These Should Exist: The Robo Force Edition!


By Shawn Robare

Well, I’m finally back from my winter hiatus and I have a lot of stuff I want to write about here at Branded in the coming year.  2016 marks my 10 year running this site and I’m kind of floored that I’m still loving it after all these years.  Hell, I’ve officially been writing about the 80s as long as that decade lasted and I still have a ton of articles in mind that I’d love to tackle.  Bottom line, I want to take a second to thank each and every person who has ever stopped by to read an article, leave a comment, or strike up a conversation on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.  I’ve gotten a chance to meet a bunch of you at various conventions and live events, and there are still a lot of folks I’d love to say “Hi” to in person someday.  It’s been a crazy ride and it’s not even close to being over yet.

I wanted to ease my way back into writing articles so I thought this would be the perfect time to share another set of digital trading cards that I’ve been slowly working on over the last year.  Looking back to the beginning of this site, there was one 80s brand that came up a lot when I was fondly remembering obscure nostalgia from my childhood.  It’s a toy line that is a real underdog when it comes to under-loved properties, and one that has had a great resurgence over the past couple of years.  I’m talking about those loveable, hugable robots, Maxx Steele’s Robo Force!

Robo_Force_Wrapper

When I started designing these digital 80s trading cards I knew that I wanted to not only fill in the pop culture cards for sets based on TV shows and movies, I also wanted to create sets for other fun stuff like bands, book series and toy lines.  Robo Force was always right up there at the top of the list of sets I wanted to work on, not only because I have a lot of fondness for the line, but also because there is a lot of great artwork that really hasn’t been showcased.

RoboForce_Combo_1

RoboForce_Combo_3     RoboForce_Combo_8

RoboForce_Combo_2

I took this opportunity to scan the back of one of the packages that had some great art featuring all the characters from wave one of the toy line.  I also scanned in some of the book covers and took some fun screenshots from the one cartoon episode that was finally released on DVD this past year…

RoboForce_Combo_4     RoboForce_Combo_5

RoboForce_Combo_6     RoboForce_Combo_7

RoboForce_Combo_9

All in all, I had a blast working on this cards.  To beat a dead horse, I really wish that I could get these professionally printed up, but until I can make that happen I guess I’ll just have to be content in creating them.

RoboForce_Combo_10     RoboForce_Combo_11

RoboForce_Combo_12

RoboForce_Combo_13     RoboForce_Combo_14

RoboForce_Combo_15

RoboForce_Combo_16     RoboForce_Combo_17

This is also one of those sets where I had a hard time holding back when it came to the amount of cards I wanted to design.  Between trying to feature all of the characters, the great artwork from the books and screenshots from the DVD, if I had the time this set would have easily had 100 cards or more.  As it stands I tried to cap myself at 26 to keep it down to a manageable project.

RoboForce_Combo_18

RoboForce_Combo_19     RoboForce_Combo_20

RoboForce_Combo_21

I was really happy with how these turned out.  In fact, I’m toying around with the idea of making a second series that exclusively focuses on the animated special so that I can try my hand at putting together a set that is more in line with the Masters of the Universe cards that Topps did (complete with scene by scene breakdowns and speech bubbles added to all the screenshots.)  But we’ll see…

RoboForce_Combo_22     RoboForce_Combo_23

RoboForce_Combo_24-26

  • No_thriller

    These are incredible! You’ve got some serious skills.
    I had no idea the cartoon special existed; I’m super stoked! I definitely need to track it down and watch it as soon as possible!
    Do you have the complete toy line? I remember them from when I was a kid, but I didn’t own any… time to rectify that.
    Glad you’re back from hiatus! Thanks for a rad post.

    • Thank you kindly sir! I’m still working on the toyline. I have a few of the fogures and thrn some of the merch like the Magazine, stickers, etc.

      I think the cartoon is up on youtube, butt it’s definetly included on tge Go Bots Volume two DVD set…

  • Spotted Feather

    It would be great if you posted the art of all the cards that you’ve created online somewhere so we could download them and create our own physical sets.

    • I should do that. I have them all on flickr, but they’re the combo cards. I’ll totally get on that :)

  • This series is easily one of my favorite things on the internet. You (and Pax) have some put together really creative and entertaining cards. I know alot goes into it and they definitely show the passion of each property.

    And congrats on 10 years!

    • Thanks Jason! Yeah, there is a lot that goes into these, but in a weird way making them is really gratifying for me, probably because I want to see these exist as much as anyone. So it’s totally worth it, but I’m super stoked when other folks dig them too :)

      • If you’re ever looking into taking suggestions or orders, here’s a short list for me: M.A.S.K. (of course), Spaceballs, Weekend at Bernies, Christmas Vacation, Tommy Boy.

        • I’m making a note :) I’ve actually been thinking it might be fun to do a set based on the brat pack, so Weekend at Bernies would fit in that…

  • Retromash

    Awesome work as ever, Shawn. I absolutely love these. You should seriously think about doing a Kickstarter or something.

    • Yeah, I’ve had some interest form some folks who are seriously looking into the costs of acquiring the licensing rights to see if I can make some of these legitimately. Who knows, it might happen :)

      • Retromash

        Very cool indeed. My fingers crossed something might happen from that.

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  • Squidbee

    Great job on the cards and thanks for bringing back memories of these toys. I remember having a couple of these growing up in the 80s, but I could never remember the name of the toyline.

  • Wow! I had completely forgotten about Robo Force until I saw this. Thanks for bringing back some great memories!

    • No problem Tom, that is the exact response I was hoping to get :)

  • Christopher Tupa

    Awesome as usual Shawn! Wonderful stuff!!!

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  • E. T. Ruxpin

    I love these, as I’ve loved all the digital sets you’ve designed and shared! I’m an artist and I’ve been producing original art for an 80s-esque vintage card set of my own, but I’ve yet to land on an idea I find strong enough to merit the costs of production. If you designed a nostalgia set that didn’t rely on any established brands or licenses, what would you do?

    • I think if I did something more general or broadly nostalgia-based it would probably center on all the weird, fun shared memories of the 80s. Like having cards about parents painting the feet of their kid’s action figures to “mark” them, how G.I. Joe figures would get soap stuck in their back-pack hole when you played with them in the tub, or how fruit roll ups would get stuck to the plastic backing back in the day and sometimes you just had to stick the whole thing in your mouth and chew until it stopped tasting like fruit. I think there’s a lot of material to mine there, and it would be a perfect platform for illustration in particular (as well as explaining the cards with fun facts on the back.)