Archive for February 7th, 2013

Roadbot 1:18 Scale Toyota Celica Review

February 7th, 2013 5 comments

Several years ago, my buddy Gemini got me a Roadbot for my birthday. For those that don’t know, Roadbots are a line of transforming robot toys that transform from robot to car/truck/motorcycle and back. Not affiliated with Hasbro or Takara in any way, the Roadbots are made by HappyWell, a company in China. The toys are often seen as third party cousins of Alternators or Binaltechs for several reasons. The alt mode of each Roadbot are all real vehicles, and in this form the toys are supposedly on par with official replicas. Roadbots come in several scales, from 1:32 to 1:12. Is “Roadbot” a wordplay on robot? Your guess is as good as mine.

Gemini got me the 1:18 scale Toyota Celica Tuner Version Roadbot. This is because I drive a Toyota Celica, pictured below.

I removed the license plate numbers with Photoshop for obvious reasons. I have had this car for over 12 years now. It’s got over 225k miles on it currently. Who knows how much longer my ride will last. But for now it’s still going strong and I plan to keep it for a while.

Anyway, here is the Celica Roadbot in its usual packaging. I ripped this pic from TFSource since I trashed the box as soon as I opened the figure all those years ago.

OK, now on to the Roadbot itself. Before this review, I transformed this guy only once, from robot to car when I first got it. He stayed this way all these years. So first let’s see some pics in alt mode.

This 1:18 scale Roadbot is a pretty large figure, but more on this later. As someone who looks at a real Celica everyday, the first thing I will comment on is the authenticity of the alt mode. In my opinion, the Roadbot captured the Celica pretty well. There’s no way you would mistake this alt mode as any other car. There are some areas of the vehicle where I think the scale is a little off, but that would just be nitpicking on my part.

As far as detail goes, what’s there is decent. This figure is at least 4 years old now, so it would be unfair to compare the details with those on the figures of today. Keep in mind that this is a transforming toy made by a third party, so overall it sort of still has a “toy” look. The overall paint job is great. In fact, the paint is probably better than most TFs. This piece is mostly a glossy metallic blue with silver pieces here and there. Headlights and taillights are made of separate clear plastic pieces that adds to the realism of the vehicle. The rims are a nice chrome silver. Front windshield is made of clear plastic. I also like how there’s a Toyota emblem painted on in the front grill area. Though I wish they used a different color, the black is kinda hard to see. The side mirrors are painted a dull grey. I kinda wish they used a more reflective color, or at least use reflective stickers. The rear license plate just has the Toyota emblem with the words “TOYOTA” below it. This is a sticker. The words “CELICA” are engraved into the mold right above it, which is pretty cool because I see that on my car too. I’m not sure if HappyWell got official license from Toyota or any other makes to do the Roadbots.

Construction of the piece is extremely solid. In alt mode, this guy can withstand some heavy treatment. The Roadbot is a lot more durable than your average TFs. You don’t have to worry about damaging the toy from rough play. Like all Binaltechs and Alternators, the tires are made of rubber. As far as I can tell, this piece is all plastic, no diecast.

Now for some features of the Roadbot in alt mode. Notice on the box, it says “With Lights & Sound”. In alt mode, press a button on the hood where the intake is, and the Roadbot will start flashing the front headlights in orange and make some laser sounds. It’s a cool gimmick that the kids will enjoy. Another cool feature that I didn’t take a pic of is connected front wheel steering. Most Binaltech and Alternator figures have this, and this Roadbot is no exception. Doors of the vehicle can be opened, like in the pic below.

The interior details are not half bad. Again, I’m in my car everyday so I can attest to the accuracy of the interior. The look of the dashboard, center console, and steering wheel are all reproduced faithfully. Even the look of the seats are well captured. It is obvious that the toy designers of this piece looked at a real Celica before they started design of the figure.

Here is a pic of the bottom of the Roadbot. The giant sword (which I will go into in robot mode) covers up most of the bottom of the car. I wish my Celica had a giant sword underneath it. And that it can stick out the rear bottom of my car at the push of a button to scare off pesky tailgaters.

