As the 'name' of this figure might suggest Robot Helicopter was a companion piece of Robot Winch Truck released under the Robo Machine banner in 1984. I've already babbled on in that review about my justification for these figures appearing in the Gobots section while Abega is slung in the Godaikin one so I won't bore you again with that.

Much of the information is similar, in fact. The toy was originally from the Winch Robo range in Japan, and a larger counterpart to that reused as the Gobots figure Twister. As well as the red Robo Machine release a blue version was issued in Australia as part of Machine Men. There he made a couple of fleeting appearances in the pack-in toy comics, where the character was an Enemy Robot. In America the figure was licensed by Mattel rather than Tonka and was available as Flybot in their short-lived Powerbots line.


ALTERNATE MODES

Unlike the Robot Winch Truck, the Robot Winch Helicopter is basically the same toy as its' smaller relation. There are a few lines that are slightly altered such as a more rounded cockpit profile and more subtle guns under the nose but it's basically the same design.

It's not particularly pleasing, with the four massive sidepod adornments failing to convince as anything other than badly disguised robot limbs. The large size and bright red colour scheme gives the helicopter a childish feel, despite the odd flourish such as the translucent cockpit and stickers. My one has long since been gutted of the electronics, but they originally included a winch much like that on Twister and motorised movement - the thing whizzed along on the wheels on the underside and I think the blades turned as well.


ROBOT MODE

Obviously the transformation and robot mode are again largely similar to Twister. Actually, that's not true - Winch Helicopter, despite being twice the size, somehow manages to be marginally less complex thanks to his fists not fully retracting.

Otherwise many of the same problems remain. The limbs - especially the arms - seem gangly and oversized, while the rear of the helicopter is a great big fat third leg. Very lazy and unappealing. The colour scheme is once again very bland and the enthusiastic use of stickers fails to hide it - indeed, it mainly shows up how dull the undecorated areas are. A fully functional version would have the same motorised walking motion as the Robot Winch Truck and while it is rather a well-done feature, it's not enough of a trade-off for the robot's other failings.


SUMMARY

So overall the toy is largely an oversized novelty. Several of Bandai's designs would probably survive this sort of '2-up' process without being too useless but the truth is the smaller figure is flawed anyway. The toy has got a couple of neat features, but these have aged badly. If you're that desperate to sample the winch and walking mechanisms Robot Winch Truck is better executed (not well executed, but merely preferable to the Helicopter). Not worth the effort, even though he isn't particularly expensive.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1984, Winch Robo - Jet Heli DX (blue version)
1984, Robo Machine - Robot Helicopter (red recolour)
1985, Powerbots - Flybot (red recolour)

PARTS:
1 x gun I
1 x gun II

WEAK POINTS:
Walking mechanism