Another mid-series Bandai Machine Robo, Forklift Robo came out in Japan in 1984, and appeared in the Gobots line very shortly afterwards. The Japanese version sported an all-orange colour scheme, released as part of Robo Machine the same year (coded as RM-34).

However, for the American release, the diecast chest piece was recoloured cream, presumably to make the figure more interesting visually. Allotted the name Spoons, this figure was added to the second series of Gobots, and in this form the character made a few brief appearances in the Challenge of the Gobots TV series. The recoloured version made it into Robo Machine in 1986, with the new code of RM-63 (the only figure to receive two different European codes). A Bandai white/green recolour was mooted for release in Japan but didn't get beyond the prototype stage. Additionally, an orange/black version was issued in Brazil by Mimo as part of the Convert line.


ALTERNATE MODE

The forklift mode really is very good fun. Considering forklifts are industrial vehicles, this one's actually rather cute too. The colours mesh nicely (and are a bit more interesting than the Japanese version - if less realistic), and I do like those big chunky tyres. The seat's a bit more of a miss, just not quite looking right. On the plus side, the forks really work!

Admittedly, not particularly well - they're not quite big enough to carry any other Gobot, and putting something much heavier than a cigarette box on them tends to make him tip forwards, but he makes for a fun way to store mints on the desktop. The forks are fairly well made too, though they can work loose if you're clumsy. That aside, your biggest problems are either the seat back coming loose, or paint-chipping to the diecast - few loose examples are without the latter.


ROBOT MODE

Transforming Spoons can be a little frustrating - it might just be my example, but turning the sides of the truck into arms can require a fair bit of force, which isn't fun, especially trying to slide them along to the shoulder locks. Examples of the figure with one or both arms missing are not uncommon. It's a shame, as the layout with the fork mechanism forming the legs, is inventive and well thought-out. It's worth the gritted teeth as Spoons is a nifty robot. He's not flashy or cool, but does look like a solid, gruff worker-type, with the chunky limbs and drone-like head design.

Articulation is limited, as per usual, to the shoulders - he can lean back slightly, but tends to topple easily. The operative word for Spoons is 'chunky' - not necessarily a bad thing, and while articulation is minimal the toy makes a great display piece with his massive fists and boxy body.


SUMMARY

Spoons is rather an unassuming figure, and calling him fun would be stretching a point a little. But he is well-designed and functional as perhaps a forklift robot should be, and he fills out city displays nicely as a drone-type. The colours are a little unusual (construction yellow and black might have been more logical), but he's a well-made figure, and certainly a good place to start if you fancy a few Gobots.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1984, Machine Robo Series - MR-34: Forklift Robo (orange version)
1984, Robo Machine - RM-34: Spoons (orange version)
1984, Gobots Series 2 - 31: Spoons (cream recolour)
1985, Robo Machine - RM-63: Spoons (cream recolour)
1985, Gobots Series 2 - 31: Spoons (cream recolour reissue with sticker)

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
Forks, shoulders