RGE Legacy Products - Workshop Willie

In the 1980s, RGE was contracted by a toy company in Peterborough to manufacture a children’s robot figure called Workshop Willie. The toy company had already produced one set of tools, which travelled from country to country. This allowed local companies to produce the figure in the region that it would then be sold in, allowing Workshop Willie to be sold internationally without the toy company having to ship each individual figure.

RGE produced over 50,000 figures over the couple of months that the tools were here, which were to be sold in the UK, before they were passed on to the next factory. The tools were even seen in action in Portugal, when Gordon Leach visited a factory producing the same product there.

Workshop Willie is made up of around 12 different parts in a variety of colours, and required several tools to produce. Each part was made separately and packaged for the customer to assemble. The figure came with a removable hat and separate tools, such as a hammer, screwdriver, saw and a spanner which could be used by the child to take the figure apart and put it back together.

Workshop Willie has lived in the RGE show room since his production, other than for a short period in which he mysteriously disappeared. A note demanding the safe return of Willie was left in the cabinet, and soon enough he returned, sporting a pair of sunglasses and a note explaining that he had enjoyed his holiday.
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