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@  ▲ndrusi : (04 July 2020 - 08:14 AM)

Nothing of importance has happened before, and nothing of importance will happen again.

@  Maximus Ambus : (04 July 2020 - 08:12 AM)

Nothing of importance happened today.

@  Telly : (03 July 2020 - 09:54 PM)

i want a "i survived 'rona and all i got was this lousy t-shirt"

@  TheMightyMol... : (03 July 2020 - 03:42 PM)

Slogan for 2021: "I Lived, Bitch."

@  -LittleAutob... : (03 July 2020 - 03:23 PM)

They should make the next book in the Survivors series 'I SURVIVED CORONA VIRUS 2020'

@  -LittleAutob... : (03 July 2020 - 03:23 PM)

YEEEE I'M A SURVIVOR-

@  Nevermore : (03 July 2020 - 06:59 AM)

Probably gonna assemble Devastator after work.

@  Nevermore : (03 July 2020 - 06:58 AM)

Ooooh. Overload arrived. He's surprisingly fun.

@  Bass X0 : (02 July 2020 - 04:00 PM)

He's sweeter than the average bear.

@  Maximus Ambus : (02 July 2020 - 03:14 PM)

Convert him to Maple Syrup.

@  Bass X0 : (02 July 2020 - 03:10 PM)

what would Canada do with Yogi?

@  Cyoti : (01 July 2020 - 12:51 PM)

We can deport Yogi back to Canada now.

@  Sabrblade : (01 July 2020 - 12:50 PM)

Jellystone National Pawk. A westful wetweat.

@  Rycochet : (01 July 2020 - 12:47 PM)

Jellystone. We're going to be plunged into a decade of poor animation. Fortunately we've been led by bad cartoon characters for years so we won't notice much difference.

@  Maximus Ambus : (01 July 2020 - 06:19 AM)

what next? YELLOWSTONE?

@  Nevermore : (01 July 2020 - 05:46 AM)

Thanks, dead person.

@  Bass X0 : (01 July 2020 - 05:06 AM)

congratulations to all survivors of the first half of 2020.

@  wonko the sane? : (30 June 2020 - 10:21 PM)

21 for me, but after numerous repetitions I got it down to 17 and a half.

@  TheMightyMol... : (30 June 2020 - 06:16 PM)

I transform in six steps from human to human sitting on my ass at the computer and back again!

@  -LittleAutob... : (30 June 2020 - 05:55 PM)

x-x when in vehicle mode we can travel much F A R T H E R-

@  wonko the sane? : (30 June 2020 - 05:52 PM)

Because despite the fact that we can travel around the world in the time it takes to get a good nights sleep and a couple of meals: people rarely wander more than 25 miles away from home for the duration of their lives.

@  Otaku : (30 June 2020 - 05:49 PM)

I don't know how many days that trip takes - especially while sightseeing - but explaining they're 3936 kilometers (2445 miles) apart gives an idea, paradoxically because it is too large to easily picture.

@  Otaku : (30 June 2020 - 05:44 PM)

Aye.  When I catch lay people discussing miles and not how long the trip takes, it is in an attempt to stress how far away something is... like NYC to LA.

@  ▲ndrusi : (30 June 2020 - 01:20 PM)

But I can imagine 45 *minutes* easily.

@  ▲ndrusi : (30 June 2020 - 01:20 PM)

I can imagine a mile, it's a distance I've run. I can't really imagine 45 miles.

@  ▲ndrusi : (30 June 2020 - 01:19 PM)

I think there's also an element of the thing where things that are much bigger than us all blur together.

@  Otaku : (30 June 2020 - 11:49 AM)

If you're not, then you're more concerned with how long it takes.  Actual distance doesn't tell you that very well.  Besides traffic and road conditions, you'll need to know what kind of driving (city/interstate/rural/etc.).

@  Otaku : (30 June 2020 - 11:47 AM)

Distance matters if you're being paid by the mile.

@  TM2-Megatron : (30 June 2020 - 11:44 AM)

Canadians are the same way, for the most part. If you're driving somewhere far, especially, it helps you plan out the day more than a distance in KM would.

@  Otaku : (30 June 2020 - 11:42 AM)

We use the time it takes to get someplace because that is what is relevant to us.

@  TheMightyMol... : (30 June 2020 - 10:55 AM)

Because even we can't figure out miles half the time.

@  Paladin : (30 June 2020 - 09:54 AM)

it's a big country with a lot of empty space. between our citizens' ears.

@  Bass X0 : (30 June 2020 - 09:52 AM)

Why do most Americans measure distance by hours of driving?

@  TM2-Megatron : (29 June 2020 - 07:26 PM)

And as a result the world's lone blu-ray release of the film, an Australian disc that came out 7 years ago, now goes for hundreds of dollars on eBay. Thanks Disney.

@  TM2-Megatron : (29 June 2020 - 06:21 PM)

Well, they censored Daryl Hannah's butt in Splash :rolleyes

@  Paladin : (29 June 2020 - 05:43 PM)

maybe New Mutants is too bad even for D+.

@  Steevy Maximus : (29 June 2020 - 05:00 PM)

X-Men films are coming to Disney+ next month. But will they censor Hugh Jackman's butt?

@  -LittleAutob... : (29 June 2020 - 12:44 PM)

Pft.

@  TheMightyMol... : (29 June 2020 - 11:59 AM)

Behold! Night Strike Galvatron!

@  Bass X0 : (29 June 2020 - 09:53 AM)

I will grant you a recolored body, and recolored troops to command.

@  Cybersnark : (29 June 2020 - 09:47 AM)

I don't want to be reissued. This body sucks, I wanna be updated.

@  Nevermore : (29 June 2020 - 09:43 AM)

I definitely don't intend to be reissued. Nobody would buy me.

