Falcon Robo was one of the last Machine Robo figures released in the '600 series', coming out in 1985. Later that year, the toy was added to the Gobots line as Heat Seeker, one of the earlier third series releases. The American version featured additional paint applications to the nosecone and robot chest. The same year the figure was issued in Europe - the Robo Machine version used the unpainted Japanese chest piece, and the painted American nose. Now you know.

He turned up about midway though the Challenge of the Gobots TV series, getting a sizeable role in a few episodes - it would seem he actually managed to appear long before his toy was released (which would suggest possibly that the figure was delayed). In 1993, Bandai reissued the figure in Europe as part of Robo Machines, designated simply as 'F-16' and featuring modified stickers (the text 'U.S. Air Force' becoming 'R.M. Air Force).


ALTERNATE MODE

The jet mode isn't one of Bandai's best by any stretch of the imagination. The F-16 Falcon has always been one of those aircraft marooned between cute and impressive, and this indifferent rendering doesn't help much. The toy is very cheap, with the solid plastic cockpit and one-tone plastic adding to the problems. The stickers are rather ham-fisted, and the detail is low.

The outer wings also work loose very easily, while there are very noticeable "split" lines all over. Heat Seeker just feels really cheap, and compares badly to the other jet aircraft produced by Bandai - how this guy got selected for release in Japan when Gunnyr and Bolt were dropped I don't know. A rare miss.


ROBOT MODE

Heat Seeker's biggest plus is a very unusual (possibly unique, though Bolt is a little similar) transformation sequence, which basically involves the fuselage of the aircraft splitting along its' length, and forming the body. This is a little tricky at first, but is certainly novel. The figure does look a lot better in robot mode, though this is more a detrimental observation on the quality of the jet mode rather than a credit in the other direction. That said, he is pretty solid looking, with nice chunky legs and the usual arm articulation.

There is some nice detailing on the arms and some decent stickers on the legs, while the head design is interesting (and slightly reminiscent of the original Decepticon jets). The downside is that the only thing keeping the whole mode rigid is a tiny tab on the jet fin, and if this breaks he doesn't tend to hang together very well. Heat Seeker's got an awkward feel to him, the legs being too big and the wings coming round in a silly place. He feels half-finished, to be truthful.


SUMMARY

In summary, Heat Seeker is a bit of a poor figure. He's worth picking up if seen cheap (and he is one of the cheapest third series Gobots, especially if you live in Europe) for the interesting transformation, and his robot mode does display nicely. However, he's undeniably a bit cheap and inessential. Get Royal-T or Snoop first.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1985, Machine Robo Series - MR-49: Falcon Robo
1986, Gobots Series 3 - 52: Heat Seeker
1986, Robo Machine - RM-49: Heat Seeker
1986, Machine Robo Revenge of Cronos - MRJ-2: Falcon Robo
1993, Robo Machines - F-16

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
Outer wings, tail fin tab