Transformers get all the love, and rightly so. For 35 years Transformers have always been nothing short of awesome, well except for maybe that stretch where Michael Bay got his hands on the franchise. And while I’m not a fan of the Studio Series, even he couldn’t ruin the franchise toyline.
But there’s another transforming robot toyline that doesn’t get nearly the love Transformers receives, in fact they don’t get nearly enough love, period. While I’ve referred to the GoBots in the past as the Mega Bloks to Transformers Lego, I had my share of GoBots toys in the eighties. I loved them then, and I still love them now.
Sure, they were simplistic in their transformations, and Tonka didn’t dig too deep into the creativity well when it came to names, but the heroic Guardians and evil Renegades deserve some shine, so while I patiently wait for the Action Toys Steam Robo that I ordered to arrive in my mailbox, let’s take a look at ten of my favorites from the mighty GoBots line.
10) Command Center
The poor kids AT-AT Walker if you or your parents couldn’t afford Star Wars toys; in fact a friend of mine from high school recently called it exactly that when discussing GoBots.
While I never owned an AT-AT or this GoBots Command Center, I can’t imagine there’d be any shortage of fun invading Hoth, err, Earth if this had appeared under my Christmas tree.
I had Pincher, keyword is had, because when I recovered my childhood collection last summer, Pincher was there but not in salvageable shape, sadly.
While in some respects, Pincher could’ve looked a little silly to some with the overall look and simple transformation, I was always jazzed to play with Pincher and while they weren’t an Insecticons level of cool, for me they still looked suitably sinister and evil as part of Cy-Kill’s Renegade group.
Another that eluded my collection. While green is my favorite color, I have a deep love for reds as well, and a friend of mine who I had met in kindergarten had Turbo, and I took advantage of every opportunity to play with Turbo whenever I’d go over to their house.
From the overall look and asthetic, and the beautiful red coloring of this GoBot Guardian, Turbo is definitely going to have to find his way into my collection, sooner rather than later.
7) Screw Head
I’m not sure why I have two of this guy, but it doesn’t hurt to have a back-up.
Screw Head is one of those names a kid in the second grade would’ve come up with; I’m that kid, that kid is me, and while it’s not as cool of a name as Soundwave or Rodimus Prime, I always dug this guy.
Dug, right? Get it? Huh? Ah, this baby is wasted on you, but having Screw Head in my collection is most definitely not a waste.
The numero uno, the grand poobah of the Guardians, Leader-1 was another I was scouring my house for last summer when retrieving my old toys, and unfortunately didn’t come across.
While he doesn’t compare to the Transformer Seekers or Aerialbots or even the Coneheads, he was still a pretty rad looking and fun jet that scratched the itch that those high flying Transformers that I didn’t own couldn’t.
Much like Leader-1, here we have another example of a GoBot standing in for a Transformer on my shelf with Scooter.
Case in point, we have the GoBots answer to Bumblebee. Except while Bumblebee was diminutive in size like Scooter, Bumblebee wasn’t quite so…dorky. But, maybe that’s why I identified and dug Scooter as much as I did, because I’ve always been kind of dorky and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
Scooter was super easy to transform, but he offered hours of fun and of all the GoBots in my collection both past and present, he’s definitely a favorite and is the most prized of my current collection.
What a weird albeit lazy name for a suitably weird and diabolical looking member of the Renegades.
While GI Joe and Transformers shared the crossover in their respective toy-lines, considering I didn’t have any military type vehicles from Transformers, Geeper-Creeper and his sweet jeep mode was paired with my GI Joe’s at all times.
Sure he wasn’t exactly to scale, but find me toys from the 80’s that were.
My kid brain was certain that Crasher was a lady bot, then I as I got older I tried to tell myself Crasher was a male GoBot, only to be re-assured (thanks Google) that Crasher is in fact a super cool female bot.
The second in command for the Renegades, Crasher was a toy I didn’t have the pleasure of owning, but am most definitely looking to add to my shelves, and looking at the shape of her head and overall appearance in the cartoon, she low key makes me think of Ace Frehley on the cover of Rock and Roll Over.
Depending on the day and my mood, Loco can easily be called my favorite of all the GoBots.
Again, sure, his transformation is ridiculously easy. Push in his arms, and then bend him over so he can show you his caboose. Yet he still evokes images of power and strength. The sleek black paint job, the glowing red eyes, this crazy train is hurtling down the tracks ready to take out anyone who gets in his way.
Next to Scooter he was my most prized GoBot toy and I hunted throughout my basement and my bedroom back in July hoping to come across him, only to miss the mark, but then there’s the Action Toys Steam Robo that I mentioned earlier that I ordered waiting to pull up to the station.
Cy-Kill tops the list, although ask me tomorrow and Loco could bump him down to second place. The Renegade leader checks all the boxes for me.
Badass vehicle mode? Check.
Amazing robot mode? Check.
Exquisite paint application? Check.
The red of the chest with the yellow accents along with the blue in the legs, and chrome limbs made him a hard one to pass up when I saw him on the rack in the eighties.
While I’m going to be repeating myself by saying this guy didn’t make the trip back from my childhood home to my current place of residence, Action Toys released a swank version of their own that is hitting my online cart as we speak, because as toy collectors why stop at ordering just one amazing toy to relive your childhood with? The only thing stopping us is our wallets, and nobody likes a quitter.