Friday, August 3, 2012
Catec´s Tek Force huge space battle station/robot/dropship/control centre is one of the most obscure vintage 80s toys ever.
Huge, heavy and actually very cool, looks like decent quality toy in the line of popular toys from the 1980s.
The box shows figures from known brands, which would end up in huge lawsuit these days (at least). The funny copyright notice reads: "CATEK (C) 1984. All rights reserved". From whom?
3 distinct forms: Ro-Bo Jumbo (main form which gives this toy its name), Control Centre and Battle Station.
The most impressive note about the box has to do with the details: "Motorized Control Centre with holding areas for figures and transformable vehicles and robots...". This would be alright, but then they pushed the envelope: "... such as STAR WARS(TM), G.I.JOE(TM), GOBOT(TM) ,TRANSFORMER(TM)". I´m not sure how trademark laws worked in 1984, but this would be a sight to be seen these days...
The 50x30x20cm (20x12x8in) box is quite heavy, around 2.6Kg (5.7lbs). The whole concept reminds me of the Go Bots Command Centre transforming into the Operation Omega ship from model brand Hasegawa, but we´ll see that in more detail as this review is probably the longest I´ve ever done in pictures.
Comes inside a nice styrofoam box, all things in their places and small parts bagged, sticker sheet and instructions. I´d hardly consider it as a knockoff or bootleg toy since it doesn´t copy any particular vehicle from any line.
Included parts and stickers applied. A great load. Strange as no more Tek Force vehicles for this scale are actually out there (Catek also produced a couple of chariots for 5" figures like Masters of the Universe), and this actual set seems to be their swansong before being pushed off the market. I´m guessing those box graphics had something to do with it...
Main vehicle/station/robot body.
In this position, a 2 platform ramp opens up!
Top has a landing strip and the rear shows an equipment bay area.
Robot arms deployment.
While the landing strip is one of the pre-applied stickers, and being a long one, it´s always rolling in, or peeling off, it´s a normal thing, I guess. The top right image box shows the cardboard insert which is a more durable straight platform.
It can hold a considerable number of small vehicles in "Control Centre" mode. Pictured, a Transformer, one of the publicized brands!
The back includes a flipover (one must actually imagine the "auto-flip", since it has to be manually taken off and reconnected with the cannon side (already assembled).
Mechanical vehicles. Comes with 2, and each using 2 C-size (UM) batteries (not included). When working, 2 bulbs light up behind the red transparent plastic plates (hey, it was the 80s) and it moves forward. They make a screeching sound from the 9V engine and crank wheel scheme.
One curiosity: over the years, I´ve owned 2 of these (let´s call them rare) toys. One when I was a 6 year-old and one when I already considered myself a collector. Each had only 1 mechanical vehicle smoothly working. I´ve recently acquired another MISB set and same deal, the bulbs light on one of them, the engine is heard working, but I´m sure the crank wheel is loose by the 9V engine so there is no movement.
And here´s another one of Catec´s examples.
Free wheel vehicle. Comes with 2.
Yet another publicized brand to use with this set.
Cockpit. Holds two 3 3/4" figures. Looks like a Robotix cockpit too.
Mode 1: Control Centre.
Really big vehicle. Powered by the 2 mechanical vehicles, moves forward, left and right. Depending on which vehicles are at work.
Impressive sight, nonetheless. And all the lines seem to trace back to Japanese designs. However, this toy was made in China (box printed in Hong Kong).
Mode 2: Ro-Bo Jumbo.
Using the mechanical vehicles as feet, it moves like the previous mode. Arms move very little.
In this case, the station becomes the combat robot, and since the main section is now vertical, forget the extra space for vehicles and figures.
Ro-Bo Jumbo is now controlled by 2 action figures of your choosing. Head (cockpit) moves 360º.
On to the 3rd mode, my favorite mode, "Battle Station".
First, the tail cannot be attached, as pictured on the box. The instructions do not consider it nor does the (now inverted) section have a rail connection to suport it.
Mode 3, "battle station" as instructed.
Still, a very cool looking dropship.
How big it is.
Ready to deploy whatever cargo it holds.
My favorite ramp, a must for any conceived dropship, the touch and go concept.
Little under the 4" mark from belly to floor.
While on air, gun turrets can be attached to the landing gear. Of course, it can´t land with these on.
On its own time, I know how fun it was to own of these. Finding one was the real problem. And still is!
Status: To be listed on eBay. Tweet this!