Troublebots were always trouble. They stood the tallish side of average and would look reasonably alright from a distance, were it not for the fact that they were usually scratched and dented.

Each Troublebot had two eyes, a dial where the nose should be and a small round hole for a mouth. Variations do exist within this format, and you couldn’t be sure that the distance between the eyes is exactly the same on each head, or that each mouth was die-cut exactly in the centre of each face.

The upper body was square-like and hollow, with enough room inside for all of the various pistons, wheels, wires, switches, motors and circuit boards required to keep the Troublebot working.

There was also a rectangular grille on each Troublebot’s chest and if you looked through the flimsy bars, you could see their badly-soldered inner circuitry sparking, shorting and generally threatening to give up.

The limbs of a Troublebot were designed with action in mind. Unfortunately, the measurements used for the prototype were very slightly out, and this mismeasurement was most noticeable in the slight limp caused by the right leg being ever-so-slightly longer than the left.

The left arm looked normal enough for a humanoid and ended in a metallic hand. The right arm ended with a bewildering array of random tools attached to it instead of fingers. These tools included useful ones like screwdrivers, mini-saws, sharp knives, small-bore guns, digital cameras, half-size samurai swords, and blow-torches.

Less useful tools that have been found at the end of a Troublebot’s arm include sporks, pencil sharpeners, miniature golf clubs, thermometers, toffee hammers, fountain pens, litter grabbers, flag guns that say ‘Bang’, analogue remote control systems, small kites on short strings, spirit-levels, kaleidoscopes, sextants, mascara brushes, wooden spoons, egg toppers, paper clips, microphones, Clingfilm dispensers, radio aerials, small fizzy sweet dispensers and a ruminator (whatever that is).

Anyone with an eye for the aesthetic, especially sensitive designers and engineers, is likely to find that same eye filling with tears at the simple sight of one of these hapless things.

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