"Armstrong" is the ninth episode of DuckTales.
Scrooge, Huey, Dewey, and Louie are on a train ride back to Duckburg with some of Scrooge’s gold, when a rock slide blocks the track up ahead, forcing the train to stop. Scrooge radios for Launchpad, who’s currently in the middle of putting out a fire in the countryside by dropping water from his biplane’s water tank, to come and help him ASAP. When Launchpad reaches the train, he crashes his biplane into the train’s coal tender. He attempts to move the boulders, but he can’t because they’re too heavy for him. Fortunately, Gyro, who also picked up Scrooge’s radio call, shows up in his helicopter, and unveils his latest invention; Armstrong, a robot that can do pretty much anything. Gyro orders Armstrong to clear the boulders off of the tracks, and Armstrong tosses the boulders aside with the greatest of ease.
Later, at McDuck Manor, Armstrong gives another demonstration, this time by vacuuming up the house. Duckworth feels offended by Armstrong’s efficiency, and leaves, feeling unwanted. While watching Armstrong wash Scrooge’s car, the boys notice that Armstrong is capable of opening the garage door on his own. Apparently, Armstrong can also control anything that runs on electricity. Though Armstrong continues do to housework, Launchpad remarks that Armstrong probably isn't capable of piloting a plane. Scrooge decides that Launchpad and Armstrong should have a flying contest, which he hopes to make a big event out of.
At the flying contest, Scrooge advertises Armstrong as a future product that his company will produce. Soon, the contest starts, and Launchpad and Armstrong are racing each other in identical helicopters. Launchpad ends up crashing, while Armstrong wins (of course).
Later that night, Launchpad returns to McDuck Manor, only to learn that the contest was a success, and that Scrooge has already gotten numerous orders for more Armstrong robots. Scrooge kindly asks Launchpad to leave, seeing as he won’t need him for the time being. Launchpad’s feelings are only worsened when he sees that the boys are happy with Armstrong doing their homework for them. At this point, however, Armstrong slowly starts to think differently. Armstrong is now seeking control, though only with small things, such as convincing Scrooge that it’s more efficient for cups of hot chocolate to use only one marshmallow instead of two, much to the boys’ dismay.
The next day at the Money Bin, Scrooge fires all of his employees, and has Armstrong take control of all their machines, to the point where Armstrong’s running the entire company all on his own. Scrooge falls asleep and wakes up later at night. Wondering what Armstrong is up to, Scrooge finds him in the vault. Armstrong has truly gone berserk at this point, claiming that Scrooge’s money now belongs to him.
Armstrong takes Scrooge hostage, and brings him over to Gyro’s house. There, Armstrong takes control of Gyro’s various machines, and links up to a system of communication satellites and electronics systems. He also dispatches flying spy cameras as well. According to Gyro, Armstrong can now control anything on Earth that runs on electricity. Scrooge and Gyro are unable to reach Armstrong, as they’re trapped in a closet behind a force field.
When Scrooge hasn't returned home the next morning, Huey calls Gyro’s house. Armstrong, who’s mimicking Gyro’s voice, tells Huey to leave him alone. The boys conclude that Gyro wouldn't normally talk like that, and decide to pay him a visit. Armstrong spies on the boys with a camera, and prevents them from opening the garage door to retrieve their bikes, so they have to sneak the bikes through a window.
The boys pass a toy store on their way over to Gyro’s, so Armstrong takes control of some remote controlled toy planes and tanks to distract the boys. Since they’re only toys, the boys manage to stop them, and conclude that Armstrong was the one who took control of them, but they don’t know why.
Upon arriving at Gyro’s house, which is now protected by barbed wire fences, the boys’ bikes are melted by a laser which is guarding the premises. The laser and Armstrong scare the boys off, and they seek Launchpad for help. They meet up with Launchpad at his house, only to find him packing suitcases because of being hurt and unwanted. The boys beg him not to leave and explain to him what’s going on. Launchpad agrees to help and decides to use his biplane to reach Gyro’s house because it's low-tech enough that Armstrong can't take control of.
When Launchpad and the boys go to retrieve Launchpad’s biplane from a hangar, Armstrong spies on them and retaliates by taking control of three fighter jets. The jets fire missiles at Launchpad’s biplane, but they miss thanks to an accidental fluke by Launchpad. Launchpad manages to elude another missile and tricks it into hitting the jets, taking care of them. Launchpad crashes on Gyro’s roof, destroying the satellites that Armstrong is abusing, and cutting off his communications.
After getting down from the plane, Armstrong tries to kill Launchpad by chasing him around the house. Launchpad retreats to his biplane, and accidentally opens up the water tank when Armstrong grabs his ankle. The water hits Armstrong, causing the robot to malfunction and fall apart. With Armstrong nothing more than a memory, Scrooge apologizes to Launchpad for how he treated him.
Back at McDuck Manor, the gang celebrates with hot chocolate, with everybody getting two marshmallows like they used to, except for Scrooge, whose hot chocolate doesn't have any. Duckworth states that having marshmallows is inefficient. Scrooge states that efficiency has its place, but not in his hot chocolate. Duckworth then complies by giving Scrooge three marshmallows.
- This episode was later adapted into the first issue of Gladstone Publishing's DuckTales comic book.
- It was also released on book-and-cassette as "Launchpad's Daring Raid."
- Many aspects of this episode were reused for the TaleSpin episode "From Here to Machinery", in which an inventor builds a robot called the Auto Aviator which can fly planes.
- Both episodes are about robots that are built to take over people's jobs because robots are more efficient workers. In this episode, those people are Launchpad and Duckworth, while in TaleSpin, it's Baloo and all the other pilots.
- A flying contest is held to see if a robot is better than an actual pilot. In both episodes, the robots win.
- At some point, the robots refuse to co-operate with people and put people in danger. However, Armstrong was sentient, and actually wanted to take control. The Auto Aviator was unable to deviate from its flight plan, despite the fact that it was under attack.
- Someone gets electrocuted while trying to stop either Armstrong or the Auto Aviator.
- At the climax, the robots are overtaken by someone (Launchpad or Baloo) they originally replaced.
- The robots are defeated by being exposed to a liquid (water in DuckTales, soda in TaleSpin). Additionally, the exposure causes both robots to self-destruct in a similar manner.
- Mrs. Featherby and Webby appeared in this episode, but neither character had any lines of dialogue.
- Alan Young - Scrooge McDuck
- Russi Taylor - Huey Duck, Dewey Duck, Louie Duck
- Terry McGovern - Launchpad McQuack
- Hal Smith - Gyro Gearloose
- Peter Cullen - Armstrong
- Chuck McCann - Duckworth
- DuckTales: Volume 1
- on IMDb