For the revival Machine Robo Rescue series, Bandai took several leads from the franchise's past when it came to inspiration, with many of the robots being updates of 1980s figures. The Police Robo was therefore very loosely inspired by the thirteenth figure in the original Machine Robo Series.

The new toy was assigned to the Blue Sirens Team within the Machine Robo Rescue organisation, and was piloted by Makoto Aikawa. The toy featured prominently in the anime series and was given a black/purple 'Blizzard' redeco later in the year. The Police Robo follows the same format as the other MRR teams - a Leader Robo with four identical Support Robo, which can combine to form a larger Hyper Mode robot.


POLICE ROBO

The Police Robo itself isn't one of my favourite designs. Beyond being a police car, there's no real resemblance to the original. This wouldn't be a problem if it was all that good, but the futuristic police cruiser isn't a particularly nice design with an ugly front section and a botched colour scheme The horizontal white and blue bands just don't work that well, not helped by the silver band. On top of this the connection points for the drones aren't hidden well at all.

The simple transformation yields a much more pleasant robot mode. The white works better on the outside of the limbs, while the chunky traditional robot is nice. The head design lacks a little character despite mimicking a police cap but then this is more of a mecha than a robot. The diecast thighs add a little patina of quality to the thing, while the ball-joints and hinges in the arms give moderate articulation. Considering the figure is close to the size of a basic Transformers toy it holds up pretty well, though it's hardly a classic. As with the Jet Robo, you can't help but feel designers Plex should have made a bigger leap forward in the intervening 15 years - this thing isn't any more advanced than Tailpipe.


BIKE ROBO

The four Support Robo (identical bar the different numbers, from 2 through 5) are very simple figures, presumably intended to be police motorcycles. The interesting thing is they're plainly modelled on the original Machine Robo, Bike Robo (and for Western fans, make a nice reference to Cy-Kill). The motorcycle mode isn't far from identical bar from the design being simplified and recoloured - the forks are even clearly a pair of robot arms. The vehicle does lose a little from the robot head being plainly visible - this time it's even facing up.

The robot mode is a little less reminiscent of Bike Robo, as it's basically facing the other way - the top half of the bike forms the chest instead of the back and so on. It's still a nice design for this sort of thing, and from what I've seen far and away the best the MRR drones have to offer, but as a figure on its' own it's pretty limited. The arms are also very fragile - in robot mode they're forced to point away from the body at a slight angle which seems to put a lot of stress on the plastic joints. My example was bought =and one drone had an arm broken in the box (the figures being packed in robot mode). Three months later another one just pinged off while the figure was being displayed. Wherever possible store these in bike mode.


HYPER MODE

Forming the Hyper Mode is a simple process, and as is the norm each drone can form either an arm or a leg and is interchangeable with any other MRR Support Robo. The mode itself is rather awkward looking. While the proportions are a big improvement on Jet Robo with the legs not looking too long compared to the torso thanks to shorter limbs, the robot still looks rather ungainly.

While Bandai should be praised for getting anything approaching a reasonable combined robot out of a team with four motorbikes for limbs the result is odd. Because of the width of the drones and the thin feet (the front motorcycle wheels are augmented by a small thin black plastic stabiliser at the heel), the legs have to point away at a slightly angle and thus making the robot look a little knock-kneed, while the massive shoulders distract from the body.


SUMMARY

While Police Robo isn't without his problems the set is quite nice, generally well-rounded. The vaguely disappointing central robot is outweighed by the amusing drones and competent combined mod, and it's a good realisation of the MRR concept. I'm just not sure that the concept's quite my cup of tea.