After Gobots stuttered to a halt in 1986/87, Machine Robo wasn't far behind, finally ending in 1988. However in 1993 Bandai decided to relaunch the brand with the CG Robo series. CG stood for 'Change and Glow', as all the figures in the range had working flashing lights (and sound). The figures were all modelled on contemporary vehicles, but many can also be seen as updates of original Machine Robo toys - Police CG is a spiritual successor to Police Robo (issued in the West as Hans-Cuff). Bandai created a simple CGI TV commercial to advertise the line which otherwise had no tie-in media, during which Police CG is the only character to actually transform.

At the same time, Bandai decided to relaunch the line in Europe too, now under the name Robo Machines. Police CG was issued as the first of five 'Light and Sound Robo Machines', and renamed Chaser. The European version has English text on the stickers as opposed to Japanese kanji.


ALTERNATE MODE

The vehicle mode is a fetching police Mitsubishi GTO - and these were actually used as police cars, too - I personally have doubts over Takara's views that Lamborghinis were, however. It's a nice shape, and a pretty good render, though the detail isn't much higher than the smaller '600 series' vehicles. In fact, there's not much moulded detail at all, with the headlights etc. all being stickers. Heck, even the wheel hubs are stickers (and these were rarely printed dead centre either).

It's a bit of a shame as he really doesn't look quite as good up close as he does in pictures. And if you're buying now, it's highly unlikely the light and sound will work. Having taken the figure apart, the batteries are probably replaceable, but only if you're really careful. Most seem to have died a long time ago, though, even sealed examples. There are some nasty joint lines (especially along the bonnet) and an overall feeling of cost-cutting. Though Police CG does look respectable, he could have looked great.


ROBOT MODE

The transformation sequence has had a little thought put into it - it's hardly unique (the top half is strongly reminiscent of the Transformers Omnibot Downshift), but gets the job done. The robot mode actually looks pretty good - the added sticker above the chest and diecast legs (diecast parts! In 1993!) add a feeling of quality not present in the vehicle mode . It's easier for a cheap toy to look like a robot than a 1/60 scale model car though over the years no-one's really grasped this, instead preferring to start off with a detailed vehicle and trying to squeeze a robot out of it.

Articulation's minimal, only present at the shoulders and the elbows to a small degree - much like early Transformers G2 toys like Rapido, this guy seems to have suffered from coming out a year or so before toy designers realised the viability of ball-joints (or before they realised people expected poseability, if you're feeling cynical). The head design isn't bad - obviously, the MR roots are there in the chrome, but at least this one looks a little individual. I do love that hood for some reason too.


SUMMARY

Considering some of the wonders Bandai worked on the original Machine Robo, my expectations for this figure made ten years later were high. Sadly things don't seem to have moved on too much. Chaser's an adequate toy, displaying pretty well in robot mode, but there's an overriding feeling of disappointment and mediocrity to him. If you can find a loose one cheap he's worth a look but unfortunately he lacks the uniqueness of the earlier designs and the finesse you'd expect from a larger, later figure.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1993, CG Robo - CG-01: Police CG
1993, Robo Machines Light and Sound - RM-01: Chaser

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
None