The first year of Generation Two in 1992 saw many repaints of the G1 range, some of these featured minor changes (Inferno), a few new paint detailing (Jazz), some complete mold redecos (Sideswipe) and some of these included running changes through the line (Dinobots seeing three separate colour-scheme releases, with a fourth for Grimlock planned and unreleased).

What was interesting to see was that the original Seeker jets saw less repaints in G2 than during G1, with only two of the original six figures seeing a release.  We know the Thrust and Dirge wing molds were available (and not “lost” like Sunstreaker or Wheeljack) because just a decade later they saw a release first through e-Hobby and later through Toys R Us as Hasbro Commemorative Editions, but for reasons unknown, two jets is all we got.  So lets see them.

G2 Starscream



The leader of the Seekers is back, even if he has less of an Air Squadron to command then in previous years.

At first glance, his redeco may look tonally similar to his original; A grey body becoming white with reddish parts for the upper torso, with grey highlights replacing the original blue.  In hand, the red is very noticeably a salmon colour (which became a more orangey shade with the TFCC release) and the blue to grey colour swap does make him noticably different, especially on his wings which – having not been blue on the original release – would have been on a different mold sprue to his blue parts, so his colour change is more thought out than a mere mold palette swap.  The slight purple of his cockpit and missiles were a nice change carried over in the TFCC version, which does a remarkably good job of copying the original, especially on homaging some of the original sticker apps.



One of the major changes from G1 to G2 was the addition of a rudimentary sound-chip and new missile launchers.  Like G2 Optimus Prime, Starscream features an add-on “light and sound” box that clips onto the figure, meaning Starscream can now make the “pew-pew” noises so you’re kids don’t have to.  Unfortunately, the technology of the time meant that the noises were of the same quality as you’d find on a key-fob at a cheap market stall; limited to a poor quality gun noise, and a take-off engine thrust noise that never seems to end.  Still, at least they didn’t try and add a voice file like on Megatron and Prime!

The new missile launcher is an interesting choice and was also carried over for G2 Superion / Silverbolt, we presume the changes were not aesthetic but necessary thanks to new toy laws denoting the size of missiles, to avoid choking mishaps with small projectiles.  What I find oddest about these missiles and launcher is that they were not carried over for the TRU reissues which had all new missiles designed to comply with the same laws (not so with the Takara / eHobby reissues), and even as recently as the Platinum Seeker sets we saw a new change to Thrust’s Missile Launcher Holder, which now is a solid piece with no firing mechanism at all.  Surely it would have been able to port the G2 missile and launcher over for these subsequent releases?



The alt. modes are pretty much what you expect, with G2 Starscream featuring the same factory sticker sets as the G1 figure, hence the old school faction logos, curiously this was carried over with the redesigned factory applied wing and tailfin stickers, which also featured the G2 logos.  Given the G2 logos were used before (and after) G2, they had them in hand at the design stage, so it’s very curious that these were not used.

Thankfully, the TFCC release features accurate G2 faction logo stickering as part of it’s tampographing, and I would be remiss if I didn”t mention that it’s probably the finest designed and applied tampographing of any of the recent figures released, and a highlight of the TFCC range.



Style-guide transformation artwork.


Something else worth mentioning, this is the fourth mainline release of Starscream from a company that was starting to realise the value of it’s own character IPs.  Starscream was released in 1984, and both as a Pretender Classic and an Action Master before his G2 release, only a small set of characters share that honour including Jazz and Grimlock, but unlike the big-players Prime and Megatron, Starscream was not replaced for the 1986 line (despite his graphic on screen death) making him one of the most enduring characters at this point in the line’s history – only Bumbleebee with his five releases by this point, beats him (although an argument could be made for Grimlocks three G2 colour-schemes pushing him into the lead).

G2 Ramjet



Now that is a colour overhaul!!!  Having lost his white torso to G2 Starscream, G2 Ramjet went in a completely different direction.  Now bright purple, with turquoise detailing.  Because G2.

