Tag Archives: Diaclone

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Call the feds! Unaltered samples of MP-23 Exhaust exist!

This ain’t no fake toy!

With the advent of Facebook, I’m reconnecting with a lot of big-time collectors from my pre-TFW2005 banning days. Lots of goodies are being revealed in the process and one of the most notable recently is a production sample of a non-modified version of MP23 Exhaust, otherwise known as Marlboor Wheeljack.

If you need a refreshed on the odyssey of MP23 Exhaust, then go here for further reading.  I will now assume you know everything about how this toy came to be.

The original deco of MP-23 and the box the housed him.

So it’s really not a huge surprise that a few non-nerfed MP-23 Exhausts survived the culling. The hammer from Phillip Morris came down awfully late in the life-cycle of the figure. I would imagine that there are probably 100’s if not 1000’s somewhere, unless part of the litigation was that all completed pieces were destroyed with proof. According to the buyer of this piece, only 2 are known to be seen in existence.

the collector card for the original MP-23 on the left and the nerfed version that was mass-released on the right.

The buyer is now selling the piece with a hefty price tag of $8,000 USD.  And here I was thinking he was going to keep it in his collection.  A pity.  The listing can be seen below.

Who wants to complete their MP collection?

I’m happy to see that illegal contraband like MP-23 is finally appearing in the wild, but I’m a little sad to see that the first person to acquire this amazing piece just wants to flip it for a quick buck. There’s a few manic Masterpiece Collectors out there that have reached out to me asking if I think it’s real.  I definitely think it’s real. All the stories line-up but if you are asking me that question in hopes of not needing this figure to have a truly finished MP collection then you’re flawed.  This is not a mass release. Just like lucky draw Gold MP-01, this is outside of the realm of completist.  You have to climb a few rungs of insanity to think that your collection has a huge gaping hole that will only be filled by figures whose production runs are in the single digits.

Someone out there is likely to purchase this specimen, but I think $8000 is a price that the seller is just fishing with.  The true price ought to be somewhere between $1500-$3500, I think you’d find a buyer easily for that cash.  Then again, how much was the piece originally trading hands for? We may never know.  Happy hunting Collecticons!

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Masterpiece 18S Silverstreak – nominated for biggest bum-out of 2014

MP18S-silverstreak-robot-box

A now for something completely useless…

When the Datsun brothers came out, Bluestreak was far and away the aesthetic winner of the bunch.  The evenness of the alt mode, the muted color scheme, and the fact that a somewhat C-list character was getting the big bad masterpiece treatment elevated its likability above the fan-favorite Prowl. When it was announced that MP-18S would be released later down the line,  a fever raced through the fandom.  Just a year earlier, a special release of the Lamborghini Masterpiece mold had yielded a rare Diaclone-origin Tigertrack in yellow.  Diaclone figures were getting the Masterpiece treatment!  TakaraTomy is known for their stubborness to keep tradition going so the release of a special Datsun, especially Bluestreak, could only mean one thing: Blue Bluestreak!  THE UNICORN ITSELF!

MP18-blue-diaclone-bluestreak-custom

Is that what I think it is?! A unicorn in the wild!? Nope, it’s just a custom by TFW2005 user pumpkingonzo

I have done my own private retcon in my head and the silver version of Bluestreak will always be dubbed Silverstreak, until we get a real Blue Bluestreak.  So to see today that MP18-S is actually going to be the real Silverstreak really pulls at some painful strings inside my body.  This is really a big shame.  The only difference is a few paint apps on the hood of the car.

I’m just so annoyed by this that I think I’m going to let this blog post fall flat.

TL;DR: MP18-S is a huge letdown and it sucks.

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Transformers, Porsche, Volkswagen, Nazis, and World War II – The myth that keeps on mything

g1-jazz-porsche-nazibots-bumblebee-volkswagen-beetle-nazi

Now that’s what I call a rubsign!

If there’s one thing I simply cannot stand, it’s misinformation and completely false rumors being perpetuated by the masses.

Following a slew of awesome news from the 2013 Tokyo Toy Fair, TFW2005 made a clarification about a statement regarding MP-20. They relayed information that it will be a figure using a license that has been “very hard to obtain.” Of course this knowledge dug up an age-old preposterous myth that Porsche, and more likely the owners of that brand, The Volkswagen Group, refuse to give Takara or Habsro a license for their branded vehicles. The typical accounted reason for this is that they consider The Transformers to be a brand of “war toys” and the company refuses to be associated with anything relating to war due to their ties to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany during WWII.

