Retro Toy Review: Z-Bots – Burger King Series

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A few years ago, I made the switch in scale with my toys from 6-inch to the 2.5 Heroes scale. But upon a recent trip home, I discovered that some of my favorite toys as a kid were in the same scale. Between the Army Ants and Battle Beasts, I always had been a fan of the 2-inch scale figures. So while sorting through some toys, I stumbled upon my old collection of Z-Bots. Released in the early 90s by Galoob, Z-Bots were miniature robots that fought each other. I remember getting hooked on them in ’93 when Burger King gave five of them away in their Kid’s Meals.

Bugeye was the blue, two-legged Z-Bot. While there is no characterization of the Z-Bots, there’s something appealing about leaving the story up to the kids’ imaginations. Any character could be a hero, while any could be that borderline psychopath. For me, Bugeye was that character that seemed more animal like.

Bugeye is a great looking robot and has a sculpt that still holds up fairly well even by today’s standards. His paint work, at the time, was well done – especially for what was nothing more than a Happy Meal toy. The silver is clean, while his yellow beak looks good. Even the black and white details work well. Articulation isn’t too exciting, but Bugeye is just a two-legged robot with giant eyes. His eyes rotate but are connected, so they move together. His legs are both cut joints.

Skyviper is on the Voids side of the battle. A glorified hang glider based robot, Skyviper is another very unique looking robot. With his arms replaced with wings, he looks like a twisted robotic wasp. His face is covered, but from the back it almost looks like he has a beak.

Skyviper’s paint still looks great. The yellow and purple with black detailing makes him stand out. Skyviper’s articulation takes a small hit though since he’s a fast food toy. His wings are connected so neither can move without the other and it’s the same for his legs.

The first Z-Bot I ever got was Buzzsaw. He looks like a Mega Man bad guy, but in the Z-Bot ‘verse, he’s one of the good guys. His right hand is replaced with a buzzsaw (how fitting) while the rest of him looks like a generic robot. His face is made to look like a glass covered dome, which helps give him more character.

What is odd about Buzzsaw though is the paint. The black limbs with silver and turquoise detailing look good, but his torso is bright pink. It’s a bit jarring, and something I always thought was a little odd. But I originally owned 2 of these figures since my brother didn’t want his, so I always played with both of them as a set of twins, Buzz and Saw. Sadly, one of them was lost over the years. I don’t know what Buzzsaw’s original articulation was, but I believe it was that his arms were a single connected piece, while his legs are individually articulated.

The other evil Void released was Jawbreaker, who served as the twisted mirror to Bugeye. Bright orange and possessing a giant mouth, but what do you expect from a guy named after a candy? Lacking any arms, Jawbreaker has eyes that come out of his head that remind me vaguely Ahhhh! Real Monsters.

Again, the paintwork on Jawbreaker is impressive. The black detailing nicely contrasts with the orange body, while the yellow and gold just add that extra level of attention that really makes the figure feel like he’s more than just a pack-in toy with a meal. Jawbreaker’s eye-tennas are connected but his legs move separately.

The final Z-Bot packed is Turbine: a cross between a power drill and a ninja. Like Buzzsaw, Turbine had his right arm replaced with a giant green drill. His massive shoulders add some bulk that helps offset how thin this figure actually is. His tri-toed feet look good and the whole figure feels like a robot instead of a guy in a robot suit. Turbine’s face is just blank red with a single black line as an eyehole.

Of all the figures, Turbine is showing the most wear and tear that goes beyond chipped paint. His torso is yellowing. His green drill and glove though look a little odd, but I figure they didn’t want him to look too much like a candy cane (though Turbine is still very Christmas colored). He is the only figure released by Burger King that has an action feature. While the other figures have their arms connected, it works well since when his left arm is turned, his drill spins. Turbine’s legs also move separately.

So many collectors complain that new toys look like Happy Meal toys, so I thought it would be worth seeing what some actual Happy Meal toys look like. By today’s standards, these figures are pretty decent and I have to blame them partially for my obsession with these mini-figures. They’re good toys and the lack of a storyline makes me remember how much I loved these figures growing up.

Written by jestergoblin

March 9th, 2010 at 12:05 am

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