Originally issued in Machine Robo during 1985, Snoop was scheduled to join the Gobots line the same year but inexplicably failed to come out in North America - an interesting reversal for most toylines at this point, considering the toy came out practically everywhere else the line had a foothold (including Canada, under the Gobots banner).

Only a few American pre-production examples were made, though the character (a female Renegade) appeared several times, named as Snoop, in the cartoon series. Early prototypes of the figure had more extensive paint apps, notably red upper arms and shins, but these were gone before it entered production in Japan.

Thinking about it, this review should probably be named Sky-Spy, the European Robo Machine name, though Bandai did use the American name from 1986 onwards. However, I'm sticking with Snoop as the toy was allotted a Gobot number (43), and the review's been at this URL for a while now. The closest thing I can think of to an explanation for the toy being skipped is Tonka not wanting a USAF jet as a Renegade, but that makes no sense whatsoever, considering there were no problems with Sky Jack, and that it was Tonka who decided to make the figure a Renegade anyway. Figure congestion is unlikely - by the third series, Tonka were desperately using abandoned Bandai prototypes. Safety reasons might have been a factor - you could really wreck someone's eye with Snoop - but would seem a little melodramatic, considering the Canadian release and that there were plenty of diecast toys of the Blackbird (not to mention Concorde and so on) in other lines. USAF cover-up, maybe? No idea.


ALTERNATE MODE

The Blackbird mode is generally well-rendered. Well, from above anyway. Because of the proportions of the SR-71 (long and thin), this is one of the smaller jets in terms of scale, meaning the big sturdy undercarriage look oversized and clumsy (cf. Leader-1). But the jet is slick and sexy, like the real Blackbird.

The robot chest underneath is highly visible too, the bright red being rather at odds with a stealthy reconnaissance jet. That said, the detail is very nicely done, resulting in an impressive jet mode. The only weak point is that the wing tips tend to work loose, meaning they sometimes flop a little. Despite a couple of drawbacks this is a neat, effective jet mode.


ROBOT MODE

Transforming Snoop is a little fiddly - it always seems a little awkward getting the legs and arms in place without snagging them against each other, though the toy is well made enough this is unlikely to cause any damage. The resulting robot mode is excellent, nevertheless. She looks very impressive, and is towards the taller end of the the regular Gobot scale. The legs are maybe a little spindly, but the head actually has a big of character (a rarity for the line), and while the configuration is a little conventional, it's well-utilised. Relief work on the arms makes a fair suggestion of hands, and the proportions are generally sane.

The only problem is that Snoop is another Gobot that tends to go a little loose after a while, and it can be trouble standing the figure up without the knees moving outwards and causing an undignified collapse. Still, the robot mode is striking and unique, and that such a well-proportioned robot comes out of the guitar-shaped SR-71 is something to applaud.


SUMMARY

Snoop is a really nice little figure, one of my favourites. Both modes are sharp and distinctive, and while the toy does pick up wear fairly easily, if you find a decent example it's well worth owning. Highly recommended. Outside of the USA, Snoop isn't particularly rarer than any other mid/late series Gobot, and patience on eBay will probably see you land one for about a fiver. If you live in America, she won't cost a lot to ship over from Europe, which is probably better than spending $30~ in a domestic auction. She's certainly worth owning assuming you can avoid paying over the odds.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1984, Machine Robo Series - MR-45: Blackbird Robo
1984, Robo Machine - RM-45: Sky-Spy
1985, Robo Machine - RM-45: Snoop
1986, Machine Robo Revenge of Cronos - MRJ-6: Blackbird Robo

A 1984 Gobots release was planned with the #43 and the name Snoop for the line's second series was cancelled in the United States.

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
None