February 23, 2016

Articles: Transformers Jr.



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Lots of items were released in Japan by Takara/Seven that sported that fantastically iconic "TF" logo somewhere on the box. None more awesome than the Jr. line. Predominantly denoted by a "Jr" under the "TF" logo, these treasures were released exclusively in Japanese stores (both toy and convenience alike) from 1986 onwards. This is, in the robot world, a relatively small sub line to collect. It's finite. However it's not at all an easy line to complete as some are brutally difficult to find.




To have complete insight we must first take a look at the origin. Like their bigger brother, Raiden Jr. started life in the Diaclone line (along with the Lamborghini Countach LP500S in yellow/Sunstreaker for Takara/Seven's "TF" line). They were paired up and offered on card. These pairings translated to the Transformers Jr. line in boxes in addition to the Raiden Jr. gift set of all 6. Interestingly that wasn't the only translation. For whatever reason C-129 colour scheme from Train Robo #11 of the Diaclone line.

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The Junior figures themselves initially began as TF: "Gokin".




- Convoy
- Soundwave
- Ultra Magnus

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After that they were officially packaged as Transformers Jr. 


1987













- Rodimus Convoy
 - Metroplex (black chest sticker)
 - Metroplex (silver chest sticker)
 - Tyrpticon
 - Ultra Magnus Jr. w/Glavatron decoy gift set
- Soundblaster
 - Chromedome
 - Trainbot Jr. double set #1 C-125/C-129 (Train Robo #11 colours)
 - Trainbot Jr. double set #2 C-130/C-126
 - Trainbot Jr. double set #3 C-128/C-127
 - C-131 Raiden Jr. Giftset (C-129/Diaclone Train Robo #11)
 - Chromedome Jr. w/Rodimus Convoy decoy

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1988








 - Fortress Maximus (interestingly released in 1988)
- Super Jinrai single #1
 - God Ginrai single #2
 - God Ginrai gift set w/Godbomber accessories
 - Grand Maximus

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1989








 - Star Saber single
 - Star Saber gift set (with black camera)
 - Star Saber black camera single
 - Star Saber blue camera single
 - Star Saber red camera single
 - Star Saber Pistol set
 - Jr. 3 pack: Convoy, Chromedome and Fortress Maximus

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1989/1990




-Lucky Draw Jr. gift set


Ultra Magnus Jr. for size comparison


At the tail-end of the Jr line, a large '5 years of leaders' gift set was given away as a prize in extremely small numbers. The campaign through which this was offered is unknown.
6 Jr toys were actually included: Convoy, Rodimus Convoy, Fortress Maximus, Super Jinrai and God Ginrai and finally Star Saber. The toys were the same as their regular production counterparts and all 6 were offered side by side in one extremely long white mail-away box with blue Japanese writing. An astonishingly cool piece.

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That's it for the Jrs. An exciting subset of vintage Transformers that got its origins again from Diaclone. I absolutely adore them.

....but what other items did Takara/Seven produce for their "TF" line? Oh, pretty much everything...



...no, really.

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February 20, 2016

RobotPoints Store update!






Well, it's been a long time since the last post so I thought I'd get the ball rolling with an update to the store. As well as whole host of new additions; the store has been separated into two sections. Vintage and Modern. The selection is also now more refined, focusing solely on rare, unusual and exotic items of both production and pre-production alike. Click here or go to the CONTACT page with any inquiries.


March 09, 2014

RobotPoints Store

The STORE section of RobotPoints is now open for business, offering a wide variety of items from G1 prototypes to convention exclusives and everything in-between.






Head on over by clicking the STORE icon at the top of the page.


March 03, 2014

UPDATE - Articles: Kits

It's been a while since the last entry to RobotPoints, though a few changes and additions are in the works and will be coming your way soon.

In the mean-time, the kits article has been updated to include a few recent acquisitions. Not least of which is the last of the four 'long box' Microchange kits.

Check out the article in its latest form here: Articles: Kits..





..and stay tuned for more updates!

September 19, 2013

Artefacts: Megabolt Megatron concept.

Most toys at the early stage of their production life are radically different to when they roll off the production line some time later. Kids and collectors alike shrug when the toy counterparts of their favourite cartoon characters are not at all like their animated representations. This is all part of the pre-production charm.

