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Houdini Iron Terror Robot


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Here's the robot that we've discussed a few times. It's the one that featured in various episodes of the 1919 "Master of Mystery" serial featuring Harry Houdini.





It is the first robot to feature in a movie, and even predates the word "robot". It's been high on my list of must-do robots. and I had to take a shot at turning this into a battery-operated walker. There's a paper model of him out there, but I think this is the first walking version. 


Here's the first run:




I based my design on the realistic version in the Houdini Museum. I see from various stills that the movie version is more clumsy in design with a very large head. In truth, the movie version looks like a leather or card suit. But you have to fix on a shape and I love that metal steampunk monster in the museum.




I need to work on the arms because the big barrel hips get in the way of vertical hanging arms. They have to be angled out a bit, and those leather gauntlets need much more work. The oil drum ass on this fellow did present problems, not with the walking mechanism but with the printing. I've tried about four different ways of splitting the body to make it possible to print without massive amounts of fill and to keep a decent finish. That left me with seams that are unsightly, so I had to rework the model to hide the seams.  


I love those googly eyes. There's no light in the head, just the usual s-l-o-w walk with loads of unintentional creaking. I didn't want to spoil the lines with a battery trap door, so the top half of the body lifts off. It's quite simple to do and worth the effort. No balance problems with this robot. It is very stable. I'd like the arms to move but that will have to wait because there's hardly any room inside the chest. Plenty of room in the ass though!


I wonder what weapon he should have? The poster suggests a knife, but the film shows him with a very distinctive candelabra.






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Ha! What a handsome chap! You are quickly becoming the master of silver-age robots.


You know, you really should come up with a logo that can be molded into these, as you are now a professional toymaker...Perhaps 3 meshed gears with HRW over them, one letter on each gear, for "Hayes Robot Works".  

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I love the look of these "old" robots...far better than what they are coming up with these days. Nice job Brian, you captured the look perfectly.

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He looks great. What are you using for mechanicals? It's interesting there were robots that predated the word. What did they call this guy?


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I think "Iron Terror" is the best name I can find. That's the title of Episode 2 in which the robot first appears.



This is a battery op, David, using my stock geared electric motor. Reliable and very economical.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Q's Iron Terror Army on the march.


I'll get them to do a bit of gardening. And, yes, that is sunshine you can see. My wife saw the video and pointed out that the fence needs some paint. Bless her.









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