Great Britain is a country in Europe on Earth. It is sometimes called Britain, the United Kingdom or - less accurately - England. Its' capital is London, and it has a Prime Minister. Other settlements include Cholkham and Westbridge.
Fiction[edit | edit source]
Challenge of the GoBots cartoon[edit | edit source]
Two totally legit British policemen patrolling a startlingly accurate drawing of Big Ben were seen among the 5 billion people who came under the control of the Renegades when Doctor Braxis' pulsar generator was switched on. Later the country's Prime Minister was among the world leaders kidnapped by Cy-Kill's cyborg ally. However, he gave Michael Foot a run for the money in the ineptitude stakes, so she got free soon afterwards. Later, Westminster Palace in London was one of the locations hit by Cy-Kill's Somnalizer, with everyone in the area going to sleep.
The Robo Machines comic[edit | edit source]
When Stron-Domez fled Robotron for Earth after unsuccessfully attempting to assassinate the planet's president he took his Robo Machines Cy-Kill and Tank to Earth, landing in East Anglia in England. After building Fitor he decided the nearby town of Cholkham was the ideal target to announce his presence to the planet's authorities. The trio of Robo Machines devastated the settlement until the arrival of Ex-El's Security Forces Robo Machines Leader One, Dozer and Hans-Cuff. The following battle saw Stron-Domez order his followers to attack a school, though the pupils were saved by the Security Forces. In the process they befriended the young Charlie Bampton. However, an attempt to make a formal alliance with the humans failed after a misunderstanding saw the British Army attack the Security Forces, who were forced to temporarily neutralise them before fleeing. Stron-Domez set Westbridge as his next target, realising the Datafile Electronics factory there made an excellent base to construct more of his evil Robo Machines. The newly-built Cop-Tur landed outside the factory and used his gyro to prevent any of the workers from escaping, while Fitor tore the roof off the planet's office block and captured secretary Sharon, preventing boss Mr. Bennet from calling the police. Cy-Kill and Tank completed the round-up of Datafile Electronics employees, who were then put to work as Cop-Tur broadcast a cover story to the rest of Westbridge's population, telling them the workers were being kept at the factory due to carrying out top-secret government work. Ex-El soon detected the activity from the Command Centre, but quickly realised his troops would be unable to attack Datafile Electronics without endangering the humans. The workers soon completed Loco before Ex-El sent Charlie and Night Ranger to sneak inside the factory, with the rest of Westbridge. They were able to locate the warehouse where the workforce were being held, and Truck was able to get inside with Charlie and ram Loco, allowing the humans to escape. That achieved, Leader One gave Hans-Cuff the all-clear to begin a full Security Force attack. Stron-Domez's forces were routed, and only he and Cy-Kill were able to escape capture.
Stron-Domez and Cy-Kill set up a brief base at an abandoned railway station outside London, where Stron-Domez turned himself into Zod. They then recruited reluctant scrap-dealer Alf Meeker to help build more Robo Machines. The creation of Zod was detected by the Command Centre, but the Security Forces were unable to deal with his power, and a battle in the air over England saw Royal-T critically injured and Carry-All separated from the rest. He located the scrapyard while searching for aid for Royal-T, but was mortally injured by Zod shortly afterwards - though he was able to transmit a homing signal to the Command Centre. Cy-Kill and Alf meanwhile had recruited vagrants from the city's surrounding area to build the Devil Invaders, and the first - Casmodon - was completed before the Security Forces arrived. The huge Devil Invader set off to attack London, soon joined by Cy-Kill. The Guardians attempted a massed attack on Casmodon but their combined fire did not phase Casmodon and his eye-beams destroyed Night Ranger and Truck when the Devil Invader returned fire, while Cy-Kill fought Scooter and Charlie Bampton. Casmodon further injured Dozer and drove the surviving Guardians in full retreat. However he was undone when he captured Charlie Bampton; the boy was able to trigger an unexpected mid-air conversion, forcing Casmodon to crash and allowing the Guardians to escape to the Command Centre.
Robo Machine featuring Challenge of the GoBots annuals[edit | edit source]
Fitor was sent to drop one of the Exploding Toads of Primus on London by Cy-Kill, who planned for the thing to take over the minds of everyone in Europe. We never got to find out how it was going to get on a ferry to France, sadly, as he was mugged by Royal-T as soon as he released the creature.
