The toy and packaging variation oddity, mystery and discovery thread


Well-known member
This thread is dedicated to (presumed) mysteries and (apparent) discoveries regarding primarily older toys where new variations, packaging variants and other peculiarities are discovered.

Do you have an odd version of a toy you can't seem to find any info about? Have you seen a toy in packaging you can't quite seem to place? Or do you just have a general question about the various types of international/multilingual packaging variants that Hasbro was using before merging them all into one single worldwide version featuring five languages in 2019? Feel free to post them here!

I'm going to start off with something that has been on and off my radar for a while: Tiny Tins versions of the Armada Mini-Cons in Armada (or even Robots in Disguise) packaging instead of Universe packaging.

Back in 2007, Mathew Ignash discovered Mini-Cons with Tiny Tins, but in Armada packaging. Sadly, he did not post any photos, and the eBay listing is long gone.

Three years later, I apparently discovered the Mini-Cons Dirt Boss and Downshift from the Race Mini-Con Team, as well as Oval, Spiral and Backtrack from the Street Speed Mini-Con Team, also with Tiny Tins but in Robots in Disguise packaging. Again, I did not post any photos at the time, and the eBay listings are also long gone.

Now as for the images I have been able to find since then:

So it's well-known that Hasbro held the license for "Tiny Tins"-branded carrying cases (owned by Australian company Track Stars Collectables), and released a bunch of small Transformers, My Little Pony and plush Disney toys with those tin coffins.

For Transformers, these were the 2001 Robots in Disguise Spy Changers Crosswise, Hot Shot, Ironhide, Mirage, Prowl 2, R.E.V., Side Swipe and W.A.R.S. (in Robots in Disguise packaging), the Armada Mini-Cons Dirt Boss, Mirage and Downshift (in packaging branded as part of the 2003-onwards Universe line), and redecos of Dirt Boss, Mirage and Downshift available with the Cybertron Deluxe Class figures Hot Shot, Override, Landmine, Dirt Boss, Red Alert and Thundercracker (in Cybertron packaging).

Here are the standard Universe versions of Dirt Boss, Mirage and Downshift:

Note how it's not just the packaging, but also the Tiny Tins themselves that feature the styling and branding of the Universe packaging.

However, there are also versions of those Mini-Cons that were available in Universe-branded packaging, but the Tiny Tins themselves instead featured the styling and branding of Armada packaging.

And then there are versions of those Mini-Cons that were actually available in Armada-branded packaging, complete with Armada-branded Tiny Tins.
Armada Tiny Tins Dirt Boss 1.jpgArmada Tiny Tins Dirt Boss 2.jpgArmada Tiny Tins Mirage 1.jpgArmada Tiny Tins Mirage 2.jpgArmada Tiny Tins Mirage 3.jpg

I should have realized this already when I first saw the photos of that Dirt Boss last year, but somehow it didn't really click with me until I found the photos of that Mirage the other day: That's European packaging!

And this realization, finally, allowed me to connect the dots. Here is what probably happened there:

In the United States, the Tiny Tins Mini-Cons were (intended to be) available on Universe-branded cards, and with Universe-styled and Universe-branded Tiny Tins.
However, since the Universe branding wasn't used for Europe, Hasbro decided to go for a similar route as they later did with the Micromaster Sixcombiner teams that were available on Universe cards (and as KB Toys exclusives) in the United States, but on Energon (Protectobots, Constructicons) or Cybertron (Railbots, Aerialbots) cards in Europe. For the Tiny Tins Mini-Cons, Hasbro decided to release them on multilingual Armada-branded cards, and with Armada-styled and Armada-branded Tiny Tins.

Hooowever, inevitably, some mix-ups happened during the production run, resulting in Armada-styled and -branded Tiny Tins being available on Universe-branded cards. If you look closely, only the Universe-branded Tiny Tins feature a "trademark" ™ after the "Transformers: Universe" logo, while the "Transformers: Armada" logo on the Armada-branded Tiny Tins is lacking all ™ symbols. That's typically an indicator for European packaging.

