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