The toy and packaging variation oddity, mystery and discovery thread

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Nevermore

Well-known member
Citizen
Oh. My. God.

As TFW2005 member payres, who had already created an overview years ago, points out, the US G2 Color Changers are even more bonkers.

Since they're redecoed from the European 1993 Aquaspeeders, this is where we have to start... but we also have to take into account the European 1993 Stormtroopers, which were never made available in the US at all.

See, the US Color Changers are redecoed from the European Aquaspeeders, they take their names from two of the other Aquaspeeders, one of the Stormtroopers and the Tonka GoBots (the trademark for which Hasbro had just recently acquired after purchasing Tonka), and their bios are also taken from those same Aquaspeeders (but assigned to yet another set of toolings) and two of the Stormtroopers.

This requires a flowchart:
UkbsQYy.jpg
 

Nevermore

Well-known member
Citizen
Another interesting oddity of the Beast Wars line was early-run European packaging, specifically the English/Spanish/Italian version. Whereas standard English/Spanish/Italian packaging features the double title "Beast Wars/Biocombat" and additional names for each character for the Italian market, early run English/Spanish/Italian packaging is only branded "Beast Wars", and there are no Italian names.

I first noticed this with the bat Optimus Primal/crocodile Megatron two-pack, which only exists in this packaging version:
Optimus_Primal_vs_Megatron_EN_ES_IT_1b.jpg

A few months ago, I also discovered that there are variants of Mega Polar Claw and Scorponok in this packaging style:
Mega_Polar_Claw_EN_ES_IT_A1.jpg
Mega_Scorponok_EN_ES_IT_A1a.jpgMega_Scorponok_EN_ES_IT_A2b.jpg

And today, I also discovered an early run European Waspinator:
Deluxe_Waspinator_EN_ES_IT_A1a.jpgDeluxe_Waspinator_EN_ES_IT_A2a.jpg

For comaprison, here are the more common, "standard" English/Spanish/Italian packaging versions of Polar Claw, Scorponok and Waspinator in "Beast Wars/Biocombat" packaging:
Mega_Polar_Claw_EN_ES_IT_B1a.jpgMega_Polar_Claw_EN_ES_IT_B2.jpgMega_Scorponok_EN_ES_IT_B1d.jpgMega_Scorponok_EN_ES_IT_B2c.jpg
Deluxe_Waspinator_EN_ES_IT_B1a.jpgDeluxe_Waspinator_EN_ES_IT_B2c.jpg

Meanwhile, the other European packaging version (French/Dutch/German) supposedly didn't have this kind of variant, seeing as even the bat Optimus Primal/crocodile Megatron two-pack already featured the double "Beast Wars/Ani Mutants" branding:
Optimus_Primal_vs_Megatron_FR_NL_DE_1a.jpgOptimus_Primal_vs_Megatron_FR_NL_DE_2b.jpg

"Ani Mutants" Polar Claw, Scorponok and Waspinator:
Mega_Polar_Claw_FR_NL_DE_1.jpgMega_Polar_Claw_FR_NL_DE_2.jpg
Mega_Scorponok_FRL_NL_DE_1b.jpgMega_Scorponok_FRL_NL_DE_2.jpg
Deluxe_Waspinator_FR_NL_DE_1b.jpgDeluxe_Waspinator_FR_NL_DE_2.jpg
 
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Nevermore

Well-known member
Citizen
This is insanely minor, but I discovered that the official Hasbro imports (via Hasbro Pulse, Entertainment Earth, Diamond etc.) of Takara-"exclusive" figures are separate production runs. They're not just a random batch taken from the Takara stock. They're specifically made-to-order for Hasbro!

It's easy to tell which is the "Hasbro" version, though.

Packaging-wise, they come in a separate black sleeve with a huge Takara ID number, and no name.
Premium Finish Bumblebee 1.jpg

Toy-wise, they have a Hasbro product code printed onto the figure which the Takara version doesn't have.
Premium Finish Bumblebee 2.jpgPremium Finish Bumblebee 3.jpg
 

Powered Convoy

Randy
Citizen
This is insanely minor, but I discovered that the official Hasbro imports (via Hasbro Pulse, Entertainment Earth, Diamond etc.) of Takara-"exclusive" figures are separate production runs. They're not just a random batch taken from the Takara stock. They're specifically made-to-order for Hasbro!