That only leaves the Tiny Tins versions of Spiral, Oval and Backtrack (which are listed as cross-sells on Dirt Boss and Mirage's packaging) and the Robots in Disguise-branded Tiny Tins unaccounted for.
Last edited:


Well-known member
I'd also like to use this opportunity for a general request for photos of toys in bilingual Englisch/French Canadian packaging, specifically from G1, especially the latter portion when Hasbro had canceled the line in the United States ("Classic" reissues, Turbomasters, Predators etc.), and Generation 2.

Photos of Canadian packaging are maddeningly hard to find, to the point where we have better documentation of many unreleased toys in (English-only) packaging.


Staff member
Council of Elders
I'm very interested in packaging variations for Orcanoch and Arachnid. I've seen boxes with bios and boxes without bios, but I don't have any idea which came first or if it was a regional thing or what.


Well-known member
I'm very interested in packaging variations for Orcanoch and Arachnid. I've seen boxes with bios and boxes without bios, but I don't have any idea which came first or if it was a regional thing or what.
There is one major difference in packaging insofar as the front of Orcanoch and Arachnid's packaging underwent a major redesign at some point (with the back of the packaging being mostly unchanged, except for the Goosebumps cross-sell that alternatively calls it the "Terror Tower Micro Playset" or "A Night in Terror Tower Micro Playset"). Also, the two versions of Arachnid alternatively came with yellow or green accessories, while there also exists a transitional version of Orcanoch's packaging, so it was redesigned twice.

All of those are the English-only packaging versions.
BW Orcanoch with arrow front.jpgBW Orcanoch with arrow back.jpg
BW Orcanoch without arrow front 2.jpgBW Orcanoch without arrow back 2.jpg
BW Orcanoch without arrow front.jpgBW Orcanoch without arrow back.jpg
BW Arachnid with arrow front.jpgBW Arachnid with arrow back.jpg
BW Arachnid without arrow front.jpgBW Arachnid without arrow back.jpg

Meanwhile, this is one of two European packaging versions that existed at the time, featuring texts in English, Spanish and Italian. You can always tell this version by the additional "Biocombat" title. Unlike the US release, Orcanoch and Arachnid didn't feature the "MicroVerse" branding.
BW Arachnid Orcanoch EN ES IT 1.jpgBW Arachnid Orcanoch EN ES IT 2.jpg
BW Orcanoch EN ES IT 1.jpgBW Arachnid EN ES IT 1.jpg

The second European version featured texts French, Dutch and German, with an additional "Ani Mutants" title:
Ani Mutants Orcanoch 1.jpgAni Mutants Arachnid 1.jpgAni Mutants Arachnid 2.jpgAni Mutants Arachnid 3.jpg
Last edited:


Well-known member
In case anyone here speaks Chinese, I would like some clarification regarding these:

Which markets were they available in? Mainland China? Taiwan?

Princess Viola

Dumbass Asexual
Those are simplified Chinese characters on the packaging and those are used in mainland China (as well as Singapore and Malaysia but obviously you're not talking about those countries).


Well-known member
By the way, it turns out that those Tiny Tins Mini-Cons qualify as another case of a multi-brand assortment, since they share an assortment number (47668) with the Robots in Disguise Tiny Tin Spy Changers. In Europe, they even all shared the same EAN barcode (5023117706783), since at the time, European multilingual packaging didn't have individual barcodes for each figure like US packaging did.

The only reason I didn't notice this earlier was because I was always referencing wrong product code and assortment numbers for the RID Tiny Tin Spy Changers that came from the Hartmans, which erroneously had the assortment number as 47688.
Last edited:


Well-known member
I think I started a thread on this when the Allspark boards were briefly back up before they went bust for the second time.

I found several photos of the 1990 "Classic Stunticon" release of G1 Breakdown (and only him!) in bilingual French/English packaging. Supposedly, this was intended for Canada, but I have since been informed by a Canadian fan that he has no recollection of the Euro "Classics" having been officially available at Canadian retail, and the packaging does feature Chinese stickers, so I assume this was stock originally produced for Canada that ended up in China instead?

