August 29, 2012

Artefacts: Japanese Exclusive Autobot Cassettes

There are a few niche areas of collecting Transformers-related production items that I am hugely fond of. For me the biggest part of collecting is to collect what you like. I love Minibots, kits and watches to name a few sub-catagories of this hobby, but my all-time favourite Transformers-related toys are....CASSETTES!

So compact and unassuming, they truly embody the moniker of 'More Than Meets The Eye'.

As an aside, my personal favourite is Ratbat. More on this at a later date.

I love the Japanese exclusive Autobot cassettes too, and with that said, here is a picture I that I'd wanted to take for a while:

Japanese exclusive Autobot cassettes

For those who may not know, C-116 Twincast is a repaint of Blaster/Broadcast who, like his namesake, can hold two cassettes simultaneously instead of one. His accompanying companion Steeljaw also sports an exclusive sticker, showing the schematics/weak points of their foe Mega Zarak AKA Scorponok!

The other 4 cassettes pair off and combine into two larger robots. C-121 Gurafi and C-122 Noizu together make Decibel, while C-123 Dairu and C-124 Zauru merge to form Legout.

Superb toys for an already ingenious design.

August 28, 2012

Artefacts: A Diaclone that was

Here is something very special. The set of 3 mock-up prototypes for the Diaclone #21 Corvette Stingray toy.

Cast in a dense wax or resin, and hand-painted, these non-transforming prototypes were first shown to the public in catalogues at the tale-end of the Diaclone line, and later in a Transformers laserdisc's accompanying booklet.

Various angles of car mode. As you can see, this piece is solid.

Missing years on; the head for the robot mode prototype was actually that of a red Honda City Turbo's originally. It really is amazing that these prototypes survived at all.

Robot mode and flying car mode reverse

Magnificent pieces of history.

August 27, 2012

Artefacts: A Diaclone that might have been

Here is a Diaclone toy that never saw production. It was originally intended as part of a second line of Baku-Ten, or Attack Robos.

Clearly resembling what would eventually become Starscream for the Transformers line, this hand-sculpted mock-up prototype is made of wood. The head is a wax casting of "Sideswipe's".

The prototype does not Transform, but much like the Diaclone attack robos, was originally intended to have a pullback 'Dasher' feature which, once released, would propel the toy forward causing it to Transform automatically.

A supremely cool piece which sadly never saw the light of day.

August 26, 2012

Artefacts: Diaclone 2nd Prize Rail ID wallet and cards

Sticking with the Diaclone theme, I thought I'd share this interesting piece.


Throughout Takara's illustrious reign over the Japanese toy market, the company has offered many prizes to the public in many forms of campaign. A tradition that is alive and well in the market today.

The days of Microchange and Diaclone were no different. For the Diaclone line, one must send in cards contained in one of the flaps from the Car Robots packaging for a chance to win. 

Premium prizes included a gold Porsche 935 Turbo, a gold Datsun Fairlady 280ZX and a silver Datsun Fairlady 280ZX.

There was also a campaign prize gold Browning M1910 available for the Microchange line.

The runner-up prizes include the above cards and train pass wallet, sporting artwork/photography of 15 Diaclone Real & Robo toys while the rear showed each respective schematic.

Front of cards
Rear of cards

The wallet, made of plastic, has several pockets for various cards and a photo ID slot in the back. 

Front/rear of wallet

It is unknown exactly how many of these sets were offered, but is believed to have been the runner-up prize to the gold Porsche 935 Turbo, while the Silver Fairlyady 280ZX is thought to have been the runner-up prize to the gold version in a different campaign.

These are definitely some of the more interesting items that I have seen over the years, and the wallet is a beautiful touch. I placed the cards in plastic cases, while the wallet is sealed in its original baggie.

If you look closely you'll notice that many of the cards depict the original prototypes of several Diaclone toys.

August 25, 2012

Artefacts: Diaclone Car Robot No. 7 Blue Fairlady Z.

The below is something which I had oddly not owned until recently. It seemed that neither condition nor price hit the spot in equal measures for me to pull the trigger in the past. This time was no different, I was aware that this Diaclone blue Fairlady 280ZX wasn't completely unused, but the price part took over as this was nowhere near as expensive as had been recently, nor actually in the past 10 years or so. I took a shot.

Ok, so it wasn't mint when it arrived, but I was nonetheless absolutely thrilled with the piece. box is good save for a small tear, and the styrofoam insert/contents are untouched.

The toy itself, wile suffering from a little wear and tear, is simply stunning. Yes this is a toy of fable and indeed highly sought after, but those things aside - this is a reeeeaaaally beautiful toy. My only disappointment was that I hadn't made more of an effort to acquire one in previous years....oh and the placement of some stickers.

Decals Under the Influence.

In short - It's a real gem.

August 07, 2012

Artefacts: The Runs!

Not the best title, but a run, in-terms of prototype collecting, is a series of items that link closely to a particular toy or character in varying stages of pre-production.

Here are a few examples:

L-R vehicle mode: Rodimus Prime painted test shot/EP, unpainted + bagged Hotrod test shot/EP, painted Hotrod test shot/EP, 'pink' Hotrod first shot with blue windshield (depicted on the top of each and every box), Targetmaster Hotrod Mock-up (drilled hands and, missing, engine - hardcopy Firebolt stood in the foreground), hand-painted Rodimus Prime hardcopy. The two Hotrod first shots and Rodimus Prime hardcopy sport mock-up stickers

L-R robot mode: unpainted Hotrod test shot/EP, first version 'pink' Hotrod first shot with clear windshield, Hotrod sample.

In case: hand-painted hardcopy Blurr with mock-up stickers, atop case: Targetmaster Blurr mock-up, robot mode: Blurr test shot/EP, L-R vehicle mode: test shot/EP vehicle mode Blurr, sample Blurr, test shot/EP robot mode Blurr.
The two EP Blurrs in bubble wrap differ in mode only, both are marked with "EP3" The third version of the engineering pilot stage for this toy. EP stands for "Engineering Pilot".

Technobot run

Here's a run that incorporates both a production and a mock-up Computron gift set, a first shot Computron with mock-up stickers, a Scattershot first shot, a Computron wax casting hardcopy, and a  selection of hardcopy Technobot accessories primed in grey.

Who else has got the runs? Nah, still a rubbish title....

More soon.

- RobotPoints