@  Bass X0 : (29 June 2020 - 08:31 AM)

will anybody else attempt to be reissued?

@  wonko the sane? : (29 June 2020 - 07:51 AM)

*Gasp* Decepticons re-writing history to serve their own needs?!?!

@  Nevermore : (29 June 2020 - 05:48 AM)

The whole point of the DJD is that they're fanatical Megatron fanboys (especially Tarn) to the point of having their own headcanon taking priority of the actual canon, simply speaking.

@  TheMightyMol... : (29 June 2020 - 04:01 AM)

They didn't know the war was over until later. And then they denied it anyway.

@  PlutoniumBoss : (28 June 2020 - 10:47 PM)

"He's comin' right for us!"

@  Telly : (28 June 2020 - 08:40 PM)

was that even still in effect once the war ended?

@  TheMightyMol... : (28 June 2020 - 06:51 PM)

According to Roberts, soldiers can ignore the order to spare Whirl if he's directly threatening them. But mostly the DJD were out of their heads on Nuke and not really caring much at the time.

@  Xaaron : (28 June 2020 - 06:41 PM)

Also, they were hopped up on goofballs at the time.


Photo
- - - - -

1995: The year Hasbro discovered "waves"; updated with chapter 10: The Power Masters/Powermasters (page 4)


81 replies to this topic

#1 Nevermore

Nevermore

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 04:57 PM

So this is going to be another one of those threads. Lots of text, lots of in-depth analysis, lots of reference images. If you don't like those threads, just leave. Now. Clearly this is not for you. :)

Anyway. Like my recent thread about G1 Skids being released in 1984, none of the facts I'm going to present in this thread will be exactly "new" or groundbreaking. However, I'm not sure anyone has ever connected all the dots and put it all into perspective. So I'm hoping to be that guy at the very least.

This is intended as a weekly series, with ten chapters currently planned.


Here we go.

Table of content:
Introduction, part 1: Distribution and the "wave" system, post # 2
Introduction, part 2: Multilingual packaging and worldwide packaging variants (United States, Canada and Latin America), post #3
Introduction, part 3: Multilingual packaging and worldwide packaging variants (Europe), post # 4
Chapter 1: The Dinobots (1993), post #5
Chapter 2: The Constructicons (1993), post #22
Chapter 3: The "Heroes"/"Combat Heroes" (1994/1995), post #29
Chapter 4: The Laser Cycles/Lasercyles (1995), post #30
Chapter 5: The Cyberjets/Mini-Jets (1995), post #36
Chapter 6: The Auto Rollers/Autorollers (1995), post #39
Chapter 7: The Go-Bots/Gobots (1995); part 1, post #40; part 2, post #41; part 3, post #42; part 4, post #46; part 5, post #47
Chapter 8: Laser Optimus Prime/Laser Rod Optimus Prime (1995), post #56
Chapter 9: Dreadwing/Stealth Assault/Ace Evader (1994) and ATB Megatron (1995), post #62
Chapter 10: The Power Masters/Powermasters (1995); part 1, post #64; part 2, post #65

Edited by Nevermore, 25 August 2019 - 03:00 PM.

aR2oX8u.jpg
Big thanks to my dad for playing along with this visual recreation.

#2 Nevermore

Nevermore

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 05:03 PM

Introduction, part 1: Distribution and the "wave" system

The "wave" system we know today didn't exist yet back during the original Transformers toyline (or "Generation 1" for those brand revisionists among you). There were assortments, sure, but they largely remained the same throughout the entire year. In fact, the aforementioned situation with Skids was one of the few, rare exceptions, and it can indeed be considered the ur-example of what we consider the "wave" system these days.

No, normally, retailers would order an assortment, and the content of said assortment (i.e. the case assortment) would remain the same regardless of which month the retailer would order (or re-order) it. If the content of an assortment changed, that would usually mean the assortment itself would change, and retailers had to specifically order that new assortment separately.

For example, the Autobot Cars were originally shipped as one assortment in 1984 (with the assortment number 5750), then in 1985 there would be two separate Autobot Cars assortments (assortment numbers 5765 and 5766), each of which contained re-releases of six of the 1984 assortment (each packed one per case, including Skids) and three of the new toys introduced in 1985 (each packed two per case), with no figures shared between the two assortments. The 1986 Autobot Cars assortment (assortment number 5767) then featured the three new figures of that year (Hot Rod, Kup and Blurr, each packed four per case).

Likewise, the original 1984 Mini-Cars assortment had the assortment number 5700, then 1985 featured both a Mini-Cars assortment that contained only the 1984 figures (assortment number 5709) with an included "Motorized Transformer" (or "Mini-Spy", as they were called in the TV commercial), and then a new "Mini-Vehicles" assortment (number 5710) that introduced the new 1985 figures (which weren't all cars, hence the name change) alongside re-releses of the 1984 figures, and then the 1986 Mini-Vehicles assortment (number 5711) introduced the new 1986 figures in addition to re-releases of the 1985 figures (and the sole remaining 1984 figure, Bumblebee). The Decepticon Planes, the Cassettes, the Triple Changers, even the Dinobots, the "Special Team" combiner members and various other toys also each had multiple separate assortments, despite being sold under the same price points and even sharing several figures between them.

Here is a Hasbro shipping case of the 1985 Decepticon Triple Changers assortment (5735, as opposed to 1986's mixed-faction assortment 5736):
G1-Triple-Changers-shipping-case.jpg

And just like the two 1985 Autobot Cars assortments, there were sometimes even multiple concurrently available assortments for the same price points, with no figures shared between them: For example, 1988 had two separate Large Pretenders assortments (numbers 5990 and 5991), each of which featured three Autobot and three Decepticon figures (each packed two per case), and both of which continued shipping the subsequent year; 1989 had two separate Micromaster Patrol assortments (numbers 5505 and 5506), each of which featured three patrols (each packed eight per case; for more on some of the oddities regarding those, see my ongoing research in the aforementioned Skids thread), and the same happened again with the 1990 Patrols (assortment numbers 5503 and 5504).

