The final throw of the dice from Bandai, the Winner Robo were an attempt to go back to basics following the costly flop of the Battle Hackers figures, with smaller ¥800 toys. Eagle Winner was one of eight individual Winner Robo figures issued (there was also a recolour of Testarossa Robo available with the Roboshooter Gaiden playset and an aborted ninth figure was never released) in 1988, the final toys in the original Machine Robo line.

Eagle Winner appeared in the later episodes of the Battle Hackers cartoon (at least, he did according to Wikipedia). The toy was most likely a roundabout tribute to the original 1983 Eagle Robo figure, released in the Gobots line as Leader-1. An early prototype for the figure advertised in early catalogues looked totally different but was abandoned and nearly totally reworked for some reason. As with most of the rest of the Battle Hackers figures, by the time Eagle Winner was out there was no Western line for him to appear in, and the figure was only released in Asia.


ALTERNATE MODE

Eagle Winner's alt mode is an F-15 fighter jet, slightly bigger than the 1983 take. The Winner Robo figures all had free-moving Hot Wheels-style axles and wheels so they could be fired along by Roboshooter Gaiden, and Bandai haven't let a little thing like jet design get in the way of this feature. From above, Eagle Winner is a passable model of the F-15 - the wing surfaces are notably more realistically proportioned than the 1983 attempt, being swept backwards more noticeably and benefiting from being thicker. The number of hinges is a bit of a pain, especially in the middle of the wing and behind the cockpit. The detail work is possibly a little too enthusiastic - the lovingly engraved panels make the toy look a little busy and rob the aircraft of some of its' sleekness. Mind, when you look at it from another angle you can see that the top not looking particularly smooth isn't a problem. So Eagle Winner can work on the track, his bottom half is basically moulded into the shape of a rectangular yellow trolley. While the '83 Eagle Robo's undercarriage was nothing to be proud of it's an improvement on four black wheels arranged around a block. It's a shame, as the diecast missiles look rather neat.

On top of this, the robot head is clearly visible underneath, moreso than on other toys of this rough design because of the raised nose. I'm guessing the wings have to hinge so the toy would fit on the track, but this leaves to an unavoidable question - seeing as it's so incompatible, why bother making a Winner Robo modelled on a jet in the first place? This is the only Winner Robo that doesn't have an alt mode which drives around on four wheels in the real world and you can see why they stuck to cars, trucks and the like for the rest of the figures.


ROBOT MODE

I don't mind the odd gimmick as long as it's well done and I do like the somewhat retro mechanism used on the Winner Robo. However the old F-15 haunts this one yet again, and makes the gimmick near pointless. Because of the design, all the mechanism does is pop the legs and arms out for the robot. The nose and wings have to be moved manually. Alright, that's not exactly hard work, but it kind of undermines the toy's basic reason for existing.

With the exception of the rear wings (which we'll come to in a minute) all the jet parts fold away onto Eagle Winner's back, resulting in a rather uninspired and generic figure. The missile arms are a nice touch though, giving some tangible connection to his alt mode, even if they are a bit thin and the shoulders can't support their weight. Still, not many figures have solid metal arms. Unless some of the early MR toys did and I've just completely forgotten. Wait, Royal-T did, didn't he? Bang goes Eagle Winner's claim to fame, then. The head cast is good enough, and while it scuppers any remaining credibility while in F-15 mode the yellow chest does break up the grey a little, but he's really not much to look at. And he has a pair of rear wings for feet. They have that great big block on the underside of the tail, but can't give him sensible feet. It'd be shocking if it wasn't for all the design oversights crammed onto this guy desensitising me to this sort of thing.


SUMMARY

Eagle Winner manages to fail on most fronts - he isn't a good jet, he isn't a good robot, and he can't pull off the novelty value all that well. The Winner Robo look like an interesting set of figures for what they are and Buggy Winner is fun. However, Eagle Winner is just too flawed to be anything but a novelty - and then only if you don't already have any other Winner Robo figures. He's cheap but I'd recommend digging for a better use of the automatic mechanism and only resort to this guy if you're a completist.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1988, Machine Robo Winner Robo - W-06: Eagle Winner

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
None