"Generation 2" Mercedes Benz Toy Review
Intended release date: 1995-96
In 1995 the last gasp of "Generation 2" was released, mostly going on discount at retailers such as Kay Bee Toys. While "Generation 2" had helped keep the Transformers brand on life support, Hasbro had decided to radically change the brand into what became known as "Beast Wars Transformers". However, in that transition there were several planned figures that never made it into mass production.
Among these unreleased figures were six "Go-Bots", small Hot Wheels sized vehicles that transformed into small robots with limited articulation. Years later, four of these figures would make it into mass release in two packs as Daytonus and Side Burn and Prowl 2 and Side Swipe. Two other sculpts never made it into production in any way (possibly due to the tooling being lost).
Over the years, early production samples of these figures made it onto the collector market via a former Kenner employee who sold them off many years before. In 2017 I was able to purchase a set of these figures at a (relatively) reasonable price so of course I had to be sure to write up reviews of these rare pieces. This review will focus on one of the two sculpts from this set that never saw any mass release. This figure had no name or affiliation, so it is pretty much just known by the vehicle it transforms into, a Mercedes Benz SL500 sport coupé. For the purposes of this review I will call it the "Mercedes Benz".
The "Mercedes Benz" Go-Bot appears to be a variant on the Mercedes Benz R129. It has the distinct front end that slopes downward with a grille set at an angle. It also has the same thin, angled headlights as the real life vehicle. Other distinct details include some horizontal lines running across the front and sides. The modified part is on the back where there is a curved spoiler angling upward.
This vehicle is mostly cast in purple plastic. The wheels are black plastic. The windows are painted black while the rear window has black stripes painted on it that look like they are meant to be rear window louvers. The sides of the wheels are vacuum metallized gold. Surprisingly that's it for paint applications. I was surprised the headlights or rear lights weren't painted or something given how many deco points other figures in the assortment have.
All Go-Bots figures have "high speed racing axles" that allow the vehicles to move quickly across smooth surfaces such as Hot Wheels race tracks.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Flip the figure over and detach the blaster.
- Pull the back of the vehicle back to form the legs.
- Pull out the doors to the sides to form the robot arms.
- Swing the front of the vehicle down to form the torso.
- Attach the blaster to one of the hands.
Unlike the other five figures in this set, there does not appear to be any issue with the front of the car swinging down to form the robot torso. There is no uncomfortable "snap". It moves very smoothly which was a relief.
The design of this mode gives no hints as to who this may have been meant to be. There are no clear G1 design callouts leading me to believe that this was meant to be an existing character (not that such considerations stopped other Go-Bot designs from being used as G1 characters). The most mechanical looking details are on the lower legs which look a bit like parts of a car engine and interior unfolding into legs. The most distinctive design element on this figure is the face. It looks like a mask in a butterfly shape with points above each eye. This is very unusual. The design actually reminds me of a figure that would come out years later: "Beast Wars" Stinkbomb.
Most of the figure is made up of the purple parts from the vehicle form. The head, chest and thighs are all one piece of white plastic. The lower legs are black plastic. There are spots of black paint on the face to give some details on the eyes and mouth.
Go-Bots in general have two points of articulation: the arms. On my copy of this figure the weapon can fit in either fist without a problem.
This is an unusual review in that I am not recommending anyone seek this figure out given how expensive and rare it is. Instead, I will say that had this figure been a mass release for only a few dollars I would definitely tell anyone who wanted to round out their "Generation 2" collection to add it to their army partly for the distinctive vehicle mode. I am very happy to own this odd piece of Transformers history, especially since it is one of the sculpts that was never used again.