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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Transitions – Extreme Toys

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Extreme toy collectors are an amazing breed; there are collectors of antique and vintage toys, doll-like toys, like G.I. Joe, and building toys. Most collection items are small, which leaves room for lots of them. One man in Singapore has 9,000 Barbie dolls; an American has 250,000 Lego pieces!

Some collectors sell, some just hoard. That’s why I was delighted to interview Tom Jozwiak, who lives in Bolingbrook within walking distance from me. Tom reproduces robots we’ve seen in movies or TV and uses them to make people happy.

His boyhood passion for building robots and anything sci-fi evolved into adult hobbies – building and flying RC airplanes and helicopters. After some “painful crashes,” he decided to “find a hobby where his talents as an electronics engineer could play with his skills as a painter and sculptor along with his passion for robots.” One example: an 8-foot Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still.

His wife inspired him to build her favorite Star Wars character, R2D2 – the project that set him on the path to national attention. His R2D2 took over three-and-a-half years to build. Now part of the family, he refuses to sell it. Despite the work on his R2D2, it was his Wall-E creation that grabbed my attention when it was featured in an article about Extreme Toys in a recent Entertainment Weekly. (July 10/17, pg. 84)

Tom does not lock up his dozens of creations, such as a life-size Dalek (Doctor Who), C3PO and many others. Instead he takes them to children’s hospitals, conventions, movie openings, etc. His primary compensation is the joy he sees from people of all ages who appreciate his attention to detail, craftsmanship, and artistry.

By the way, Wall-E requires four people to move, so you cannot stash it in your closet or hang it on your wall. Not that it would be for sale, anyway.

For more info, check out www.jozrobotics.com.

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Barbara Blomquist
Barbara Blomquist
Barbara Blomquist is a Naperville resident, wife, mother, quilter, and screenwriter. Contact her at BWBLomquist@aol.com.
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