Here is a (European) Hasbro shipping case for the second of the two 1990 Micromaster Patrols assortments (featuring the Monster Trucks Patrol, the Hot Rod Patrol and the Military Patrol). The number "2" is crossed out and has a "4" written over it by hand, supposedly because someone had forgotten to count the two Micromaster Patrols assortments released the previous year.
G1-Micromaster-shipping-case.jpg

Likewise, 1990 had no fewer than three different Action Master figure assortments (numbers 5700, 5710 and 5715), each of which featured six different figures (each packed two per case), with 1991 introducing a fourth (number 5080) with six new figures (again each packed two per case), which were primarily available in Europe.

Here are Hasbro shipping cases for two of the 1990 assortments, featuring Soundwave, Treadshot, Grimlock, Jazz, Rad and Rollout (number 5700, each packed two per case), and Shockwave, Banzai-Tron, Inferno, Snarl, Skyfall and Kick-Off (number 5715, each packed two per case):
G1-Action-Masters-shipping-case.jpg

In addition, each subsequent year introduced new gimmick-specific price points, which continued all the way through the European-only continuation of the original Transformers line after 1990, and Hasbro's 1993-onwards Generation 2 relaunch of the brand in the United States.

Please be advised that this assortment overview, with the exception of the Micromasters and the Action Masters, mostly applies to toys released in the United States and Canada. At least during the early years, European releases came in their own assortments which were often very different from those available elswehere. Notably, the Autobot Cars (or "Robot Cars") distributed in continental Europe by Hasbro's subsidiary Milton Bradley in 1985 had the assortment number 9123, and the Mini-Vehicles were available as the assortments 9100 and 9125, to name just a few differences. (Curiously, the cardbacks for the 9100 Mini-Vehicles featured both the original US assortment number and the European-exclusive assortment number.)

And while some (but not all) of the Autobots Cars (or "Autorobot", without a plural-"s" because of Italian grammar rules) distributed by licensee GiG in Italy featured the same assortment number (5720) as their United States counterparts on their packaging, this doesn't necessarily mean that they were actually released under this assortment number, since GiG's packaging often carried over elements of the toys' Hasbro (and sometimes also Takara!) counterparts' packaging regardless of wether they made sense for the Italian market or not.

Needless to say, this whole system didn't exactly make it easy for retailers to distribute the toys. All those numerous price points and assortments guaranteed that someone would eventually lose track of what toys they had to order. So something had to change.

In retrospect, the Beast Wars line, and with it Hasbro's subsidiary Kenner that initially handled the line before Hasbro took back control of the brand, is widely credited for introducing the "wave" system: Instead of offering a plethora of different assortments and price points to retailers, which they all had to order separately, Hasbro/Kenner would streamline their output into a smaller number of standardized assortments, with all but the largest toys having to fit into one of those assortments. Gimmicks would also be standardized and shared between the various price points. If a new gimmick were to be introduced, the new toys could easily still be released as part of those existing assortments, which really wouldn't have to change until a new toy line were to begin. And the way to introduce new toys into the existing assortments was by releasing them as "waves".

Under this system, retailers didn't have to specifically order the new product; rather, Hasbro/Kenner would simply change the case assortments at the manufacturer level, and add the new product into the existing assortments and then ship them out to the retailers, who didn't have to do anything except for reordering the existing assortments once they were running out of stock, and if everything went well, the new shipments would contain the new product.

Now, the term "wave" wasn't used yet by this point; if you check out these Beast Wars shipping cases, they all still simply say "assortment". (For those who care, those are: 80325.14 = 1997 Mega Beasts assortment/wave 4, featuring new figure Transquito and more of Inferno and B'Boom; 802950001 = 1998 Basic Beasts/"Fuzors" assortment/wave 9, featuring Air Hammer, Quickstrike, Terragator, Noctorro, Buzzclaw and Bantor; and 80415.0002 = 1999 Basic Transmetals assortment/wave 3, featuring new figure Nightglider and more of Scarem, Sonar, Optimus Minor, Spittor and Stinkbomb.)
Beast-Wars-Animals-shipping-case.jpg Beast-Wars-Mega-Beasts-shipping-case.jpg Beast-Wars-Transmetals-shipping-case.jpg

Just when exactly the term "wave" started appearing on Hasbro shipping cases isn't fully known yet; it does certainly appear on cases from the 2001 Robots in Disguise line, so it was either this or its predecessor Beast Machines that made the term official. Here are shipping cases of the RID Mega assortment's waves 1 (number 805950001, supposedly featuring Sky-Byte and the Dark Scream/Gas Skunk/Slapper three-pack, each packed three per case) and 3 (number 805950003, featuring Sky-Byte, Dark Scream/Gas Skunk/Slapper, Railspike, Rapid Run and Midnight Express, with Sky-Byte packed two per case):
Robots-in-Disguise-Mega-shipping-case-1. Robots-in-Disguise-Mega-shipping-case-2.

However, a widely ignored factoid in this story is the fact that Beast Wars was not the first Transformers line to feature the "wave" system. In fact, that honor belongs to the final year of the Generation 2 line... which wasn't really officially named "Generation 2" anymore by that point. The reason why G2's contribution is commonly overlooked is because half the 1995 assortments didn't actually get their planned second waves to the market before the line was canceled in favor of the then-upcoming launch of Beast Wars!


