Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

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Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby william-james88 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:58 pm

Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by me, your fellow editor. These are my opinions (just like movie or game reviews hosted by sites are still just the opinion of one person) so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.


Top 5 G1 Transformers toys not designed by Takara

For those who do not know, the initial Transformers toys were actually just toys from Japanese (and Korean) toylines licensed by Hasbro with a few changes. For instance, one of the toylines whose toys became Transformers was called Diaclone and consisted of tiny figures which drove, flew and manned these transforming vehicles. That would explain why the cockpits are so detailed and have seats for small figures in the initial Transformers cars and planes and why the original Dinobots have seemingly random flaps that can pop out to seat tiny figures too.

Hasbro simply sold these toys under a new brand and took away the idea of little figures piloting the vehicles. This is just one example, and Hasbro licensed a bunch of toys from different toylines to be sold under the Transformers brand, which explains its great diversity (like a gun fighting a truck!). However, most toys were licensed from the same Japanese company, Takara, which Hasbro still partners with today to bring us Transformers toys. That explains the semi cohesiveness and similarity in design and transformation among the toys. BUT, there are a few toys from this first generation that came from other companies ... and it shows. Let's take a look at the five I find most interesting.

5. Roadbuster from Takatoku Toys

Roadbuster was first released as Takatoku Toys' "Mugen Calibur" from the Dorvack toyline (where Whirl is also from). Unlike the others on this list, his aesthetic works pretty well with the Takara figures. He is definitely more of a heavy dutytoy (bigger too) with a bunch of bad ass accessories that, while are awesome, do make him quite a pain to collect these days.

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4. Sky Lynx from Toybox (designed by Tomy)

This guy is quite interesting since even though he was designed by the toy giant Tomy in theme with their Zoids toyline, he was actually commissioned and owned by Toybox. The really interesting part is that as far as I know (please state otherwise in the comments), the first release of this design is actually by Hasbro through the Transformers brand. So Skylynx was first issued by Hasbro, through a license with Toybox, designed by Tomy. And yes, you can totally tell he is not Takara, as there is not much order to this stupendous toy. He is a bird, a lynx, a space shuttle with a transporter and what looks like a Sauropod. Plus, there is a motor for it to walk (like many Zoids toys). It is such an otherworldy design in the G1 line that even the Marvel comics had a hard time making sense to his transformation, choosing to just make him a straight up triple changer (having shuttle, bird, and lynx modes only).

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3. Omega Supreme from Toybox (designed by Tomy)

Like Skylynx, this toy was also from Toybox but designed by Tomy. However, Tomy had designed him inline with their Plarail toyline which dealth with train sets (which is still going strong today). This more than explains why Omega Supreme dissasembles himself transforms into a track system for a tank to move along it. If you ever wondered why Omega Supreme does not transform like regular Transformers do, this should explain it. Unlike Skylynx, he was released by Toybox as Super Change Robo Mechabot-1. This toy had a very different color scheme than how he looked once Hasbro licensed the toy from Toybox.

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2. Shockwave from Toyco.

Shockwave was first released as "4 Changeable Astro Magnum" by toy company, ToyCo. Here is the kicker, ToyCo was Korean and not Japanese making this the very first Transformers toy not designed by Japan. They licensed this toy to several American distributors and toy makers which gave way to similar non-Transformer toys using the same mold being released in 1985, including a RadioShack exclusive called "Galactic Man" (who was dark grey). Because Hasbro was not the only one to use the licensed mold, they started sticking rubsigns on their toys to show that theirs was the official Transformers toy (this was also done to distinguish their transforming toys from the Gobots). Another cool thing to note is that unlike most G1 toys, especially all the ones designed by Takara, this toy has a very nice amount of articulation for his time.

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1. Jetfire from Takatoku Toys

Of course this is #1. It is by far one of the best toys of the G1 era due to its detail and complexity. Also, his robot mode is not at all what one would expect from a Transfomrers toy. He looks more like a Macross figure (for obvious reasons we will further explore) and has a more prototypical Japanese look compared to the other licensed toys (the color scheme doesn't help reinforce this notion). The reason for him being the odd man out in a Transformers line up is because he was from Takatoku Toys. He was part of their Macross VF-1S Super Valkyrie series. Unlike the other toys listed above, this series, like Transformers, lives on to this day. They are now owned by Bandai, the other Japanese toy giant (who made the original Gobots back in the day, through a smaller division called Popy, to compete directly with Takara's Transforming toys) and are the most complex and expensive transforming figures on the market today. Hence why it was such a treat for Hasbro's lawyers to have found a way to keep giving us toys based on this design such as the Generations Jetfire in 2014. Finally an afforable toy based on a Macross design.

