Action Toys' Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos Series Wave 1 - AKA Masterpiece GoBots
It was 2 years ago, 2014. [Thanks for clarifying, with the way you put out articles, we might not actually post this for another year. – Ed.] Pictures leaked out of some Asian toy show and emerged on the Transformers websites of the prototypes. New toys for Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos were shown in grayscale prototype form. For the uninitiated…GoBots. New GoBots. In those initial pictures we saw Blue Jet (Fitor), Eagle Robo (Leader-1), Rod Drill (Screwhead), Bike Robo (Cy-Kill), Battle Robo (Tank) and Supercar Robo (Turbo).
And there was much salivating. Because for all the hardcore G-wunners out there, well, most of us have grown up enough to put away the old GoBot hatred and accept that yes, we all had some, whether it was from a relative that simply figured all transforming robots were the same to those (including me) that were poor and had to make do with the cheaper GoBots in place of a more desirable, yet more expensive, Transformer. I certainly know I wasn’t the only one who used Super GoBot Leader-1 as a stand in for Starscream back in the day…and yeah, I’ll admit to considering Road Ranger my Mini-Spy Optimus Prime.
But after these initial pictures…there was a long silence. It was almost a full year later, now 2015, when we saw them again. Now…there were more. Aside from the 6 already mentioned, now we saw protos for Mixer Robo (Blockhead), Shuttle Robo (Spay-C) and Blackbird Robo (Snoop). Then the silence resumed.
When pictures of the packaging finally emerged, that’s when things really got rolling. Pre-orders went up and now (well, back in May anyway) they’ve shipped. [Damn, you waited this long to get off your butt and do a review…what the hell, man? – Ed.] Well, except for Cy-Kill/Bike Robo, he’s been delayed till June. Are they worth picking up?
As a group, the prices range from $40 to $50 depending on which importer/retailer you choose to use (we went with Big Bad Toy Store, so it was $41 for Rod Drill and $46 for Battle Robo and Eagle Robo…aw, screw it, I’m using the GoBot names from here on out). So, what are you getting for this chunk of change? Well, just like GoBots back in the day, they’re small…Leader-1 being the tallest and he matches up fairly well with the height of a Transformers deluxe class figure. Thus, even though they’ve been called “Masterpiece” GoBots on the internet, you’re probably not going to be mixing these in with your MP TFs.
In all other areas, however, these guys are definitely masterpieces. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they’re the perfect blend of what we’ve seen from Third-Party Transforming Toys (like the FansProject not-Stunticons we reviewed here) and officially licensed product. What do I mean? Well, you get the attention to detail, precise transformations (to the point of being fiddly/finicky) and articulation associated with Third Party releases, but the materials grade and quality typically seen with officially licensed stuff. To be more specific, you can actually PLAY with these figures! Even better? If you do, you won’t feel like the plastic is doing its level best to try and cut you or draw blood in any number of ways. [I peeeeench. – Ed.] The transformations, although yes, they do need to be precise, are fun and not painful…proving to be at times both unique and familiar. The third party feel definitely kicks in with both Tank and Leader-1. There have been reviews online that accuse these two of being fiddly…but honestly, the fact that with the right amount of fiddling and the transformations lock solidly into place, in some ways better than Takara’s Masterpiece TFs, and there’s no resulting pain in the fingertips like so many other Third Party toys, it’s totally worth it. In fact, its presence in both Tank and Leader-1 makes its relative absence in Screwhead that much more jarring. Perhaps it’s my own errors in transformation…but Screwhead doesn’t really lock into place as well as the others and, as such, doesn’t feel quite as solid. I won’t go through the individual transformations, as there are plenty of quality YouTube videos that can do better in pictures/video than I could do in words. [Finally, he admits a limitation…everyone mark your calendars. – Ed.] Wait, there is one that could draw blood. You see, Screwhead comes with 2 drills…one that has his face embedded (for his robot mode) and another longer one for use (if you wish) while he’s in vehicle mode. The point on the longer one? Yeah, that one might require safety goggles or something, because you could lose an eye to that thing under the right circumstances. For preference, I tend to leave the robot head in place as it doesn’t look too bad in vehicle mode…but it’s very easy to see that the longer vehicle mode drill does look better.
Speaking of feeling solid, can I get a hearty welcome back for some DIE CAST CONSTRUCTION??? All three robos are sporting some metal to give them some heft and durability…and it’s everything you could hope it would be! Leader-1’s chest and feet, Tank’s lower legs and Screwhead’s…uh…for whatever reason I can’t remember…I think it’s his chest…but yeah, all die cast. As is the trend in modern transforming toys, any and all weapons become part of the vehicle mode (or easily hidden within)…Leader-1’s being the stand-out, as his gun breaks down into 4 pieces, two missile pods for the wings and guns for the fuselage.
If these three are any indication, we’re in for one heck of a ride for future waves, especially given who’s on the way. The fact that Action Toys does indeed have the blessing from Bandai for these toys means that, hopefully, nothing will keep future waves from coming. The only drawback for some American GoBots fans is that Action Toys is limited to ‘bots that appeared in the anime Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos…so some old favorite GoBots may not make it into the line if they didn’t appear on the Japanese show. And even those that did, like Crasher, may not appear in ways we’re familiar with (my understanding is that Crasher was white in the series…which is actually fine with me, as I grew up with a white Crasher toy!).
Oh…I nearly forgot…the bases. Each figure comes with pieces that can be arranged to form a tiny base for each figure or a flight stand with posing arm. When I first heard about this, yeah, I figured these were going right into the ol’ “base bin”…ne’er to be seen again. But damn are these things cool. Given the number of pieces included with each base and the fact that there are so many different ports to allow for combining these bases into more complex structures…the possibilities are nearly endless…and almost as much fun as the ‘bots themselves…and that’s something I NEVER thought I’d type.
So, if you had even the remotest interest in these figures when the prototype images were released, let me tell you, they live up to the hype.
Just…don’t watch the anime they’re based on…it kinda hurts. In a different way than Hanna-Barbera’s Challenge of the GoBots…but still…ow…yeah, not recommended without alcohol.
For more GoBots Vs Transformers action, check out our discussion here.