Water Walk began life as Cessna Robo in Japan, released as a Machine Robo figure in 1984. The initial version was mainly white with blue legs, but Bandai took the unusual step of replacing this version with a revised scheme that a dark blue chest (with the legs changed to match; the shade used is almost purple) in robot mode midway through the production.

A third colour scheme was created for the Gobots release, grey and orange, which was released as Water Walk. The latter scheme was used for the character's TV appearances (which most notably included a sizeable role in the episode "Depth Charge" when he and Flip Top got to kick the bolts out of each other for most of the running time), where he also got a rather bizarre permanent set of flames on his visor. Not sure why.

The second Japanese version was issued in Europe for Robo Machine. Another new scheme was issued by Mimo in Brazil, where the Convert release had a pale blue fuselage & wings, and white floats. In 1993, Bandai decided there weren't enough Water Walks kicking around, and reissued him as 'Light Plane' in the short-lived Robo Machines line (using the second Japanese/European colour scheme).


ALTERNATE MODE

Water Walk's aircraft mode is apparently modelled on a Cessna, though which model I couldn't tell you, even after an exhaustive minute and a half search on Google Images. It's possible Bandai just made it up. Whatever it is, it's one of the few jet-powered float planes in the world. Most important thing is that it looks pretty nifty. It's not a glamour plane by any means, but it is perfectly functional - I especially like the upturned wing tips and twin-finned tail. The colour scheme works nicely too - milky grey and rusty brown going together better than they have any right to.

The robot head and fists are visible (though the latter do blend into the wings nicely), but it's a solid, sturdy vehicle mode. The floats mean the legs don't have to be skinny, and avoids the need to make a blocky fuselage - not many aeroplane Gobots manage to avoid both of these pitfalls. Sadly, Tonka seem to have retained the Japanese stickers for their own release without changing the colours of the background, and thus these look out of place on the grey wings. I do keep meaning to remove these to see if it looks better, but can't quite bring myself to do it just in case he doesn't.


ROBOT MODE

The figure has one of the most innovative transformations of the line, with the roots of the wings forming the arms, the floats become the legs, the remainder of the wings and the tail fold onto the back. The resulting robot is very sleek and well proportioned. I'm not always fond of figures where the alt mode features fold away, but Water Walk pulls it off - there might not be any aircraft parts on the front of the robot, but the tail/backpack looks very nice, as do the wings down his back.

The figure is excellently designed, with a decent head cast, some nicely designed legs (love the way the front of the floats form such great feet) and a well-detailed chest. Water Walk has decent articulation too, moving at the shoulders and at the hips. I'm not sure whether I prefer the Gobots colour scheme to the Machine Robo version or not - it's not quite as clean and realistic, but the Tonka scheme is certainly a bit more vibrant and villainous. It's rather a smart robot mode in all.


SUMMARY

While he's not quite in the top bracket of Gobot figures, Water Walk is certainly a well-designed, fun figure. The transformation is addictive, and both modes are very neat. The toy isn't the most impressive of display pieces, but is a cheap, unusual, innovative little toy, best suited to sitting on a desk to pass the odd moment.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1984, Machine Robo Series - MR-31: Cessna Robo (white chest version)
1984, Machine Robo Series - MR-31: Cessna Robo (blue chest version)
1984, Gobots Series 2 - 32: Water Walk (grey recolour)
1984, Robo Machine - RM-32: Water Walk (blue chest version)
1985, Gobots Series 2 - 32: Water Walk (grey recolour reissue with sticker)
1986, Machine Robo Revenge of Cronos - MRJ-8: Cessna Robo
1993, Robo Machines - Light Plane

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
Tail