The final round of Super Gobots (with the possible exception of Vamp) were designed by Bandai exclusively for the Western market, and as with the smaller MRT figures (Scratch/Stallion/Sparky/Stinger/Van Guard) they purposefully seemed to pick vehicles from that would be more recognisable - Spy-Eye was based on a British plane, Throttle on a German motorcycle, Raizor on a USAF plane, Night Fright on a Russian helicopter, Super Couper on an American street-racer and Clutch on a Chevrolet pickup.

The toys were released in 1986 in America, coming out shortly afterwards in Europe as part of Robo Machine (where several figures, including Clutch, seemed to be produced in larger numbers than they were for Gobots) - for this release, the windows were recoloured black, as opposed to the silver of the US version. Like most of the final batch of Super Gobots, Clutch didn't make it onto the telly (only a much-modified Night Fright and Throttle got that far), but he did get to hang around in the background of the comic strip in the last issue of the Gobot Magazine. Go Clutch.


ALTERNATE MODE

So Clutch is a rather agricultural American pickup truck. That's just marvellous. The colours are pretty sharp, a nice rich red - though I'm fairly sceptical as to how many C/K owners drive around with such fetching two-tone blue stripes.

It's a very chunky vehicle - I'm not sure you can actually call a car squat, but if you can that's what Clutch is. The thing's pretty low, flat and wide. The square looks just don't seem right - whether they were accurate or not I don't know but it just looks a bit, well, Tonka-esque. The impression isn't helped by the chunky plastic wheels and opaque windows. The latter is of course necessary to hide the mechanics of the robot mode, but it still doesn't look too good. The mode's also covered with join lines, notably the Delorean-like doors, which have a tendency to pop out. It's really quite a tacky and childish-looking vehicle.


ROBOT MODE

Clutch's conversion is vaguely reminiscent of the Transformers figure Trailbreaker, with the bonnet and windscreen forming the best and the legs folding out from underneath the chassis, but there the similarity ends - Clutch is nowhere near as neat. The arms are a bit of a mess. It's very tricky to unfold them - well, tricky is the wrong word; you're not going to fail at doing it, but you aren't going to have much fun. The legs also don't lock into place, meaning it doesn't take much wear to rob Clutch of his balance. That said if he displayed nicely in robot mode this might be forgivable. Sadly, he looks like a car crash.

There are very few Gobot toys that are this badly proportioned - his torso is enormous, a giant chunk of pickup balanced on top of a block. His legs are a twig-like, but they look brilliant compared to his tiny little arms. It's one thing having three points of articulation per appendage but it's no use when the things are so tiny. And to top Clutch off, he's got a tiny little peanut head. Urggh. Add in the wheels and he just looks stupid. It's a real mess of a robot.


SUMMARY

Clutch does have a few things in his favour - the transformation is different enough to be briefly diverting and he's very sturdy for a fairly complex toy, though wear is a bit of an issue. But all up he does look like a one-vehicle pile-up. Considering the generally good quality of the final series of Super Gobots he's rather disappointing and is best avoided unless you can find him cheap. The toy, like many later Gobots, is a lot more common in Europe.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1986, Gobots Super Gobots Series 3 - 037: Clutch
1986, Robo Machine - Super Gobots: Clutch (black windscreen)

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
None