perfect for dorm rooms.
All figure likenesses, names and properties are ©Uncle Milton. All photographs are ©2006 MillionairePlayboy.com.