Characters[edit | edit source]
Toys[edit | edit source]
Robo Machine[edit | edit source]
Britain was one of the key markets for Bandai Europe, and from the start of the line in 1983 Robo Machine figures featured bilingual English and French text. This continued right up until the end of the line, including translating the later Challenge of the GoBots branding.
Robo Machines[edit | edit source]
Media[edit | edit source]
The Robo Machines comic[edit | edit source]
To promote Robo Machine Bandai worked with Fleetway Publications to produce a comic based on the toys. The strip was ran in 3-page black and white instalments in the popular weekly comic Eagle, written by Tom Tully and initially drawn by Mario Capaldi.
As Bandai had provided scant fiction for Robo Machine - having only recently switched to giving characters names rather than loose designations - Tully and Capaldi had to invent huge chunks of the background. The strip would see Stron-Domez flee Robotron after inventing the shape-shifting Robo Machines, planning to conquer Earth as a base for taking over his home planet (a not dissimilar reason from Cy-Kill's reasons for choosing the planet in "Escape to Planet Earth" and "Battle for GoBotron". To stop him, the planet's Security Forces dispatched Ex-El in the Command Centre to stop him, building his own Robo Machines.
The serial began publication on 10 November, 1984. After six episodes Capaldi left the strip and was replaced by Kim Raymond, who would remain on art duties until the end of the strip, aside from one instalment that was drawn by a young Geoff Senior. In common with British boys' comics of the period the strip was gritty - at least in comparison with the cartoon - featuring Cy-Kill vaporising a policeman and the Security Forces' human chum Charlie Bampton losing both his parents (albeit off-panel).
After Eagle merged with Tiger in March 1985 the strip took a one-week hiatus before returning. The second storyline saw various concepts from the TV series grandfathered in - the Security Forces started to be referred to as the Guardians, Stron-Domez became Zod and Ex-El simply disappeared without any sort of explanation. Red was also added to the strip's black-and-white palette. It still retained an edge compared to many toy tie-ins, with Casmodon devastating part of London and Night Ranger getting blown apart. However, the strip was ended in 29 July, 1985 with a hurried conclusion that saw the Guardians escape to Robotron after their casualties against Casmodon, seemingly leaving Cy-Kill in uncontested control of Earth.
Cartoon[edit | edit source]
The country also imported Challenge of the GoBots, which - due to there not being much space on British telly of the period - was shown in 5-minute segments of ITV's Wideawake strand, alternating with Transformers. Not a juxtaposition which did much to enhance Hanna-Barbera's animation, it has to be said.
Home Media[edit | edit source]
More people saw it on video, with the initial mini-series released by Kideo Video before a further 26 episodes were released by Vestron Video. Meanwhile GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords was released by Entertainment in Video.
GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords (reissue)
Books[edit | edit source]
After the ending of the deal with Fleetway the licence ended up under the auspices of Manchester's World Distributors. They produced a series of storybooks and annuals based on the franchise. After the initial wobble of their Mini World books, which took place in a strange micro-continuity where A.J. Foster was white and GoBots didn't have names, it began to be heavily based on the cartoon, albeit incompatible continuity-wise and somehow even more juvenile.
Some of their writings were adapted as audio adventures by another British company, Tempo.
Creators[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Several toys have vehicle modes based on either British vehicles or vehicles with British markings: -
- Royal-T is based on a RAF Harrier jump jet. He would have had a Terry-Thomas style British accent if anyone had any sense, and did so in the 1986 annual stories.
- Tux is based on a luxury car made by the famous Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce themselves seem to have been less than happy about this, and the Robo Machine card for the figure had the company's name stickered over. The Japanese and European releases also featured Union Jack stickers.
- Spy-Eye is based on an RAF Panavia Tornado, an aircraft produced as part of a collaboration between Britain, Germany and Italy.
- While Mach-3 is based on an American F-4 Phantom the European release of the figure added RAF roundels in place of the GoBots version's USAF markings.
- Defendor/Saladin Mk. II is based on a British Alvis Saladin armoured car.
- Helicopter and Transporter's European release featured British markings.
- Mini Cooper Robo is not only based on the British Mini Cooper but features a huge Union Jack roof design - yet somehow still didn't get released outside of Japan. Bad show.
- F-1 Winner is based on a Lotus Formula One car.