Toymaker uses discarded flipflops to make Voltes V, robot toys
by rick olivares
One of the unconventional hits and attractions during the Retro Con last weekend, March 22-24 at Ali Mall at the Araneta Center, were these toy robots of Voltes V, Mekanda Robo, and Mobile Suit Gundam.
Except they are all made out of discarded flip flops.
“Wala ako mga laruan nung bata ako so natuto ako gumawa ng sarili ko,” related toymaker Elmer Padilla who hails from Imus, Cavite.
Padilla wasn’t born yet when Voltes V was first shown on Philippine television during the summer of 1978. When he saw it the second time around he was hooked. “Grabe kasi yung mga kuwento,” described the now 41-year old of his love for this classic Japanese anime. “Yung mga struggle nila, at yung mga issues sa isa’t isa, parang totoong buhay. Siyempre, yung action ibang klase. Na-hook ako.”
Unable to afford the shiny and expensive mech toys from Japan, Padilla began to make his own.
“Nung first time ko gumawa ng sariling kong laruan na Voltes V, inabot ako ng dalawang araw at marami akong nasirang mga tsinelas,” he chuckled at the memory.
Nowadays, making them is second nature. Although unconventional in the material used, Padilla says, his versions of these beloved robots have been steady sellers. They sell for as much as PhP1,000 for the two-foot creations.
“Hindi lang naman para sa sariling entertainment ko yung pagawa ko ng mga ito. Gusto ko rin ipahiwatig sa mga bata na kaya rin nila gumawa ng sarili nilang laruan ko hindi nila ma-afford yung mga mamahaling laruang banyaga.”
When he doesn’t make these mall appearances, Elmer sells his homemade toys on his Facebook page (Elmer Padilla). “Nagulat din ako kasi meron din mga Voltes V collectors na bumibili ng gawa ko. Unique daw. Nakakataba ng puso.”
When asked if he hopes this will also attract the attention of foreign toymakers as well as the Voltes V creators, Elmer simply smiled that would be a dream opportunity. However, right now, he is happy making toys for poor kids with dreams of owning some cool toys such as Voltes V. Even if they are only made of slippers.