Force 1X

 

Force 1X consists of three single-Blockman robot sets that correspond to the Japanese A-0X releases: Force 10 for A-01, Force 11 for A-02, and Force 12 for A-03. *** BONUS ACCESSORY ALERT!!! *** Force 1X actually include bonus accessories not included with the original Japanese releases however: Force 10 added the small black gun from  A-11, Force 11 added the small black gun from  A-12, and Force 12 added the small black gun from  A-13.

 

Force 1X releases were too small to warrant an instruction booklet. Each release had a labelled photograph on the rear showing the armour upgrade accessories attached. However, these stock photographs were apparently taken based on the Japanese releases, as they do not show the additional bonus guns.

The colour of the Blockman robot included with each Force 1X set does not necessarily match the Blockman robot shown in the packaging photo, with Blockman robots for each set seemingly drawn from a random pool of multi-coloured Blockman robots. As with the Japanese releases, the Force 1X sets could be packaged with either grey or blue armour upgrade accessories, although the accessory colours were not systematically matched to certain Blockman robot colours, as they were in Japan. The two accessory colour alternatives per set mean there are six Force 1X sets for the completist collector to seek out, rather than a meagre three.

 

Force 1X Rarity

 

Boxed Force 1X sets are quite rare to obtain second-hand. They are found much less frequently than any other Robotech Robolinks release, and are even less common than some of the Japanese Combination Warrior Blockman releases (namely C-01 and C-11).

 

Identifying loose Force 1X sets with any certainty is difficult, as the far more common Force 2X sets included all of the accessories that the Force 1X sets were packaged with, making them indistinguishable when loose. However, the majority of loose Robotech Robolinks auctions that include armour upgrade accessories will also include vehicle transformation parts, making it apparent that the loose pieces originally came from a Force 2X set. The upshot of this is that it’s relatively easy to assemble a loose Force 1X release due to the necessary parts being contained within the Force 2X sets. My observations suggest that the semi-random pool of multi-coloured Blockman robots used for Force 1X was the same pool used for Force 2X.

Why are the Force 1X sets so difficult to find boxed? There are a few possibilities:

 

Firstly, these sets may not have been popular with consumers, due to their limited play value and failure to capitalise on the advertised transformability of the line, and for this reason they might have seen a diminished production run and distribution compared to the other Robolinks series.

 

This is supported by the fact that Force 1X were advertised in the Revell ’85 sales catalogue, with the qualifier “(Robot Only)” as opposed to "(Combo)" for Force 2X. However, the smaller Robotech Robolinks sales flyer distributed to toy stores soon after had dropped Force 1X from its advertised assortments, only listing Force 2X.

 

Secondly, the fact that the Force 2X sets included all of the Force 1X accessories made Force 1X somewhat redundant. Consumers confronted with a choice between a Force 1X or Force 2X release, both at relatively cheap price points, may have naturally seen fairer value in the sets with extra parts and hence ignored the smallest sets (remembering that miniature toys were not tremendously popular in the 1980s, and that Revell was eventually made to notify consumers that the larger sets were smaller than their packaging made them appear). The fact that Robotech Robolinks were advertised as "The Most Transformable Robots In The Galaxy" is also relevant here, as Force 1X are the only releases in the entire Robotech Robolinks line that are not able to form a vehicle mode if only using the parts from their individual set.

 

Thirdly, because the Force 2X releases included the Force 1X accessories, Revell might have judged it inefficient to manufacture Force 1X sets, perhaps viewing it as wasteful to produce Force 1X armour upgrade accessories without producing the Force 2X vehicle transformation parts at the same time. Certain parts from within two types of accessories could have been gang-moulded (i.e., produced using the same mould or set of moulds). Whilst this would not be problematic in Japan, which separated the A-0X armour releases and A-1X vehicle releases, it would be inefficient in the US market, where the Force 2X releases included both types of accessory.

 

Fourth, rather than being completely discontinued, Force 1X may have been sold by particular retailers, rather than all toy stores nationally. The fact that Force 1X are present in the Revell ’85 sales catalogue but are missing from the smaller Robotech Robolinks order form might imply that Force 1X were not sold at all by small business retailers and were instead sold exclusively by larger chain stores that would not have needed to use the store-by-store order forms. Whilst this may seem counterintuitive as one would assume that more boxed Force 1X releases would surface on eBay if they were sold in large department stores such as Wal-Mart or Kmart, it makes more sense when smaller chain store alternatives are considered – Force 1X could even have been cleared in chemists or supermarkets.

 

Finally, the low price point of the Force 1X sets might have meant that original purchasers were more likely to discard the boxes, treating the Force 1X sets in a more disposable manner than the larger sets. This is a difficult suggestion to put much stock in though, given how disproportionate the frequency of second-hand boxed Force 1X releases is compared to other Robotech Robolinks as well as other vintage toys more generally.

 

The rarity of the Force 1X series is likely to be due to a combination of these reasons. Whatever the reason, the fading out of Force 1X in Robotech Robolinks is likely to be responsible for the lack of any corresponding Force 1X equivalent in the French Robotech Changers line.