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Germany Assemblage
by yo go re

Remember when we told you about Rupert Valero and the awesome robots he made out of scrap while deployed in Afghanistan? Well, he's still at it, and has sent us another one for review. But since this time he was deployed to Germany, it wouldn't really make sense to still call it an "Afghanistan Assemblage," right? Thus the new name.

Speaking of names, this big guy doesn't have one. He shows up in several photos on Valero's Flickr account, but they're just numbered. We'll call him "Pep." Or to sound more robotic, Pep-1024 (which is a joke you'll get only if you're familiar with advertising slogans from the 1920s, '30s and '40s [or your Google-Fu is strong]).

Pep is a giant figure, standing 16½" tall. He's so big that he had to be curled up in a ball in order to be shipped. Of course, that's possible for him in a way it wasn't for the previous ones we looked at, because he's got actual articulation.

Rather than only being built from bottlecaps and paracord, Pep's limbs get Bionicle components. So not only do they look appropriately robotic, they have balljoints aplenty! And it's not just the shoulders/hips, elbows/knees, and wrists/ankles that get the joints, either: this is the later era, when the figures started to have individual fingers, so there are joints for each digit, too. It's up to you whether he will use his mighty robotic claws for good or evil!

The rest of the body has a more traditional composition: the torso is an upturned plastic jar, while the head is the measuring cup from a large bottle of Crisco oil and the feet are lids from detergent bottles or something similar. His groin is one of those small cups that Orbitz gum is sold in. The biceps and thighs are built up with cut segments of straws that have been taped together. A Dr Pepper label has been cut up and glued to the torso (which is where we got the name), and then the whole thing was painted a very Dr Peppery purple, with speckles of silver everywhere.

The robot's gained a wide, toothy mouth since his photoshoot, but his face isn't just painted on - the eyes are yellow craft gems that have been glued in place. The multi-faceted look is more robotic than organic, suiting this mechanical behemoth. The yellow eyes make for a nice contrast with the purple, neither blending in nor standing out too much.

As far as designer toys go, we stand by our assertation that the "Valerobots" are at least a dozen times cooler than some overpriced, ugly lump of vinyl. And in an example of great timing, Rupert's latest deployment is over, and his Etsy shop is open again! So rather than dropping money on a 4" (mostly) unarticulated superhero figure based on a summer movie, you can spend that same money on something you won't regret in a year.

-- 04/14/13

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