The first figure in Popy's range of Machine Robo Scale Robo DX figures was something of an anomaly. Whereas the other six aspired to realistic present-day vehicles it was in fact based on the Psychoroid, a futuristic car (briefly) used by the lead character in the anime series Space Adventure Cobra. The original 1982 box while loosely following the same layout as the later toys in the range had prominent Space Cobra branding. The initial prototypes had orange-tinged windows, but these were replaced with the familiar blue for production examples.

In 1983, the figure arrived in Europe as part of the Robo Machine DX series, with the 'PSYCHOROID' stickers replaced with the legend 'FUTURE MACHINE' (the name the figure was marketed as) while the cockpit-mounted missile launcher was disabled and filled in. These changes were retained for the Gobots release in 1984. Like Destroyer, Psycho doesn't seem to have been repackaged as a Super Gobot in Europe (and thus was never named for the Robo Machine line).


ALTERNATE MODE

Wherever the car mode came from it's absolutely stunning. The lines are smooth and slick. I love the wedge nose, the faired wings, the fins, the engine nacelles on the back, the little drivers. Beautiful. The colour scheme is fantastic - black, red and silver really works. Even the 'Future Machine' stickers evoke a wonderful sort of retro futurism, and the detailing inside the cockpit is great. The only slight downside is the join between the front segment and the cockpit isn't quite flush, but it's churlish to criticise such a great bit of design on such a minor fault.

The shell is all-plastic but it's well made and actually gives the toy more of a smooth finish than would have been possible with painted diecast. It's undoubtedly the most successful 'unrealistic' toy either Bandai or Popy came up with throughout Machine Robo, with a supreme level of craftsmanship running through it. Even the tyres are really good. If I ever win the lottery I'm going to commission one of these babies.


ROBOT MODE

The robot mode is a bit more eclectic. The initial Scale Robo had the odd design choice of the cockpit forming the head, with no real attempt to make a conventional face - all part and parcel of taking toys from a mecha line and using them for a series with a different ethos - Transformers got off relatively lightly on this score. This can be absolutely woeful (see Destroyer or Staks) but on Psycho it really works.

Something about the design makes his mecha roots so clear that it actually makes sense. However, it will be entirely down to your personal choice as to whether you can accept this design philosophy. I personally think it works well, especially with the two pilots inside. The look of the rest of the robot doesn't disappoint either, with the colour scheme working perfectly with the increased silver. I especially like the printed circuits on the chest - you can tell this thing would be full of big reel-to-reel tape players, computers that read punch cards and lots of mercury. Articulation is limited to the shoulders, unless you count his knees - I don't, because he falls over if you move these. He can lunge a little though, which is a good display pose. There's a surprising amount of grace to the figure considering the unusual layout. The mode works best as a display piece, scoring big points for the thoughtful design of the back - Psycho looks great from all angles, with the engine outlets forming a jet-pack style adornment.


SUMMARY

Psycho is a stylish triumph, a welcome divergence into futuristic vehicles for the larger figures. The lack of a real-life basis hasn't been a cue for the designers to slack off and bang out some cheap rubbish. Both modes look absolutely stunning with real attention paid to presentation. While he isn't particularly poseable, he's very impressive to look at and more than a little fun. While Psycho is probably the rarest of the first series of Super Gobots (well, aside from a complete unbroken Destroyer) he's also the best, coming up with the best interpretation of the idiosyncratic robot modes and marrying it with a car mode that despite being the least realistic is certainly the most aesthetically pleasing.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1983, Machine Robo Scalerobo Series - MRDX-01:
Psychoroid
1983, Robo Machine - DX Robo Machine: RMDX-01:
Future Machine
1984, Gobots Super Gobots Series 1 - 030: Psycho

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
Fins