It's easy to tell which is the "Hasbro" version, though.

Packaging-wise, they come in a separate black sleeve with a huge Takara ID number, and no name.
View attachment 6995

Toy-wise, they have a Hasbro product code printed onto the figure which the Takara version doesn't have.
View attachment 6996View attachment 6997
Yup, noticed this when people were comparing their MP-52+ Thundercrackers. Those who got them from TakaraTomy Mall and those elsewhere.
 

CoffeeHorse

*sip*
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
I wouldn't call that a minor thing. Maybe from our side of it, but from Takara and Hasbro's side of it doing a separate production run is a big deal.
 

Nevermore

Well-known member
Citizen
Here is a massive crackpot theory:

These are the prototypes for the unreleased Generation 2 versions of what later became Takara Beast Wars Dirge/Machine Wars Thundercracker/Skywarp, Takara Beast Wars Thrust/Machine Wars Megatron/Megaplex, Machine Wars Prowl/Mirage and Machine Wars Hoist/Hubcap:
Dassault Rafale_prototype.jpgF-22_Raptor_prototype.jpgRace_car_prototype.jpgTow_truck_prototype.jpg

I think I finally figured out where these four were meant to go!

First come the two jets. Here's a pricing list for wholesalers from the 1995 Hasbro pre-Toy Fair catalog:
1995_Hasbro_Pre-Toy_Fair_Price_List.jpg

That mysterious "Solar Jets" assortment has an assortment number (80184) that fits right between that for the 1995 Power Masters assortment (80183) and that for the unreleased Protectobot and Stunticon Team Leaders assortment (80185) that would have featured the Generation 2 versions of Hot Spot and Motormaster.

The price point fits that for the Machine Wars Basics, they're certainly "jets", and there are two of them.

So, one mystery solved. Now for the race car and the tow truck.

There are these packaging mock-ups for the Generation 2 Go-Bots Firecracker, Gearhead and Blowout:
Go-Bots_wave_1_Firecracker_Gearhead_Blowout_packaging_mockup.jpg

All of them feature a call-out or a campaign for a "free Solarbot Transformer" that is further elaborated on in detail on the back. On the final figures' packaging, that call-out is replaced by a new call-out for their "high-speed racing axles" gimmick.
Go-Bots_wave_1_Firecracker_US.jpgGo-Bots_wave_1_Gearhead_US.jpgGo-Bots_wave_1_Blowout_US.jpg

But notice something else on the back? There are Robot Points! In fact, all US and Canadian Generation 2 releases feature Robot Points that were apparently never actually used for anything.
Laser_Cycles_wave_1_Road_Rocket_US.jpgCyberjets_wave_1_Hooligan_US.jpgPower_Masters_wave_1_Bulletbike_UK_import.jpgAuto_Rollers_wave_1_Dirtbag_US.jpgLaser_Optimus_Prime_US_1.jpg

Even the unreleased redecos of "Hero" Optimus Prime and Megatron feature Robot Points!
Hero_wave_2_Optimus_Prime_US.jpgHero_wave_2_Megatron_US.jpg

So I hereby postulate that Hasbro's original intention was for the figures that eventually ended up as Machine Wars Prowl/Mirage and Hoist/Hubcap to be available as Robot Points mail-away promo figures under the name "Solarbot".

*Mic drop*
 
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ZacWilliam1

Well-known member
Citizen
Thats definitely a plausible theory. if there was anything to suggest a connection to the word "solar" on those prototypes I'd upgrade it from "quite possible" to "very likely."

I have to feel like they would have been called "Solar Jets" and "Solarbots" for a reason. Glow in the dark plastic, color-change plastic, or transparent plastic or chrome or something to make that naming make sense. There is the light-piping in the eyes but that doesn't feel big, new or dramatic enough to have named the toys after.

