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Sticks 'n' Stones

GoBots: Rock Lords
by yo go re

Tonka's GoBots were never really as popular as their competitors, Hasbro's Transformers, but some of the toys were honestly quite good - it was just the cartoon that sucked. However, as the line progressed, Tonka threw out some real oddities, including the Rock Lords, introduced in a theatrical movie six months before Transformers: the Movie was released.

Sticks 'n' Stones are living proof Sticks 'n' Stones that two heads are worse than one. They're constantly at odds with each other. But give them a single purpose - destroying good rocks - and they become an awesome fighting force. The very sight of them charging into battle with their Cactus Club and Double Duty Mace is enough to send enemies flying home!

As you might expect, there were both good and evil factions among the Rock Lords, although the designers could have put a little more time into naming them. While the GoBots were split into the Guardians and the Renegades, these guys were just the "Good Rock Lords" and the "Evil Rock Lords." Yeah. Wow. See, this is why good writers never just use the first thing they come up with.

Anyway, with no kind of faction symbols or anything, the Rock Lords were basically divided by looks: the freakshow anyone that looked vaguely monstrous was a bad guy, preparing young fans for the world they'd encounter upon entering middle school. Sticks 'n' Stones, therefore, was a bad guy, because there's no way a two-headed monster could be a hero.

Like Two-Bad, Sticks 'n' Stones (named Doublerock in Japan) was made of two components that entirely failed to get along with one another. The Collector Card identifies him (them?) as "Anthracite and Magnetite: a dangerous combination of minerals that causes sparks." For those out there who didn't take Geology 101 (aka "Rocks for Jocks"), that's coal and lodestone. Now, anthracite and magnetite have a few uses together, no sticks - just stone but causing sparks? That's not one of 'em. It's like the copywriter mixed these two up with flint and steel or something. Another shining example of the work that went into creating the Rock Lords' fiction.

On the other hand, the sculpting on this figure is shockingly good - all the Rock Lords are. Whoever was in charge of designing them put some effort into making sure they looked like whatever stone or metal they were supposed to be. Neither coal nor magnetite fracture evenly, so Sticks 'n' Stones is a rough, chunky block, only about 2½" square and 1½" deep. The paint is a two-tone green, probably because it looks better on a toy than the gloss black and matte grey the two minerals actually are.

Transformation is simple: Sticks Stones rotate the legs down and turn the feet to face forward, then fold the arms out to the sides. That's all. In... well, it's not a robot, but in robot form, Sticks 'n' Stones stands 4" tall. He moves at the hips, ankles (a little), shoulders and elbows. There are three claws on each foot, and the two heads' faces sport slightly different sculpts. Sticks' eyes, mouth and toenails are purple, while Stones' are orange. Though the Collector Card mentions two weapons, the figure only came with one - the Double Duty Mace, which can be held in either hand.

Though their designs are decent, comic action the Rock Lords have a pretty big conceptual flaw: namely, what's the advantage of turning into a stone? You can't move, and unless you're surrounded by your "type," you can't hide. A human-sized lump of coal in the middle of the street isn't going to escape notice, you know? Still, the Rock Lords figures are pretty fun, especially Sticks 'n' Stones. And even though he's a GoBot character, he should be of particular interest to Transformers fans: while many characters in GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords were voiced by a celebrity guest star, like Margot Kidder or Telly Savalas, Sticks 'n' Stones was voiced by two people (to go with the two heads, of course). The two voices? Peter Cullen and Frank Welker, meaning this single figure gives you both Optimus Prime and Megatron in one body. Rock!


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