The only Big Machine Robo not based on a vehicle from the '600 Series', Big Truck Robo was issued in Japan in 1985. The toy retailed at ¥2650 (¥1000 more than the other BMR releases) as the Truck came with a diecast trailer that was scaled to fit regular Machine Robo cars on board. Later the same year, Tonka opted to issue the toy in the second series of Super Gobots. The main cab colour was changed from red to orange, and the stickers changed colour, from blue/white to yellow/white. The figure was named Staks. Initially only the cab was available, at the same price as the other Super Gobots, but a few months later he came out with the trailer as 'Staks Transport'.

For the Western releases there were some notable variations - most versions had the black plate behind the cab and black feet; a fair number had a blue plate behind the cab and blue feet, while a handful came with the plate and feet in grey. Also two different lengths of smokestacks were made - the pictures show the longer version. In Europe, Robo Machine saw the toy box-art depicting the Japanese version, although it was only released in the American colour scheme (interestingly the European instructions spelt the name 'Stacks'). The Transport version was also released in Europe. One very interesting overseas release was the Australian Machine Men version of the Transport, which came in a Giftset that included recolours of Turbo, BuggyMan and Rest-Q (plus the regular version of Hans-Cuff) - the Rest-Q and Turbo redecos were exclusive to the set. In 1988 Bandai recoloured the figure in black, with a yellow trailer and offered it as the mail-order Thunderer, a transport for the Winner Robo.


ALTERNATE MODE

I'm never really sure what to make of long-nosed cabs. I don't really like them but whenever Optimus Prime's been made into one (such as for the Laser Rod version, the neo-G1 Spychanger or for the live-action films) the results have been very good. Aside from that (and of course Scourge) they don't crop up very often in transforming lines - the disappointing Micromaster Powertrain (and his recolour Ironworks) are about all I'm coming up with. Staks continues the latter trend.

For one, the orange is just lurid. And whoever thought those yellow stickers complimented it nicely should be shot through the neck. It doesn't help that each stripe is surrounded by a lot of stickered orange which doesn't quite blend to the shade used on the plastics. The chrome is nice and thus only really serves to highlight how terrible the main colour scheme is. What really doesn't help is that Staks is very cheaply made - I guess all the diecast allocation went on the trailer as Staks himself is nearly all plastic, right down to some absolutely horrid wheels. Even the detail moulding isn't particularly impressive. Staks gets pretty much the lot wrong, to be honest.


ROBOT MODE

The transformation is mildly diverting - mainly because you can live in a beautiful halfway world where neither of Staks' modes exist. Because if the truck mode can be described as aesthetically displeasing, the robot mode can be described as really fucking ugly. Bandai fell back on the Scale Robo layout (presumably thinking they owed the range one after Defendor turned out, well, normal), and they don't do a good job of it. All the style and craftsmanship is gone.

The robot is squat and misshapen - Staks has nicely sculpted diecast legs, tapering delicately up to a collection of boxes above his waist. He's got monkey arms and no neck. The figure really does look like its' head part is missing from somewhere. The plastic construction means the arm articulation rarely functions, the shoulders and elbows suffering heavily from wear issues. He just looks like a top-heavy accident. Even the guns don't work - it's a novel idea for plain-sight weapons storage but they just look too much like smokestacks in his hands.


SUMMARY

Staks is about the only figure from the line I can really think of nothing positive to say. Weird is done better by the first series Supers - he has neither their charm nor quality. The truck mode is cheap and tacky and the robot mode looks utterly ridiculous. Add onto that the hassle of finding one with weapons and that isn't stupidly loose, and you've got a figure that's just not worth the effort.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1985, Machine Robo Big Machine Robo Series - BMR-03:
Big Truck Robo (red version, with trailer)
1985, Gobots Super Gobots Series 2 - 023: Staks (orange recolour, no trailer)
1985, Gobots Super Gobots Series 2 - Staks Transport (orange recolour, with trailer)
1985, Robo Machine - Super Gobots: Staks (orange recolour, no trailer)
1985, Robo Machine - Super Gobots: Staks Transport (orange recolour, with trailer)
1988, Machine Robo Winner Robo Series:
Thunderer (black recolour, with trailer; mail order only)

PARTS:
2 x Smokestacks
1 x Trailer (Transport version only)

WEAK POINTS:
None