Excuse me, what?

volkswagen-transformers-war-toys-myth-tfwiki

TFwiki, I love you, but you gotta check your facts this time.

volkswagen-transformers-war-toys-myth-tfwiki-binaltech

Well-publicized“? I’ll get to the bottom of that, or my name isn’t Collecticon!

The Facts

While it is true that Adolf Hitler did commission Ferdinand Porsche to create the VW Beetle, Bumblebee’s official G1 alternate mode, and that Volkswagen was founded by the Nazi Trade Union in 1937, it’s been near seventy years since anyone has really thought to ruefully connect the now worldwide company to the long gone Nazi party. In fact, the Beetle was the only model of car the company built for years after the war.

The Volkswagen Group has been known to take their auspicious beginnings very seriously, however. Apparently over 15,000 slaves were reported to have been behind the gears at the first Volkswagen factory during the war.  Holocaust survivors have been awarded reparations to the tune of over $11 million since 1980 from the company, all voluntarily by The Volkswagen Group.

wheeljack_Lancia-Stratos-Turbo-5-alitalia

Presenting Transformers Masterpiece 20 Wheeljack, 1:1 scale!

That license that was “very hard to obtain” for MP20?  Turns out it was the Lancia Stratos Turbo 5, also known as Wheeljack in our circles. What made this so hard to obtain!? If this was so hard to obtain, then the Volkswagen license is to going to be ULTRA HARD to obtain, right!? How will they ever succeed!??!  Oh wait, MP-21 is Bumblebee…

The Evidence

Let’s pretend for a moment that the rumor is true.  Yep: The Volkswagen Group will not allow their post-World-War-2 image and name to be tarnished by allowing their brand to be paired with franchises that further propagate their war-time origins. They have a proud name to withhold and hence they wouldn’t be caught dead partnering with a franchise even closely related to a war theme.  Nothing like “Star Wars,” I mean, it even has war in the name!

So I guess Volkswagen might NOT have a problem with war themes being a part of their brand… hmmm curious, isn’t it?

Ok ok ok, but what about the evidence supporting the rumor?  There has to be some, right?  I mean, rumors don’t just appear out of thin air.

Apparently this post on TFarchive by former Porsche employee Addl is supposed to be some kind of proof of Porche’s wishes to dis-allow war toys, or Transformers especially, to carry the official Porsche license.  To think that this person was quickly transferred to the head-of-all-there-is-to-licensing for Porsche to get this answer is a little hard to swallow, at least for me. All I really see here is internet hearsay that is almost a decade old.

alternators-porsche-jazz-hasbro-tour-2007-collectiondx

One of the first Alternators to be designed, Porsche Jazz, only display at the Botcon 2007 Hasbro tour. Photo by collectiondx

During Botcon 2007, Hasbro allowed a rare mass tour through their headquarters to get a good look at how Transformers are made. Many unique pieces were out on display including a peculiar set of alternator-styled figures that no one had seen before.  One was a mini-scale alternator, and the other resembled Autobot Jazz as a full-on Porsche boxter. This is the figure that I consider to be the launching-pad for our little rumor. The widely-accepted claim is that Takara was not able to get the license because The Volkswagen Group, which now owns Porsche, would not allow their brands to be associated with war toys. GI Joe as war toys, I can accept.  Transformers as war toys?  It’s a bit of a stretch, considering how far into the sci-fi fantasy realm it really belongs. This was well before the live-action movies brought Transformers to world-wide attention and as far as most lay-people knew, they were just cars that turned into men.

porsche-jazz-prototype-alternator-tfkenkon

Porsche Jazz prototype as seen in Binaltech Collection book. Photo by TFkenkon

The Japanese book “The Transformers: Binaltech & TF Collection Complete Guide,” has a lot of juicy information about the creation of the Binaltech and Alternators toyline. I own this book, but alas, I only speak and read English so I cannot personally vouch for any of the data contined within.  A lot of photos of the pages can be still seen at an ancient post at TFkenkon.

 

In Closing

alternators-bumblebee-beetle-bug-volkswagen-colored-tfkenkon

The updated Alternators Bumblebee that never was, le sigh

This is not the first instance of a rumor getting out of hand and being taken as stone-cold fact by the Transformers Fandom.  For more than a decade, fans believed that in “Transformers Battlestars: The Return of Convoy” Super Megatron traveled to Earth and killed Galvatron.  In reality, the source of the translation was completely faulty but no one had the sense to re-translate or re-read the source material. Instead, Super Megatron was created from Galvatron’s remains.