Recommended additional reading:

  • Though the Hartmans' old website has been offline for well over a decade, it's still accessible through the Wayback Machine, and to this very day, it still features the most in-depth listings of Hasbro's United States case assortments between 1984 and 2004. You can check it out for yourself >here<.
  • Mijo is collecting European Transformers toys distributed by Milton Bradley and has given many of them a rare spotlight. Check out his website, "20th Century Toy Collector", >here<.
  • Maz's old article on the Milton Bradley Transformers may be a little outdated in light of Mijo's subsequent discoveries, but it still contains some images of those rare MB-packaged toys nonetheless. >Link<

Acknowledgements:

  • Thanks to Paul Hitchens of Spacebridge.net for letting me use his photo of the Action Master cases.

Edited by Nevermore, 23 June 2019 - 08:06 AM.

aR2oX8u.jpg
Big thanks to my dad for playing along with this visual recreation.

#3 Nevermore

Nevermore

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 05:36 PM

Introduction, part 2: Multilingual packaging and worldwide packaging variants (United States, Canada and Latin America)

Because this is going to be an exhaustive investigation, I won't just discuss the most common versions of these toys everyone is familiar with, the United States releases in English-only packaging. No, I will try to look at all the various releases of these toys in all the various markets supplied by Hasbro or one of their subsidiaries or licensees. The only major market I won't cover is Japan, because not only was Takara's "G2" line very different from Hasbro's version (featuring only a small selection of the figures released by Hasbro), but the entire Japanese distribution system operates under entirely different, fairly unique rules, and therefore, they are pretty much irrelevant to the topic at hand.

In any regard, Transformers releases outside Japan can generally be divided into two major regions: "Europe" and "everywhere else", the latter of which includes the United States.

The United States traditionally had toys in English-only packaging. So did Australia and New Zealand, which eventually got toys in the same packaging the United States did (with legal information and customer service details for Hasbro's Australian and New Zealand offices). Canada, meanwhile, got toys in bilingual English/French packaging, often featuring alternate French names for each character.

Here is an original G1 Soundwave in US packaging (left) and his Canadian counterpart "Radar" (right):
G1-Soundwave-US-CA.jpg

In Latin America, domestic companies initially released toys under license from Hasbro, usually in their own unique Spanish-only packaging, such as Plasticos IGA in Mexico, Antex in Argentina, Lynsa in Peru and Chile, and Rubiplas in Venezuela, whereas Brazil got toys in Portuguese-only packaging distributed by Estrela. Most of these companies only released a limited variety of the smaller figures in a rainbow of color variants (mostly just the Mini-Cars, plus the Jumpstarters in Antex and Estrela's case), with the exception of IGA, which released a fair amount of Hasbro's output up until early 1986 before discontinuing the line.

Here is an original G1 Skywarp in US packaging (left) and his Mexican counterpart sporting a purple nosecone (right):
G1-Skywarp-US-MX.jpg

Here is the Estrela version of "Sedan" (better known as "Bumblejumper" or "Bumper"), complete with his own package art:
Estrela-Sedan.jpg

With Beast Wars, Canadian packaging became trilingual (English, French and Spanish), adopting Spanish so the packaging could double for toys distributed in Latin America. If you see toys with the clunky triple title Beast Wars / Guerre des Bêtes / Guerra de Bestias, it's this version.

Here is Beast Wars Transmetals 2 Jawbreaker in US packaging (left), Canadian/Latin American packaging (second from left, with the alternate names "Brisefer", i.e. "iron-breaker" or "klutz", in French, and "Rompemandíbula", i.e. "jawbreaker", in Spanish) and two European packaging versions (the two on the right, retaining his early working name "Cackle" in both cases) which I'm going to discuss in more detail in part 3:
Beast-Wars-Jawbreaker-Cackle-US-CA-EU.jp

Likewise, those same markets subsequently got trilingual Beast Machines / Mécanimaux / Mecanibestias packaging. See part 3 for a comparison.

With the launch of the Robots in Disguise line in 2001, English-only packaging was dropped entirely as a cost-cutting measure, and thus the United States also got trilingual Robots in Disguise / Robots Déguisés / Robots Camuflados packaging. (The exception were exclusives such as the "Tiny Tin" Spy Changers and the KB Toys exclusive Spy Changer redecos, which were still available in English-only packaging.) Again, see part 3 for a comparison with European packaging.

Trilingual packaging continued throughout Armada, Energon, Universe and the first few assortment of the Alternators line, until the launch of 2005's Cybertron line and the second Alternators assortment heralded the return of English-only packaging for the United States (and Australia and New Zealand) for another decade.

Canadian/Latin American packaging added Portuguese as a fourth language in the middle of the 2009 movie Revenge of the Fallen's accompanying toyline. However, for the next few years, this wouldn't be used consistently; for example, both Canadian/Latin American Transformers: Prime (including the Beast Hunters subline) and Thrilling 30 packaging only featured English, French and Spanish texts, whereas Dark of the Moon packaging also featured Portuguese. (The exception were some store exclusives that were never intended to be released in Latin America, which were instead available in bilingual English/French packaging.)

Here is Revenge of the Fallen Deluxe Class Cannon Bumblebee in US packaging (left), Canadian/Latin American packaging (center) and European packaging (right). At least on the front, Canadian/Latin American packaging looks horribly cluttered while European packaging opts for a cleaner, language-neutral look.
Revenge-of-the-Fallen-Cannon-Bumblebee-U

With the launch of the second Robots in Disguise line and the Combiner Wars line in late 2014/early 2015, the United States once more dropped English-only packaging for the most part, now limiting it to things like the Combiner Wars Deluxe Class figures that included comic books (as opposed to the international versions, which instead featured character cards like the line's other price points) or electronic Robots in Disguise figures with sound chips (with English phrases for the English-only packaging and fewer language-neutral sound clips for the international versions in multilingual packaging). At the same time, Portuguese texts finally became a permanent fixture that didn't come and go depending on the line anymore.


