Number Five toy robot from "Short Circuit 2"

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webbox100

New Member
Hi everyone! I'm pretty new here and just floored (and a bit overwhelmed) by how much cool stuff everyone's sharing/crafting on the RPF.

For any kids of the 80s (or anybody who loves Johnny Five), I thought I'd share this little guy who lives in my apartment: one of the toy robot props from the Short Circuit sequel. I made a video about these props and how we repaired this one:


For those who like a back story...

I grew up watching the Short Circuit films way too much. We didn't even have legit copies of the movies (remember how VHS copy protection made the colours all weird?) and I still wore out the VHS tapes. There was something about this robot and his performance that just grabbed me. And seeing little toy versions of him rolling around made me crazy for one.

Year after year at Christmas, I would ask Santa for a Number Five toy, thinking elves in his workshop would make one just like in the film. Kid brains think anything is possible, right? As I got older, I used any excuse to make one myself. Tons of Lego versions that I kept refining. For my fourth grade 'structures' unit, where all my classmates were making models of the CN Tower or a famous bridge...I made a toy-sized wooden Number Five. Yeah, I was obsessed.

Fast-forward to adulthood, when I understood these were cheesy 80s movies but still had a soft spot for them. One day, work sent me to a film set for a commercial shoot. Here's where my years of obsessing over these films 'paid off': I recognized one of the crew members there from behind-the-scenes photos of "Short Circuit 2". Yeah, I know. It's almost sad how obsessive I was. Anyway, we became friends, and one day I told him about how kid-me was obsessed with those Number Five toys, and he said...

"Oh yeah, I have one."

...

"WHAT?!"

So of course I asked if he'd bring it to our next hang-out so I could see it. And given that it was well over 30 years old, it was in pretty good condition. Some bits were broken, some parts of its head were missing, but here it was. That toy I'd been dreaming about my entire childhood. And of course, it's really not a toy. It's a crazy-fragile prop that would've been pretty crazy-fragile while they were filming in 1987. Seeing the effect this thing is having on me, he offered to let me hang onto it for a while (I rode the subway home with this thing in a file folder box, which was pretty nerve-wracking).

When my friend asked if I'd repair the broken/missing bits, I of course agreed to — by this time, my wife and I were doing a lot of film prop and puppet building. With the help of the Johnny Five builder's group called Input-Inc., I repaired the prop's missing/broken bits (a combination of 3D printing and some moulding and casting) and painted the new bits to match. And when the thing was more or less looking as it did in the movie, I stared at it. And stared at it.

And then, of course, I asked my friend, "Hey, how badly do you want this thing back?" And he, being the wonderful human that he is, offered to sell it to me. And now Number Five hangs out in our apartment, looking for more input.

I guess I never got over my obsession.


number_five_toy_prop.JPG
 

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ZeroSum

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Soooo cool! I think I watched Short Circuit 2 more when I was a kid - it was probably the only one we had on tape. But who could forget the little Johnny Fives?! I gotta get me one of those.
 

webbox100

New Member
Very cool!
I wanted one of those too, when I was a kid.
I'd love to see more details about the restoration.

Beyond what's in the YouTube video, I haven't properly documented the restoration, so I'll keep posting stuff about that here for anyone interested!

Here's a photo of what the prop looked like when I first got it. It certainly had fared better than some other surviving ones that have turned up over the years. I think my friend was overall quite careful with it, but at some point one of the forearms had snapped apart, and his entire neck had bit the dust. The wrists are teeny tiny, so they'd been broken. The eye flaps on all these props go missing since they're so fragile (at least one toy in the movie has broken ones on screen).

On the photo of the back below, you can see the cavity within the lower body/boom where the R/C receiver went in the motorized versions. On the real full-sized J5, that's just a hollow area inside the lower structure.

J5 Mini Static Prop #4 (003).jpg


J5 Mini Static Prop #4 (005).jpg
 

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Duncanator

Sr Member
It sounds like yours was a static prop originally.
It looks like you added R/C controls to it from the video. How did you go about that?
 

webbox100

New Member
It sounds like yours was a static prop originally.
It looks like you added R/C controls to it from the video. How did you go about that?

You're right on, Duncanator — this was one of the many static versions seen covering the toy factory tables (they all look so similar, I'll probably never figure out which one it was!).

I wish this one had R/C! For the two shots in the video where it appears to move, it was just me pushing the prop (on the first shot) and doing a bit of stop-mo with it (for the bit where it drives out of shot).

Here's a photo from the restoration process, test-fitting the new neck components created by Input-Inc. You can see here that the lower neck assembly was completely separated from the shoulder tube/torso, and this was because this section had broken off at some point while my friend had the prop (some time over the 30 plus years), and he'd quickly glued it back together. So I took the opportunity to clear off the glue globs and do some paint clean-up where the three struts join the shoulders.

J5 Mini Static Prop #4 (TUPR 016).jpg
 

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