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The Nacelle Company: Robo Force Maxx 89 and Wrecker Action Figure Review

Robo Force was a very brief blip in the 80s. With boxy robotic designs that could have been lifted straight out of a 50s science fiction movie, they were a peculiar offering alongside dozens of more humanoid toys.

I remember ads for the property at the time, and I’m pretty sure I saw them in the toy aisles, but there were far too many other things grabbing my attention, so I never had any of the vintage figures.

There was a single episode of a Robo Force cartoon, but I didn’t watch that until some years ago, when it was provided as an extra on the Challenge of the Gobots DVD collection. Back then I was far more interested in Gobots than Robo Force.

But as we all know, no 80s toy property ever truly goes away. They just hibernate until someone wants to take a chance on them.  Robo Force is getting yet another shot at life, this time from The Nacelle Company. Their first two offerings are a pair of heroes: Wrecker and Maxx 89 (Originally Maxx Steele, changed due to I’m presuming licensing issues. It’s always licensing issues.)

I have a few minor issues with the toys, but more on that later. These are updated takes on those original designs, which means the boxy designs have been upgraded to that humanoid feel I was talking about earlier. The melding of retro and modern actually works quite well from a design sense. There’s a considerable amount of improved detail across the board, with far more sculpted wires and panels and all those little techy details that were streamlined in the vintage figures. Since this was not a line I ever had as a kid, I didn’t have that specific nostalgic angle to them, but I still liked them from a purely “cool robot” stance.

The articulation is fairly decent. Of course, I’m always one to want as much as possible, but any limitations here seem to be hindered by the realities of the design more so than sloppy engineering. Both figures have articulation at the neck, shoulders, biceps elbows, wrists, hips and knees. Maxx 89 has a waist swivel, where Wrecker does not. I have to say I miss that additional bit of swivel on Wrecker. I do wish that both figures had somehow managed some kind of torso crunch.

The shoulder motion on both is a little limited by the bulky design, but they do a decent enough job as is. These aren’t as crazy articulated as some robot figures on the market, but you can get them into some pretty exciting poses.

I don’t know if it’s a widespread issue, but the legs on Wrecker were swapped on my figure. Since there’s no thigh swivel I had to pop the entire ball-jointed leg off of both and switch them around. It was a little fidgety, and I was scared that the peg was going to snap, but I managed to get them flipped around, so if you notice some discrepancies in the pictures, I noticed the issue right after I started moving him around. Hopefully this is just a rare booboo.

The original figures featured a suction cup gimmick, and these replicate that with two ball-jointed suction cups in the place of “feet.” It’s a nice idea in theory, but I found that they were a little unsteady resting on the suction cup feet, so I ended up popping them out. That left them a solid leg with no ankle movement from the knee to the floor, but I vastly preferred that to the suction cups. I’d like to have seen some regular robot feet that could be popped in in place of the suction cup if one wanted, but I totally get why that wouldn’t be feasible. The cup-less bottoms of the legs are wide and chunky enough that he balances very well regardless of the lack of true feet.

Maxx 89 features non-articulated hands. Wrecker has an articulated pincer-claw right hand. His left hand is a big…well, wrecking implement. It looks perfect for evil robot-smashing.

There’s a slight grungy weathering over the figures, so they look like they’ve seen some wear and tear, some combat, some life. They’re not stark plastic.

For accessories, Maxx 89 comes with some plug-in attachments. The tubes are hard plastic—I’d have liked some bendable wire, I think that would have added more play-value, but again, I get the feasibility issues, I’m just wishing for things.

I like the look of them, but they’re not something I’m going to leave attached to the figures. I think they’re play better without them attached.

Maxx 89 comes with an alternate bladed right hand. The hands swap easily. He also comes with a laser gun that takes a bit of effort to get into his hand, but once it’s there it’s not dropping out.  

Wrecker comes with some industrial wrecking attachments that peg into his back. They look great, but he definitely ends up back heavy with them attached. I like the look of him all geared up with them, but I think like with Maxx 89 I’ll leave them off.

He also comes with a bouquet of nicely sculpted and painted flowers. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to show that he’s a sensitive robotic soul despite his destructive tendencies, but it’s a cool juxtaposition.

They have decent heft and size to them, and would fit in with plenty of 1/12, 1/10 or even 1/18th scales.

You know, while I admit I have a few issues here and there, for the most part I like both of these quite a bit. Moreso once I got the legs on Wrecker fixed. I think I’ve seen a prototype for villainous robot Hun-Dred, so hopefully this line—like the robots themselves—has legs.

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