The Big Shuttle Robo was based on the same NASA Orbiter as the standard Shuttle Robo (issued as the regular Guardian Spay-C in 1983), and was released in 1985 by Bandai. While the vastly different BMR configurations for the Truck Robo and Apache Robo saw them released as new characters for Gobots, Tonka took the decision to release the Big Shuttle as Spay-C again. I'd guess this was to avoid confusion - whereas Warpath and Wrong Way looked sufficiently different with their colour schemes, a plausible alternative colour scheme couldn't be found for the space shuttle (they could have coloured it purple and cream, or green and black, but probably thought better of it). It's also possible Tonka just couldn't think of another name. The smaller version continued to form the basis of the animation model, however.

In 1993 the large version was reissued in Europe as a De Luxe in the Robo Machines line, with the NASA markings replaced by large 'RM' insignia which didn't damage the realism one bit nosiree.


ALTERNATE MODE

The result is a very sturdy, faithful rendition of the Shuttle Orbiter. Spay-C has a nice solid heavy feel to him (thanks to the diecast nose section). There are a few too many transformation lines on it for it to be perfect, but it's still very nice. The scale (at a guess, this is again at about 1/144 scale, i.e. roughly the same as smaller jets like Leader-1, Sky Jack or Mach-3) means it's not as detailed as other Gobots, but all the pertinent bits are there, like the booster array and cockpit.

It's a bit of a shame the arms couldn't be worked somehow so that the bay doors opened, and that the usual darling Bandai landing gear is rendered a bit silly by the nose unit being fixed and the other two wheels retracting, but he's still a decent vehicle. Shuttles rock after all, and there are no real aberrations on this one.


ROBOT MODE

The transformation is rather inventive and thus nothing like the simple and disappointing small Gobot version of Spay-C. The whole configuration is completely different, with the nose now forming the chest, the bay doors holding the arms, parts of the main body forming the legs, and the wings and boosters all folding onto the back. No real reason for that folding tail fin though, which means it's a bit of a needless compromise on the alt mode.

Spay-C looks very impressive if maybe a little top-heavy, though the figure doesn't have any actual balance problems. The biggest problem is that the back section doesn't actually clip onto anything in this mode, although this isn't a huge problem unless you're throwing it around and expecting the robot to keep the same shape. Articulation is limited to the shoulders but at least it goes 180° in two directions. Seeing as only about half a dozen Gobots have leg articulation, I should probably stop mentioning it at all. The head design is unusual, but does make a nice change even if it lacks personality.


SUMMARY

While the regular-sized Spay-C is a bit of an ugly figure the same isn't true of the Super incarnation. Space shuttles are great and this one turns into a good-looking robot (the similarity to the later Galaxy Shuttle, the Cybertron taxi in Transformers Victory, is somewhat striking). The Super Spay-C can be found very cheaply, and aside from yellowing and sticker wear is very durable. A recommended figure.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1985, Machine Robo Big Machine Robo Series - BMR-05:
Big Shuttle Robo
1985, Gobots Super Gobots Series 2 - 022: Spay-C
1985, Robo Machine - Super Gobots: Spay-C
1993, Robo Machines - De Luxe Robo Machines: Space Shuttle

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
None