Most of the things I mentioned for Starscream apply here for G2 Ramjet; new missile launchers, crappy clip-on sound-box which is only good at annoying pets, parents (and later spouses – it still works after all these years and the same batteries too!).  The way Ramjets wings display in robot mode give me the perfect opportunity to point out another G2 addition, the tampo’d faction identifier on the underside of his left wing identifying Ramjet as a Deception.  Something similar was carried over for the Transmetal era of Beast Wars, with name idents tampo’d on the curiously faction-less beasties.





The TFCC CHUG version did an excellent job homaging the original, once again replacing the old G1 stickers with G2 tampos, and although some of the detailing was lost (air intakes for instance) they did an excellent job all-round.  The biggest difference between the two classics molds used were off course the conehead, a change made for all the coneheads in the CHUG line to differentiate them from Starscream and co., and a great improvement on the G1 style of Coneheading, which always looks naff.



More rarely seen style-guide artwork

CHUG2 Ramjet actually pre-dates CHUG2 Starscream by about five years and was so popular he sold out in 2 days, it’s great that they manage to “finish” the set before the TFCC line died, but I sort of wish they’d rounded it out with the other four as well.  Tricky, considering Hasbro never revealed any scheduled repaints for the other characters, but in the years since G2 two other repaints of Ramjet have leaked, one known amoung the fandom as Sandstorm (click here for excellent Maz analysis of this unique hand-painted mold), and the other in a sky-blue deco you can read about here.

However, for those wanting to boost their G2 seeker ranks, Action Master Thundercracker’s colour-scheme is one of the most G2 looking things around and makes a great stand-in, and I feel Shattered Glass Dirge (below) could have also made an excellent G2 stand-in had they ever released it (although the mold is Ramjets, you can tell by the wings), and at a push Nacelle could almost be used for a G2 Thrust, although he is no longer a conehead.  But that’s it, no real inspiration for Skywarp.



Despite the enduring popularity of obscure G2 and the necessity for repaints, there have been no G2 MP style seekers.  Well, no official ones.  The iGear version of G2 Ramjet was released, but in very limited numbers.  Originally scheduled to be a Comic Ink store exclusive in the USA, an alleged Cease and Desist order apparently shut that down.  It’s a very nice piece if you can find it, and there are rumoured to only be about 20 ever made.


Overall, I’m a big fan of G2 toys, so all four of these official pieces call to me in a way I don’t fully understand, but even I have to draw the line somewhere, so G2 MPs are not for me.  However, there are plenty of other MP seekers available through Kapow Toys either in stock or on pre-order.  As well as that, the Kapow SALE is currently underway.  Go to.

Ah, Classics.  How I miss thee.

While some might argue that Combiner Wars and Titans Return are a new Golden Age for mainline Transformers, my heart will forever be tied up in the early days of CHUG, when the acronym almost made sense.  We’re firmly in the days of CHUG+ ( CHUGURTSFOCLCWUWTR just doesn’t roll off the tongue) now, and it’s up to the individual collector what goes where in their personal collection, whether they keep the Titans Return collection with their line-wide Headmaster play pattern as a separate toyline or mix it all in together.

It’s taken us a while to move away from the 1984-1986 characters, but even with the mining of the 1987-1989 mainline, there are still some characters too obscure for mainline release.  Thanks to the likes of Hero X / Million Publishing, and the late Transformers Collectors Club, those bases are covered.  In the last few years we’ve had figures such as Dogfight, Carzap, Go-Shooter, Shouki, Windsweeper and even a half-decent official Impactor.  That’s pretty obscure!




Today we’re looking at two of my favourites from the TFCC subscription service; Krok and Treadbolt, homages to two Decepticons from the Action Master era.