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Honourable mentions: The Deluxe Insecticons and Whirl.

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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby Emerje » Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:09 am

Personally I would have had a hard time deciding between Shockwave and Jetfire at #1 and would have probably just called it a tie. :lol:

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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby Burn » Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:40 am

ahhh Roadbuster. I remember getting him in an old G1 lot. Poor bugger had been through hell and back, most of his pins were rusted, heavily. To the point that some of his joints never moved. I set out to restore him but there was no way to remove those pins.

Fortunately I picked up another one not long after and restored him. (New Reprolabels, tightened joints). To this day he's still one of the best figures from G1.

And then there's this guy ...
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby JelZe GoldRabbit » Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:02 am

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Shockwave isn't the only "foreign" TF to have multiple Western releases: he shares that honor with Omega Supreme with the Omegatron release from Grandstand's Convertors, UK, plus some other odd stand-alone releases.

They got around ;)
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby Carnivius_Prime » Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:47 am

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Of course Jetfire. Gorgeous in both robot and jet mode. I had the original one as a kid and it was always my fave for posability, design and general envious looks from friends (though one had a grey version with a different head obviously based on the same original toy). I was always disappointed that the fictional Jetfire/Skyfire looked so damn chubby in comparison. Nowhere near as sleek and cool.


By the way I thought me finding a great condition Jetfire at car boot last year for £2 was a good deal right? Friend of mine found a 99% complete Jetfire with armour and gun (just missing the weapon clip) in a charity shop recently. That Jetfire himself has some minor yellowing but an amazing find.
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby fenrir72 » Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:09 am

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Shoji Kawamori's Jetfire is timeless. Even until now The complexity and simplicity can't be rivaled! :x
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby Ironhidensh » Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:17 am

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If Jetfire had not been number one, I would have been greatly upset. Good job.
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby unexistance » Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:27 am

No love for Deluxe Insecticons? :D j/k

I'm more interested in the unproduced Beetras Hornet / Spider / Dragonfly...
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby william-james88 » Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:35 am

Ironhidensh wrote:If Jetfire had not been number one, I would have been greatly upset. Good job.

Haha, thanks man.
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby Microraptor » Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:53 am

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JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:Shockwave isn't the only "foreign" TF to have multiple Western releases: he shares that honor with Omega Supreme with the Omegatron release from Grandstand's Convertors, UK, plus some other odd stand-alone releases.

They got around ;)


If I recall correctly Converters also had the Roadbuster and Whirl molds.
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby optimuspete » Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:02 pm

First I have to say I love these lists, they're awesome... You should do a list top 5 characters with both faction symbols.Bot+Con or Max+Pred. There has been a lot of figures across the lines... Might make a good list thanks keep up the good work
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby JelZe GoldRabbit » Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:30 pm

Motto: "The only good is knowledge, and the only evil is ignorance."
Weapon: Dual Bladed Sword
Microraptor wrote:
JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:Shockwave isn't the only "foreign" TF to have multiple Western releases: he shares that honor with Omega Supreme with the Omegatron release from Grandstand's Convertors, UK, plus some other odd stand-alone releases.

They got around ;)


If I recall correctly Converters also had the Roadbuster and Whirl molds.


Not quite, as there were two lines called Convertors: one by Grandstand in the UK, and the other by Select for the US.

Grandstand's Convertors was a small line with only 11 toys from Diaclone and Microman, and the more obscure Machine Saurer by Takara and Technica Change by Yonezawa.

Select's Convertors on the other hand was very similar to Transformers and Gobots in terms of size, and in that Select licensed molds from one single company: Mark. Mark specialised in making smaller versions of popular mecha, including from Dorvack and from Macross. In other words, the Convertors versions were smaller, 1/100 scale, whereas Whirl and Roadbuster were 1/66 scale. Not only that, the third mech, a tank, was also released in that line. They were called Chopper, Wheels and Tanker. Yup, it even had smaller versions of Valkyries, the VF-1A and VF-1S types to be exact, called Zardak and Zark.