The lack of a connection between the prototypes and the gimmick name doesn't make this less likely to be true, it just would have been a clincher if it existed.


-ZacWilliam, I very much like this idea in general though, one of the more compelling "Solarbot" theories I've seen.
 

Andrusi

Lun!
Citizen
Assuming for the sake of argument that the flipchangers are indeed the Solarbots and Solar Jets, I can see two explanations for why the name's meaning isn't obvious.

First, the test shots are bare plastic with no paint or stickers, and it's highly unlikely they were meant to be sold that way. It's possible they were going to have glow-in-the-dark paint or heat-sensitive stickers or something.

Second, it could be like "Cyberjets" and the name doesn't especially mean anything.
 

Sciflyer

Two arms and one smile
Citizen
Yes, it definitely was. It could also have been some light-sensitive color changing plastic effect, similar to what G.I. Joe used for Zartan, Zarana, etc. Would have made the whole "solar" thing make more sense.
 

Nevermore

Well-known member
Citizen
I think I finally found confirmation for when exactly Hasbro started using the term "wave" in an official capacity. It was indeed the 2001 Robots in Disguise line.

Here is a 2001 Beast Machines Basic assortment shipping case:
Beast_Machines_Basics_shipping_case.jpg

According to the Hartmans' old website, 80405.0958 is the Basic wave 5 case, though the seller disagrees with the Hartmans about the exact content of the case, with older figures Quickstrike and Night Viper apparently still being included in lieu of a third copy of new figures Tank Drone and Hammerstrike.

As I had previously found out, the 2001 Robots in Disguise line's Mega assortment featured the term "wave" on its shipping cases from the get-go:
Robots_in_Disguise_Mega_shipping_case_1.jpgRobots_in_Disguise_Mega_shipping_case_2.jpg

The only thing I wasn't sure about was whether Beast Machines had already used it or not. Now I know.
 

Haywire

Collecter of Gobots and Godzilla
Citizen
The only thing I wasn't sure about was whether Beast Machines had already used it or not. Now I know.
...And knowing is half the Battle!


...sorry, I had to do it. Thank you for these insightful articles, though!
 

Nevermore

Well-known member
Citizen
Also, these are discoveries I made years ago in my big 1995 retrospective, but they warrant repeating here:

The 1995 Generation 2 Go-Bots ("Gobots" in Europe) and Cyberjets ("Mini-Jets" in Europe) were some of the first assortments to feature two consecutive waves within the same assortment that (sort of) contained different figures.

In the United States, that is.

Cyberjets Hooligan, Skyjack and Space Case were redecoed into Jetfire, Air Raid and Strafe, respectively:
Cyberjets_wave_1_Hooligan_US.jpgCyberjets_wave_2_Jetfire_US.jpgCyberjets_wave_1_Skyjack_US.jpgCyberjets_wave_2_Air_Raid_US.jpgCyberjets_wave_1_Space_Case_US.jpgCyberjets_wave_2_Strafe_US.jpg


Likewise, Go-Bots Firecracker and Blowout were redecoed into Optimus Prime and Megatron:
Go-Bots_wave_1_Firecracker_US.jpgGo-Bots_wave_2_Optimus_Prime_US.jpgGo-Bots_wave_1_Blowout_US.jpgGo-Bots_wave_2_Megatron_US.jpg

In Europe, things were a little different: While I haven't found any evidence that the wave 2 Mini-Jets and Gobots were ever available in English/Spanish/Portuguese packaging (the wave 1 figures certainly were!), they were definitely all available in French/Dutch/German packaging... but they were all marketed as the same characters as the wave 1 figures they were redecoed from, thus essentially making them running change color variants, like the G2 Dinobots and Constructicons before them.
Mini-Jets_wave_1_Hooligan_FR_NL_DE.jpgMini-Jets_wave_2_Hooligan_FR_NL_DE.jpg
Mini-Jets_wave_1_Skyjack_FR_NL_DE.jpgMini-Jets_wave_2_Skyjack_FR_NL_DE.jpg
Mini-Jets_wave_1_Space_Case_FR_NL_DE.jpgMini-Jets_wave_2_Space_Case_FR_NL_DE.jpg
Gobots_wave_1_Firecracker_FR_NL_DE.jpgGobots_wave_2_Firecracker_FR_NL_DE.jpg
Gobots_wave_1_Blowout_FR_NL_DE.jpgGobots_wave_2_Blowout_FR_NL_DE.jpg

This suggests that the decision to market them as separate characters might have been a last-minute decision. After all, both wave 2 "Jetfire" and "Strafe" in their new decos feature tampographed Generation 2 Decepticon insignias!
 