But first, what is an Action Master?  On one hand it’s a toy company looking at the success of 3 & 3/4 inch action figures and trying to compete, on the other it’s a nonsensical way of killing the Unique Selling Point of the TF range; transforming toys.  At the time several hardcore TF fans were detractors of this failed marketing gimmick, a feeling which for many continues to this day.  However I feel the line is not without merit and introduced some interesting characters and story-line potential, with the more-powerful Nucleon powered bodies coming at the expense of the characters transformation becoming a focus of the comic series.


Treadshot was also released in 1990 during the first wave of Action Master releases, like all  most AMs he doesn’t transform, however his partner Catgut does.  Sort of.  One of the best things about the Action Master range was the introduction of new characters rather than just sticking to the core Season One crew, and the detailing and imagination used to create these new characters is fertile ground indeed, ground which is only recently being used.  Rather than just tooling generic non-transforming robots, these new characters are imagined as if they also had alt. modes which they gave up for more powerful Nucleon powered bodies.

Catgut transforms from robotic cat to a Pulse Demagnetizer rifle, although whether there is any advantage to this over Treadshot just holding his own gun rather than plugging it into the repositioned spine of a robot cat is anyone’s guess.  Although the gun-mode makes little sense, Action Master fans like myself were pleased when Catgut was included with the modern update.




As part of the Transformers Collectors Club Subscription Service 2.0, Treadshot was re-imagined as a fully transforming deluxe figure.  Taking inspiration from the gun chest on Treadshot (thought by some to be inspired by the non-Takara .357 Magnum Robo which was later released in Gig’s Trasformer line as Highway Patrol Robo), Generations Warpath was chosen as the base figure for this update.

The addition of an Arms Micron figure as Catgut really helped the more expensive price-tag for these figures feel slightly more justified, as this mix of themes is unlikely to happen in traditional Hasbro Deluxes (although stranger things have happened).


The character has had more love and attention of late – dying in Last Stand of the Wreckers seems to do that for a character’s popularity – and he also showed up in Furman’s G1 continuation; Regeneration One.

It’s a solid update to a less popular character, and absolutely the type of thing the Collectors Club figures were perfect for.  I’m sure some people weren’t happy with the change in alt. mode from gun to tank, but that’s just the times we live in, and I’d rather he have this base mold than a Nerf-gun alt. mode like Classics Megatron.



If I had to be fussy, I’d say the head needed more work.  This needed to be a re-sculpt rather than a straight repaint, what with the visor being a really defining part of the character.  I suppose loose Treadshots in poor condition are easy enough to find for a donor head-swap operation, for those that really need a more accurate head-sculpt.  But I can live with this.





The non-transforming Krok was first released in 1990, along with his partner-in-crime, the excellently named Gatoraider.




As with Treadshot, Gatoraider turns from alligator to weapon, becoming an Elector-Pulsator gun – for a society at war over energy, they sure were good at wasting it on energy weapons back in G1!




As part of the TFCC Subscription Service 3.0, Krok was the final release, and my favourite of the whole set.  His G1 figure only had vague hints of previous alt. mode, but it looked vaguely space-shippy.  I have to take my hat-off to the folks at TFCC for getting the choice of mode totally right for the updated Krok, as they went with the Generations Stealth Bomber Megatron!  Perfect



For me, this game me the opportunity to not only add an obscure AM figure to my updated Classics collection, but it gave me the chance to add a new mold as well, as I HATED this mold the first time round and could not give it space in the collection.  It just shows the importance of character choice with a mold, as this figure works great as Krok, whereas before I found it too small and flimsy to make a convincing Megatron (especially Don Fig’s Stealth Bomber Megatron who was a BEAST!).




Not only is the figure a great choice for robot and alt. mode, it also meant that it’s weapons work perfectly giving Gatoraider an updated “beast+gun=super gun” mode like the original AM figure.




And the headsculpt.  Did I mention the headsculpt?  Perfect.  So much of the character in the first line of AM releases was in the head-sculpt, and this figure NAILS it!  Great work TFCC.




