Slicks was derived from Bandai's F-1 Robo, recoloured for the American market. The changes to the figure involved replacing all the yellow plastic with black, though the diecast parts were still painted the same colour as the Machine Robo version. Brand new factory stickers were added to the sidepods and in front of the cockpit (though, curiously, the stickers on the nosecone and airbox remain unchanged - the former still bearing a tiny Renault Sport logo and 'TISSOT' in very small type as well as the number 16). This version was only released in North America and Australia.

The figure was one the first Gobots to get a significant makeover compared to his Machine Robo release - the idea would become more common over the next couple of years, with several figures receiving brand new schemes courtesy of Tonka. It was in this yellow/black guise that Slicks appeared in a few episodes of Challenge of the Gobots, with an incredibly ungainly animation model.


ALTERNATE MODE

Considering Slicks' vehicle mode is only 2½ inches long, it's a more than respectable replica of the RE20, complete with a nice chromed engine. The axles are (perhaps inevitably) too thick, and the sidepods aren't shaped quite right, but it's a solid effort for the scale. It is compromised a little by the made-up livery, including having the character name written on the front. However, as long as you're not after strict realism, it's actually a bit fun - if you aren't an F1 fan like me, the yellow/black scheme is certainly a lot nicer to look at than the plainer all-yellow version.

Sadly, Slicks is very susceptible to wear - the feet/rear wing halves can become hard to fit together, the chrome chips, the springs in the sideboard can become a pain and so on.


ROBOT MODE

Transforming Slicks is surprisingly complex, especially keeping the arms out of the way throughout. It's inventive, but frustrating in places. The worst part is the amount of wear it builds up - I'm sure the front wheels get looser every time, while the rear wheels must lose chrome clipping in like that. This is Slicks' biggest problem - his look in either mode depends a lot on chrome and stickers, which tend to be the first bits to go. There aren't any bits that are actually likely to outright break, they'll just sag and flop. The robot itself looks pretty good - the face actually has a little character to it (especially the nifty shades-like visor) and the proportions are good. The design's quite nice, and he looks good.

The articulation, like most Gobots, is disappointing, only extending to the arms. Worse still, moving these higher than 45° from the body makes them look like they're coming from the top of the shoulders due to the connections being mounted on the backs of them, rather than more centrally. That aside, the figure is surprisingly well balanced and compact.


SUMMARY

I'm a bit biased towards Slicks, being a Grand Prix fan, so the alt mode counts for more than average. Despite his flaws and awkwardness when transforming, Slicks displays well in both modes. I've got three Slicks figures - a mint, until recently carded European version, a fairly tight American example, and a loose Euro version. And loose is the word - it doesn't stand in robot mode, has hardly any chrome, and few stickers. The latter, sadly, is pretty representative of what loose Slicks figures are like. If you want the guy, go for a carded one as the figure is very frustrating when wear and tear sets in. He's recommended, but only with the qualifiers that he's wear-prone and a little annoying to change.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1983, Machine Robo Series - MR-32: F-1 Robo (yellow version)
1984, Robo Machine - RM-32: Slicks (yellow version)
1984, Gobots Series 2 - 16: Slicks (black recolour)

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
None