To support the Machine Robo 600 series, Bandai picked a number of present-day vehicles (well, apart from the Psychoroid) for a range of Scale Robo DX. One of those chosen was the Leopard A4 tank, issued in German army colours in 1983. The following year the figure was issued by Tonka in the inaugural range of Super Gobots, becoming the Renegade Destroyer. The character would appear in the TV series in several episodes - whereas most of the less conventional Super Gobots had their character models adjusted significantly for the screen (providing more obvious facial features for the larger part) they didn't bother with Destroyer, who looked exactly like his toy.

The toy also came out in Europe as part of Robo Machine - though it was not reissued in Europe after Super Gobots branding and names were applied to the figures - thus the European release was never named. Both of these initial releases also showed the figure having a 'gerwalk' intermediate mode (this was not featured on the American instructions).


ALTERNATE MODE

The Leopard mode is incredible, easily passing as a high-quality model of the tank. The detail is faultless both in terms of the machined features and the stickers, which are done to the absolute hilt. On top of this there's the rotating turret (with raising gun) and the working rubber tracks - these are superb, but fragile. The upper chassis is all diecast to boot.

The only slight compromise to realism are the points midway down the chassis that make the transformation possible. The only real downside is the fragility of the thing - the gun parts are easily lost or snapped and a Destroyer with pristine tracks is almost as rare as anything else that came out from the Gobots range. Incidentally, the two-part gun put together looks stupidly long - putting the parts like this also causes the slightly larger barrel to split. The instructions recommend one or the other for good reason.


ROBOT MODE

Transforming Destroyer is good fun too with the way the top chassis neatly folds in half being a nice touch, as is the way the folding cover that reveals the arms slots back into place afterwards. However, Destroyer's robot mode is sadly comical. While the likes of Psycho, Baron Von Joy and Bug Bite are curate's eggs with their idiosyncratic layout, Destroyer has a turret for a head. His face is a 105mm gun. It's ridiculous.

On the plus side this does maintain the movement it has in tank mode, and the arms move around a fair bit. At least the other gun clips nicely on his arm. However, it takes another dive when you get to the legs. With so much diecast on the torso Destroyer was always going to be top-heavy. Now, I'm not a toy designer or anything but I'd think the legs would have to be sturdy and fairly thick to take this weight. Turns out I'm wrong - the answer is two spindly sticks with a little prop coming off each. This just about works with a little patience, but it looks stupid and a light breeze is enough to make him topple from his stalks.


SUMMARY

Destroyer is actually a fun enough curiosity if you buy with a bit of common sense. I picked up a trackless example with just one gun piece from ebay for a couple of quid and his novelty gave me value for money. More recently, I lucked onto a boxed European version for not much more - if you have a similar opportunity the presence of tracks and tight joints while not saving the figure do at least make it look sharp. However, the robot mode is just too silly to maintain much interest, with the top-heavy construction really not helping either. The weakest of the DX figures.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1983, Machine Robo Scalerobo Series - MRDX-04:
Leopard A4
1983, Robo Machine - DX Robo Machine:
Leopard A4
1984, Gobots Super Gobots Series 1 - 029: Destroyer

PARTS:
1 x Gun I
1 x Gun II

WEAK POINTS:
Treads