Somebody at Bandai must have really liked World War II fighter planes and then got fired. Bandai had three fighters of this vintage in the prototype stage, all of which were handed over to Tonka in 1986 after Machine Robo took a break. Thus, one was used as Bolt for the final series of Gobots, one of the final releases. It also come out in Europe as part of Robo Machine, unchanged from the US version.

Bolt was just in time to make an appearance in the TV series episode "Mission Gobotron", too. This episode taught us W.W.II fighters can fly in space, so it was educational as well as entertaining. Bolt himself was the usual off-the-shelf brave Guardian type.


ALTERNATE MODE

Bolt is a USAAF Lockheed P-38 Lightning. This has always been an aircraft I've been quite so-so about, but somehow as a Gobot it works a bit better - I suppose it's a case of an odd plane for an odd line. Bolt has to be one of the larger regular Gobots - I'd guess they were designed by the amount of material used, and because there's not a lot behind the wings, they were able to make him have a larger area.

He's to a smaller scale than Ace or Bent Wing, but this is only really noticeable if you're a W.W.II expert. A general smoothing of lines brings out a good look, though the join-lines for the robot mode are quite obvious. It's also a bit of a shame they didn't paint the underside of the wings - not just to keep the colour scheme looking nice, but also because it might have added a bit of weight to them. While not fragile the plastic is rather thin and looks it, to the extent of letting strong light through. Like Zero and Ace the propellors are fragile, and like all Gobots, chrome wear is a major problem.


ROBOT MODE

Bolt has a simple transformation, but it's a nice basic idea - it's vaguely reminiscent of Heat Seeker, but more accomplished. The robot mode looks pretty good - I'd certainly be hard-pressed to get a neater robot out of the P-38. The proportions generally come off nicely, though the wing-arms are a bit thin. At least they've bothered moulding some hands on this one, though.

He looks pretty cool all told, albeit in a gawky sort of way. Nice to have a bit of diecast on a later figure as well. As usual, the arms are well-articulated, and even the standard "chrome-dome" head is nicely done, possessing a little character and going nicely with the prominent cockpit and propellors.


SUMMARY

Bolt is far above the other World War II plane Gobots, boasting two charming and inventive modes combined with a neat transformation. He displays nicely, and like most small figures won't set you back a fortune (he's not particularly common, but cheap when you do stumble across one, especially in Europe; good luck finding one without damaged blades, though, while the chrome on the propellors and canopy seems to be even thinner than usual). Bolt is the best of the salvaged prototypes by a fair margin. Recommended.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1986, Gobots Series 3 - 68: Bolt
1986, Robo Machine - RM-62: Bolt

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
Propellors, nosecone