Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Review: GoBots Scooter

Recently I wrote a review of the New Adventures of He-Man Starship Eternia. I mentioned that NA wasn't particularly well liked at the time. Coincidently, today's review is of a toy from another line which wasn't very well liked - GoBots.

GoBots was the competitor to Transformers and, despite starting off well, was soon massively overtaken in popularity and sales by its rival. The Hanna-Barbera cartoon was never as popular as the Transformers Sunbow one. Upon recent rewatching, I discovered it really wasn't as bad as people seem to think it was. In actuality it's the Transformers cartoon which is far worse than memory tries to insist. The cartoon is exactly what you'd expect from something created by the people behind Yogi Bear, Wacky Races et al.

One of the main characters from the show was Scooter who, thanks to ebay, is now mine to own. There were two scales to GoBots toys - the smaller ~4 inch one and the larger deluxe line. This Scooter is of the smaller variety.

In robot mode Scooter has very basic articulation, ie his arms can move. His legs are pretty much locked into position, which is actually a benefit. A lot of GoBots toys suffer from loose limbs, but Scooter's chest piece clips down on top, preventing them wobbling and allowing Scooter to stand with no problems.

He looks almost identical to the character on the TV show. Unlike the competition, the GoBots cartoon almost always used character models identical to the toys. There was no 'cheating' with transformations either, which I really liked as a child. If you could see a characters head in vehicle mode on the toy, then this would be repeated in the cartoon.


Scooter is one example of a cheat. In the cartoon Scooter's face often appeared between the handlebars when he was in vehicle mode. This cannot be done with the toy, where is head is firmly attached beneath the front wheel.

Other than this complaint, it's a pretty good scooter and he rolls along nicely. All the pieces lock together nicely to form a solid vehicle. Try as I might, I couldn't find an action figure of the right scale to sit on it, which made me a little sad. If anyone out there knows of anything that fits, please let me know.

There are a lot of die-hard Transformers fans out there who like to put GoBots down as frequently and as hard as they can. The reality is that a lot of these toys could easily fit amongst the early Transformers figures and neither GoBots nor Transformers cartoons were really all that great. These days both toy lines are practically one and the same anyway - Hasbro bought Tonka a number of years ago so now owns both sets of characters*.

So isn't it time you gave GoBots another chance?

*although not the toys themselves. Unlike Hasbro who bought the original Japanese toys that were used to make up Transformers outright in the 80s, Tonka simply licensed them from Bandai. Hence these days things are a little murky in the rights department when making toys based on the old GoBot designs.

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