Battleship Robo was the final figure of the original Machine Robo series, coming out early in 1986. This original release was in small numbers, but the toy was reissued shortly afterwards for the Revenge of Cronos tie-in line. Tonka gave him the Man-O-War name, and issued him towards the end of the Gobots range later the same year. Man-O-War even got into the cartoon series as a belligerent Guardian in the episode "Mission Gobotron". And proved himself to be more more interesting than Leader-1 to boot.

The figure was issued with a slightly different colour scheme in Europe - the superstructure is darker, and the robot feet are red. The American version was the same as the Japanese edition; I only have the European Man-O-War, so the review covers that version.


Man-O-War (not really bad, for a Gobots name) has a rather novel disguise mode, especially for a toy this size - an Iowa-class battleship. While the type was introduced during World War II, the four ships of the class were reactivated in 1982 to much world-wide fanfare, making the alt mode choice quite topical.

Considering he's about 4" long, there's a nice amount of detail - though the (unavoidably) moulded gun turrets are a bit of a letdown. The colour scheme, however, is rather sharp, though in this mode, the US version looks better - the random red stern doesn't look particularly good. The only other real problem is the bow section can work loose. It's a neat little model, all things considered, - the scale's a bit off, but the colours work well.


The transformation sequence is neat and simple, and leaves rather a good little robot. There's a bit of articulation in the shoulders, and the head mould isn't bad, plus you can see he turns into a battleship without the alt mode features.

The colour scheme works well - especially if you have the red-footed European variant. It's a shame the main bridge folds so poorly, though. Considering the alt mode, this is a very neat, efficient robot mode. Much like Tail Pipe, Man-O-War's stocky, conventional layout is an oasis among the freaks and misfits of the third series.


Man-O-War compares well to most of the regular Gobots and looks good in both modes. A battleship vehicle mode is just an incredibly cool and different idea for a figure, and Man-O-War pulls it off beautifully. There's none of the qualifiers associated with most later figures. A couple more paint apps might have pushed him into the top bracket, but even without he's a very nice piece of work. Man-O-War seems to be more common outside of America. Both different variants, both have their plusses - my recommendation would be to buy a cheap one, and then just paint the feet, so the top 75% of them is grey, and the remainder red, which looks good in both modes - there's even a little line to help you.

[Corrections? Let me know!]

1986, Machine Robo Series - MR-54: Battleship Robo
1986, Gobots Series 3 - 66: Man-O-War
1986, Robo Machine - RM-57: Man-O-War (darker colours)
1986, Machine Robo Revenge of Cronos - MRB-17: Battleship Robo