The Scale Robo DX series was initiated by Bandai in 1984 to see if the Machine Robo brand could sell bigger toys. The line aimed for detailed vehicle modes similar to the ethos of Takara's Diaclone line, notably the Car Robot series, and one of the cars chosen was Volkswagen's iconic Beetle. Most examples were issued in yellow although a red variant was also produced.

Later that year the Scale Robo came to America and Europe as the Super Gobots, with the Beetle toy becoming the Renegade Bug Bite. The 'I New York' and giant Volkswagen stickers may have been an additional extra only on some versions or a lot of people may have had the good taste never to apply them. More important on the history of humanity were the events of August 19th, 1985 when my parents gave me Bug Bite for my fourth birthday - my first ever transforming toy, and I've still got him - though he's seen better days, the poor bastard. In 1993, Bandai reissued the figure for the Robo Machines line - an easy way to tell them apart is the original's door stickers bear the text 'beetle', while the reissue's have 'ROBOMACHINES'. Lately, Bug Bite's profile's gone up a fair bit, assuming you have an incredibly narrow frame of reference. He was sort-of included in Takara's laughable Transformers G1 Gobots as a white recolour of the remoulded Bumblebee Minibot figure, but the toy eventually came out unnamed. However, BotCon knew a bad recolour idea when they saw it and subjected the Classics version of Bumblebee to the same bland colour scheme as a 2007 convention exclusive.


I've often wondered considering the similar release dates whether it was intentional that this VW Beetle was yellow like Bumblebee or not. I still can't decide. However Bug Bite scores for being a decent replica of a nice car - super-deformed is all very well, but the Beetle is cute enough without it. The detail level is good - it looks sparse compared to Destroyer or Defendor, but this is simply because there are less little ridges on a Beetle than on military hardware. Yellow is a good colour, and the side stickers are a nice touch.

As well as this there are headlights (chrome for the front, transparent red plastic for the black - much better than paint or stickers), door handles, the radiator, chromed bumpers, stickered wing mirrors and even a little silver driver. The downsides are the cheap tyres found on the other Super Gobot cars and that the top section isn't as flush as it could be. Overall though it's a cracking alt mode, the equal of any of the early Autobot cars.


Bug Bite's transformation is a variation on the early Super Gobot theme, with the car roof forming the head, the bonnet the chest and the underside the legs. Bug Bite has a little character in his head design thanks to the black notch on the front and the wing mirrors, and I'm rather fond of him truth be told. He's alongside Psycho for an excellent execution of the unusual shape, with nicely designed limbs and a solid chest. His head can't really move,however, and the only articulation comes from the arms. Sadly, Bug Bite's a fragile guy - the arm sections seem to come out from under the bonnet on a number of examples, and the bar connecting the waist to the chest isn't especially strong.

Chrome wear is another thing to watch out for, and with chromed arms, it means the more chrome-wear, the looser the arms get. This also applies to the gun - this thing is also chromed and I still wince every time I pop it on or off as it's so thin and inflexible.


Even allowing for my shameless nostalgic affection I have very few qualms about recommending Bug Bite. He looks sharp in both modes and is beautifully well-crafted. Of course if you can't get past the car roof head he's not the one for you, but with a bit of an open mind he won't disappoint. The best thing is Bug Bite's a common figure, though prices have gone up a bit due to the Transformers releases - just make sure you shop around and get one with nice chrome as it's worth the wait.

[Corrections? Let me know!]

1983, Machine Robo Scalerobo Series - MRDX-05:
Volkswagen Beetle 1303S (yellow version)
1983, Machine Robo Scalerobo Series - MRDX-05:
Volkswagen Beetle 1303S (red version)
1983, Robo Machine - DX Robo Machine:
Volkswagen Robot (yellow version)
1984, Gobots Super Gobots Series 1 - 028: Bug Bite (yellow version)
1985, Robo Machine - Super Gobots: Bug Bite (yellow version)
1993, Robo Machines - De Luxe Beetle (yellow version)

1 x Gun

Arms, claws, gun, waist, shoulders