ROBO FORCE (NACELLE)
“Maxx was destined to be the latest and greatest in law enforcement (he was literally built to do it!), but on the day before his first patrol, the UTOPIA101 line was revealed to the world. Maxx was quietly reassigned to the traffic beat. Despite his best efforts to conform, Maxx’s passion for crime fighting, along with a growing distrust of the UTOPIA line, lead Maxx down a path into other, unauthorized lines of police work. This would create problems. A LOT of problems.”
If there was ever an underrated and surprisingly overlooked toy company, it’s Ideal Toys. Though not a household name, they did a lot during their 90 year run. They were largely known for their presence in the doll market, but they dabbled in the more action oriented side as well. Notably, they were the first to really jump into the licensed action figure market, with Captain Action. They were also frequently just ahead of the curve on things, to their misfortune. In 1984, they got into the toy robot market with Robo Force, a line with two warring factions of robots, good and evil, each side with their own complex backstory. Unfortunately, 1984 was *also* the year that another franchise of warring robot factions launched: Go-Bots! …Just kidding. I actually meant Transformers, which was a smash success, and pretty much buried Robo Force, with Ideal languishing in obscurity for pretty much the rest of their existence. Robo Force has resurfaced twice since, first in 2013 under the Glyos umbrella, and again just this past year, now under the helm of Nacelle. Their first two figures hit retail right before the end of last year, and I’ll be taking a look at the heroic Robo Force leader, Maxx 89, today!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Maxx 89 (as he’s now named; he was previously Maxx Steel, but Mattel holds the rights to that name, so he got a rename) is one half of Series 1 of Nacelle’s Robo Force relaunch. The figure stands just shy of 8 inches tall and he has 20 points of articulation. His articulation scheme is rather tight and a little bit clunky. The arms are definitely the best of it, while the rest of things are a bit more restricted. Everything is mostly on ball-joints, but the way the layout works, the neck and waist are effectively just cut joints. The hips fair slightly better, but are very, very tight on my figure, to the point of squeaking every time I move them. He’s got double joints on both the elbows and knees, but only the elbows really get the range; the knees can really only use the bottom half of the joint. Maxx’s sculpt is all-new to this figure, and represents a rather radical change-up from his vintage counterparts. Ideal’s Robo Force pre-dated the move to the more “mecha” aesthetic in robot designs, and as such were much more “vintage robot toy,” down to not even actually being bipedal. For this new line, Nacelle has re-designed the characters to allow for a more action-oriented, more modernized design. Elements of the original are still present, especially in the head and torso, as well as the suction cup feet, but the arms and legs are totally changed up. For the most part, it works pretty well. I like the updated head design quite a bit, and the extra detailing added to the arms and legs works quite nicely for upscaling and modernizing. The part that seems a bit odd to me is the feet. They’ve opted to keep the functioning suction cups of the old toys, which feels like it runs kind of counter to the more clearly collector-oriented aspects of the rest of the figure. It’s especially notable because the majority of the figure is very solid, rather heavy plastic, and it’s all resting atop a pair of soft rubber feet. It makes him a little bit unstable on his feet, and I definitely worry about how they’re going to hold up over time. Were they maybe an alternate piece, with a set of solid feet also available, I think they’d bug me less, but as it stands they do feel just the slightest bit off. Maxx’s color work is generally pretty nice; he grabs the basic color scheme of the vintage figure, and goes slightly metallic, as well as adding a nice wash to the whole thing to really bring out the sculpted details. The only part that’s odd for me is the decal on the front, which is again a bit counter to the rest of the figure, since it’s *so* vintage. That being said, while it’s odd, I personally like it. The splash of color is fun. Maxx is packed with an alternate hand with a blade attachment, a handheld blaster, and three mounted guns. The mounted guns are a little tricky to get just right, and honestly the cords seem just a little bit on the short side, but it’s at least a decent variety.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
While I never had any of the vintage Robo Force, I’m a sucker for cool vintage robots, so the designs have always intrigued me. The relaunch certainly piqued my interest, enough to at least give it a try. Of the two at launch, Maxx was the one that looked more my speed, so I snagged one when All Time’s shipment came in. He’s a mixed bag, I won’t lie. I do generally like him overall, but there’s enough little things holding him back that I don’t know about jumping full-on into the line. I do rather like Maxx, though.
Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review. If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.