CG Robo was an unsuccessful attempt by Bandai to revive the Machine Robo line, dormant since 1988. The premise was much the same as the original line in 1982 - take everyday vehicles, and have them transform into robots. The new figures were larger, and tried to attract buyers with light and sound features - typically a pair of lights and a simple siren. This limited the scope of vehicles a little, and emergency vehicles were the order of the day early on.

Fire CG was the second figure in the range (and possibly a sidelong reference to the original Fire Robo, released in America as the Gobots toy Pumper), featuring briefly in the line's CGI TV commercial. The toy was the only one in the range to get remoulded, with the detachable ladder rig being turned into a crane jib for the later release of Crane CG. Fire CG was one of the five figures from the line exported to Europe as part of Robo Machines later in 1993, where he was renamed Fire Chief in the UK.


ALTERNATE MODE

Fire CG's tender mode is a rather modern-looking design, looking very similar to the model used by Takara in 1999 for the Transformers Car Robots toy Super Fire Convoy. It's rather fetching truth be told, a big change from the 'box with a ladder on the top' types that transforming lines often lumbered themselves with. I especially like the cockpit shape and the solid feeling of the toy (a CG Robo staple). The ladder can raise and extend, while the flashing lights are good fun - blue might have stood out a bit better, though.

The detail level is respectable with all sorts of engraved panels and the like, and it's less reliant on stickers than some others in the line can be, as there are just a few circuit panels on this one. The only notable downside are the hands, which can be spotted fairly easily on the back of the engine. Bandai have put a little work into hiding these meaning they aren't irritatingly blatant. The overall style of the vehicle mode makes this a forgivable problem.


ROBOT MODE

The transformation is very interesting. with the exception of a simpler head arrangement and the removable ladder it's pretty much the same as the Transformers figure Inferno. The base of the fire engine swings down in halves to form the legs, the end segments form feet in an identical fashion, the largely unchanged cab forms the chest and the upper segments of the engine swing around to become arms. Then you factor in that Fire CG was later retooled to form an orange crane figure. It's all pretty blatant but it's a good transformation (and arguably benefits from being slightly simplified), and the first rule of ripping something off is making your source a good one.

The robot mode is excellent, with the figure actually being a lot more solid than Inferno ever was. The proportions are spot on, even the chest managing to not protrude too much. I like the head cast with the slight hint of a fire helmet, but without making the reference too cartoony and obvious. The flashy stickers break up the red plastic nicely and the overall effect is that of a very slick figure. Articulation is moderate with a fair bit of movement in the shoulders, and the legs can move when the ladder is detached. This part can either clip onto his back, or be held as a shoulder weapon (cf. the original Fire Robo). Personally, I prefer the former even if it hinders his leg movements as the thing looks a bit too much like a fire ladder to function as a sidearm. Otherwise it's a simple but effective robot form.


SUMMARY

Overall Fire CG is a strong figure. Not quite as good as the Ambulance CG, but certainly one of the most impressive looking CG Rob, with two fine modes and some sturdy construction. While he might not be the most original figure out there, he's certainly a very impressive piece of work and well worth keeping an eye out for.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1993, CG Robo - CG-02: Fire CG
1993, Robo Machines Light and Sound - RM-02: Fire Chief

PARTS:
1 x ladder

WEAK POINTS:
Head