So what actually is going on between Volkswagen and the Transformers brand?

The fact remains that we never received an officially licensed VW Bumblebee in Alternators or Binaltech. Not long after, there was Alternity Bumblebee, which was a Suzuki Swift Sport. There have been versions slightly resembling the original version of Bumblebee, like the legends class, but still only 3rd party manufacturers have dared to make a legit Beetle version.

3rd-party-g1-bumblebee-volkswagen-beetle

The unofficial droid that you’ve been looking for.

Licensing is a tricky business. As a licensee, you are basically entering into a contract with your licensor that has some black & white but many gray-area terms. Without a proven track record, most licensors are not going to give you access to their intellectual property. Hasbro and Takara definitely have lengthy proven track records when it comes to the quality of their products, but even they have had ‘trouble’ acquiring certain licenses. Once we saw that the Lamborghini license was granted for the Countach Masterpiece, getting the Volkwagen license should’ve been a shoe-in. Why? Over the years, The Volkswagen Group has acquired quite a few well-known car brands, including, you guessed it, Lamborghini. So why would The Volkswagen Group allow one of the brands under their wing to be tarnished in the form of a “war machine” Transformer toy? The same reason we are seeing 4 different redecos of the mold: Money.

Licenses are essentially an agreement for one party to ‘rent’ a brand of another party and act as the brand owner under a certain set of limitations for a fee. This fee can be set to any amount and is typically negotiated on an individual basis. The terms of the deal are typically set by the licensor and not the licensee.  So it is probable that the number 1 reason, and perhaps the only legitimate reason, why Hasbro or Takara never received the Volkswagen Beetle or Porsche license is due to the fee or the terms being too out their favor. I’m willing to wager that The Volkswagen Group cares a lot more about the money they will make from any particular licensing deal than their precious public image being dragged through the mud. Seriously, there are bigger fish to fry.

diaclone-car-robot-assortment-20thcenturytoycollector

“Let’s go ahead and name them after the cars we ripped them off from!” “Great plan!” – Overheard Takara execs circa 1981

There is also the fact that the original Diaclone toys made by Takara were complete knock-offs of the vehicles they represented, created without any consent from the original intellectual property holders. This practice is still evident today with slight retools of famous cars used for Transformers toys. For instance Cybertron Smokescreen is an ever-so-slightly modified version of the Bugatti Veyron, however there may be a sudden stop put to that particular model’s unlicensed use in the ultra-near future!! Perhaps these car companies have been silently keeping tabs on the Transformers over the years, noting in their logs of the possible copyright infringement, which might have not-so-pleasant effects on the licensing costs that were thrown on the table once Takara came knocking for the real licenses for Alternators Bumblebee and Jazz.

 

There are simply 100’s of reasons why a licensing deal can go sour; none of which involve pretentious chins up against the idea of war toys, but all of which involve dollars, cents, and percentage-per-piece under the licensing agreement. Star Wars did it, and not only that, they affiliated themselves with the bad guys! It’s amazing what magic money can weave…

I may never find absolute evidence about why we haven’t seen a real Volkswagen Bumblebee figure since the franchise began, but hopefully the real truth will come out around the time MP-21 Bumblebee is released to the world. Sooner or later, someone one is going to squash this rumor, and there will be accountable proof of it. This topic will most certainly come up between now and then, and I hope I don’t have to cringe watching a romantic yet most likely falsified hypothesis on Volkswagen’s policies.

So believe what you want but think about it, I mean, REALLY?

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Attention idiots: Kingdam 6 Starscream is a KNOCK-OFF and not a Diaclone

Knock off Diaclone starscream kingdam 6 robojet

You have got to be fucking kidding me

I came across this listing today on eBay by seller kill4satan.

Seems like a pretty killer price for a genuine 30+ year old pre-transformer Diaclone Jetrobo (aka G1 Starscream).  They have been creeping up past $500 for a few years now.  They are incredibly rare and it’s difficult to find them in great shape outside of Japan.

Except this isn’t a genuine Diaclone Jetrobo, it’s the ever-so-common 30+ year old Kingdam6 knock off of the original.  This thing is a piece of crap.  It’s made of even shoddier plastic than some KO’s today and the box is so blatantly a forgery of the original that even today, people are stupid enough to spend $600+ on one thinking it’s legit.

