The second of the three initial Devil Invader figures, the Zarios monster was also joined the Machine Robo line in 1984, serving as a generic enemy for the eponymous heroes. Like the other figures in the range, it retained this status for its' European release, becoming one of the Enemy Invaders, and keeping the Japanese name.

The figure appeared briefly in the British Robo Machines comic serial as one of Zod's planned Devil Invaders, though he wasn't built before the series was cancelled. However, the Zarios name was retained for the rest of the life of Robo Machine, including later runs of the figure and World Distributors' Gobots annuals. In America, the figure was pitched as a standard Renegade Gobot, being named Scorp. In the TV series the character turned up at the same point as Vamp, a mutant build by the Master Renegade to guard his resting place, and later joined up with the regular Renegade forces, making numerous appearances in the remaining episodes. The figure was reissued in Japan in 1986.


ALTERNATE MODE

Being of Devil Invader origins, Scorp's alt mode grafts monstrous elements with futuristic styling. The result is a cross between a scorpion and a huge tank, rendered in black, red and silver. It's probably the most downright evil looking alt mode Bandai managed to cook up for the series, and a more successful meshing of beast and vehicle can't be found in the line. The low-down profile only serves to accentuate the feeling that this is a predator, with the snakelike yellow eyes, chromed claws and moveable tail.

That said, I'm not massively keen on modes that don't really look like anything, and while a case can be made for it looking exactly like if some lunatic had decided to build a giant robotic scorpion and bung it on some tank treads, it still isn't really my bag. Like most of the Gobot monsters, once you get past the fun initial weirdness, it soon wears thin.


ROBOT MODE

Transformation is a bit of an odd one. There seem to be an awful lot of moving parts for an end result that basically resembles the monster mode rearing up. Scorp still has those pincers for arms, and still has tracks for feet, but the previously beastly appearance is swapped for rather a clumsy robotic form. The squat, generic head makes him look like an android in a Halloween costume (in the same sort of way the Transformers Terrorcons' fun monster modes were contradicted by blocky, unimaginative robot forms that looked like any other combining team).

Having the same arms on both modes just looks cheap, and you're left with the same questions for anything of this ilk - how, exactly, does he perform functions other than eviscerating people? Plus the reconfiguration of the legs makes him look like he has clown feet. Urgh. Articulation isn't too bad - the arms move at the shoulder and the elbow (the latter via some very early ball-joints), while the legs can move at the hip and the knee. Not bad for a 1980s $3 figure, really. Sadly, the latter work loose very easily, so rather than revelling in his ability to do lunges, you'll spend most of the time just trying to stop his thighs collapsing down onto his shins. It's the oddest robot mode of the line by bloody miles. And sadly, not in a good way.


SUMMARY

Scorp embodies at the same time the best and the worst of the Devil Invaders. On the one hand, he's a pretty brave, daring, unique toy. He's pretty hard to mistake for anything other than a marauding beastie from another planet. However, he also doesn't really look like anything in particular in either mode, lacks character, and soon loses his novelty. The Scale Robo DX aside, he's actually one of the few figures that works very well as a Machine Robo figure (as a cloned Devil Invader monster, he does the job) but not so well as a Gobot, failing to look convincingly like a one-off character.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1984, Machine Robo Devil Invaders Series - MRD-103: Zarios
1984, Gobots Series 2 - 47: Scorp
1984, Robo Machine - RM-103: Zarios
1985, Gobots Series 2 - 47: Scorp (reissue with sticker)
1986, Machine Robo Revenge of Cronos - MRGD-3: Zarios

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
Tip of tail