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 take a look at one of the sculpts that did see release eventually as "Robots in Disguise" Daytonus and later "Spychanger" Wheeljack.
This was one of the sculpts that did not have a clear cut identity. However during the Botcon 1996 auction where a set was sold, this figured was identified as "GTP Racer" so that is how I will refer to it for the purposes of this review. Fun note: the package art for this particular figure was shown in the "Transformers Legacy: The Art of Transformers Packaging" book released in 2014 (and still available via Amazon.com).
"GTP Racer" is a Le Mans style race car. He features the distinct low profile, curved front wheel wells, oval shaped cockpit section and high spoiler in the back. It's a beautiful and stylish vehicle form and I like it a lot.
Unlike Daytonus or Wheeljack "GTP Racer" had a very 90's oriented color scheme. The figure is mostly cast in light teal plastic. The wheels are cast in black. The teal makes up most of the vehicle, but the middle section has a thick layer of white paint on it. On top of that is black paint on the windows. The rear section has a heavy layer of purple paint on it. The wheels have vacuum metallized silver on the sides. Some white plastic shows from the robot mode in the back. The teal/purple combination was one that showed up in various figures in the late 80's and 90's so these colors are consistent with the aesthetics of the era.
Since this is a racing vehicle,there are designs on it that look like sponsor and team identification logos. The hood has a large number "4" in black with an "X" next to it. There are black lines set horizontally on the headlights. The windshield as the "Transformers" logo across the top in white. The "4x" repeats itself on the sides near the spoiler. The sides of the vehicle feature a checkered flag detail in black along with the term "GTP" and the word "GoBots" written in a script like font. "GTP" is a real life racing term referring to "Grand Touring Prototypes". I love these intricate details, especially on a figure this small.
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.
Keep in mind that this is an early production sample that did not go through full quality control checks yet. As a consequence, there appears to be one aspect of the design that had not yet been perfected: the way the front of the vehicle swings down to form the torso. This relies on the torso piece being connected to the main body by two hinges. Unfortunately the way they fold down they are a bit tight, so there is a "snap" that occurs which skirts the edge of my comfort level when transforming figures. Compared to the other releases of this figure I have, the chest hinges are a lot tighter and I do not plan on transforming this figure unless absolutely necessary.
The robot mode shows a nice combination of teal, dark blue and white plastic colors. The teal is found on the torso panel in front and the arms. Dark blue is used for the piece that forms the head, chest and thighs. The lower legs are white. It is kind of remarkable how the white is still bright white and has not yellowed over the years. The combination looks great if you're into the aesthetic. The final touch is a very light blue color on the face. Out of all the versions of this figure I own, this color scheme brings out the sculpted details in the face the best.
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. I am very happy to own this odd piece of Transformers history. Since I do have other versions of this figure it is really cool to see the "original intent" of the sculpt. If you want to pick up any of the other versions, I'd recommend seeking out the G1-based "Spychanger" Wheeljack which is my favorite variation of this design.