Machine Robo(マシンロボ?) is a Japanese transforming robot toyline first released in 1982 by Popy, a division of Bandai, then later by Bandai proper. The franchise was marketed as Robo Machine in Europe, and Machine Men (or Robot Machine Men) in Australia. A large portion of these toys were exported to North America as part of Tonka'sGobots and Rock Lords series, beginning in 1984.
A small selection of figures from the Machine Robo toyline
The initial assortment of Machine Robos consisted of small toy robots which transformed into vehicles, aircraft, etc., comparable in size to Matchbox cars. These early MR toys have become known as the "600 series" (being priced at ¥600 each), and were developed through ideas submitted by children, similar to the children's submissions in the Kinnikuman anime series. Larger-scale deluxe ("DX") toys were soon released, along with other non-transforming vehicles & figures.
Catalogs packaged with the toys contained stories depicting the Machine Robos as beings from the Romulus system. Romulus was collapsing in on itself, and those beings who reached Earth became Machine Robo, while some became trapped in the Casmozone and mutated into monstrous Devil Invaders. This premise would later be abandoned in favor of a new storyline originating with the first MR anime Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos.
Both in Japan and in the West, Machine Robo's main competition was The Transformers, whose animated series debuted in Japan in 1985. To match this, the first Machine Robo anime, Revenge of Cronos' debuted a year later in 1986.
Large, non-transforming versions of main characters with swords. DX versions come with firing BB guns.
In CG Robo (シージーロボ), the "CG" is short for "Change & Glow", pointing to the fact that this line of 14 figures not only transformed, but also had working lights and sounds. CG-01 to CG-05 were released in Europe with minor changes as part of the Robo Machines toyline.