Ultimately, these are exactly the types of homage that a Subscription Service should aim for.  Obscure, but with G1 ties, that not everyone NEEDS to complete a collection, but that a certain hardcore fan base will totally WANT.


Thanks TFCC, long may it continue.  Oh, wait.  Oh.  (too soon?)


The Waruder are a faction with a loose and varied affiliation with the Transformers brand over the decades.



Originally, the Waruder (Waru meaning evil in Japanese) were the enemy faction in the Diaclone toyline, designed by Macross designers Shoji Kawamori and Kazutaka Miyatake.  The most well recognised of these are Kabutron, Battas and Kuwagatrer, mostly because of their release in the Transformers toyline in 1985 with new colours as the Insecticons Bombshell, Kickback and Shrapnel respectively.  As these things seem to go, they were eventually released in the Transformers toyline in their original colours as an eHobby exclusive set in 2004, under the names Salvo, Shothole and Zaptrap, as the Insecticon Clones.  We’ll be looking at these (and the US only Deluxe Insecticons) in more detail the future, as they are all important to the legacy of the Transformers.



With the resurgence of the Diaclone toyline from Takara, we expect to see new official Waruders at some point, but for now there is a dearth of opponents for Dia-Battles to fight.  However, there is a solution at hand, thanks to the Botcon 2015 Waruder Maruaders four-pack, this “troop-builder” set was limited to 1500 and features four distinctive repaints, and was the first time the Waruder name was directly affiliated with the TF brand.




While these were not individually named at the time of release – and somewhat disappointingly shared the same bio card – their identities have been somewhat fleshed out as part of the Fun Publishing Timelines collectors club storyline; TransTech (unrelated to the abandoned Beast Machines follow-up from Mainframe).

The Waruder Maruaders are a techno-organic drone shells piloted internally by a Waruder pilot.  While this is true in the fiction, this is not replicated with the toys, which are merely re-decos of Generations Waspinator figures paired with the repainted versions of the Waspinator mini-figure / target-master that was partnered with the 2013 Legends Starscream figure.

This set is Waspinator partnered with Waspinator, x 4.  Waspinception, maybe?





Partnered with Ripper, Parasite is based on an unreleased Horrorcon redeco of Transmetal Waspinator



Based on the original Fox Kids Waspinator deco, this figure is partnered with Thrasher.

Storm Rider



Storm Rider’s redeco isn’t based on a Waspinator toy, but on the original Warudaros toy from Diaclone, and comes partnered with Crusher as standard.




Based somewhat obscurely on the 2007 Bug Bite figure, this beautiful white, black, pink and purple is my personal favourite of the line, and comes partnered with the Buzzer figure.


While we’re not spoiled for choice, these beautiful figures work amazingly well with the new Diabattles figure.




As well as a whole host of 3rd party Insecticons, the second product from the Diaclone V2 reboot range, Powered Suit, is now available to order from Kapow Toys, along with a set of Dia-naut figures.

These curious finds entered my sphere of attention about five years ago, when a junker lot from a car-boot sale yielded an interesting result; amoung the usual detritus of broken Bayformers was a small Nissan Cherry Vannette, in pre-Transformers Diaclone black, but smaller, and with no robot mode.  Immediately I checked the copyright stamp to see Takara, and a tatty remaining sticker on the front bumper informed me this was indeed Diaclone.

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Somehow they had escaped my attention to that point (probably because my focus up until that point had been on completing my US / European G1 collection), but once they were in my field of vision, and with a little research informing me that this was quite a small sub-set known as Diaclone Change Attackers or Attacars, I set out to find the other two to complete the set.  They were also distributed as part of the Ceji Diaclone Joustra line and as part of Gig’s Trasformers line.

