Another month, another MOTUC figure arrives promptly at my doorstep, though in a bit of a cloud of controversy. I have to say, a couple years in and I’m still loving the reliable monthly fix of my Matty figure. Roboto is another figure I never saw in vintage form. Neither I or any of my friends had him, nor do I remember him from the cartoon, so I’m not feeling the pull of nostalgia on this character. How does he stack up to the rest of the MOTUC collection? More pics and thoughts after the jump!
Real name: Robot Model 9041
Originally built by Man-At-Arms as a chess opponent for Man-E-Faces, the robot companion was nicknamed Roboto and later given a heart-shaped emotion chip which altered his speech patterns. Under the influence of his new programming, Roboto came to understand the desire for freedom and upgraded himself for battle so that he could join the Masters of the Universe in their fight against evil. Roboto serves as chief strategist for the Masters and uses his unstoppable robotic strength in heroic combat.
Model 9041? Man at Arms is a robot building machine! I wonder if Faker was Model 9040. The chess opponent stuff comes from the 2002 cartoon series origin, which struck me as a little odd when I first saw it. I mean, why build an entire robot for a chess oponent? You just need to program the chess playing algorithm into your giant holographic chess board, right? I think Man at Arms just liked building robots. In the minicomics Roboto was built for defense, so that makes a little more sense to me. In the minicomics he is given the heart shaped emotion chip in order to keep him from doing evil. I love how Skeletor got around that by just removing the chip! It’s so silly, but it’s the kind of idea that captured my imagination as a kid. I know Man-E was constantly turning on his companions when I played and I’m sure Roboto would have played out the same kind of drama if I had him.
Roboto comes with a removable hand and 3 separate arm attachments; the claw, the blaster and the axe. They are cast in a somewhat flexible plastic similar to Man at Arms’ club, so they don’t all hold their shape perfectly. The Claw and Axe are fine on mine, but the blaster is a little bit wonky with slightly bent barrels.
The details are nicely sculpted and painted. It may just be my figure, but they require a little more force to exchange than say, Trap Jaw’s accessories. Those Trap Jaw accessories pop onto Roboto just fine, but the fit is not perfect.
Roboto re-uses trap jaw’s legs and Optikk’s crotch piece, but everything from the waist up is an all new sculpt and it’s all really fantastic. I love all the little circuitry detail packed into this arm sculpt in all their 80’s style high tech glory. It definitely reminds me of the 4H’s take on MOTUC Man At Arms. The details there are all present on the original toys, they just pop a lot better here with cleaner detail.
The chest is clear and hollow enough to fit all the gears vintage fans know and love. Having recently read the Roboto mini-comic, I was stoked to see that they included the heart shaped emotion chip in the sculpt. The gears move so smoothly. I have the 2002 Roboto and his gear movement isn’t quite as smooth.
The chest actually seems a little bit smaller than the rest of the motu figures, giving him a slightly less muscular build. It’s not a bad thing, just something I’ve noticed.
I guess this is as good a time as any to talk about the shoulders. Very recently fans noticed that Roboto’s shoulders were assembled backwards on the final figure. If I didn’t have a PhD in shoulder anatomy due to the really bad QC in earlier DCUC waves, I’m not sure I would have ever noticed something was wrong with the figure.
The effect is not too noticeable, but for me, once I see this type of thing I can’t unsee it. It bugs me. Does it bug me enough to try and buy a new corrected version if they do a re-release? Probably not. It’s still annoying and does detract a bit from my enjoyment of the figure. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The circuitry looks okay, but the flow from bicep to deltoid doesn’t look quite right.
I also noticed taking these pics that I have a slight crack in the ab section. It kind of looks like battle damage to me, but I wonder if I can get my figure replaced for that…
Standard MOTUC articulation applies except for the absence of an ab crunch and the addition of the articulated jaw/mouth guard piece. The ab crunch was not done so they could place all the gears present in the original figure in this one. It makes for stiffer poses, but I think they made the right call in terms of trading off some poseability for inclusion of a special feature. Besides, robots are pretty stiff anyways, right? The crotch piece is fairly flexible, but not deep knee bend flexible.
Paint is really nice here with some washes for detail on the silver sections and tiny metallic highlights to show off all the circuitry. It’s not perfect, though, as the tampo on my Roboto’s visor is not aligned properly and has a bit of a ding on it. It messes with the illusion that it’s a different material.
The boots on most of the vintage Roboto figures I have seen online have been the same pink color as the detail on the crotch piece. The designers changed it to silver here and I would guess that they did so to match the cardback or perhaps this kick’n Earl Norem artwork. Whatever the motivation, I think it’s a good choice.
Despite the paint blemishes, misassembled shoulders and a cracked torso, I still had a lot of fun with this figure. He looks super cool posed with the rest of the MOTU guys because he has such a unique look and color scheme. The attachments are great fun to swap out and pose. Even though Mattel kinda dropped the ball on this guy, I dig the figure defects and all.
It could have been perfect, though.