Classic Stunticon Breakdown CA 1A.jpgClassic Stunticon Breakdown CA 2A.jpgClassic Stunticon Breakdown CA 2B.jpgClassic Stunticon Breakdown CA 2C.jpgClassic Stunticon Breakdown CA 3A.jpg

For comparison, here are the other packaging versions of "Classic" Breakdown:

English (UK)...
Classic Stunticon Breakdown EN 4A.jpgClassic Stunticon Breakdown EN 2A.jpgClassic Stunticon Breakdown EN 3A.jpgClassic Stunticon Breakdown EN 3B.jpgClassic Stunticon Breakdown EN 4A.jpg

French/Dutch (France/Belgium/Netherlands):
Classic Stunticon Breakdown FR NL 1A.jpg

Spanish (Spain)...
Classic Stunticon Breakdown ES 1A.jpgClassic Stunticon Breakdown ES 2A.jpgClassic Stunticon Breakdown ES 2B.JPG

Classic Stunticon Breakdown IT.jpg

What's also crazy is how the French names for all five Stunticons as seen on the cross-sell of that 1990 "Classic" version are completely at odds with the French names from the Canadian 1986 release. Here's a comparison:

1986 Stunticons Canada cross-sell.jpg
1986 Motormaster is "Pilot-As", Dead End is "Impasse", Breakdown is "Panicon", Wildrider is "Faroucho", and Drag Strip is "Démarro.

1990 Classic Stunticons Canada cross-sell.jpg
1990 Motormaster is "Cerveau", Dead End is "Borne", Breakdown is "Optique", Wildrider is "Chauffard", and Drag Strip is "Broyeur". Oh yeah, and Wildrider is spelled "Wild Rider" in English, but that applied to all European packaging versions as well.

Of course, none of that matches the European releases, where everyone simply kept their original English names for the French release.


Well-known member
This was originally part of of my 1995 retrospective (insofar as it related to the barely-released redeco, ATB Megatron) I posted on the old pre-crash Allspark a few years ago, but I've recently made some additional discoveries that have prompted me to revisit this particular subject:

This is 1994 G2 Dreadwing in United States packaging. Dreadwing's smaller companion figure is identified by name as "Smokescreen" on the back of the packaging, while the front of the box only features an "Includes robot/jet fighter!" blurb.

A few days ago, I found photos of the Canadian packaging for Dreadwing, featuring texts in English and French as was the standard back in the day. For Canada, Dreadwing is given the additional French name "Spectre". Smokescreen is still identified as a separate character on the back of the box, with the additional French name "Fumigène" mentioned in the French translation of Dreadwing/Spectre's bio as well, while the front of the box omits the "Includes robot/jet fighter!" blurb that partially covered Smokescreen's package art on the US version.

European packaging was weird: Aside from the different packaging design compared to the US and Canadian releases (including the use of shorter bios in three languages), the name of the figure itself was changed. Here's the English/Spanish/Portuguese version that was available in the UK and the Iberian Peninsula. Dreadwing is named "Stealth Assault", a name that was also featured in an early promotion for the toy in Go Figure! magazine, where the combined form of the two Decepticons (or "deceptions", as the magazine erroneously calls them) is referred to as the "Stealth Assault ATB". Smokescreen is not acknowledged as a separate character at all, and only referred to as a "robot/jet fighter".

Oddly, an English-only poster distributed in the UK that advertises the 1994 line-up does refer to Dreadwing by his US name:

The other European packaging version was French/Dutch/German. This version names Dreadwing "Ace Evader", and Smokescreen is ignored even more blatantly than on the previous version. The "Also includes robot/jet fighter!" blurb featured on the English/Spanish/Portuguese version (in three languages) is given increasingly weird treatments for this version: The German version replaces "jet fighter" with a mere "Flugzeug" ("plane", which completely omits the "fighter" portion), while the Dutch version ("Inhoud: Robot én een vliegtuig", which translates as "Contains: Robot and a plane") misinterprets it as as alternatively referring to the two individual figures included, and the French version ("Replique de l'avion furtif", which translates as "replica of a stealth plane") even ignores the Smokescreen figure entirely, instead just highlighting Dreadwing's own alternate mode.