Recommended additional reading:

  • Maz wrote waaaay too many articles on international G1 toy releases for me to list them all. Among them are lots of articles about the IGA toys (>link<) and other Latin American Minibots (>link<).
  • TransformersFR.com, featuring photos of Canadian-released toys: >Link<
  • Antique Transformers and More, featuring photos of boxed and carded Transformers toys from all over the world: >Link<

Edited by Nevermore, 14 March 2020 - 08:12 AM.

aR2oX8u.jpg
Big thanks to my dad for playing along with this visual recreation.

#4 Nevermore

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 05:58 PM

Introduction, part 3: Multilingual packaging and worldwide packaging variants (Europe)

Europe, meanwhile, started out very complicated before becoming streamlined as well:

The United Kingdom traditionally had toys in English-only packaging ever since 1984, although that packaging was not 100% identical to the English-only US packaging for those same toys.

Meanwhile, over in continental Europe, Hasbro's subsidiary Milton Bradley started releasing toys in multilingual German/French/Dutch/Spanish packaging in 1985. Here are the unique single-carded MB releases of Ravage and Laserbeak:
G1-Ravage-Laserbeak-MB.jpg

In 1986, German was replaced with English, and the "MB" branding with the familiar "Hasbro" logo. Here is a comparison between the 1985 "MB"-branded release of Tracks (in red, because it was actually a repackaged Diaclone figure obtained from European Takara licensee Ceji/Joustra) and the properly-colored blue 1986 "Hasbro"-branded re-release:
G1-Tracks-European-MB-Hasbro.jpg

Here are three European versions of Soundwave: The original 1985 "MB"-branded release in German/French/Dutch/Spanish packaging (left), an early 1986 "Hasbro"-branded re-release in German/French/Dutch/Spanish packaging (center), and the later 1986 "Hasbro"-branded version in English/French/Dutch/Spanish packaging (right).
G1-Soundwave-European-MB-Hasbro.jpg

Either in 1986 or 1987, the number of languages on the newer toys' packaging was then reduced to simply French/Dutch.

Meanwhile, over in Italy, a company named GiG (not "GiGi"!) had originally held a license for Diaclone toys from Takara, but acquired a license from Hasbro to release Transformers toys proper in 1985. Those GiG toys in Italian-only packaging typically featured their own unique Italian names, and up until 1988, the packaging also featured a smaller version of the Trasformer logo (the title GiG had initially released the Takara-licensed Diaclone toys under) in addition to the main Transformers title.

Here are two European versions of G1 Hound, an MB-branded European Hound (left) and his GiG counterpart "Canguro" (right):
G1-Hound-MB-Canguro-Gi-G.jpg

Thanks to GiG's existing business relationship with Takara, some toys were also released in packaging based on their Takara counterparts as opposed to Hasbro's packaging layouts. Here is a comparison between the boxed Takara version of the Constructicon Mixmaster (left) and his GiG counterpart "Rollo" (right), even retaining his Japanese ID number 34:
G1-Mixmaster-Takara-Rollo-Gi-G.jpg

And here are the boxed Takara versions of the Throttlebots Chase and Goldbug aka "Goldback" (left) compared to their GiG releases "Scoutbot" and "Wagenbot" (right), again retaining their Japanese ID numbers C-94 and C-97:
G1-Chase-Takara-Scoutbot-Gi-G.jpg G1-Goldback-Takara-Wagenbot-Gi-G.jpg

Instead of the "Pretender Classics" Bumblebee, Jazz, Grimlock and Starscream, or their single carded "Legends" releases (available as Kmart exclusives in the United States), GiG released them as a box set, called "Set Commandos", with not only the packaging design being directly based on Takara's "Hero Set" release of the figures, but also the decos of the figures themselves featuring the same subtle differences compared to their Hasbro counterparts available in the United States, Canada and the rest of Europe. (Oddly, though, none of the individual figures from the set used the established Italian market names for those characters; instead, each of them featured the established name of a different Transformers character.) Here are both sets side by side:
G1-Hero-Set-Takara-Set-Commandos-Gi-G.jp

Even an otherwise Takara-exclusive figure was released by GiG: Here is the Takara release of Galaxy Shuttle (left) compared to its GiG counterpart (right), for once without an alternate Italian market name.
Galaxy-Shuttle-Takara-Gi-G.jpg

By 1990, GiG's line-up and overall packaging design had been mostly streamlined with Hasbro's releases elsewhere in Europe, although the alternate Italian market names still persisted.

Additionally, a company named El Greco released some of the Mini-Vehicles in Greece in 1985, in Greek-only packaging, followed in 1990 by Defensor and Devastator giftsets that were apparently co-produced with GiG due to the very similar packaging designs (including GiG's old "Trasformer" logo).
G1-Devastator-IT-Excavator-GR.jpg

Spanish-only packaging began appearing in either 1989 or 1990. Here are four versions of "Classic Stunticon" Drag Strip from 1990: English (left), French/Dutch (second from left), Spanish (second from right) and Italian (right).
G1-Classic-Stunticon-Drag-Strip-EN-FR-NL

After Hasbro had canceled the Transformers line in the United States, it continued with new toys (as well as the aforementioned "Classic" reissues of older toys) in Europe, as well as Canada and Australia.

In 1992, English-only and Spanish-only packaging were replaced by bilingual English/Spanish packaging. Bizarrely, many of the toys from 1992 and 1993 had different names for the English/Spanish and French/Dutch packaging variants, although all of them were names comprised of English words! (Prior to this, the only name variant outside Italy was the Spanish release of the 1991 "Classic Combaticon" Onslaught, who was named "Oslat" and appears to be the most common packaging variant of that toy in the aftermarket.)

