Review by knoted
Most CDX readers here, know Gobots history by now. So I'll save you my banter, trying to cite it without screwing up most historical Gobots facts.
In this review I will be looking at Destroyer. He's with the Renegade faction and his Euro toy release was designated Super Gobots in 1984, the year I got him. After years of play sessions, I guess I wrecked him, so my parents got rid of it. It was about 25 years later, last November 2009; I got hold of an American Destroyer. With fond memories of the RMDX-04, this review actually covers the Destroyer also known as #029.
Is this toy hard to get? No. However, like with a lot of vintage toys, it is more difficult to find a MIB item. Finally, I found a MIB Destroyer online. Kind of…
The panel art on the box is more artsy/alternative than Transformers G1 box art. It usually consists of both robot and vehicle mode against a slightly ambiguous
earth backdrop setting. I'm guessing, gouache or acrylic painting. It’s certainly no digital Photoshop illustration.
Turn the box' front panel and you'll be greeted with the Challenge of the Gobots introduction story as well as the clear window display for Destroyer himself.
There he is in styrofoam glory, along with a fresh decal sheet and two gun barrel accessories. Note, Destroyer comes with some decal stickers factory applied already. The ones on the decal sticker sheet are just extra.
Destroyer mirrors the German Leopard A4 tank very well. The main tank hull is diecast, covered with impeccable mold detail. Note the 5 middle wheels in the tank tread section; Their position is offset, upwards. They are basically plastic mold detail, while only the front and rear wheels actually roll the rubber tank treads around.
The belly of the tank says he's made in 1983, by Bandai Japan. Perhaps it's difficult to spot on the pictures, but the right side rubber tank tread is in a bit of a dire state. The rubber material seems to be somewhat decomposing unfortunately. MIB? Well, kinda. Good enough to transform and pose? Yes. Good enough to roll around? Definitely not.
The back of the box illustrates transformation. The engine compartment basically houses his robot arms.
Tall, dark & gruesome? Indeed, like many Super Gobots, Destroyer is a bit of a stilt walker and he also has the tank turret for a head. You could leave in the default gun barrel but I plugged it into the extension barrel. This way he can peg this long range gun into either upper arm. Destroyer stands about 6 inch tall.
Destroyer’s torso basically folds up the main tank hull, similar to a Macross Valk folding up its fuselage.
Nasty meat grabbers!
Destroyer’s articulation is pretty good for a 1983 transforming toy. The turret head rotates 360 degrees, but it can’t look up or down. The gun barrel socket & IR sensor do move up and down, so if you would consider that to be his face or mouth, he does feature some facial expression :o
His shoulders rotate a full 360 with sturdy ratcheting joints. For transformation, his shoulder can turn to the back, but after you close his back panel, the tabs will prevent the shoulders from turning backside. The elbow joints enable his forearms to rotate slightly more than 90 degrees.
There’s also some margin of movement for his lower body, so he can do a really limited pelvic thrust. Lol. The hip joints rotate pretty freely around so he can do some neat walking poses. Nothing extremely agile though because of the complete lack of knee joints. Even if he did have knees, he would still be somewhat limited because of his top heavy diecast torso and his instable feet, which are basically just flaps on friction hinge joints. Still, for a 1983 Gobot he’s got some menacing attack poses.
There’s also the unofficial in-between mode. It’s kind of lame, but perhaps it would make sense to have a lower profile in some types of battle.
Finally, here’s an up-close shot of the fresh decal sticker sheet. Although it’s not in German and lacking real world accuracy, it does feature a pretty realistic style.
So how relevant is this toy then and now? The design philosophy (ahhum) behind Destroyer was quite the opposite from other tank-formers of that time, such as Transformer Blitzwing. Clearly, Destroyer’s design, aims for more real world accuracy in regards to the Leopard A4 tank mode. For the good of the toy, that aim might have even overshot its toy goal. Mold detail, diecast hull, detailed decal sticker sheet, real world colour scheme; those are all great toy attributes which are only, pure added value.
However, even as much as I drooled at actual rolling rubber tank treads, something negative can be said about it. It looks real nice and cool but it wasn’t really future proof. I’m sure many other kids lost or ripped the rubber tank treads way before I wrecked mine. Even now, with my collector item, I am stuck with 1 out of 2 tank treads, in state of decomposing rubber. Where’s the company now, if I need replacements? Aside from that, even back in the day, the budget for those rolling wheels and rubber tank treads could have been translated into budget for knee joints for our dear Mr Destroyer; had they opted for 2 single piece tank tread plastic molds, with that knee joint in the middle.
Also, let’s talk a bit about the differences which made Transformers rise and Gobots sink. The majority of Transformers were given design attributes which are easier to identify with than Gobots’. Transformers have humanoid faces. A lot of Gobots have window shields and turrets for a head. Now, in Destroyer’s case, this does give him a menacing anonymous look. Because after all, we fear what we do not know. He might be slaughtering humans without any recognizable emotion. Perhaps that’s more scary than a stereotypical villain face with an overabundance of mechanical fang teeth, red glowing eyes and pointy horns. Unfortunately, Destroyer will probably not be remembered as such, because the actual Challenge of the Gobots show was incredibly bad. The TV cartoon didn’t really air on Euro channels, but I did see the Gobots VHS videos. Boy oh boy, those were annoying as heck.
So even if Destroyer and his Gobot friends have faded into obscure oblivion, the thing which they did leave behind is an appreciation for transforming sci-fi robots which do not necessarily mirror exact human proportions and expression.
I don’t want to generalize others, but I think the above mentioned is one of those things which made me appreciate the more exotic designs such as Robotix and recent Transformers Revenge of the Fallen.
The bottom line is; Destroyer is in my opinion a pretty unique toy character. However, because of the nature of his design - strong points which can be weak points at the same time – he is not worth more than 10 dollars of your collector budget if he’s not in Mint shape. I got mine for 50 bucks which is an OK online price for this ( more or less ) MIB Destroyer. Thus, I can only recommend hunting for Super Gobots Destroyer if you’re a tank aficionado, open-minded about exotic out-there robot character designs and he HAS to be at least in MINT shape, with tank treads included.
|Posted 12 January, 2010 - 21:14 by knoted|