Another oddity are the instructions: All versions of the instructions, whether US, Canadian or European, consistently label Dreadwing/Spectre/Stealth Assault/Ace Evader as a "Heroic Autobot". Also, apparently the Canadian release featured two separate sets of instructions (English and French), rather than a single, bilingual instruction sheet.
Last edited:

SHIELD Agent 47

Active member
Which markets were they available in? Mainland China? Taiwan?
FYI: only Transformers sold in China receive printed Chinese text on the packaging. I have bought TFs from Taiwan since Cybertron in 2005, and for whatever reasoning, Hasbro packages receive no localisation there. I have never seen any Hasbro-manufactured boxes that are not the same as those sold in the USA. Social media photos confirm the exact same happens in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.


Well-known member
During Beast Wars, there were three different concurrent types of trilingual packaging in use, in addition to the English-only packaging that was available in the United States: Canada and Latin America got packaging in English, French and Spanish, with the triple title "Beast Wars/Guerre des Bêtes/Guerra de Bestias", whereas Europe got packaging in English/Spanish/Italian, with the double title "Beast Wars/Biocombat", and French/Dutch/German, with the double title "Beast Wars/Ani Mutants".

Canadian packaging more closely mimicked US packaging (often with lengthy translations of all the texts), whereas European packaging used a completely different packaging packaging design that featured abbreviated texts, with no individual bios for the toys.

The backstory summaries for the 1998 Fuzors and Transmetals are where the crazy train really hit full steam. Here are Fuzor Sky Shadow and Transmetal Cheetor in all four packaging types:

English (United States):

English/French/Spanish (Canada and Latin America):

English/Spanish/Italian (Europe):

French/Dutch/German (Europe):

Here are all the versions of the backstories:
Fuzors description.jpgTransmetals description.jpg

The English version from US packaging sums up the plot for the cartoon's season 2 premiere pretty accurately. The English version from Canadian/Latin American packaging is unchanged, while the French and Spanish versions are basically just translations of the full English version.

The various versions from European packaging, meanwhile, feature a considerably shortened account... or just tell a completely different story: The English UK version attributes the creation of Fuzors and Transmetals to an "Alien quantum surge" (without elaborating on what exactly caused said quantum surge), while the Spanish version describes it more vaguely as an "alien force", the Italian version just calls it an "alien energy", the Dutch version calls it an "alien shockwave", the French version deviates even further with a "masssive alien invasion", and the German version goes completely bonkers by blaming everything on the "incursion of alien viruses" (plural!).

What all European versions have in common, though, is a very vague, ambiguous wording that doesn't make it clear that [insert exact cause] affected existing Cybertronians; rather, they all seem to imply that said multiple choice alien force caused genetic malfunctions among existing wildlife, either fusing two animals into one fantastical beast, or turning individual animals into ferocious mechanical beasts.
Last edited:


Well-known member
There's an odd version of G1 Hound with a painted red rear section/feet that has popped up several times since at least 2012. Two specimens hail from former Yugoslavia, but at least one sample comes from Germany.

Specimen #1:
G1 Hound Red 1A.jpgG1 Hound Red 1B.jpgG1 Hound Red 1C.jpg

Specimen #2:
G1 Hound Red 2A.jpgG1 Hound Red 2B.jpgG1 Hound Red 2C.jpgG1 Hound Red 2D.jpgG1 Hound Red 2E.jpgG1 Hound Red 2F.jpgG1 Hound Red 2G.jpg

Specimen #3:
G1 Hound Red 3A.jpgG1 Hound Red 3B.jpgG1 Hound Red 3C.jpgG1 Hound Red 3D.jpgG1 Hound Red 3E.jpgG1 Hound Red 3F.jpgG1 Hound Red 3G.jpgG1 Hound Red 3H.jpg

The prevalent theory is that this is a Mexican figure manufactured and distributed by Plasticos IGA. I posted this theory on the old pre-crash Allspark forums, where it was refuted by someone who insisted that a sloppy paintjob like this wasn't even up to IGA's standards.

Well... here's the counter to that: All the IGA figures with piss-poor red paint applications you see hail from Europe. There's this old story about how when the unsold stock of IGA figures were imported to Europe in the late 1980s, some of the paint was found to contain levels of lead that was above the permitted maximum for Europe, so the paint was scratched off and painted over. That would mean the red paint on these Hounds was not IGA's work, but was instead done by the European importer.


