Sunday, April 28, 2013

Toy Review: Tonka Gobots Loco

Anyone who was a fan of boys' toys in the 1980's will know of the Gobots.  Usually, they will tell you that Tonka's Gobots were the poor cousin of Hasbro's Transformers toys.  In many ways, they would be correct.  The Gobots never had the same level of popular appeal, and generally the Gobots toys were seen as less complex compared to the Transformers.  Yet, there were quite a few of us who loved both lines and owned quite a few of these "lesser" toys. 

The Gobots were released from between 1983 and 1987 (and the rights to the Gobots name was later actually acquired by Hasbro in 1991).  Like how Hasbro imported Takara's designs for the  Transformers toys, Tonya similarly marketed Bandai's Machine Robo toys as the Gobots in the USA.  These were usually figures around three inches tall, made of hard plastic and die-cast metal, often with chrome accents, along with simplistic transformations.  This simplicity was all part of the charm, though, as these toys could be changed during actual play.  These were toys that were perfect for rough play and for carrying around in a pocket.  Tokya provided a set of factions so that kids could make their favorite characters battle it out, but I personally never much paid attention to all that.  The toys were fun, and that was what I cared about.

The subject of today's review is Loco, a glossy black steam engine that folds out into a robot.  In this case, "folding" is a fairly appropriate term, as that is basically what Loco does in order to change forms.  Firstly, here's Loco in robot mode.  The torso and head are black-painted die-cast metal, and and make Loco fairly heavy for its size.  My toy has seen a fair amount of play, and so the various corners have been roughed up a bit over the years.  The arms and legs are black-molded plastic, and chrome accents are present on the lower legs, as well as the face.  Some crisply-printed stickers give him some greater detailing.

A side view affords a better glimpse of the chromed wheels, as well as red-chromed accents on the legs and sides of the head.

Loco's kind of a formal-looking gent.  His legs evoke straight-legged suit pants.  A little bit of gold paint adds that extra-classy touch.

To begin the transformation to train mode, set Loco in a neutral pose.

Push the arms in at the sides like so.

Next, begin to fold the legs up at the hips.

Flip Loco over and you've got a cool little steam engine!  He's only about two inches long in this mode, and there are some small wheels underneath to allow Loco to roll along.

There's plenty of detail in this small package. 

The Gobots were good old classic toys, and Loco's a great example.  Loads of fun from the era when transforming was the main gimmick that a robot might feature.  Yeah, Loco's not a Transformer, but it's pretty sweet nonetheless.


  1. I have him too, he's my favourite Robo-machine!
    Great review, wish Loco got more attention.

  2. I found this toy last summer in an out building that came with our house. My son loves him. Loco still works and looks great! Most of his paint and stickers are still in topnotch shape. He gets daily play and unlike my son's newer transformer type toys non of his arms and legs have fallen off! So he still a great toy and one I don't think I"ll have to glue together anytime soon.

  3. There are loads of great old Gobots/Machine Robo toys that you can find for very reasonable prices. The stigma of them being "poor man's Transformers" has persisted and so the cost of these is still low.

  4. i have one of these, is it worth anything or should i let my boys play with it?

    1. It's really only worth a few dollars. Less than $15 on Ebay. If your kids enjy this sort of thing, let them play!