Having already released a fire engine and a police car, Bandai obviously realised they had to complete the trinity of emergency vehicles needed for any transforming toyline, and in 1983 the Ambulance Robo promptly rumbled out of the factory and onto the shelves of Japanese toy stores.

Towards the end of the year, he had landed in America too, being among the first Gobots released, as the Guardian Rest-Q. With his ambulance vehicle mode, Rest-Q was the obvious choice as medic in any related media, and this was the role he fell into in both the Challenge of the Gobots animated series (where Rest-Q, as a point of trivia, had the first onscreen line) and in the British Robo Machines comic strip.

Rest-Q also had a couple of recolours done in his time - becoming red for one of the Machine Robo 'Best Of' multipacks, and a blue version was issued as part of the Australian Machine Men Staks Transport Giftset.


ALTERNATE MODE

Rest-Q's ambulance mode is best described as portly. The thing's nearly as wide as it is long. Well, okay, it isn't, it's just over half as wide as it is long, but it still has a very rotund feel to it, accentuated by the very thin wheels. This is fairly cute, however. The big problems come from Rest-Q's blandness. Ambulances of the period weren't ludicrously exciting, to be fair, but then there are lots of areas this figure would have been improved on. The moulded detail quota is high, right down to a badge on the front, but aside from the scant stickers and emergency lights, the exterior's all just plain white - no paint apps on the whole vehicle mode. Tsk tsk. The stickers fail to break up the mode much, and only the chromed cab really gives much of a focal point.

The provision of driver and passenger seats inside is sweet, though. Further back there are two great bit chasms where the legs form, while the arms are pretty obvious down the sides. Even the sense of a chunky, fun ambulance, a big diecast cab and the old rubber tyres can't lift the feeling of corners cut. Like Hans-Cuff, he's also highly suspectible to paint chipping too.


ROBOT MODE

Most of the early Machine Robo share a few basic transformation patterns, with minor variations - Loco and Dozer; Hans-Cuff, BuggyMan and Spoiler; Turbo and Spay-C. Rest-Q follows the same rough sequence as Dumper, Road Ranger and Screw Head, with the arms coming out from the underside of the vehicle and the back unfolding to form the legs (and, like Dumper, the head comes out of the from grille). The resulting robot is much better proportioned than the vehicle mode - odd considering the vintage. The legs are chunky, but not ridiculously so, and lend the figure a good amount of balance. The arms are the right sort of thickness (and have holes in the fists, oddly enough - in another parallel with Dumper, he can hold Geeper Creeper's gun comfortably), while the head is a nice sculpt. On the downside, he's a sea of white in this mode too. The chromed thighs and three small paint apps are too light to really stand out against this.

The red cross sticker does look pretty good, adding to the feel of a field medic - it's the first thing you notice when looking at the robot mode, though the idea that either the Devil Invaders or the Renegades would take much notice beyond using it as an ironic place to train a cross-hairs is probably naivety on the part of the good guys.


SUMMARY

In either mode Rest-Q is rather dull. It's a shame as the engineering and sculpting isn't bad (even if the former is strictly no frills), but the final product is just white, white and more white. Even if Bandai were being slavish to contemporary ambulances, a pair of headlights, painted windows and silver bumpers would have jazzed up the vehicle mode. They've no excuse for carrying on the bland motif on the robot mode either - making the bulk of the chest red would have been a big help. A disappointing figure.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1983, Machine Robo Series - MR-26: Ambulance Robo
1983, Machine Robo Best 5 - MR-26: Ambulance Robo (red recolour)
1983, Robo Machine - RM-26: Ambulance
1983, Gobots Series 1 - 26: Rest-Q
1984, Gobots Series 1 - 26: Rest-Q (reissue with sticker)
1984, Gobots Guardian Gift Pack #2 - Rest-Q (packed with Wrong Way and Heat Seeker)
1985, Machine Men Staks Transport - Rest-Q (blue recolour)
1986, Machine Robo Revenge of Cronos - MRB-7: Ambulance Robo

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
None