Released in 1985, the Fairlady Robo was one of the final releases in the original Machine Robo Series. The toy was only available for a short period compared to most of the other figures in the series. For its' Gobots release, the figure received a recolour, becoming mainly red and getting renamed Major Mo. Bandai kept this scheme for the European Robo Machine release.

Unlike most of the later Japanese figures (such as Phantom Robo, Apollo Robo or Battleship Robo) and in common with Vertol Robo and Tomcat Robo, Fairlady Robo wasn't reissued for the Revenge of Cronos tie-in line and remains one of the harder Japanese exclusives to find.


Somehow until fairly recently I hadn't really been aware of the Japanese version (I don't know how, as one managed to get into a European catalogue I've had for about a year) and as a consequence it's still a bit weird seeing the toy in something other than red. The Nissan 300ZX variant of the Fairlady-Z car sadly lacks the style of the original, looking more like a generic 1980s sportscar (a syndrome contracted by many cars of the same rough period). It's not ugly by any stretch of the imagination but it does lack a certain something. Bandai's take on it is hindered by the figure being largely plastic, something which makes the white finish less impressive than perhaps it should have been.

It also means the toy is a come-hither for yellowing. There's really no need for the toy to be mainly plastic aside from cost-cutting. Still, the sticker work and paint apps aren't bad, the car's just a bit forgettable. The other problem aside from yellowing is general wear and tear - the arms and legs quickly work lose and the car doesn't hold together well when this happens, as evidenced in the pictures of my example.


There's something very satisfying about Fairlady Robo's transformation - the chest/shoulders/back really is a nice little piece of engineering that never fails to slightly impress me. The resulting robot is nice, too. Not the most imaginative design, but just a nice boxy 1980s robot. There's something slightly muscular about Fairlady Robo, though the white colour does dilute the look a little. It's a little less no-nonsense somehow.

The sculpting is still good, and the robot still looks terrific with its' square chest, chunky legs and effective head design - although, typically, articulation is minimal. It might just be that the Western version imprinted on me long before I laid eyes on this guy, but the Fairlady Robo really does just look unpainted.


All in all, credit where credit's due. Tonka may have made a bit of a mess of Hot Rod Robo by swamping him in red for Street Heat but with Major Mo they managed to improve the figure. There's not much wrong with Fairlady Robo, it's a sound mould and the colours aren't bad per se, but the Gobots version is just that bit more imposing and worth settling for considering it's much cheaper. Also, he's called Fairlady. And that's just not right.

[Corrections? Let me know!]

1985, Machine Robo Series - MR-48: Fairlady Robo
1985, Gobots Series 2 - 54: Major Mo (red recolour)
1985, Robo Machine - RM-54: Major Mo (red recolour)


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