Certainly, the following is no exception. As the first season of Beast Machines drew to a close, we saw Prime and Megatron have yet another battle to the near-death. By the end of the first episode of season two, Prime was back to normal and poor old Megatron had to resort to building a ship (shaped like a head) in order to survive.

Megabolt Megatron in the Beast Machines cartoon

Enter: Megatron Megabolt. As a huge fan of the Headmasters, and not a huge fan of anything after G1; I was surprised to be quite taken with this idea and like many others, hoped for a toy.

We weren't disappointed.


And then we were.



What had been intended for release as part of the Beast Machines line in 2001, was, like so many others before it, cancelled. We did eventually see the toy released as part of the RID line (and several subsequent re-releases), but not before getting a glimpse of the Beast Machines figure through a finite number of unreleased packaging samples, as pictured above.

There was no mention or sight of robot mode in the cartoon, so such form immediately ingratiates the eye. The familiar shapes of 'head mode' are all present, but there are certainly some differences when comparing to the cartoon counterpart. Some additions, such as legs, and also some subtractions.

Regardless of differences, this is certainly one of those more unusual Transformers to have ever graced us with its presence. I like it!

Below is the original resin hardcopy prototype of the Megatron Megabolt that we know and love. Were it not for the eventual release of this mould as part of the RID line, this and a small handful of first/test shots & packaging samples would be all that existed in reference to this toy.

Produced Megabolt hardcopy

....but what happened to the Megabolt in the cartoon? Why is it so different? Was the animation designed around a toy concept? If vice-versa; was there ever a toy prototyped that matched the original cartoon design? Or was it simply a case of altering a toy for the consumer market?

What we got vs what we saw

Only one answer to the above three questions is certain. The animation could have been designed around a toy, or a toy around the animation. I can't say with any certainty. Was the toy altered for the consumer market? Most-probably. The addition of legs to the toy in 'head mode' give additional playability.
Was there ever a toy prototyped that matched the original design?

Most..


..definitely!


Unproduced Megabolt hardcopy

Here we have the original concept for the Megatron Megabolt toy. It is cast in resin, primed in grey, and as you will notice a little further down the article, it delicate and tricky to transform fully. It is unlikely that this version got past the prototype stage.

There are clear sections, containing hand-coloured paint applications with a secret. More on that in a moment.

The basic idea is the same as the production model (in that they're both transforming head/space crafts), but is essentially a completely different toy. It's actually easier to note the similarities between the two designs. Basic shape and certain areas of transformation are akin, but like the cartoon; does not have the legs. Instead the original jet thrusters adorn the underside of the prototype. Interestingly though, the lower jaw of the production version more closely resembles the cartoon.

Comparison shot

The secret I mentioned earlier? The weapon feature. More specifically the intricacies of deployment. The rear thruster from 'head mode' springs over the front, and carries forward over the head in robot mode. To do this one must part the eyebrow section of the 'head mode' (chest in robot mode), effectively opening up and readying for battle. This precisely matches the cartoon character's specifications.

Cartoon 'head mode' in flight, showing battle-ready separation feature

Battle-ready feature in full force!

Not to gloss over the below debut robot mode images but the most incredible feature of this concept is the working mechanism visible through the clear sections. When the eyebrow/chest section opens up, a series of cogs engage and actually move within the prototype giving a true mechanical effect.

Robot mode: Clear shots of the working mechanism and delicacy of transformation

It's possible that this feature would have been too expensive to incorporate into production, and was simplified to keep costs down. This is an extremely luxurious prototype, but like most it is delicate. Hence the incorrect and partial transformation.


Inner workings front-on and Posable thumbs!

There you have it. A brief look into what was, wasn't, and could have been.


December 01, 2012

Artefacts: "5 up 5 down". Sixshot Unpainted Hardcopy Prototype

Sixshot: The ultimate Transformers challenge. This is a resin hardcopy of one of the coolest toys ever made.

 Robot mode
Attack Jet
Wolf
Tank
Armoured Carrier
Laser Pistol

Six toys in one! Not much else to say. Let's allow the pictures to do the talking.


"It's like shooting cyber ducks in a barrel"