WHAT THEY WERE:
BY: PETER “PIERRIMUS” PHELPS
Transformer fan will already know that the beginnings of our favorite robots in
disguise began much earlier than our 1984
toy series release here in the U.S. In fact, the Japanese toy company called Takara had two lines of toys that most of the characters we love
were culled from: Microman and Diaclone. Other toys that surfaced as part of the 1985 Transformers were pulled from various other
Japanese toy manufacturers.
The Microman series began in 1974, a full ten years before these toys became such a big marketing hit for Hasbro. The Microman story is about a minute humanoid alien race, that fight against the evil Acroyears. Both groups are about three inches tall. The Microman can shrink objects and then to bring them back to their original size. The Acroyears can increase their own sizes and then return to their original sizes. After Microearth, the homeplanet of the Microman, is destroyed, a number of Microman escape. They eventually reach Earth were they continue their battle against the Acroyears. They encounter more surviving members of their kind, and build all sorts of robots and vehicles to help. The part of this series of toys that we are most interested in were called Microman: MicroChange. Below are some images from some of the catalogs:
It is interesting to take
note of the differences in these original toys and the ones that reached the US.
Our Soundwave had much more detail in comparison to the one above.
The Japanese seemed to be a
bit obsessed with gun TFs. The one on the left would later become Browning.
Not sure if the other one was produced under the Transformer name.
The Diaclone toyline was
introduced by Takara in 1980. This line came with 3cm tall pilots for the
This is why there are operator cockpits on the Insecticons, Dinobots and other Transformers.
The Transformers that came
out in the 1985 Hasbro list were culled from several other popular Japanese
Robot Toy lines of the time.
The most notable instance was Jetfire (called Skyfire in the Cartoon). This toy was from the Robotech Macross series, which now is a
property of Bandi. Thus, we have not seen a reproduction of his toy since.
Two other characters that
had a sort of Robotech feel were from the Dorvack line. Whirl and Roadbuster.
Evidently this series of toys also had a short-lived cartoon series.
The Deluxe Insecticons were originally from the Beetras series.
Omega Supreme was originally a toy called Mechabot. Here are some pics of Mechabot and a comparison image.
I think Mechabot would have made a great Guardian/Sentinel Robot.
I’m pretty sure some of you saw that other version of Shockwave:
Well, that’s all I have here
for now. If you are really interested in this topic, please check out: