Released in 1993, CG Robo was Bandai's only addition to the Machine Robo toy line throughout the 90s and was intended as a modern, larger scale replacement for the 600 Series.
Packaging Text Japanese Practical Translation: 'What is CG Robo? CG Robo is an abbreviation for Change & Glow Robo (meaning a robot with deformation and light emitting ability). It's a miracle created by fusing unknown cosmic energy with a miniature machine. It's a super variable mechanism. It can freely change its size, transform it into a robot and fight to protect people's peace!!'
Story Line Japanese Practical Translation: 'Koji-kun is a boy who loves to collect toy cars. One day, as he was playing with his favorite car a ray of light suddenly came in through the window and hit the miniature cars on his desk! Then in the blink of an eye the cars transformed into robots while emitting a light and sound! Moreover, the robots have a heart. They call themselves, 'CG Robo' and work for the Earth. After seeing the news of a skyscraper fire, the CG Robos became huge and deployed! The CG Robo Team arrived at the scene and Fire CG started extinguishing the fire at the command of Patrol Car CG. Rescue CG rescues a child and the catastrophe subsides in no time. Amazing CG Robo!! Forever CG Robo!!'
The CG Robo characters, once transformed from toys are said to be comprised of self healing, 'CG Metal'. CG Metal can change colour, shape and size. The cosmic energy that created them is not fully understood nor is the 'Billemount Energy*' they contain and forms their light based powers. It's reported this substance/energy gives off heat. CG Robo are, "Clean Power Warriors" as the Billemount Energy that powers them produces no toxic emissions while giving amazing power!'
* Billemount Energy (possibly 'Billemaun') is referred to a number of times in the character bios and while it could be a mistranslation, its representation is consistent. Any further information on this is very welcome.
CG Robo's 'Change & Glow' gimmick added a battery powered light and sound feature to each model. This was the first time Bandai had included electronics in a Machine Robo toy line outside of larger scale, premium toys. The toy line ran for two series with a third planned that didn't see distribution; see Catalogue and Concept Art page.
The only thing marring an otherwise excellent release is that only half of the figures boast a decent amount of diecast metal. Diecast had been a Bandai hallmark and the rest of the figures being entirely plastic feels out of character. Design across the line is great, however it's likely Bandai didn't see the sale numbers of the first five figures they'd hoped for and so compromises were made for the rest. The upper legs and hips on most plastic only models may have originally been intended to be metal. Spy CG (released last and late for Series 1) seems oddly out of place with that section and the entire model all plastic. Series 2 Armor CG's mode change places the hip joint under excessive strain, especially when new. It's a design flaw so uncommon to Bandai that it hints this section may have originally been intended to be cast in metal.
Bandai and the general toy market was struggling at the time and regarless of the change in build materials, the figures still delivered an interesting, and now challenging line to collect and display very well.
In Europe Bandai issued the first five figures in parallel with the Japanese release as part of their Robo Machines line. For this distribution they were given character names vs. the vehicle/function identifiers of the Machine Robo run. Rekindling the Robo Machine line was planned to coincided and benefit from the European home video release of the Gobots: Battle of the Rock Lords film.