As Bandai began to wind down the Machine Robo Series, the designers started to look a little further away from everyday and so we had Limousine Robo in 1985, which turned into a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI. The prototype was black and may have been intended as a hearse (the character made an appearance in these colours and functioning as a hearse in the Revenge of Cronos anime series - the idea may have been dropped from the toyline for being too morbid), though it's worth noting most Phantom VIs were made in black regardless of what they were used for.

The toy was picked up by Tonka later that year, and released as the Renegade Gobots figure Tux. The European release replaced the front grille with a black painted part, as opposed to the chromed version used elsewhere (it has been suggested that this is simply chrome wear, but this is unlikely in my mind having handled examples - there are literally no traces of chrome). For the animated show Challenge of the Gobots Hanna-Barbera opted to change Tux's name to Stretch (at a guess, the cartoon was wrapped before the toy went into production, and Stretch was an early name for the figure).


ALTERNATE MODE

The idea of a Rolls-Royce limousine as a transforming robot is a stroke of brilliance. It's a very fresh idea, both unusual and stylish. Tux's colour scheme is crisp and businesslike, and the car mode is sturdy and well realised. The only real fault is the large slot in the back of the car that allows the legs to form in robot mode. The detailing is well done, especially the indicators (shame they aren't painted), and once again the diecast bonnet blends nicely with the surrounding plastic - though Tux is susceptible to yellowing.

The only other problem is that the hinge connecting the grille to the bonnet is white - this stands out less on the American version, but contrasts nastily with the black grille on the European variant. The European and Japanese versions included a much more comprehensive set of stickers as per usual; however, in this case it was a Union Jack, a coat of arms and gold text reading "Limousine Robo" on each side, and actually looks rather tacky. The US release is much cleaner. Incidentally, as much as it looks like Rolls-Royce's Spirit of Ecstasy mascot has snapped off the front of any example, the truth is the slight stump above the grille is all that was on any released version of the toy.


ROBOT MODE

Transforming Tux is simple, but is pretty innovative on such a small toy, and is certainly fun. The bonnet forms a solid chest, with the back of the car rotating round to form the legs. The result is sturdy and solid - Tux looks good from all angles. The solid chest and well-proportioned limbs put him among the most successful figures from the line in terms of coherence. He looks rather swish - notably with the fantastical top-hat wearing head.

Not only does Tux really look like a thug, he's also one of the few Gobots to have much character in his face. This is a guy you can really picture being a total bastard to the people of Earth, or beating up some captured Guardian do-gooder. The only drawback is the grille arrangement makes him look like he's wearing a loincloth - a bit daft, and rather going against the suave British serial killer vibe he's got to him otherwise.


SUMMARY

The result is a charming and unique figure that looks great in both modes. Tux is a bit off-the-wall and a little silly, but it adds up to a fun figure and he won't break the bank to get either. Recommended for Gobot fans, and for fans of transforming robots in general too. It's a bit of a shame they didn't go with making him a hearse, though, as the look was pleasingly sinister.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1984, Machine Robo Series - MR-46: Limousine Robo
1984, Gobots Series 2 - 41: Tux
1984, Robo Machine - RM-46: Tux
1985, Gobots Series 2 - 41: Tux (reissue with sticker)

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
Knees