Challenge of the Go-Bots toyline, by Bandai, released 1985
The Black Sheep of the Mecha Family
It’s a pretty simple equation that if one thing is popular, a lot of it should be even more popular. After all, look at all the games in the wake of Pokemon, vampire books in the wake of Anne Rice and now Stephanie Meyer. The list goes on and on and on. Such was the case in the 80s with Transformers and the cheap knock-off, Go-Bots.
There’s not a lot that can be said about the Go-Bots, except that they were such a blatant rip-off of Transformers, its little wonder that they didn’t last. Moreover, they weren’t even that good of a rip-off. MASK was kind of a rip-off of GI Joe, but a good one. Inhumanoids was a rip-off of…well, I don’t know. HP Lovecraft and Centurians maybe? But Go-Bots was the gas station boxed wine to Transformers’ Crystal. There just wasn’t much a competition.
A few characteristics of the story do still standout, however, one of which was their bad guys’ leader Cy Kill. I’m pretty sure there were others, but like Leader-One (the leader of the good Go-Bots), he’s about all anybody remembers. So, seeing as how I reviewed Starscream last week and that was the third Transformers review, I figured it was time to give these guys a shout-out.
Appearance – 3 out of 5
Cy Kill looks very much like he did in the cartoon, with the exception of the menacing scowl (here replaced with a vacant generic robotic look). Otherwise, the proportions are very well preserved and the character looks like he did in the show.
Construction – 4 out of 5
Somewhat similar to other die-cast mecha toys, this one is part metal and part plastic. However, unlike some of the Transformers, the joints and limbs are plastic whereas the main body is metal. This makes the toy feel a little better balanced and sturdier. There’s a pretty admirable amount of texture included in both the plastic and metal parts and some details (such as the machinery-looking details inside the main headlight) that really stand out.
Movement – 2 out of 5
The die-cast trunk pretty much seals the fate of any joints on the body (there’re no waist or neck joints, so you can forget about turning Cy Kill’s head). There are simple joints for the shoulders, hips, and knees, but with the exception of the shoulders, these provide only enough mobility to allow for the transformation process. This translates into a bare-minimum amount of motion for an action figure.
Extras – 1 out of 5
Zip, zero, nilch, nada. This toy comes with no weapons, add-ons, side-cars riders, nothing.
Packaging – 4 out of 5
The packaging is impressive. True to 1980s aesthetic, you have airbrushed robotic figures engaged in explosive combat. Cy Kill is depicted as a larger-than-life daunting figure, since every package showcased the figure itself distinctively. The images on the box are gorgeous and the box itself comes with an opening flap that reveals the figure itself. The back of the package is devoid of character information or any distinctive elements, but the front artwork more than makes up for that.
Overall – 3 out of 5
This is a very sturdy toy that does represent the character that inspired it, but unfortunately that’s all it has going for it. The lack of meaningful mobility and utter absence of any kind of extras really keeps this as median figure. The toy has little personality (and certainly nothing that would indicate the character from the show) and it isn’t even clear (his name aside) if he’s a good guy or a bad guy. Even the impressive artwork of the packaging couldn’t save this toy that was part of a toy line that will forever be remembered (and rightfully so) as the ugly cousin of the Transformers.