The last of Popy's initial quartet of Machine Robo Series figures, the Gyro Robo was released in Japan in 1982, and along with its' three stablemates, sold well enough to establish Machine Robo - leading to the series becoming a Bandai staple over the next few years. Early in 1983, Bandai issued the figure in Europe (as part of Robo Machine) and America (as part of Machine Men, 'named' as Copter Man), and before the year was out, Tonka wanted in on this.

The figure was co-opted into the first line of Gobots, and given the name Cop-Tur. The character one of the leads in the Challenge of the Gobots animated series, as Renegade leader Cy-Kill's head brainless goon. Cop-Tur's high media profile (okay, he was hardly keeping Simon Le Bon out of Smash Hits, but he was in the cartoon a fair bit) meant Cop-Tur continued in production for most of the line's run, later examples being packed with a holographic sticker. Cop-Tur also featured in the first arc of Fleetway's licensed Robo Machines comic, getting to help invade Birmingham before he was captured and deactivated by the Robotron Security Forces.

Back in Japan, one of the 1983 Machine Robo 'Best 5' giftsets featured a recolour, replacing the blue parts with dark grey. Several plastic bootlegs of the figure were made in the 1980s by various companies, and many of them messed up the colours. A new Gyro Robo was released in 2003 as part of the Machine Robo Rescue line, but this bore only superficial resemblance to the original figure (carrying over the head design).


ALTERNATE MODE

Cop-Tur's helicopter mode isn't based on a real type. This in itself is not necessarily a problem, but the design Katsushi Murakami came up with is incredibly ugly - a boxy device riddled with problems and low on aesthetics. The scale just looks wrong - the cockpit would indicate this is a massive helicopter, around the same size as the Sea Knight used for Carry-All, and it just looks too bulky and clumsy to have any hope of taking off.

The colour scheme isn't too smart either - the rather thoughtless block of white (prone to paint chipping) nestles uncomfortably among the off-blue plastic. But wait! There's a seemingly arbitrary red stripe going across the rear of the fuselage! Good work Popy, that makes all the difference! Or, y'know, maybe not. Like Tank, the alternate mode is heavily compromised by the need to turn into a robot in a simple fashion - the tail section is split into two booms for no better reason than they have to become the legs (complete with chromed support struts, i.e. the robot thighs), the claw-like hands are visible on the back of the undercarriage, and the robot's face is underneath the nose. Oh dear.


ROBOT MODE

The transformation is very simple - not the simplest of Gobots, but then far from complex, even for a first series mould. The tail straightens out to form the legs, the undercarriage folds out to the side to forms the arms, and then you have to stand him up. Actually, that's not such a fait accompli. Thanks to the big block of diecast, Cop-Tur's ludicrously top-heavy, and even slight wear to the chrome thighs leads to the legs refusing to hold in place, and send him toppling over backwards. The chromed arms are also a major point of wear, and can pop off their sockets easily - the weak plastic meaning reconnecting them isn't always so easy. The robot mode doesn't look too bad, though at least the white paint being on the back out of the way lends him a more coherent colour scheme - the flashes of silver and yellow look rather good.

The head design isn't quite as horrid as Hanna-Barbera would have you believe either - the head is conical, but the face is simply set into this, rather than wrapped around, and aside from an oversized visor his face is normal, lacking the ugly beak the cartoon model was lumbered with. That his claw-hands (not a fan of claw hands, on the whole - I can never ignore the huge number of impracticalities these would bestow) can hold his main rotor blade is a nice touch, but brings the question of what to do with the tiny, easy-to-lose tail rotor.


SUMMARY

Cop-Tur's an ugly duckling, even from the line that bought you Sparky, Bad Boy and Zero. The figure doesn't look particularly good in either mode, though the robot mode can just about display well and wins points for kicking the crap out of the cartoon version. Cop-Tur can be hard to find in any sort of decent condition, let alone with both rotors (the large one is especially important, as the helicopter mode just looks even worse without it), despite the large number made. Even then he can be a source of frustration. One to avoid.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1982, Machine Robo Series - MR-04: Gyro Robo
1983, Machine Robo Series - MR-04: Gyro Robo (Bandai reissue)
1983, Machine Men - 04: Copter Man
1983, Machine Robo Best 5 - MR-04: Gyro Robo (grey recolour)
1983, Robo Machine - RM-04: Helicopter
1983, Gobots Series 1 - 04: Cop-Tur
1984, Gobots Series 2 - 04: Cop-Tur (reissue with hologram sticker)
1985, Gobots Gobots Gift Pack - Cop-Tur (packed with Cy-Kill and Stinger)

PARTS:
1 x 4-blade rotor
1 x 3-spoke tail rotor

WEAK POINTS:
Hips, shoulder sockets

MACHINE ROBO INSTRUCTIONS:

US PATENT: