As Diaclone evolved, the series moved toward robots disguised as real vehicles. The Real & Robo: Car Robot allowed the series to really hit its stride. City R was one of the earlier designs in the subgroup, and transformed into the eponymous Honda City AA Type R with a Honda Motocompo trunk bike.
City R’s design comes from the pen of Koujin Ohno, who designed many of the Car Robots. His seminal work was Countach LP500S/Super Tuning, who is the first humanoid robot fully transformable into a car. Little is known of his initial design, since catalog images of City R appear to be based on production toy photos. His US Patent depicts a design fairly close to that of City R.
City R transforms into a realistic version of the car of the same name, and features opening doors, an opening hatch (where the included trunk bike can be stored), and translucent windows. The commitment to convincing realism extends to vacuum-metalized “chrome” wheels shod in rubber tires. The metal pins that hold the wheels have the City’s four-spoke wheel design stamped into their heads. The stickers adorn the car’s body with an accurate grille, as well as Honda badging and a license plate. The first version of the character was issued in red with blue highlights, and featured solid body color painted on the roof (which is part of the windshield piece). This was soon changed to leave an unpainted section of window to create a sunroof. The car was also available in silver with red highlight parts. The car can be opened by pivoting the front section forward, allowing a pilot figure to be seated in a cavity in the center of the vehicle. City R includes a yellow-bodied, red-limbed pilot of the second type available during Diaclone.
City R’s transformation extends the car considerably to form a rather tall and svelte robot with slender limbs. Like many of Koujin Ohno’s other Diaclone designs, City R’s front end is the robot’s chest, though due to the short front section of the City, the chest is much more proportionate than his peers. It also exhibits another hallmark of Ohno’s Car Robot: the car doors form “wings” behind the robot’s shoulders. A rather unique part of the transformation is that the rear wheels fold under the rear of the car to form a flatter, more stable foot pad.
The robot has a unique head design, with a strangely shaped helmet surrounding a masked face. His long, thin arms are well articulated at the shoulders, but the joints tend to droop when loaded with one of his three included weapons. His arsenal includes a double barreled blaster, a large rifle, and a small podlike missile launcher. The weapons don’t peg into City R’s fists, however, and are instead clipped around his arms either from the front or side. It can only wield two of the weapons at a time, and the missile launcher can only be fitted to the left arm. The included folding Motocompo trunk bike is not used in robot mode, and the pilot’s seat is split on the back of City R’s thighs.
City R has tabs on his roof / knees that are used to stiffen the knee joint, and also to hold the back edge of the roof down. These tabs tend to stress from normal usage, and sometimes snag and break off. The stress marks are more or less visible depending on the color of the plastic. Also, the handlebar of the Motocompo is clipped in by very thin pieces, and slight sideways force can easily cause it to detach and become lost.
The red version of City R has two main variants: with sunroof or without sunroof. The sunroof was created by leaving the underlying translucent blue plastic unpainted. City R was also released in silver.
City R was available in 1982, and continued to be available in 1983. The silver version was also available with a blue 4WD Hilux Wrecker Type in the Car Robot W Set, though labeled as City S instead of City R.
Redecos & Retools
City R’s mold was retooled in 1983 to produce City Turbo in three colors: red, black, or blue. The blue City Turbo was in turn used to produce Transformers’ G1 Skids. Skid’s reissues are discussed in his article. The silver City R was used to produce Takara’s Collector’s Edition Crosscut. The City R mode was sold in lime green and burnt orange as Collector’s Edition Transformers’ G1 Skids. Skid’s reissues are discussed in his article. The silver City R was used to produce Takara’s Collector’s Edition Crosscut. The City R mode was sold in lime green and burnt orange as Collector’s Edition Skids and Screech Quantum Operative version.