Tiny Convention Find: Nuggit

Sometimes, we at AddAltMode are lucky enough to find a sci-fi or comic convention in the South-West of England, which means that AddAltModeR gets to cosplay and I get to pore over stalls where nerd-merchants lay out their wares. Recently, we went to Dev-Con, (as AddAltModeR discussed recently) and among the various items for sale I found this little gem (terrible pun not intended):

I'm not putting any clues into the alt-text.

Ooooh, mysterious.

Want to know what is is? Keep reading…

Follow me back through the mists of time, to an age lost to us all, except for time-travellers, mulletheads and Double Dragon players, an age known as … the nineteen-eighties. During the eighties, the company formerly known as Hassenfeld Brothers imported some Japanese robot toys, calling them the Transformers (which you may have heard about once or twice before on this blog).

Now, some other toy companies saw great potential in Hasbro’s idea. They saw the potential profit in making the cheapest possible knock-offs of these toys, and packaging them on very similar card backs, and selling them cheaply. Possibly they had the hope that eager-to-please but short-sighted old dears would buy them for their soon-to-be-disappointed grandchildren. Some of these knock-offs were OK, some were so terrible.

Kings among the knock-offs were Tonka’s Go-Bots. They had a terrible toyline, with terrible transformations (some of which were lifted straight from the transformers toys which came with McDonald’s happy meals!) and a cartoon so terrible I could tell it was dire even when I was too young to recognise the awfulness of Scrappy-Doo.

In all seriousness, the yellow VW beetle is my favourite. Their creator's desperation for them to be mistaken for Transformers is palpable.

In all seriousness, the yellow VW beetle is my favourite. Their creator’s desperation for them to be mistaken for Transformers is palpable.

Many Go-Bots folded in only one of two places, so their robot-modes looked like crashed versions of their vehicle-mode with a face added. Some of them turned into water-pistols, bubble-wands and similar toys, and some were straight-forward rip-offs of Transformers. Not to beat around the bush, but the very best of the Go-Bots, in terms of sculpting, articulation and distinction between their modes, just about managed to be nearly as good as the very worst Transformers.

Now, Go-bots are very hard to find nowadays – apparently a lot of them were so poorly made that they simply didn’t survive the test of time.

However, there was a sub-line of Go-bots called “Rock Lords” who transformed into rocks. Yeah, rocks. Most of them turned into shapeless balls of roughly-textured material. The sandstone guy basically resembled something most people would try not to step on if they saw it on a pavement.  Despite their fairly crappy alternate mode (terrible pun definitely intended), the Rock Lords were easily the high point of the Go-Bots toyline.

Photo by Johnny Magnusson, http://www.freestockphotos.biz/stockphoto/2246 http://www.logodesignweb.com/stockphoto/

There might be, like, 100 or so of them in this photo. How could you tell?

I can’t possibly write about the Rock Lords without mentioning the episode of Transformers Animated wherein Bumblebee was teleported through the Quartex System, (in the Go-Bots ‘toon, Quartex was the Rock Lords’ home planet) attracting the attention of a native creature which resembled a common asteroid until it transformed into an enormous brutish rock-creature bent of consuming any metal object and robots it could stuff into it’s grinding maw.

This one looks quite formidable.

The Rock Monster that Bumblebee encounters in the Quartex System. (Transformers Animated, episode 31 “Transwarped, Part II”) Is it me, or does this monster resemble the lumbering, hunchbacked Devastator from Revenge of the Fallen?

This homage to the original Rock Lords was a huge and highly dangerous monster, which towered over the Autobots in both stature and sheer resilience. It could be defeated only by the Deus ex machina of a powered-up Sari Sumdac.

Anyone paying attention will have drawn the connection between the Rock Lords and the mysteriously image at the top of this article. The mystery object is, of course, a transformed Rock Lord – although his stature is a little less formidable than his Transformers Animated counterpart.

Isn't the little fellow cute?

The Autobots in TFA were less than knee-high to the Rock Lord. This Rock Lord is just-over Knee-high to a Deluxe-size Transformer. Knock Out’s custom weapons by fakebusker83.

This particular Rock Lord transformed into a nugget of gold, earning himself the unimaginative name Nuggit.

Nuggit in lump-of-stuff Mode.

Nuggit in lump-of-stuff Mode.

Bling-bling, bitches.

Nuggit in Robot Mode. This little ‘bots wearing a serious amount of bling.

So, why would I want to spend a whole pound of my hard-earned money of a Go-bot/Rock Lord, considering I find them risible? Well, why not? The amount of laughs I’ve got from fiddling with this little bot, and posing him on the toy-shelf is well worth the small change I paid for him.

His vacuum-metallized gold finish has flaked away quite badly, revealing him to be made of earwax-yellow plastic. The chrome on his arms is flaking too, showing that they are dark green underneath. He has a couple of paint operations – his eyes, and the “jetpack” mounted on his back, and these are holding up a bit better than his gold finish. it’s pretty obvious from the pattern of wear on one hand where his (now missing) gun was mounted.

Witness me, blood-bag! I am shiny, I am chrome!

Witness me, blood-bag! I am shiny, I am chrome! I am clearly right-handed.

His little retro-1950s robot face is kind of cute, and his long, tubular arms and really dumpy legs are totally adorable. It’s a good thing he’s got a jetpack on his back, since I’m unsure his legs are long enough that he could walk. Interestingly, the jetpack is better articulated than the legs, which have only enough articulation to be able to transform.


Whilst he’s a little worse for wear, little Nuggit looks good on my shelf. His extreme bling means he doesn’t disappear among all the much larger Transformers. He’s a cute little addition to my display.

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5 thoughts on “Tiny Convention Find: Nuggit

    • Don’t think I ever saw the GoBots movie though I was amused to find some very familiar names – Peter Cullen, Frank Welker – among the cast list. 🙂

      There are rumours that a new GoBots movie could happen as Hasbro now own the license for this as well as Transformers. I’m sure Michael Bay would enjoy explodifying a few rock lords *sighs*

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      • I had another Gobots movie on video, although technically it was a bunch of episodes combined into a film. The Gobots got suits that had unique powers and could be merged into a gaint robot.

        Despite my fondness for them I do admit their transformations were a tad simplistic. I guess they worked for anyone who found Transformers too complex haha.

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  1. Well, yes and no.

    GoBots come from the same well of Japanese transforming robot toys as early G1 Transformers. Where the Diaclone toys that became the Autobot cars, Seekers, etc., were designed as basically model-quality, the toys that would become GoBots (“Machine Robo”) were a decidedly budget affair – they were specifically all intended to fit at the 600¥ price point – just outside “impulse buy” range.

    That all being said, I think they get a pretty bad rap these days. The smaller price point let them be more experimental – there was an entire assortment of WWII warplanes, for pete’s sake. Also, Puzzler in particular runs rings around the G1 combiners – he’s got integrated fists! Hasbro still hasn’t managed that!

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    • Thanks for commenting!

      Machine Robo’s low budget and “experimental” nature were responsible for a lot of the “unique” aesthetics of the GoBots, but I think their bad rap nowadays is pretty justified; for every novel design there were several “stand the altmode on one end and fold out a face” designs.

      Whilst Puzzler does have nice hands, he also has that bizarre 1/2-car bulge sticking out of his crotch.

      Also, the “Fall of Cybertron” Combaticons, and their Autobot-aligned retools the Wreckers possess both integrated fists and feet each of in the limbs.

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