Well-known member
For comparison, here's a legit IGA Hound. Note how the worn stickers have the same paper-y quality to them:
IGA Hound 1A.jpgIGA Hound 1B.jpgIGA Hound 1C.jpgIGA Hound 1D.jpgIGA Hound 1E.jpgIGA Hound 1F.jpgIGA Hound 1G.jpgIGA Hound 1H.jpgIGA Hound 1I.jpg


Well-known member
Also, I did manage to find photos of Classic Aerialbot Fireflight in Canadian packaging!

Classic Aerialbot Fireflight CA 1.jpgClassic Aerialbot Fireflight CA 2.jpgClassic Aerialbot Fireflight CA 3.jpgClassic Aerialbot Fireflight CA 4.jpg

Like with Breakdown, I haven't been able to find any of his teammates. Also, there's that Chinese sticker again.

Even weirder is the fact that Fireflight—and according to the cross-sell, his fellow Aerialbots as well—uses his English name as his Canadian-market French name again. I've never seen this "English name/English name" combination before.

Here's a comparison of all five packaging versions of Classic Fireflight and Breakdown. From left to right: English (UK), French/Dutch (France, Netherlands & Belgium), Spanish (Spain), Italian (Italy, distributed by Hasbro licensee GiG) and French/English (intended for Canada, but presumably available in China instead).

And here's a comparison of the Canadian-market French names for the original 1986 Aerialbots and Stunticons, the 1990 Classic Aerialbots and Stunticons and the 1994 Generation 2 Aerialbots:
Last edited:


Well-known member
All right folks, strap in, it's time for another deep dive into Generation 2.

Specifically, the bios. Because European 1994 Generation 2 are downright bonkers.

Usually, the bios featured on European packaging (back when there was such a thing, before the introduction of universal "worldwide" packaging featuring five languages in 2019) were either identical, or trimmed down for space versions of whatever bios were featured on United States (or Canadian) packaging.

During the time when the Transformers line was canceled in the United States (1991-1992) but continued with new toys in Europe... and Canada, European and Canadian packaging continued to use the same packaging design and formats, and at least the English language bios were pretty much identical, down to the use of localized spelling differences compared to what's considered standard in the United States (e.g. "centre" and "defence" instead of "center" and "defense"). The French translations, meanwhile, were typically done by different people for Canada and for Europe, resulting in the same work being done twice, and bios that essentially say the same things about the respective characters, but use slightly different wording choices and sentence structures.

Here are all four known packaging variants of 1992's Turbomaster Rotorstorm:

"Storm/Tempête" is the English/French Canadian version, "Rotorstorm" is the English/Spanish European version, "Storm" is the French/Dutch European version, and "Rotor" is the Italian version by Italian Hasbro licensee GiG.

Here are three versions of Turbomaster Thunder Clash's bio (leaving out the Italian version because it's not immediately relevant):

"Thunder Clash/Tonnerre" is the English/French Canadian version, "Thunder Clash" is the English/Spanish European version, and "Eagle" is the French/Dutch European version.

I cannot spot any differences between the English bios.

For the Generation 2 toyline, Hasbro began to use a different packaging design for the European releases compared to their United States and Canadian counterparts, which was continued with Beast Wars. Here are the 1995 Go-Bots Motormouth and Double Clutch in English-only United States packaging, English/French Canadian packaging, English/Spanish/Portuguese European packaging, French/Dutch/German European packaging, and Italian-only packaging by GiG:

English/French Canadian packaging typically featured shortened versions of the English bios as found on the United States versions, just with an added French name and French translation of the bio that would take up some extra space. Conversely, two of the three European packaging versions had to fit a whole three languages in each, and as a result, Hasbro decided to shorten the bio considerably. In some cases, this just meant trimming down the existing bios, rearranging a few sentences and thus stripping the character's personality to its bare essentials. There are usually enough specific wordings left intact to confirm that yes, the European bios are definitely based on the American ones. This was certainly done with the 1995 figures, as can be seen with the G2 Go-Bots:
Last edited:


Well-known member
Where things got crazy, however, were the early European Generation 2 releases. See, Generation 2 didn't start in Europe until a year later than it did in the United States, namely in 1994 (or very late 1993). The European 1994 line-up is a weird mix of a stripped down selection of American 1993 and 1994 offerings, rebranded re-releases of European-only 1993 releases (just now in "Generation 2" packaging) and European-exclusive "Generation 2"-branded redecos of Generation 1 figures such as the Sparkabots and the Firecons.