In short, the larger toys went to Hasbro, the smaller ones to Select, without a legal hitch. The 80's transforming robot market was pretty weird, no?
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby Alpha Dominus » Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:17 pm

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Ironhidensh wrote:If Jetfire had not been number one, I would have been greatly upset. Good job.


Yeah I'll second that. And Carnivus Prime I agree about Skyfire's odd and unimpressive design. Always preferred the one, true Jetfire way more. Too bad we never got to see that sleek toy form in the old toons.
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby Emerje » Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:10 pm

JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:In short, the larger toys went to Hasbro, the smaller ones to Select, without a legal hitch. The 80's transforming robot market was pretty weird, no?


I'd say, those Valkyries ended up all over the place. All at once we had the ones from Convertors (including SD figures) by Select, Jetfire by Hasbro, and Matchbox's full Robotech line. Today Harmony Gold goes crazy if something just slightly resembles a Valkyrie.

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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby Ironhidensh » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:32 pm

Motto: "Tell those damned kids to stay off my lawn!!!"
Weapon: Big Cannon
Emerje wrote:
JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:In short, the larger toys went to Hasbro, the smaller ones to Select, without a legal hitch. The 80's transforming robot market was pretty weird, no?


I'd say, those Valkyries ended up all over the place. All at once we had the ones from Convertors (including SD figures) by Select, Jetfire by Hasbro, and Matchbox's full Robotech line. Today Harmony Gold goes crazy if something just slightly resembles a Valkyrie.

Emerje


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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby fenrir72 » Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:06 pm

Motto: "Power to the strong and the right!"
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Ironhidensh wrote:
Emerje wrote:
JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:In short, the larger toys went to Hasbro, the smaller ones to Select, without a legal hitch. The 80's transforming robot market was pretty weird, no?


I'd say, those Valkyries ended up all over the place. All at once we had the ones from Convertors (including SD figures) by Select, Jetfire by Hasbro, and Matchbox's full Robotech line. Today Harmony Gold goes crazy if something just slightly resembles a Valkyrie.

Emerje


Harmony Gold. The way that company has killed the Robotech/Macross franchise sadens me to no end.


I usually refrain from doing this but %#%$#%$ Harmony Gold! Not even a middle ground! Such intransigence! All we get are those clunker Toynami versions :SICK: not to mention no official domestic releases for the various anime versions of the franchise. :(
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby JelZe GoldRabbit » Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:15 pm

Motto: "The only good is knowledge, and the only evil is ignorance."
Weapon: Dual Bladed Sword
Finally, even two Deluxe Insecticon designs appeared in Convertors, albeit slightly retooled: Chop Shop as Crawler and Ransack as Morphus.

Back to the list, those molds did introduce unconventional forms which would be mainstays, long before the 2007 Movie was even a thought in their minds. And we love them for it. :x
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby Ultra Markus » Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:24 am

Motto: "“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” - Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight"
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So its basically a list of the only non takara designed transformers
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby william-james88 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:41 am

Burn wrote:Fortunately I picked up another one not long after and restored him. (New Reprolabels, tightened joints). To this day he's still one of the best figures from G1.

And then there's this guy ...

yeah, its really cool how some of the best and most interesting figures from that era are not from Takara. Also, you have him?! Thats freaken awesome!

optimuspete wrote:First I have to say I love these lists, they're awesome... You should do a list top 5 characters with both faction symbols.Bot+Con or Max+Pred. There has been a lot of figures across the lines... Might make a good list thanks keep up the good work


Thanks so much! That is one hell of a good idea. Off the top of my head I can think of:
G1 and Gen doubledealer
Cybertron Sideways
Animated Shockwave
Universe Dinobot
Punch Counterpunch

Who else?

JelZe GoldRabbit wrote: Mark specialised in making smaller versions of popular mecha, including from Dorvack and from Macross. In other words, the Convertors versions were smaller, 1/100 scale, whereas Whirl and Roadbuster were 1/66 scale. Not only that, the third mech, a tank, was also released in that line. They were called Chopper, Wheels and Tanker. Yup, it even had smaller versions of Valkyries, the VF-1A and VF-1S types to be exact, called Zardak and Zark.

In short, the larger toys went to Hasbro, the smaller ones to Select, without a legal hitch. The 80's transforming robot market was pretty weird, no?

