Vertol Robo had come out in Japan in 1985, sporting the colours of the Japanese Coast Guard's Air-Sea Rescue unit - bright yellow with blue trim. It was one of the last figures released in the original Machine Robo series. The figure was given a semi-realistic USAF makeover for its' European release, and named as Carry-All - marketed as a Friendly Robot, or Guardian.

However, Tonka being Tonka, the American release was given a totally different look for its' appearance in Gobots in early 1985, becoming the Renegade Twin Spin in tan and pale blue. The character got to appear in the TV series, notably in the episode "The Third Column", where he joined up with Zero's faction of Rogue Renegades. The Twin Spin colour scheme was only issued in North America, Australia and Brazil (where it was used for Convert by Mimo).


ALTERNATE MODE

Tonka opted for a mainly tan scheme with a pale blue cockpit section for the helicopter mode. The latter is a little unfortunate, as it scuppers any chance of the thing looking like a desert machine. It's less realistic than either of the other versions, but doesn't actually look too bad.

Most of Tonka's tweaks tend to be in this vein, and it depends on whether you'd rather have a believable scheme, or one a bit more colourful and eye-catching. The stickers on the sides of the cockpit are a bit unusual, and although the rear 80% of the helicopter being tan is slightly boring without anything on it, but it's still a nice-looking vehicle. The mould's good points - a nice, slim shape, great detail and quality construction, awesome chromed blades - still shine through, though.


ROBOT MODE

There's a good, solid conversion sequence (watch the nose-wheel, though), which manages the trick (a la Dive-Dive) of getting a nicely proportioned robot out of a very cylindrical vehicle. Twin Spin's layout is very good, with some nice touches such as the way the rear helicopter engine blends into his shins. The colour scheme works better on this mode, too, where the blue/black chest, the diecast thighs and some good stickers on the shins break up the tan.

While Twin Spin doesn't look quite as good as Carry-All, he still looks very good - and a lot more like a villain. To be fair to Tonka, it is a decent colour scheme that fits in with the rest of the Gobots line.


SUMMARY

Twin Spin isn't an essential figure if you already have Carry-All or Vertol Robo, but the mould's so good that if you don't have either version one of them is a must-have. Whichever depends on your personal taste - get Carry-All for realism, or Twin Spin for a more simple and villainous scheme (as I said, the same quandary that defines appreciation of most of Tonka's redecos). However, your location may weigh on this decision - Twin Spin is difficult to find outside of North America. Nevertheless, the mould itself is superb, and he's one of the best Gobot 'recolours' going.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1985, Machine Robo Series - MR-50: Vertol Robo (yellow version)
1985, Gobots Series 2 - 42: Twin Spin (brown recolour)
1985, Robo Machine - RM-50: Carry-All (green recolour)
1993, Robo Machines - Helicopter I (green recolour)

PARTS:
2 x three-blade rotors

WEAK POINTS:
Nose wheel