Nevermore

Well-known member
Citizen
In case anyone here speaks Chinese, I would like some clarification regarding these:
View attachment 3315View attachment 3316View attachment 3317View attachment 3318View attachment 3319

Which markets were they available in? Mainland China? Taiwan?
All right, I think I may have been able to pinpoint Hasbro's use of bilingual English/Chinese packaging to the 2011-2014 era.

Here is Dark of the Moon Cyberverse Commander Optimus Prime with Chinese text on his packaging:
Chinese DOTM Cyberverse Optimus Prime 1.jpgChinese DOTM Cyberverse Optimus Prime 2.jpg

The first ever Chinese New Year redeco, "Year of the Dragon Optimus Prime", was initially available in English/Chinese packaging in Asia, but was later given English-only packaging for his Amazon exclusive United States release:
Chinese Year of the Dragon Optimus Prime 1.jpgChinese Year of the Dragon Optimus Prime 2.jpg
English Year of the Dragon Optimus Prime 1.jpgEnglish Year of the Dragon Optimus Prime 2.JPG

Then there are the "GDO" figures, for which I'm not sure if the bilingual versions were actually available in China. They were definitiely used for the Toys"R"Us exclusive United States and Canadian releases, even though Hasbro's other Asian markets got English-only packaging.
Chinese GDO Sandstorm.jpgChinese GDO Swerve.jpg

The most baffling GDO items are Leader Class Starscream and Ironhide. The wider Asian release came in English-only "Generations"-branded packaging, but then there are super-rare bilingual English/Chinese versions in "Dark of the Moon" packaging with additional "Movie Trilogy Series" labels!
GDO Starscream Asia.jpgGDO Ironhide Asia.jpg
GDO Starscream Ironhide Movie Trilogy 1.jpgGDO Starscream Ironhide Movie Trilogy 2.jpg

English/Chinese packaging appears to have hit its stride with Transformers: Prime. I've been able to find First Edition, Robots in Disguise, Cyberverse and Beast Hunters packaging with Chinese texts on the packaging.
Chinese First Edition Terrorcon Cliffjumper 1.jpgChinese First Edition Terrorcon Cliffjumper 2.jpgChinese Prime Knock Out.jpgChinese Cyberverse Ironhide.jpgChinese Beast Hunters Predaking.jpgChinese Cyberverse Twinstrike 1.jpgChinese Cyberverse Twinstrike 2.jpg
 
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Nevermore

Well-known member
Citizen
Another very minor detail which might only be news to me, but since I just had to fix the writeups on TFWiki, it appears I'm not alone in this regard:

G1 Long Haul had a variant where the original release featured a slot in his chest/truck grill, which was a hold-over from the first Diaclone variant which had the super wing chestplate connected to the dump truck, instead of the truck crane). The later version fills that slot in, leaving a very conspicous smooth patch that lacks the rigged grill pattern. This second version was used for all subsequent releases up until Generation 2 in 1993.

The Encore version, with is an all-new tooling, features a complete grill that lacks the patch, with the rigged grill pattern going all the way through.
4rGWrmb.jpeg

IywQ5kS.jpeg
 
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engledogg

Recovering Completist
Citizen
As far as I know, the non-slot G1 version was only available in the Devastator Gift Set. I have two sets, one my brother got for Christmas the year of release and one I picked up sealed at an antique store sometime in the 90s, and both lacked the slots.

Also, looking at the pics there, I just noticed that the Encore Long Haul has little tabs on his legs (at the bottom) that the original mold lacked. Neat.

MIKE
engledogg
 
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