Robot toys are usually made of plastic and require batteries - but not this one! Inspired by the Japanese Shinto Kumi-ki puzzles, the Cubebot is a non-traditional take on the toy robot by joining ancient Japanese traditions with contemporary toy culture.
The Cubebot, designed by artist David Weeks and produced by Areaware, is a transformable robot made of sustainably harvested cherry wood and held together by elastic bands. Featuring articulation not usually seen in a wood toy, it's fairly easy to transform the Cubebot between cube and bot forms. For this review, we'll be taking a look at the Small Cubebot and the Julien Cubebot.
Artist: David Weeks
Material: “Sustainably Harvested” Cherry Wood
Dimensions: Small – 6.25” tall; Julien – 8” tall; Or 2.5” square cube
Points of Articulation: 14
Designs: Small Cubebot and Julien Cubebot
Pricing: Small - $25.00; Julien - $30.00
The Cubebot comes packaged in its cube form in a small cardboard box. There are illustrations of the figure in both cube and robot form on the outside. Luckily, the illustration of the figure in cube form can help you transform it back.
The Cubebot resembles a Rubik's Cube crossed with a wooden toy robot. Transforming it into robot form is fairly easy. You need to be aware of how many cutouts each piece of wood has, so you can maneuver those elastic bands through them. Getting it back into the cube form might be a little more complicated. (The elastic bands seem to stand up fairly well, as the Cubebot lasted several days in the clutches of my 2+ year old)
While there are several Cubebot designs – and sizes – we're just looking at the Small Cubebot and the Julien Cubebot. While the Small Cubebot stands at 6.25” tall, there is an Extra Large Cubebot (the same figure design) that towers in at 23” in height.
The Julien Cubebot measures 1.75” taller than the small Cubebot. That extra height appears to be contained in a pair of stilt-like legs. However, pretty much everything differs between these two versions. The most noticeable differences are the height, the head (Julien has a pentagon shape), and the hands (Julien has hook-shaped hands).
Both Cubebots are made out of cherry wood. And while the wood looks nice, I'm guessing that some folks might be interested in doing custom work on the Cubebot. I'd like to see how some paint or stain would be able to change the robot character. (I do think paint might rub off with all of the twisting and turning of the various wooden pieces)
But that's where the real fun comes from...changing the Cubebot between cube and robot. It's part therapeutic, part challenge. I'd rate the Small Cubebot a 6/10 in difficulty, while the Julien Cubebot would a 7/10. Not as difficult as a Rubik's Cube...but definitely still challenging and fun.
You can purchase one at the following:
Areaware: Small - $25.00; Julien - $30.00