Modelled on the Nissan 300ZX, the original Machine Robo release of the Fairlady Robo was mainly white, but Tonka recoloured the figure red for release as the Guardian Major Mo in 1985. This version was also imported to Europe and released as part of Robo Machine.

Major Mo somehow managed to miss appearing in the Challenge of the Gobots animated series - best guess is maybe it was just one red car too many, with Turbo, Spoiler, Sparky, Zeemon and Good Knight knocking around. It's a bit weird that Hanna-Barbera skipped several figures, and yet went to the effort of devising their own Gobots (such as Steamer or Wrecks) when there were figures that could have fitted either role. He might have a tiny "blink and you'll miss it" cameo in Gobots: Battle of the Rock Lords, but without an animation model to compare against it's hard to tell. I've included the best screen-grab I've been able to obtain, I'd be curious to know what anyone else thinks.


ALTERNATE MODE

The Nissan 300ZX isn't one of my favourite cars. Much of the uniqueness of the 260/280 Fairlady style is lost, and the thing's always looked more like a Rover 3500 to me. It's not particularly ugly, just a bit ordinary looking, but beefy. It's the sort of car Steve McQueen would drive if he came back to life and decided to drive a Gobot around.

The stickers work nicely, and there isn't much wrong with. There are a couple of weak points - the wing mirrors, plus it's got that awful thin paint Gobot cars tended to get for windows that scratches off very easily. However, overall, he's tight, compact and functional. In my fractured mind has allotted Major Mo a soldiery, no-nonsense personality, so I'm satisfied with this car mode.


ROBOT MODE

The transformation is simple, but has a nice twist - for some reason, that the roof slides to form Major Mo's back and show his head rather than it being the simple bonnet-folds-down-to-reveal-head is something I find incredibly cool. The robot mode looks sturdy and tough, and is pretty cool all told. The only articulation is in the arms, but Major Mo looks impressive for such a diminutive figure. The head cast is a nice change, and the proportions are very good.

Major Mo is very heavy on plastic for such an early Gobot - aside from the pins and his thighs, the figure is all plastic. This is a bit disappointing, but hardly the end of the world. He's got a muscled, boxy feel to him that fits with the rough-around-the-edges car mode, and while he's not the neatest or most elegant of Gobots, he does look very good.


SUMMARY

I really like Major Mo. The concept is simple but well-executed, and a couple of nice details like the unusual head reveal make all the difference. He doesn't have the refinement of Stallion or Tailpipe, and is a bit of a forgotten chappy, but he's well worth getting, having a surprising amount of character and robust charm. The overall effect is very much more than the sum of the figure's parts.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1985, Machine Robo Series - MR-48: Fairlady Robo (white version)
1985, Gobots Series 2 - 54: Major Mo
1985, Robo Machine - RM-54: Major Mo

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
Wing mirrors