In common with several early Gobots, this figure was designed by Popy in 1982 for the first year of the Machine Robo Series. It was issued as Dump Robo shortly before Bandai took over the line, and they would reissue the figure in a new box design the following year. It would come out in Europe, initially under the designation Truck, and then in 1983 the toy became the Guardian figure Dumper as part of the Gobots line. The character only appeared in one Challenge of the Gobots episode, "It's the Thought That Counts", but did get to show up in a couple of storybooks - notably the World Distributors book "Collision Course Comment".

A blue version of the figure was issued in Japan as one of the 'Best of Machine Robo' 5-packs, while in Brazil the original was issued by Glasslite as the Mutante figure Traktor. Dumper was among the first series Gobots figures dropped from production when the second series came along. A beige/green recolour was slated to appear in another Best Of pack in Japan, but this was aborted with only a few prototypes made.


ALTERNATE MODE

Dumper turns into a dumper truck. Yeh. Never mind. But still, he's rather cute. Not too chunky, with the tiny wheels giving the small vehicle a sense of size. The dumper truck mode is surprisingly dinky - I'd say it's about to scale with a Micromaster sportscar, at roughly twice the size, and is very well made. Transparent windows, chromed details (including the neat grille) and a good job has been done of matching the plastic tone to the painted diecast.

However, the obvious arms are a bit of a problem, being clearly visible on the sides of the vehicle. It's a shame, because it derails the cute look a little. It would have been nice if they could have been a little closer to the cab, without the clear join line denoting the moving shoulders. A working dumper could have been a nice feature too, but this could have made the legs flap around a bit. Still, it's a sturdy, if agricultural, alt mode.


ROBOT MODE

Transformation is staggeringly simple - pull out head, flip down limbs. It's exactly the same sequence used on Rest-Q and Screw Head, and that was reprised to a degree for Road Ranger. It's simple, and while it does result in much of the alt mode folding away, it does succeed in leaving enough to show what he turns into. Dumper is well-proportioned, and gives a sense of scale despite only being ~3 inches tall. The head is a bit generic, though at least it's not some chrome bald thing, which is a nice bit of variety within the line. The circuit sticker breaks up the orange nicely, and there's the usual shoulder articulation. He can also hold Geeper Creeper's gun - it's a bit of a shame Dumper didn't get one himself, but then there'd be nowhere to really store it.

The robot is sturdy, the main weak point being the edges of the headpiece can wear down, and many examples need to have the head tilted forward slightly to stop gravity pulling it back into his chest. There's not really a lot wrong with the toy to be honest, though like several early Popy designs it lacks a bit of imagination.


SUMMARY

To sum up, Dumper typifies the first line of Gobots (or the Popy-designed Machine Robo, if you prefer), not being an essential figure by any means, but certainly being a nice, steady, affordable toy to pad out your Gobot ranks. He can be difficult to find in good condition though, and the figure's one weakness - the loose head - is a pretty terminal drawback. A good rank-and-file Gobot nevertheless.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1983, Machine Robo Series - MR-09: Dump Robo
1983, Machine Robo Best 5 - MR-09: Dump Robo (blue recolour)
1983, Robo Machine - RM-09: Truck
1983, Gobots Series 1 - 09: Dumper

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
Head