Here are four versions of Turbomaster Rotorstorm: Canadian English/French (upper left, named "Storm · Tempête"), European English/Spanish (upper right, named "Rotorstorm"), European French/Dutch (lower left, named "Storm") and European Italian (lower right, named "Rotor").
Turbomaster-Rotorstorm-CA-EN-ES-FR-NL-IT

Please note that the alternate market names weren't always that close to each other. For example, Thunder Clash's French/Dutch name was "Eagle", and his Italian name was "Uragan", whereas Fearswoop's French/Dutch name was "Black Omen".

With the launch of the European version of the Generation 2 line in 1994 (a year later than in the US), the two bilingual packaging variants both added a third language, now becoming trilingual English/Spanish/Portuguese and French/Dutch/German. GiG-branded packaging continued being Italian-only.

With the launch of the Beast Wars line in 1996, Italian was merged with one of the two trilingual packaging variants, which dropped Portuguese and became English/Spanish/Italian (featuring the double title Beast Wars / Biocombat and additional names for each character for the Italian market in addition to the regular English names). GiG's logo was still featured on the back of the packaging until 1998. The French/Dutch/German version, meanwhile, featured the double title Beast Wars / Ani Mutants and renamed the Predacons into "Predators".

Here is a comparison between both trilingual European versions of Beast Wars Airazor (featuring the alternate Italian market name "Falcon") and Inferno (featuring the alternate Italian market name "Formicula", late Latin for "small ant"):
Beast-Wars-Airazor-EU-Biocombat-Ani-Muta Beast-Wars-Inferno-EU-Biocombat-Ani-Muta

With the launch of the Fuzors and the Transmetals sub-lines, GiG was finally dropped as Hasbro's Italian licensee and replaced with the newly-created Italian Hasbro subsidiary. Additionally, the instruction sheets added texts in Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish, but those languages were not featured on the packaging. Meanwhile, French/Dutch/German packaging continued.

Curiously, there are even two European-exclusive VHS pack "Transmetal" redecos of Claw Jaw and Spittor that were available in packaging featuring a unique English/German/Italian language combination, with Claw Jaw featuring the alternate Italian market name "Octopus", while Spittor is quite possibly the only toy in existence to feature the unique combination "Predacon/Predator" on the same packaging!
Beast-Wars-Video-Packs-Claw-Jaw-Spittor-

Beast Machines continued the regular language combinations established by Beast Wars. The French/Dutch/German version featured the double title Beast Machines / Ani Machines, while English/Spanish/Italian packaging was simply titled Beast Machines. Here is Beast Machines Mega Cheetor in US packaging (upper left), Canadian/Latin American packaging (upper right, with the alternate names "Vélocitor" for Quebec and "Chitor" for Latin America), and both European packaging versions (the two bottom ones).
Beast-Machines-Cheetor-US-CA-EU.jpg

2001's Robots in Disguise line then merged the two remaining European packaging variants into one, dropping two languages (Spanish and Italian) in the process, thereby now becoming English/French/Dutch/German (featuring the triple title Robots in Disguise / Les Robots Mutants / Getarnte Roboter). Alternate names also ceased being a regular occurence by this point. Here is a comparison of Robots in Disguise Deluxe X-Brawn in trilingual US/Canadian/Latin American packaging (left) and European packaging (right).
Robots-in-Disguise-X-Brawn-US-EU.jpg

2002's Armada line then added the two previously dropped languages again, now making European packaging English/French/Dutch/German/Italian/Spanish, with the Mini-Cons being called "Minimodus" in French and Spanish and "Miniteam" in Dutch. Here is a comparison between the trilingual Pan-American version (top) and the European version (bottom) of Armada Hot Shot:
Armada-Hot-Shot-US-EU.jpg

After the 2004 Energon line had continued with six languages, 2005's Cybertron line doubled the number of languages featured on European packaging, adding Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Greek, Polish and Turkish, which was continued throughout the 2006 Classics, 2007 Transformers movie, 2008 Universe, Transformers Animated and Revenge of the Fallen lines.

Here is 2007 Movie Deluxe Class Bumblebee in US (left), Canadian/Latin American (center) and European (right) packaging Note how the Canadian/Latin American packaging omits the bio on the back entirely, whereas the European version features a heavily truncated bio in twelve languages:
Movie-Deluxe-2007-Camaro-Bumblebee-US-CA

2011's Transformers: Prime line added Russian, bringing the number of languages on European packaging up to thirteen. Additional safety warning labels were sometimes added in even more languages, and the instructions featured texts in no less than seventeen different languages (including Hungarian, Czech and Slovakian). Thankfully, this marked the peak of cluttered European packaging.

Here is Beast Hunters Cyberverse Legion Class Prowl in United States/Australian/New Zealand packaging (left), Canadian/Latin American packaging (center) and European packaging (right). Note how the multilingual warning label on the back makes the toy appear like a giant safety hazard.
Beast-Hunters-Legion-Prowl-US-CA-EU.jpg

Here is Generations Thrilling 30 Deluxe Class Trailcutter in US packaging including a comic book (left), Canadian packaging without a comic book and a wave-wide sticker depicting Orion Pax's package art (center) and "compact" European packaging without a comic book and featuring his own package art (right):
Thrilling-30-Trailcutter-US-CA-EU.jpg

With the launch of the second Robots in Disguise line and the Combiner Wars line in late 2014/early 2015, European packaging dropped nine languages again, now becoming English/French/German/Spanish, which is still being used as of this writing. Additional languages are mostly limited to the instructions, which now count an impressive 25 (twenty-five) languages, including Romanian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Croatian, Slovenian, Ukrainian and Arabic, among others.

