Lois Ransome character modelIn common with Transformers, the Gobots action figures had to be streamlined and tidied up to work in animation. The most obvious changes were making them fully jointed with elbows, knees, head movement and the like whether the action figures were capable of it or not. The other main change was to give the characters more humanised faces - as the Machine Robo range they were taken from did not have the robots as sentient, the faces of the toys are often impassive or lack conventional features. Most of these were changed to allow a greater range of expression, though some remained inscrutable.

There were three tiers of changes carried out. The most intentionally altered were the main cast - Leader-1, Turbo, Scooter, Cy-Kill, Crasher and Cop-Tur. All six had facial redesigns to fit their roles on the show more closely - for example, the Leader-1 figure's head is loosely modelled on a fighter pilot's helmet, visor and oxygen mask, but was rendered in the cartoon as a more 'normal' head; Crasher's female gender is emphasised by a pink face with black eyeshadow-style highlights; Cy-Kill's is rendered more 'villainous' compared to the neutral face of the toy. While all six remain recognisable, it's fair to say the toys don't really transmit the same character as the animation models.

Aside from the regulars, very few figures from the first two years of the toyline were significantly changed for animation. Beyond making them more ergonomic and the occasional head redesign, they're among the most accurate animation models taken from toys - Path Finder, Hans-Cuff, Rest-Q, Vamp, Tank and Water Walk all stand out as being particularly close to their action figures.

However, a big, big drop in figure accuracy would come when toys from the final year of the show began appearing. Most of these were only in the early stages of production, and were hurried into the last handful of Challenge of the Gobots episodes. Many would actually turn up on air before the figures were released (I'm guessing the plan was for syndicated reruns to effectively promote the new toys), and obviously accuracy suffered. Character models were based on prototypes and concept sketches for the large part, resulting in characters with drastically changed body shapes and colour schemes. Bugsie, Gunnyr and Ace stand out from the crowd in this respect.


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