Tag Archives: Takara

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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?

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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“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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Extra Starscream figures I have for sale on Ebay starting at $.99

Here are some of my prize possession Starscreams for you to purchase from me starting at $.99. Did it really hurt that much to relinquish them? No, because these are my doubles, and in some cases, triples! hahahah!
Click on the photos to get to the auctions and happy bidding!

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The first of many reboots. This is over 5 years old now!

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Remember when everyone bitched about it being Green? Well now they bitch because they dont’ have one so suck it.

Transformers-Cybertron-Supreme-Starscream-MISB

Pretty much the biggest Transformer ever, except now they are making another Metroplex.

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The figure that everyone will want years from now and wonder why it’s so expensive to get. haha suckers.

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Yay.

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Transformers Shockwave items for sale on Ebay

Transformers G1 Generation 1 Shockwave good hose MIB

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Holy grail to some, old junker to most, desired by everyone

 

Transformers Robot Heroes G1 Grimlock Shockwave MISB

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And a little less desirable…

 

Transformers Mighty Muggs G1 Shockwave MISB

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This guy is super cool, includes hose!

 

Transformers WST Justitoys Shockwave Military Operation Commander MISB 3rd party

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Where did the 3rd Party go??

 

Alternators 12 Shockblast Shockwave MISB Red Mint in Sealed Box

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Shockwave, the car

 

Transformers Binaltech BT-13 Laserwave Shockwave MISB

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This is, in my opinion, the coolest and most valuable thing on this list. HEAVY!

 

Transformers Takara Superlink SD14 Laserwave Shockwave MISB

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SUPAAAA-LINK!

 

Transformers G1 Action Master Shockwave w Fistfight MOSC sealed

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Lots of action here

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WTF alert: Arms Micron Unicron turns into his FACE

Transformers Arms Micron Unicron face

I GIVE YOU MY FACE!

As I was joining the Seibertron crew for their podcast tonight, I was informed of the identity of Arms Micron Unicron’s alt-mode. It’s his MF face. wow… a new low!

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Japanese Dino cassettes being knocked off – the end of collecting Transformers?

Japanese Dino-cassettes being knocked off

Say it ain't so Charlie, say it ain't so...

I guess what they say is true: Nothing is sacred.

Thanks collecting, it was fun while it lasted! I’m out!

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Gold chrome Hot Rod returns from the void – $7,000 for a fake toy?

Gold Chrome G1 Hot Rod MIB

What a peculiar specimen.

A few years ago, there was a gold chromed G1 Hot Rod up for sale and the reputable seller claimed it was a genuine Takara Employee give away. Problem is, no one has ever produced any hard proof that this toy is in fact a Takara employee give away. No one is denying that the figure is indeed cool looking, but my spidey senses tell me that this is not a legitimate Takara creation. What proof do I have? None, just my gut feeling. The gold guy is back in action on Ebay right now for the starting bid of $7,000. That’s a high price to pay for something that could’ve been made rather recently in the right workshop…

There are definitely some crazy Hot Rod fans out there that would love to get this figure in their collection so maybe $7k is the magic number? Lucky 7 baby!  Peep the auction here.

Fake or real Gold Chrome G1 Hot Rod

My precious...

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Lucky draw SCF Skywarp PVC still exists!

Lucky Draw PVC SCF Skywarp from Japan

One of only 200 of these ever made

Sometimes I feel like I am nature videographer that has been sitting in a cove for a multitude of hours of end just to catch a glimpse of a rare creature.  Today is one of those days.

Friend excitedly contacted me and sent a link to Ebay.  Low and behold, photographs of an incredibly rare specimen: Takara’s Lucky Draw SCF Skywarp PVC – The rarest of the entire PVC line.

Leave it to Hasbro to completely destroy the luster of this figure by releasing skywarp as a regular pack-in during the Heros of Cybertron line a few years later.  So next time I hear the debate for Botcon Thundercracker being blasphemy, I’ll just bring this up and bring the pain.

The Takara version of Skywarp still demands high prices, as the starting bid of £150 suggests.  Good luck Shane, and godspeed!

For more information on the Lucky Draw prize Skywarp figure, check out this page at My Kool Toyz!

hasbro Heros of Cybertron Skywarp in package

If you want to talk about screwin' the pooch, this is the #1 cross-Pacific screw-job ever!

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Takaratomy clear animated legends

Clearly awesome!

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Japanese TakaraTomy Animated Packaging revealed

Transformers TakaraTomy Animated Wonder Festival 2010 Display

The big display for TakaraTomy's Animated display at Wonder Festival 2010.

Photos by Masabon of TFW2005.com

At long last, our eyes can feast on the Japanese packaging for Transformers Animated and it is incredible!  TakaraTomy did not disappoint with their rich colors and stylish graphics.  One of the most interesting choices is to package some figures in robot mode and others in vehicle.  Prowl, Bumblebee, and Ratchet are all packaged in robot mode, perhaps because their vehicles do not have quite enough mass to them.  The packaged sample of Lockdown really steals the show with its deep purple card and slanted resting position.

TakaraTomy Animated Wonder Festival 2010 Bumblebee Vs Starscream packaging

I am SOOOOO getting this!

TakaraTomy Animated Lockdown packaging Wonder Festival 2010

He's got the whole town on Lockdown

Still no sign of a very large 7-pack of the first wave, but I still have my ear to the ground…

TakaraTomy Animated Bumblebee Packaging at Wonder Festival 2010

"I'm a real GOLD-BUG!"

So this really is it.  We are getting blinged-out versions of the Animated figures.  After the dust has settled, I still think it’s pretty neat but some of the applications of the metallic look are strange.  Take Starscream for example: his wings and cockpit are metallic but the rest of him remains matte.  He looks a bit mix-matched.  Then there is Bumblebee which is totally awesome with his all-over metallic look.  Optimus Prime and Megatron leave me salivating as well.

Oh speaking of two-packs, no sign of the original American deluxe two-pack versions of Megatron and Optimus.  It appears that TakaraTomy has chosen to omit the mutiple sizes of the same character at this point.  No leader Bulkhead, no activator or deluxe Prime or Megatron…  With so many figures being released at once, it remains to be seen if we will be offered a Leader Megatron in Earth mode or an activators Soundwave.  My guess is that Soundblaster will be a black version of the activator, but it’s only a guess… you heard it here first though!

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Binaltech BT-17 Black Convoy

Takara Transformers Binaltech BT-17 Black Convoy

Black Convoy

We bring to you a teaser photo of one of the highest-price-increasing figures of the last 5 years – Takara BT-17 Black Convoy.  More to come soon.