Even though both European and United States/Canadian/Latin American/Australian/New Zealand packaging feature four languages these days, with three languages even being shared between them, they're not to be confused, and even the "same" languages are not identical, as "European" French and "Canadian" French, as well as "European" Spanish and "Latin American" Spanish, feature numerous differences in grammar, spelling and vocabulary. Despite this, English texts on European packaging mostly remain faithful to whatever is used on United States packaging (the occasional truncated texts due to space limitations nonwithstanding), rather than featuring overly blatant "British" spelling and terminology.

Here is a comparison between Generations Titans Return Deluxe Class Wolfwire's United States/Canadian/Latin American packaging (top) and its European counterpart (bottom):
Titans-Return-Deluxe-Wolfwire-US-EU.jpg


Now with all this out of the way... let's finally turn our attention to what we've actually come here for: The Generation 2 line.

Recommended additional reading:

  • I already mentioned "20th Century Toy Collector", Mijo's site which documents the Milton Bradley G1 toys, in the first part, but here it is again: >Link<.
  • Maz wrote waaaay too many articles on international G1 toy releases for me to list them all. Particularly recommended is "The Chicken or the GiG", which elaborates on the exact relationship between GiG, Takara and Hasbro: >Part 1< and >part 2<.
  • Puffmarko's GiG collection: >Link<
  • Antique Transformers and More, featuring photos of boxed and carded Transformers toys from all over the world: >Link<

Acknowledgements:


Edited by Nevermore, 14 March 2020 - 09:31 AM.

aR2oX8u.jpg
Big thanks to my dad for playing along with this visual recreation.

#5 Nevermore

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 06:45 PM

Chapter 1: The Dinobots (1993)

Hasbro's decision to introduce "waves" didn't happen overnight. Like many new features of the brand, it happened gradually. In retrospect, what happened in 1995 can be traced back to something Hasbro did two years earlier, in 1993: Releasing toys in several "running change" color variants.

The poster children of "color variant" running changes during the Generation 2 line are, without a doubt, the G2 re-releases of the Dinobots Grimock, Slag and Snarl. All three were initially released in their original gray/silver Generation 1 colors. Supposedly, those are the rarest versions of them; in fact, I could not find any evidence of them being ever available in those colors in any markets other than the United States and Canada, where they were supposedly first available at retail in late 1992, as an "early release" of the following year's product output at the tail end of the old year. Here they are in packaging:
Dinobots-Grimlock-gray-US.jpg Dinobots-Slag-gray-US.jpg Dinobots-Snarl-gray-US.jpg

The second variants for each released were a turquoise version of Grimlock, a red version of Slag, and a green version of Snarl. Again, I could not find any evidence of any internatonal releases of these versions. Here they are in their United States packaging:
Dinobots-Grimlock-turquoise-US.jpg Dinobots-Slag-red-US.jpg Dinobots-Snarl-green-US.jpg

And lastly, for the third and by far most common variants, Grimlock's main color was changed from turquoise to a dark blue, whereas Slag and Snarl's main colors were swapped, with Slag becoming green and Snarl becoming red. Here they are in their United States packaging:
Dinobots-Grimlock-blue-US.jpg Dinobots-Slag-green-US.jpg Dinobots-Snarl-red-US.jpg

I did also find early packaged samples of "green" Slag and "red" Snarl with green "Hasbro Standard" tags, thus suggesting that these were indeed the "main" versions for those two figures as far as Hasbro was concerned:
Dinobots-Slag-green-US-Hasbro-standard.j Dinobots-Snarl-red-US-Hasbro-standard.jp

On the other hand, there is also this "prototype packaging" for Grimlock that features the "gray" version of the figure.
Dinobots-Grimlock-gray-US-prototype-pack

Now, during my research for this little project, I did realize that wow, packaged Generation 2 figures in bilingual English/French Canadian packaging appear to be insanely rare in the aftermarket. Supposedly, that is because Canadian Transformers fans generally tend not to care much for their own domestic packaging, because quite frankly, the bilingual texts and names look godawfully ugly. (Newsflash: Try European packaging!) Therefore, collectors will be more likely to keep, sell and buy English-only US packaging, which looks considerably cleaner and a lot less cluttered. However, because I care for all these insane international packaging variants, I tried to track down as many Canadian-packaged Generation 2 figures as I could just for reference.

Here is a very rare "gray" Slag in bilingual English/French Canadian packaging:
Dinobots-Slag-gray-CA.jpg

And here is "red" Snarl in bilingual English/French Canadian packaging:
Dinobots-Snarl-red-CA.jpg

As you can see, Slag has the additional French name "Scories" (a literal translation of "slag"), whereas Snarl has the additional French name "Grondeur" ("scolding"), which were also their respective alternate French name on the Canadian packaging of their original Generation 1 figures, as well as Snarl's 1990 "Action Master" figure, so at least Hasbro showed consistency here. You can also see that G2 Grimlock's alternate French name for Canada was "La Menace" ("the menace"), which was also consistent with his original Generation 1 figure, his 1989 "Pretender Classics" figure and his 1990 "Action Master" figure. Also note how like the United States releases, the Canadian version of Snarl also features packaging art depicting the toy's Generation 1 color scheme, even though the figure itself has different colors.

Now the Generation 2 line didn't properly start in Europe until 1994, a year later than in the United States and Canada. Instead, Europe, which had seen the release of new, Europe-original Transformers toys for the past few years follwing the original line's cancellation in the United States in 1990, continued their own version of the brand throughout 1993 with new figures, some of which were rebranded and renamed (and sometimes also redecoed) as part of the Generation 2 line in North America, which causes some really confusing identity differences for some toys.

