ED-209: RoboCop’s awkward big brother

One of the best parts of the “RoboCop” franchise is, without a doubt, the many appearances of ED-209. You remember that robot, don’t you? It’s the one where the senseless murder of an Omni Consumer Product executive was attributed to a “glitch
in the Enforcement Droid’s programming.

The robot on chicken legs is somewhat akin to the AT-ST walkers in “Return of the Jedi,” and often equally comical. In the original “RoboCop,” he famously had trouble with stairs, for example.

 

But comedy aside, ED-209 is definitely a great looking robot. It has a sinister countenance ¬†thanks to its eyeless sensorport, the Popeye-sized forearms that are packed with firepower and the fact that it’s just-bigger-than-a-human stature made it truly intimidating to any citizen that crossed its path.

But ED didn’t start out so fierce. The early drawings of ED-209 looked a bit different. It had an even more comical pop-up head that made it look like a Star Wars Pit Droid mounted on the “Aliens” power load lifter.
Once ED-209 made it to the screen, another level of awesomeness was revealled. ED wasn’t some sort of pansy C-3P0 with a polite English accent. It had a deep thundering voice meant to add another layer of intimidation. Along with commands to “Drop you weapon” it could roar like a 3-ton lion or squeal like a stuck pig. Both of these unsettling features just added to the awesomeness that was Omni Consumer Product’s go-to robot.

And sure, RoboCop was totally kick-ass, but he had all that humanity jammed inside. ED may have had its glitches, but it did exactly what you told it to do — you just had to watch out for too-literal translations in those commands.
Over the years, there have been a few attempts to make ED-209 toys, including the ED-260 from Kenner and most recently, the ED-209 from NECA. If you’re hankering for that NECA product, check out this great (and highly informative) review of ED-209.

But beyond those two key products, there was one other ED-209 bit of awesomeness, a model kit produced in 1989 allowed hobbyists to build their own ED.
Way back in the day, Comics on the Brain actually owned this kit and found it incredibly hard to work with. Not that we were expert vinyl kit builders at all. We had never even attempted building anything like that.
The kit came with assembly instructions for its two or three dozen rubbery parts, all of which were tossed inside a plastic bag.
It seemed simple enough. Grab some touch-up sandpaper, some glue, some paint and throw it all together.
So that’s what we tried
For a few hours one day a few decades back, we worked at smoothing out the mold tabs and lines on the kit until our X-Acto Knife slipped and hacked a giant slice out of ED’s arm. We didn’t want to ruin the $70 kit any further, so we stored it away never to be seen again.
Still that doesn’t diminish our love for ED-209. The robot is one of the great little bonus features in the original franchise. Something to always look forward to in every installment.

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