Here are some size comparison shots. As you can see, this Roadbot is a large figure like I mentioned already. He looks big next to Alternator Ravage. And next to Generations Sideswipe, he’s just freakin’ huge!

OK, now to transform this guy to robot mode. I transformed the Roadbot to car within hours of getting the gift all those years ago, and he stayed like that the whole time. I’m too lazy to dig out the instructions, and I have practically no recollection of how to transform him. So here I’m transforming him back to robot mode for the first time, and I’m doing it purely based on pics.

After checking some other online pics and YouTube reviews, I’m fairly certain this is how the robot looks. He’s not half bad. Obviously I like the big kick ass sword that he’s holding. In fact, to get him to stand up straight without falling backwards, he must be holding that sword (but more on this later). The engine/intake piece that makes the flashing lights and sounds becomes the sword handle unit, the the large sword that was underneath the car forms the blade. So when you press the button for lights and sounds in this mode, the sword flashes and it’s really cool.

Articulation of this guy is not too good, even comparing him to other figures of his time. You get some decent articulation in the arms and legs, and the head rotates 180 degrees. But that’s about it. Even from the front, you can see there’s quite a bit of kibble all around. So what little articulation there is to begin with is hindered by all the stuff around him. This allows for a very limited set of poses. You will notice in all these pics he’s kinda posed the same, like a G1 figure. There’s just not a whole lot of poses you can do here.

The above pic is a closer shot of the Roadbot in robot mode. I like the details on this guy. I’m digging the head mold. The shape of the helmet kinda reminds of a samurai. Couple that with the giant sword, he’s got a samurai motif going. I like how the hood piece looks as his chest plate. The colors of blue and silver really work on this figure. There are some features on both forearms that I should point out. One the right forearm, there are retractable cannons that are hidden in alt mode. And on the left forearm, there are scissor-like claws. The two pieces of the claws rotate in sync with each other when they go forwards and backwards. Overall, I like how this guy looks.

The above pic shows one of the real weaknesses of this figure: the back. There’s way too much kibble on the back! It is especially bad in the back of the legs, where you see the front car frame just hanging around. The rear hatch of the vehicle kinda just sits on the back. This figure is really back heavy, and that’s part of the reason for the limited poses. Also, this is why he must be holding that giant sword, because that offsets the heavy weight of the back. The moment you take the sword off, he will most likely fall backwards.

Another major weakness of the figure is that this is too much of a puzzle-former in my opinion. Check out the pic below. These are all pieces that must be removed for transformation. The engine/intake and sword pieces I already talked about. The hood piece is removed and re-attached to form the chest, not transformed. The side-skirts must also be removed, because they go on opposite sides of the door between alt mode and robot mode. Also, the doors come off real easy during transformation, so if you count that then he’s even more of a puzzle-former.

Now for some size comparison shots in robot mode. He’s a big figure. Even next to MP Grimlock, he’s taller. He towers over all deluxe figures. I only have FOC Ultra Magnus handy so here they are together.

To sum up, I think this Roadbot has a pretty good alt mode, but the robot mode leaves a little to be desired.


  • Accurate rendition of the Toyota Celica
  • Nice detail and paint apps
  • Cool flashing lights and sounds gimmick
  • Rubber tires
  • Large figure
  • Solid construction
  • Good value – I think MSRP was around $20


  • Too much kibble and very back heavy
  • Too much puzzle-forming
  • Limited articulation and poses

So do I recommend the figure? I think if you like Binaltech and Alternator TFs, then give this guy a try. If you like Toyota Celicas and are curious about transforming toys, then go ahead and check this guy out. But if you are expecting top notch quality figures, like the recent MPs, then this figure is not for you. Oh yeah, if you like Michael Bay TFs, this figure is not for you.

Being both a Celica owner and a hardcore TransFan, this was the perfect b-day gift for me. I regret not buying any Roadbots for myself, since I am curious about the others. Maybe I’ll get them on eBay someday.

Roadbots… Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics, Toy Reviews