I managed to score the red Turbo 2000 (a Mitsubishi Stallion) from Maziar himself a couple of years back, and have been on the look out for the final piece – Cheetah – for a few years, making him an absolute priority at this years Botcon.  Although I did find one at Botcon, he was top dollar, and I continued my search hoping to find a loose one at a more reasonable price so I could finally finish the set and write this article.

A few missed eBay auctions, including one where I set the alarm for 4:30am only for the eBay app to freeze whilst loading an advert in the final 7 seconds of the auction, and my frustration eventually led me to pay more than I wanted to for a MIB example.

Lets take a look at them.

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As always, these toys have different names for the Japanese and European markets, I’m not particularly fussy about which versions I have as I collect molds first and foremost, the packaging (whilst beautiful) is always secondary to my collection concerns.  Its the only way I can keep my collection slightly manageable.  From left to right we have the boxy looking Lamborghini Cheetah in yellow (simply Destroy Car Cheetah for the Italian market), Nissan Oneboxcar Vannette (Destroy Car Van in Italy) in black, and Mitsubishi Stallion (Destroy Car Turbo 2000) in red.

The Japanese versions of these came with Diaclone Drivers, and they’re a really fun part of the set, especially with Turbo 2000, as the Driver is more visible in the disguised mode than in the Attack mode.  It’s a shame as this wasn’t carried over for the other releases of these toys, because without the drivers you do lose half the fun of the attack modes.  Owning a few Diaclone Drivers now, I feel much the same way about the first two years of Transformers now, especially as Hasbro could have surely made cheap little Spike’s and Sparkplugs very cheaply, and I remember my brother and I insisting at the time the toys had been designed with pilots in mind, with no concept of pre-Transformers in our young brains – the way information was exchanged made the world a much bigger place back then.


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These are fairly small toys, smaller than G1 Ironhide and Ratchet as I said earlier, slightly bigger than a Matchbox car, but a similar size with fixed axles on the rear to help the “pull-back and go action feature”.  This feature means they can “transform” from terrestrial vehicle to an Attack Car mode automatically, similar to the quick release feature on the Jumpstarters and Battle Chargers.


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As you can see, the attack modes are fun enough, and the addition of chrome pieces make them feel like very classy toys, which is odd as they were clearly marketed at the lower end of the price-range spectrum.  Back then, even cheap toys seemed well manufactured.


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But as I mentioned earlier, it’s with the Drivers that these come alive.  For some reason making them piloted makes then hugely more fun!  Especially with that tiny head poking out at the top of Turbo 2000’s Drill tank mode.

With drivers, these make a great companion set to the Power Dashers.


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So yeah, I paid way too much for a MIB Gig version of Cheetah, absolutely Mint with an unused sticker-sheet.  I keep saying I’m not a box collector, but evidence to the contrary keeps piling up all around me.  I’m also really tempted to apply the stickers!

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One of the worst things about getting a figure from a smaller subset in a condition as nice as this, is it really makes you want to go and get the other two in equally nice condition.  However, as with a lot of my collection, I like the stories behind them and how I acquired them, as that fits into the greater story of how and where I’ve collected toys over the years, and in the past when I’ve replaced old favourites for a MIB specimen, I have often regretted it later.


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Of course, in an ideal world I’d compile a complete set of Joustra.  If only for that fantastic Brizzi Bros. boxart!



So, why were these never considered for the Transformers line?  I think the answer lies quite simply in the fact that they don’t transform into robots and drones were not considered for the line, after all, even the cassette minions were fully sentient.  Of course, we seem to have come full circle over the years with the DOTM-era Stealth Force subline coming very close to this concept, almost more MASK toys than Transformers.


However, given that IDW are making moves towards their aligned continuity with MASK and Transformers coming under the same canonical roof for the first time, maybe there will be a place for these awesome little designs yet, even if only in the background of a panel, or as failed attempts at reverse engineering the technology.  It would be nice to see these guys take a bit more credit, as they are part of the grand tapestry of Takara’s design history.