Released in 1986 for the Revenge of Cronos line the origins of Triple Jim are a mystery shrouded in an enigma dipped in riddle juice and sprinkled with ground puzzlement. At least it is to me. He's stamped 1986 and MRJ (his code in the Revenge of Cronos line) which would seem to indicate he was actually designed for Revenge. This would be largely unique - everything else in the series was grabbed from elsewhere even if there was some heavy retooling on the likes of Baikanfu. The only all-new figures in the line were three of the Double Machine Robo (the expensive rare ones) - possibly left over from the line's original run - and the non-transforming Chara figures. It's possible Jim was also left over from the original line or purpose designed for Tonka's Gobots line but unreleased in the West; it does seem odd that they'd go to the expense of engineering a new figure for a supporting character when they didn't for the other leads but it might be the simplest and therefore most likely option.

The odd thing is that Jim - even against the strong competition of Leina Stol - is the most pathetic character in the anime. Then Revenge of Cronos does however seem to be constantly attempting to piss Bandai off and making one of the centrepieces of the toyline such an unbearable tit could have just been trolling on Ashi's part.


ALTERNATE MODES

As his name suggests Triple Jim is a triple changer. He's a lot like more-or-less simultaneously released Transformers figure Springer in that he has car and helicopter modes - and in that one of these received a lot of attention and the other was plainly chucked in late in the day.

Unlike Springer it's the car mode that gets the love. Jim's a large toy for Machine Robo - larger than the DX/BMR/Super Gobot figures and around the same mass as the Dash Robo/Secret Riders. The design is rather nice, tapping into the same stylish 1980s futurism as the initial batch of Popy-helmed Machine Robo figures - there's more than a passing resemblance to Turbo (enough that a wine-addled French dub team named him as such for Revenge of the Gobots; obviously this vague similarity in alternate modes was enough to overcome the completely different personalities of the cartoon characters). It's nicely done with rubber tyres and even a bit of diecast on the front. Well, the diecast would be a nice touch but it causes the central section of the bonnet - held in place by the strength of a joint rather than locking into anything - to droop with age. The only sign of the helicopter mode is the built up area behind the cockpit (which opens to show a stickered dashboard and, less winningly, the back of Jim's head). A complete example would mount a pair of missile launchers either side of this ridge, which would probably hide it a little bit more.

The helicopter is less impressive. Okay, I don't have the rotor blades (which have to be unclipped for both other modes, leading to them getting lost easily) but it's still clear just how bad it is. While the tail and rotors do show, all joking aside, that this was meant to be involved from an early stage the rest of it is a mess, involving tucking the front of the car underneath and not much else. The end result is basically a red block with a few helicopter accoutrements, though the big pair of car wheels and general messiness are the overriding factors.


ROBOT MODE

Triple Jim has a relatively simple transformation from either mode. There are a couple of smart engineering touches but none of it compensates for how terrible the robot mode is. While in the anime Jim is a little portly here he's just completely misshapen. It's difficult to work out exactly where to start. Maybe with the fact he's about as fat from chest to back as he is tall. Yes, that'll do. The cockpit/torso protrudes out about an inch and a half from the head and the back sticks out almost as much the other way, the latter remaining a great big block. The legs are awful too - massive big blocky lower less held by thin black thighs. They're thrown into even sharper contrast by the arms, which are normally sized but look awkwardly pinned at the shoulder.

There is, in theory, some decent articulation with two sets of joints around the hip, rotation below the shoulders and hinging elbows but he doesn't have the balance to use any of it much and it doesn't help his looks even when you can pull off a more dynamic pose. Positives are very few on the ground. The head cast isn't bad - albeit quite different from the anime model - and he's sturdy. And that's about it.


SUMMARY

If Triple Jim was a Super Gobot you could pick up dirt cheap easily he might have some interest as weird curiosity. I got mine very cheap due to dumb luck and not minding missing all the parts as a glance at pictures in Wedge had shown me he wasn't going to be a classic. However, Jim is a rare and expensive figure - often fetching triple digits at auction. He is, quite simply, not worth it - an awkward mess in two of his three modes. He's badly designed and disappointingly simple for a toy of his size considering the good work Bandai were putting in elsewhere at the time. Avoid him.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1986, Machine Robo Revenge of Cronos - MRJ: Triple Jim

PARTS:
4 x Rotor Blades
2 x Missile Launchers
6 x Missiles

WEAK POINTS:
Car bonnet, rotor connections