I used to scour ebay in search of auction listings attempting to cash in on the Kingdam 6 by claiming it was a genuine Diaclone.  I would report every auction I found.  This however, seems to be a seller that did not attempt to mislead his potential buyers, at least not completely.  He put Kingdam6 in the title, but then included Diaclone and Jet Robo.  If you read the box, the kingdam 6’s always say “ROBOJET” along the black side of the box, because Jetrobo was the actual name of the toy.  This can be confusing because the box still says “JET ROBO” across the top.  There are also two versions of this KO, a silver and a light gray version.  The silver version comes in a similar box but it has thundercracker’s box art. Kingdam 6’s are not worth more than $30, although idiots are still out there buying them for $100 at times.  This post is meant to help kick those people in the balls.

Kingdam 6 KO vs diaclone jetrobo

Hmmmm which one would I want to get...?

Here’s a list of identifying features of the Kingdam 6 KO if in the market for a Diaclone:

  • “KINGDAM 6” written in red on the wings
  • Thundercracker box art but the toy looks like Starscream
  • “JETROBO” written in English on the top of the box
  • “ROBOJET” written in English at a 90 degree angle on the side of the box
  • Lack of any Japanese writing on the box, especially across the box art
  • Lack of any old school Takara logo

 

Here’s a list of identifying features of an authentic Diaclone Jetrobo:

  • “DIACLONE” written in red on the wings
  • Japanese writing appears across the box art
  • Japanese kanji logo at the top of the box
  • “JETROBO” written in English at a 90 degree angle on the side of the box

That’s about all the help I can muster for any of you would-be super collectors out there.  If the guy who bought this fake from kill4satan could come forward, I would love to have a chat.  I mean seriously, who spends $600+ and doesn’t do a bit of research?  Kingdam Starscreams are a dime a dozen and you should really be ashamed of yourself.

PS: Dont’ forget there are OTHER official Diaclone Starscreams that seem strange but are completely legit.  Italian GIG Diaclone Starscream comes to mind, and it has bopper missles!  There’s also a Joustra version that has Thundercracker-esque box art.  These are pieces of beauty, and maybe someday… someday I’ll share mine with you.  Ta!

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Custom Diaclone Powered Convoy ROTF Optimus Prime

blue Diaclone Powered Convoy custom

History repeats!

I pretty much hate custom Transformer toys. Once you add paint or cut a piece, the toy’s original value becomes essentially nill in my eyes. I find the simple ball joint replacement mods like the Kup head a little more digestible. Let’s not worry about my Transformers politics for a moment though and bask in the beauty of this killer custom Convoy!

Blue diaclone power convoy rotf optimus prime

It's ThunderPrimer!

The beauty of this custom is the throwback to a very little-known era of Transformers: the Pre-transformer era. This is paying homage to the beautifully unicorn-esque blue Convoy cab that was set into the original mold of what would become Ultra Magnus armor. Maybe I am enthralled because I have been trying to attain a nice blue Optimus cab for many years. I just respect the recognition of the source of the Transformers brand. Know your roots, Collecticons!

blue diaclone ROTF optimus prime

The past and present collide

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KO Diaclone Bluestreak inevitable

G1 Silverstreak knock-off

Let's get on with it then

KOtoys.com has announced a new batch of knock-offs.  This time we are ‘treated’ to a G1 knock-off of Bluestreak and Blitzwing.  Both of these figures have Diaclone versions, and Bluestreak’s is incredibly notable.  After seeing what has happened when Knock-offs, Diaclone, and G1 mix together, I am all but certain that one of the greatest tales in Transformers lore is about to be wiped off the slate.  No one wants a regular G1 Bluestreak anymore, the reissues were far more than enough to appease the appetites of us G1 fanboys.  The only reason worth knocking off this piece is to create one of the rarest and most misunderstood unicorns out there: Diaclone Blue Bluestreak.

Diaclone Fairlady Z No.07 Blue Bluestreak

A most beautiful sight indeed

By the way, one of these is on Ebay right now and it’s only got a small bid of something like $2000.  Think I’m kidding?

Diaclone Fairlady Z No.07 Bluestreak on Ebay

5 hours to go even!

To see how the auction fairs, check the link here.

I’ll be really sad to see the most argument-inducing figures ever become a shitty knock-off toy from China.  So sad in fact, that I might just give up and sell everything.  Cash in now before the ko’s become worth much more than the originals!

It seems that the only thing I write about anymore are these wretched knock offs… ba hum bug.