Weird but awesome. I never hear of these, are they as collectable? Or more affordable? And do the smaller molds have simplified engineering to work with their scale or are they are complex?

Alpha Dominus wrote:Yeah I'll second that. And Carnivus Prime I agree about Skyfire's odd and unimpressive design. Always preferred the one, true Jetfire way more. Too bad we never got to see that sleek toy form in the old toons.

Thats why I like that Gen Jetfire toy so much. Its a nice combination of the two elements. he is broad but also sleek.

Ironhidensh wrote:
Emerje wrote:I'd say, those Valkyries ended up all over the place. All at once we had the ones from Convertors (including SD figures) by Select, Jetfire by Hasbro, and Matchbox's full Robotech line. Today Harmony Gold goes crazy if something just slightly resembles a Valkyrie.

Emerje


Harmony Gold. The way that company has killed the Robotech/Macross franchise sadens me to no end.

Would you guys care to explain that please, I am out of the loop. Also, does that mean bandai has no say over the robotech line?

JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:Finally, even two Deluxe Insecticon designs appeared in Convertors, albeit slightly retooled: Chop Shop as Crawler and Ransack as Morphus.


Ultra Markus wrote:So its basically a list of the only non takara designed transformers

Sure, but with a lot of description for those who arent aware. Plus, here is where order matters most. And I was happily surprised that we still had a nice discussion about the phenomenon of japanese robots being brought to the west. I learnt some fun stuff while both doing the list and reading the comments it brought :)

Any images to share? how are the molds different?
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby Optimum Supreme » Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:19 pm

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Jetfire is probably (IMO) the best G1 toy period.

I'd probably swap Whirl and Roadbuster (if not combine them into one entry as a cheat) though.
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby RK_Striker_JK_5 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:23 pm

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Now this is a pretty cool list! :D I... honestly can't disagree with placement, but I'd maybe combine Roadbuster with Whirl. Other than that, pretty much agree.
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby JelZe GoldRabbit » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:42 pm

Motto: "The only good is knowledge, and the only evil is ignorance."
Weapon: Dual Bladed Sword
Well Will, it just so happens I did a little digging beyond what's known about Mark, Select and Convertors and some things really surprised me.

To start off, here are some closer looks at the Convertor versions of Whirl, Roadbuster and the toy that would become the basis for Headcannon:

Chopper
Wheels
Tanker

And as a bonus, their version of Chop ShopBarrage:

Crawler

Courtesy of Counter-X.net

In short, the Dorvack molds are somewhat simplified compared to their larger cousins, and the two Beetras designs are slightly altered. What's funny is that the other design is based on the unreleased Beet-Vadam which would become Ransack.

The Convertors line in general is rather neat as it's a bit of a hodgepodge, with Mark making smallish lines with 4 to 5 figures each. Here's a site with the total line-up, though some images are missing:

Convertors page on Super Toy Archive.

If you're wondering what became of Mark, the toys that would become the Insectors and Avarians show that somewhere down the line something happened to Mark and its designs. In short, their parent lines Mecha Birdman Bird Robo and Mecha Insect Zectron had at least two iterations: one by Mark and one by Jam. The latter seem to be better known by the Japanese, and some Convertors toys seem to be released only by Jam, indicating a possible takeover. That really shows with "sequel" series to Zectron using designs adapted from Mark's: Mecha Insect Legends II (Jam's version of Zectron was no. 1) and Future Insect.

Mecha Insect Legends
Future Insect

Courtesy of Triebflugel (Japanese)

A lot to take in :shock:
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4) Universe 2003 Night Slash Cheetor
5) BW Convobat (red) & Megalligator (purple)

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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby Burn » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:47 pm

william-james88 wrote:Also, you have him?! Thats freaken awesome!

I have a variation. This one has chrome rocket pieces.

He needs a bit of love though, he's been on display for a while and the white is starting to deteriorate to the point I'm not brave enough to move his joints as they've become too tight.
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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby Emerje » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:51 pm

william-james88 wrote:
JelZe GoldRabbit wrote: Mark specialised in making smaller versions of popular mecha, including from Dorvack and from Macross. In other words, the Convertors versions were smaller, 1/100 scale, whereas Whirl and Roadbuster were 1/66 scale. Not only that, the third mech, a tank, was also released in that line. They were called Chopper, Wheels and Tanker. Yup, it even had smaller versions of Valkyries, the VF-1A and VF-1S types to be exact, called Zardak and Zark.