Hasbro's European markets did finally get their own version of the Generation 2 line proper in 1994, but the delayed rebranding of the line apparently meant that some toys fell through the cracks. Originally I thought the Dinobots were among them; however, it appears the European-packaged versions are simply extremely rare in the aftermarket. I did manage to find photos of the blue version of Grimlock and the green version of Slag in English/Spanish/Portuguese packaging:
Dinobots-Grimlock-blue-EN-ES-PT.jpg Dinobots-Slag-green-EN-ES-PT.jpg

Note how unlike the clamshell packaging used for the United States and Canadian releases, the European versions were sold on "regular" blister cards. Also note how unlike the United States and Canadian releases, the European versions' packaging features recolored package art that matches the toys!

The most common European-packaged releases of the Generation 2 Dinobots appear to be the Italian versions. In Italy, longtime Hasbro (and Takara) licensee GiG released the Generation 2 "Dinorobots" in their most common color schemes, with all three of them retaining the same Italian-market names as their Generation 1 counterparts, which in turn were all wordplays based on their alternate modes: The blue version of Grimlock was named "Tiran" (for "Tyrannosaurus rex") again, the green version of Slag was named "Tricex" (for "Triceratops") again, and the red version of Snarl was named "Stego" (for "Stegosaurus") again.
Dinorobots-Tiran-blue-IT.jpg Dinorobots-Tricex-green-IT.jpg Dinorobots-Stego-red-IT.jpg

Also note how the packaging for all three figures again features recolored package art that matches the toys.

Apparently, Hasbro also had plans to release the remaining two Dinobots, Sludge and Swoop, as well as a entirely differently-colored version of Grimlock as part of the Generation 2 line. Package art surfaced on eBay over a decade ago, supposedly originating from the collection of a former Hasbro employee, and was later published in the 2014 book Legacy: The Art of Transformers Packaging by Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster. Now whether these were truly planned as "proper" second wave, as the book implies, or whether they had been among very early plans for the G2 line before it was decided to release Grimlock, Slag and Snarl in less flashy decos, is up for debate.
Dinobots-wave-2-Grimlock.jpg Dinobots-wave-2-Sludge.jpg Dinobots-wave-2-Swoop.jpg


Recommended additional reading:
  • The book Legacy: The Art of Transformers Packaging by Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster is getting a paperback re-release leater this year. >Amazon link<
Acknowledgements:

Edited by Nevermore, 06 April 2020 - 04:01 AM.

aR2oX8u.jpg
Big thanks to my dad for playing along with this visual recreation.

#6 lastmaximal

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 09:24 AM

This has been a lovely, thorough thesis.



SO OKAY IT'S AVERAGE
Virtually every custom as good as the title suggests!
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#7 Cybersnark

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 09:51 AM

and if everything went well, the new shipments would contain the new product.


NARRATOR: It did not go well.

#8 Powered Convoy

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 10:15 AM

I've enjoyed it too.

 

Surprised that Gig used packaging similar to Takara's.


Also reminds me what a waste of packaging those G2 Dinobots had (so much card stock space).


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#9 Blot

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 10:42 AM

I forgot how funny it is to see a packaging call-out on what is the G1 Grimlock mold say "fully articulated motion".



#10 D Buster Prime

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 10:58 AM

This is so much detailed information, I can barely stand it.

...

Can't wait for more!

VOTE FOR SIDEWAYS:

He's on your side...except when he isn't!

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#11 Msol

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 11:04 AM

Anecdotal and hard to prove: As a Canadian growing up near Montreal, I had a grey G2 Slag. A classmate of mine had a grey Snarl. Got mine at Christmas (92, I guess?).

Its possible my parents did cross-border shopping and brought it up from the USA though!

#12 Nevermore

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 03:40 PM

Does anyone know a way of contacting Ben Yee? I'd like to request his permission to use some photos from his site for a future chapter. I already tried via Youtube and an old email address, but never got any response to either.

Edited by Nevermore, 10 June 2019 - 03:46 PM.

aR2oX8u.jpg
Big thanks to my dad for playing along with this visual recreation.

#13 ThunderWear

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 04:16 PM

Does anyone know a way of contacting Ben Yee? I'd like to request his permission to use some photos from his site for a future chapter. I already tried via Youtube and an old email address, but never got any response to either.


He replied back to me within a day or two last year when I messaged the BWTF Facebook page.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯


#14 Nevermore

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 05:03 PM

That's good to know! However, I don't have Facebook. Any chance you could ask him to check his Youtube channel's discussion section? Its not like there's a lot of activity, so he should be able to find my inquiry without a problem.
aR2oX8u.jpg
Big thanks to my dad for playing along with this visual recreation.

#15 ThunderWear

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 05:42 PM

That's good to know! However, I don't have Facebook. Any chance you could ask him to check his Youtube channel's discussion section? Its not like there's a lot of activity, so he should be able to find my inquiry without a problem.


Consider it done. I'll message you if he responds with anything besides a message saying he'll get ahold of you.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯


#16 Kalidor

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 05:47 PM

I've reached out. Check your PM



#17 Have a Pickle

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 06:45 PM

Dig the article. Nice job!

#18 Nevermore

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 05:54 AM

Some minor updates:

- Added a brief bit about the Italian "Set Commandos" release.
- More importantly, the G2 Dinobots were released in Europe after all! Added a photo of blue Grimlock in European packaging, several sections have been rewritten to reflect this new information.

Edited by Nevermore, 11 June 2019 - 05:54 AM.

aR2oX8u.jpg
Big thanks to my dad for playing along with this visual recreation.

#19 Nevermore

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 06:12 PM

Added a photo of a European-released green Slag!
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#20 Have a Pickle

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 07:55 PM

I knew I had seen them advertised on Euro card backs. That part of the article confused me at first.



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