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First ever Knock-off Diaclone version G1 Transformer – Diaclone Swoop “reissue” hits the market

Knock off Diaclone Swoop in G1 box

Me Swoop no see nothing

And that’s all folks.  The knock-off train has officially left the station.  We are now seeing knock offs of toys that never existed, namely a Transformers-branded Diaclone Swoop (now on ebay!).  This is a figure that has reach upwards of $700 to attain due to the unique molds and paint-scheme akin to our beloved Generation 1 cartoon version of the dinobot Swoop.  I would assume that this “limited to 500” Diaclone version in fabricated Generation 1 box is made by the same group that put out the first wave of G1 Dinobot reissues.  At least said-group appears to be getting smarter.  Although it would be cool to get a sharp-beaked blue-chested G1 swoop, I am forced to solemnly ask “Is nothing sacred?”

Heed my warning super collectors – The dawning of Blue Bluestreak is upon us.  Sell your original while you still can!!!!

This really makes me kind of want to give up the whole collecting game.  For all those that sneer at Hasbro for “neglecting the collectors,” this is for once a glaring instance of that happening.  With the lack of a firm stance or case against those churning out these “reissues,” the collector market is suffering severely.  Good luck to any that are able to secure one of these supposedly “high quality reissues.”  Bah-humbug.

Check out this video reviewing the item in question by Youtube User thecollector75:

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Mysterious Blue Classics Bumblebee

Blue Classics Bumblebee found on ACtoys

So just who are you?

Stop the presses, a new Classics Bumblebee redeco has surfaced? TFW2005.com is reporting that these images were found on ACtoys.

My first instinct was to call this a Botcon toy, but there is no G2 symbol on it. Also, there is chrome on the shins, just like the Henkei Bumblebee. This guy is also SCREAMING knock-off, but something is tugging me towards it being official…

Perhaps it is the fact that the original version of Bumblebee in Microchange came in a beautiful creamy blue, just like this specimen. If you check out this glorious article from TF-1, you will see a little bit about the history of this amazing little blue bee.

Blue Microchange Bumblebee

The rarest of the rare, Blue Microchange Pre-TF Bumblebee! - Photo from TF-1.com

Mysterious Blue Classics Bumblebee

He's all grown up now!

This kind of sparks my interest because what if TakaraTomy is planning some sort of retro-PRE-TF homage line? That would be amazing because as it turns out, Botcon chose not to do a commemorative line for their next boxset. Also, with Diaclone being originally launched in 1980, this would be the 30th anniversary of the toyline… We all know how those Japanese love their anniversary toys!!!

Mysterious Blue Classics Bumblebee in vehicle mode

Looking true even in blue!

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Hasbro Masterpiece Grimlock – NEUTERED AGAIN!

hasbro Masterpiece Grimlock with his flat teeth

Grimlock's been chompin' on too many planes again! - photo from ACtoys

Masterpiece Grimlock is coming to America. Photos of the finished version of Hasbro’s Masterpiece Grimlock were posted to ACtoys today.

Grimlock eats Thrust in the Transformers series 2 intro

Nom nom nom

However, he has apparently stopped for some dental work and a manicure along the way! Yes, we must lament the loss of more sharp edges in the transfer from Japan to the United States. Much like the Masterpiece Seeker mold, some of the pokey bits and sharp edges have been toned down for the US release by Hasbro. This is not a huge let-down or anything, as import collectors should be used to it by now. I appreciate the fact that this kind of stuff happens because it keeps each toy that much different. Another apparent change is the addition of white and red stripes on the upper shoulders of the robot mode and dino leg mode. It’s hard to tell if these are stickers or tampo-graphed on. Let’s root for tampos.

If the Canadian price is any indication, this version of the Masterpiece Dinobot Commander may be the cheapest yet! With original import prices of over $100 for either version of MP-08, those that waited for the US release may have a happier wallet, but an unhappier Dinobot. It just depends on which is more important to you – sharper plastic or cheaper plastic?

G1 Grimlock vs Diaclone Grimlock teeth comparison

History Repeats: What's next? Transformers halocaust!?! We are doomed!

This change in Grimlock’s dino-grill is just another indication of history repeating itself. When the diaclone version made its way to the US for the Transformers line, the teeth were filed down then too. It’s just one vicious circle of dental work. Let’s hope Big Grimmy was smart enough to have filled out his Hasbro benefits package and got this dental work paid for by the new Obama health care package! One can only hope…

Hasbro Masterpiece Grimlock as seen on the slide from this year's Toy Fair 2010 press event

Looks like everything is just as it was shown!