One of the main sources of inspiration for the Machine Robo series was military aircraft, with the F-4 Phantom, F-14 Tomcat, A6M Zero-Sen, F-16 Falcon, F-15 Eagle, Harrier, SR-71 Blackbird, SH-2 Seasprite and AH-64 Apache among those chosen, these realistic efforts making up the backbone of the line in contrast to the line's earlier fantasy leanings. The Fairchild Robo was thus modelled on the A-10 Thunderbolt II anti-tank aircraft. This became the Renegade Bad Boy in 1984, but preceding this was the European release, briefly marketed as Tank-Bust before falling in line with the American name. The character appeared several times in the Challenge of the Gobots animated series, most notably siding with upstart Renegade Zero in "The Third Column".

It was one of several figures reissued by Bandai under the Robo Machines banner in 1993, rebranded as 'Tank Buster'. In 2004, the Bad Boy name was attached to a recolour of the Transformers figure Powerglide as part of Takara's Gobots premium set, though the toy eventually came out unnamed.


ALTERNATE MODE

The plane is fairly well rendered, and both this and the realistic colour scheme means it knocks spots off Powerglide. Where it falls down is a total lack of rigidity. This guy just gets astonishingly loose, with the wings never staying stiff for long, the tail hard to keep together, and the nose tending to slump.

This means he doesn't display well, sadly, and undermines some nice detail work, such as the retractable nose gear and chrome payload, plus a nice set of stickers (including the snarling teeth pattern on the nose, and a unit badge on the tail). That is a risk; however, if you can find a good condition one, the impression is much more favourable. The sticker sheet is excellent, and the green, while a little monotonous, does look realistic.


ROBOT MODE

The transformation is novel, with the engines forming the arms. He's unusual looking and a bit clunky, truth be told. The engines do have hands lightly engraved inside, but to be honest he's not fooling anyone and moving the arms to anything other than about 45º from his body makes him look very silly.

There are a few frustrations as well, with the panels that form his back being fiddly to separate, and the legs are a mess. They're very bulky, and the wings being alongside them makes him look very bottom-heavy. The shape is poorly defined, and he looks out of proportion. However, Bad Boy has a very unique look to him, and like Slicks is diverting just for being rather different - if not actually all that good.


SUMMARY

Bad Boy is a bit different, but he's awkward too. It's nice to have a change from the more conventional jet, but the robot mode is pretty flawed when it comes down to it. The biggest problem is that Bad Boy wears so badly - a decent condition example is a fun curio, but a worn figure is an absolute nightmare. The latter is a cheap addition to your collection, but one you won't enjoy. If you can get a good condition one, Bad Boy is an unusual, interesting piece of work, but beware - good condition, of course, means more expense. Expect strangeness rather than unadulterated quality.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1984, Machine Robo Series - MR-47: Fairchild Robo
1984, Robo Machine - RM-47: Tank-Bust
1984, Gobots Series 2 - 55: Bad Boy
1985, Robo Machine - RM-47: Bad Boy
1993, Robo Machines - Tank Buster

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
None