The "Axelerators" had previously been released in Europe. They were slightly redecoed for the United States, simply called "Cars" (or "Small Cars"), and some were given new names. The European Generation 2 re-releases kept both their 1993 decos and names unchanged. While the United States releases were given the same mottos and bios as the European 1993 versions, the European G2 versions omitted the bios and only retained the mottos.

The "Skyscorchers" were likewise re-releases of toys that had been previously available in Europe in 1993. Their American counterparts were the "Jets" (or "Small Jets"), and three of them were once again renamed. Oddly, while European "Snipe" has the exact same motto as US Afterburner, the other three are a mixed bag: European Terradive's motto starts out the same as his US counterpart's, but then deviates into a different direction, while European "Hawk" and "Tornado" are completely detached from their US counterparts "Eagle Eye" and "Windrazor".
Last edited:


Well-known member
The "Rotorbots" were also re-releases of toys previosly released in Europe, with their American counterparts being named "Rotor Force". Once again, none of the mottos match up:

The "Illuminators" (aka "Laser Rods" in the US) featured full bios in addition to mottos, all of which massively deviate from their US counterparts:
Pay particular attention how European Electro has the function of "Commander" and is referred to as a "leader"!
Last edited:


Well-known member
The United States Color Changers (aka "Cars", or "Color Changing Cars") were redecos of the Aquaspeeders that had been available in Europe in 1993, complete with some name and faction juggling that also involved the 1993 European Stormtroopers, which were never released in the United States: European Autobot Speedstream became US Decepticon "Deluge", European Autobot Deluge remained an Autobot in the US but was renamed into "Drench", European Autobot Jetstorm remained an Autobot in the US but was renamed into "Gobots", and European Autobot Aquafend became US Decepticon "Jetstorm". Confused yet? Even worse, their American bios are also randomly assigned from other Aquaspeeders and Stormtroopers! See the next page for a detailed flowchart.

Dreadwing was particularly crazy: In Europe, he was released under the name "Stealth Aussault" in English/Spanish/Portuguese packaging, and as "Ace Evader" in French/Dutch/German packaging. Surprisingly, there are a few sections where the European bio clearly references the US version:

Where things get really bonkers are the classic G1 characters. Now by this point, I assume that most people should already be aware that the "Hero" versions of Optimus Prime and Megatron were released as separate characters named "Sureshot" and "Archforce" in Europe, thus it should come as no surprise that the bios barely resemble the US versions:
Last edited:


Well-known member
However, even toys that are officially marketed as the same characters as their American (and G1) counterparts weren't safe from a rewrite of their bios. Here are the "Heroics" (known as the "Autobot Cars" in the US) Jazz, Sideswipe and Inferno:

The European "bios" all read like extremely generic "this character is really awesome and a great fighter with badass combat skills" writeups that were written by people with zero prior knowledge of these characters.

The "Skyraiders" (known as the "Decepticon Jets" in the US), Starscream and Ramjet, don't fare much better:
This... does not read very much like Starscream to me. Ramjet is slightly better, the "showman" bit doesn't sound too far off the mark.

Then there are the Dinobots Grimlock, Slag and Snarl:

Grimlock's European bio is one of the few that is very clearly a trimmed down version of the US version's bio, but in the process, whoever shortened the bio managed to turn the "galaxial rocket launcher" into a single "galaxial rocket". Also, Snarl's bio completely invents the fact that he is afraid of darkness!

Now a character like Megatron is hard to get wrong:

Optimus Prime's European bio, like Grimlock's, is very clearly a trimmed down version of the US bio:
Still, again like with Grimlock, a bizarre error managed to creep its way in: "Roller, the Autobot scout car" literally became "Scout Car" as his capitalized name!

Most of the bio scans are taken from TFArchive, which in turn continued the collection from the Hartman brothers' ancient, long since defunct TSArchive website. Hotrider's European bio, meanwhile, is taken from Toys are Russ's Youtube review of the figure.

STILL MISSING: European/UK bios for Axelerators Rapido, Skram and Zap, and Aquaspeeders Aquafend and Deluge.

Top Bottom