In short, the larger toys went to Hasbro, the smaller ones to Select, without a legal hitch. The 80's transforming robot market was pretty weird, no?

Weird but awesome. I never hear of these, are they as collectable? Or more affordable? And do the smaller molds have simplified engineering to work with their scale or are they are complex?


Convertors

They're not greatly collectible, usually viewed as glorified knockoffs. Most of them were made of very cheap and brittle plastic and broke easily, but they looked pretty good. They did include some original molds that were nice. Robat remains my favorite figure in the line followed by Zardak.

(Edit: Didn't realize how long this post took to write. Being home sick from work sucks.)

Ironhidensh wrote:
Emerje wrote:I'd say, those Valkyries ended up all over the place. All at once we had the ones from Convertors (including SD figures) by Select, Jetfire by Hasbro, and Matchbox's full Robotech line. Today Harmony Gold goes crazy if something just slightly resembles a Valkyrie.

Emerje


Harmony Gold. The way that company has killed the Robotech/Macross franchise sadens me to no end.

Would you guys care to explain that please, I am out of the loop. Also, does that mean bandai has no say over the robotech line?


Basically when Harmony Gold licensed Macross, Southern Cross, and Mospeada to make Robotech they made a binding contract that gave them power over the entirety of all of those series and everything that came later in the USA. It was the deal of a lifetime, quite literally as even Bandai can't do anything with Macross as long as Harmony Gold is still around. In Japan the courts actually voided HG's license stating that the company that granted it to them, Tatsunoko Productions, didn't have the power to do so (that would be Studio Nue). However HG still holds the US copyrights to Robotech and the above three titles that form it as well as their imagery (mainly the Valkyries and Fortresses) which HG is ruthless in protecting.

Although, they bit off more than they could chew when they went after Hasbro for their "G.I. Joe vs Transformers The Epic Conclusion" set from SDCC 2013. They took Hasbro to court over the Jetfire vehicle in the set, but it didn't take long for the suit to be dismissed and Hasbro to be allowed to continue releasing the set on HTS. Hasbro then followed that up with Leader class Jetfire so it's obvious who came out on top here.

There have been some Macross releases in the US thanks to loopholes like Macross Plus or Macross II: The Movie and an official uncut dub, but that's about it. Technically anyone could license Macross, but HG is going to sue them and it isn't worth the extra costs.

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Re: Top 5 G1 Transformers Toys Not Designed by Takara

Postby JelZe GoldRabbit » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:04 pm

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Emerje wrote:
william-james88 wrote:
JelZe GoldRabbit wrote: Mark specialised in making smaller versions of popular mecha, including from Dorvack and from Macross. In other words, the Convertors versions were smaller, 1/100 scale, whereas Whirl and Roadbuster were 1/66 scale. Not only that, the third mech, a tank, was also released in that line. They were called Chopper, Wheels and Tanker. Yup, it even had smaller versions of Valkyries, the VF-1A and VF-1S types to be exact, called Zardak and Zark.

In short, the larger toys went to Hasbro, the smaller ones to Select, without a legal hitch. The 80's transforming robot market was pretty weird, no?

Weird but awesome. I never hear of these, are they as collectable? Or more affordable? And do the smaller molds have simplified engineering to work with their scale or are they are complex?


Convertors

They're not greatly collectible, usually viewed as glorified knockoffs. Most of them were made of very cheap and brittle plastic and broke easily, but they looked pretty good. They did include some original molds that were nice. Robat remains my favorite figure in the line followed by Zardak.


Actually, all of the toys have parent lines by Mark and/or Jam. It's just that the latter isn't that known outside of Japan, much less as Mark's apparent successor so it's always overlooked. The only one without a properly documented source is the Jumbo Defender Bull.
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1) BW Neo X-7 Elphaorpha
2) RiD 2001 Dreadwind & Smokejumper
3) RiD 2001 Destructicons Bludgeon & Scourge
4) Universe 2003 Night Slash Cheetor
5) BW Convobat (red) & Megalligator (purple)

The resident Rewind... well, half of one :lol:

- Jelze Bunnycat =:3
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