Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Collectible of the Week: Gobot "Monsterous" Combiner (Tonka; 1986)

I know that far and wide these days, the Transformers are greatly preferred to their contemporaries from the 1980s, The Gobots.  In fact, I remember a great joke from Clerks II (2006) when a character noted that Gobots were the "K-Mart" version of Transformers.

Certainly, the machine-robo denizens of Gobotron haven't experenced the popularity resurgence of their Cybertron counterparts in the 21st century.  That fact established, there are still many great collectible toys from the Tonka Gobot line.  The die-cast "Super" Gobots, in particular seem to have held up very well.  The smaller plastic Gobots...not so much.

One of the weirdest and most wonderful toys from the Gobot catalog is "Monsterous," often misspelled as "Monstrous."  Monsterous is actually a combiner, consisting of six Gargoyle-like Gobot Renegades (the Gobot verson of the Decepticons). 

The six Renegades that transform (er, "convert") into Monsterous are: Weird Wing, South Claw, Heart Attack, Gore Jaw, Fangs and Fright Face.  When combined (with Fright Face at the top of the pyramid, as it were...), these ghoulish folks form the monster you see at the top of this post, a very colorful and fanciful-lookng creature, by any definition. 

Relatively few combiners were made for the Gobot line -- just the Renegade Puzzler and the Power Suit Combiners -- so Monsterous is a pretty cool and odd toy.  He certainly doesn't look quite like your typical Gobot, and in his original Japanese incarnation he was called, ominously enough, Satan 6.

Monsterous also originally came in at least two color variations that I've seen while haunting E-Bay.  This particular Monsterous (pictured) is currently my son Joel's absolute favorite toy.

At least until I can get my hands on a Transformer Preda-King Combiner for him...but that's going to cost a pretty penny. 


  1. I saw a few Go-Bots cartoons back when they were on first run, but never saw any of the toys. From a visual perspective, yeah, a clear knock-off cartoon-art-wise (and, now I see, toy-wise, too). I also felt like the cartoon was a total knockoff. The original Transformers cartoon had a solid edge to it, and it felt like a science fiction series. They were able to do some good explorations of sf themes such as prejudice and acceptance, war and peace, greed and sharing, as the Decepticons strove for power and the energon power source, while the Autobots developed respect for humans and forged teamwork with them, despite their drastic differences. They were protective of the humans, while also developing a genuine friendship in some cases.

    Now, it has been long enough I can hardly remember anything from the Go-Bots episodes I saw, but the artwork, storyline, and voicework was clearly inferior. BUT...they did have a cuteness factor, and I thought the producers might have been trying to slant them to towards a female audience.

    After all, He-Man's producers would later add the She-Ra, Princess of Power cartoons and toyline to their marketing empire. And there were knockoffs of He-Man. And there were knockoffs of She-Ra; there's actually a website of a lady who a fan of these female action figures, some of which actually had cartoon series. Talk about your serious cult tv! LOL

    Now, all the derision about the Go-Bots aside, the bottom guy with the pink-and-red wings reminds me of some of the artwork of demons in the early Dungeons and Dragons game; he's a bit on the scary side. Similarly, the top 3 guys do have an air of menace about them, and the 4th, the blue guy, would as well if you had put his arms up in a scary position. (The second guy actually looks like he is a friend of the evil scary robot from The Black Hole...)

    The color combination when they are all together is sadly jarring, not particularly 'monstrous'. Except... This thing when combined, actually is a terrifying and weird version of Optimus Prime! You can see the resemblance in the 'chest' area. If the whole thing had been painted black with white highlights, it would have been effectively scary. (Toy customizers take note!) My boys would definitely like this, they are 12 and 8, and the 12 is a big fan of the Transformers.

    Very cool, John!

    Gordon Long

  2. Hi Gordon,

    I don't disagree with any of your assessments regarding the Gobots. However, I will say that Joel (age 4) and I have had a great time together playing with the Gobot toys and watching the shows. He's also into Transformers, but always avoids picking favorites! :)

    I hadn't thought of the resemblance between Optimus and Monsterous until you brought it up, and now I can't stop seeing it! Very cool.

    I have to admit, I'm rather taken with some of the super Gobot collection, larger scale versions of the robots. They are all bigger in scale, but also made of die cast metal. Some of the worksmanship on them (Leader One, Stax, etc.) is pretty incredible. They are definitely better-made than today's Transformers, but not as great as G1 Transformers, I guess...

    Thank you for an excellent comment on Monsterous. My son loves assembling and disassembling this guy...

    Warmest regards,