I once made my own toy, when I was a kid. I did so in order to participate in an adventure I knew others were experiencing.
Money was tight when I was a kid…at least for a period of time, long enough to prevent me from obtaining one of the most coveted toys on the market at that point: Voltron. There were three versions of this mechanized force for good—gladiator, warrior, and lion—and I eventually owned the first two. But before that blessing was bestowed upon my young imagination, I owned none. And during that period of none, the version I wanted most was the Deluxe Lion Set.
We can all relate to being a kid who doesn’t get what they want. Especially when others in your neighborhood had what you wanted. That’s how my Voltron period began. But instead of focusing on the problem, I committed to a solution: I made the toy I couldn’t have.
“Let me tell you that my level of patience as a kid was apparently, and significantly, more than what it is now, as an adult. At least that’s how it feels.”
Before I began, I knew I needed references and materials. Since I’ve always known how to draw, I drew the beloved lion Voltron on paper by watching the weekly cartoon and copying what I saw. That would serve as my template, and the easy part. The construction was a bit trickier: my materials were limited to poster board, clear tape, a pen, crayons, and something resembling brass fasteners (for the joints). Considering the toy would be hollow, the seams had to be spot-on and well-secured lest my handcrafted version fall short of what Toys “R” Us was selling.
The details of how I constructed it are lost forever, which is a shame because if you’re familiar with the lion Voltron, you’ll know that the large robot is supposed to disassemble into five separate components, each a mechanized lion on its own. But I did manage to create the toy, and it was sturdy. I’ll grant you there might have been some minor repairs here and there—cosmetic or otherwise—but it never became irreparable.
The whole experience, now that I look back on it, was an education in focus and determination, against the backdrop of adversity. I don’t know if my paper Voltron survived the many years that followed my last adventure with it. But one thing is certain: the designer who created that toy lives on.
something from nothing
paper, tape, crayons—unite!
fun does not need wealth
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