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.



It may seem weird to us now, either as people who grew up with Beast Wars, Unicron Trilogy or even the 10 year old Movie franchise, or even as 30/40 year old adults who’ve just gotten used to tank-mode Megatrons, but there was a time when gun mode was all the rage.


Growing up, I had to make do with Galvatron, running around and making electronically provided “pew-pew” noises, but before that, and before Transformers even, there was Micro-Change, and they gave us not one, but three distinct gun mode transforming robots to choose from.


Although MC12 / MC13 made it over to the Transformers range as Megatron, and later MC07 received a release in the Japanese line as Browning, one of these molds never made it across to the Westernised Transformers brand.  That figure was MC11 Gun Robo S&W Magnum 44, otherwise known as MC11 Pistola Robot 44 Magnum in the Gig distributed Trasformer line, but affectionately known by most as simply Magnum 44.


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This was my birthday treat to myself this year, once again an expensive toy justified for my collection as a “future blog article”, when really I just wanted it for myself.  The box isn’t amazing, but it’s more than good enough for my collection, especially seeing as I’m supposed to be a Loose collector anyway (owning a unique Takara mold is the important bit for me), but I must confess to really enjoying any of the Japanese or Italian pre-Transformers releases, as I feel the packaging mitigates the risk of depreciation in the unlikely event of a reissue (legitimate or otherwise).  Sure, value is not why I collect, but all the same, it is good to protect your investment.  And damn, does the packaging make the idea of becoming a boxed collector appealing!



Of course, there are many box variations for this guy, including a very similar Japanese text box, and of course the obligatory high-end KOs, including this most interesting and very Kingdam looking packaging featuring new character art.


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This is probably how this piece looks best.  Removing the outer packaging really lets this mold shine; with the lovely sleek black weapon and wooden-effect gun handle, this really is the colour toy guns look best in.  The chrome weapon also looks great, but we can see one of the parts-forming weaknesses of this mold, with the arm extension and fists packaged separately.  All bullets are included (actually includes four extra!), but for me the highlight of this version is the pack-in cardboard targets, which feature what look like Waruder bad-guys, unusual, seeing as Microchange and Diaclone were considered separate lines.

Update:  Thanks to Bryan Wilkinson for pointing out the card artwork is of the AcroSatans (amazing name) from earlier in the New Microman line circa 1982, just before Microchange started.  There is a similarity to the Waruder designs, because these too were designed by legendary Takara designer Kohjin Ohno.


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Small cardboard targets might not look like much, but they’re the kind of thing that are not looked after and are easily damaged or lost, and for me go one step beyond, reminding jaded adult collectors such as myself that these are toys, designed to be fun for kids, not just sit behind glass on a shelf.


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Lets do gun mode first, as we’ve already teased that in packaging.  This is arguably his better side; cleaner, with the metal arm pin hidden.  The little S&W sticker is an amazing detail, from a more innocent time where not everything was licensed because many companies simply didn’t have licensing wings and Intellectual Property lawyers.  As a gun, you could probably fool a few people with it, although less so with this version and it’s EU friendly orange plug (I blame Brexit!) which was absent from the Japanese releases.  Although I daresay it would be easier to convince US police that this is real than in other countries, but would you really want too?!?


You can pull back the hammer and that locks into place, waiting for the pull of the trigger, which is presumably what makes these fire, just like a real firearm!  However, given the delicate nature of some toy’s firing pins after 35 years, I am reticent to try!  The only real negative with this alt. mode as a disguise, is that the head doesn’t really go anywhere, and just folds down, hiding the face from view.  At a glance, and in pictures, you can’t really notice, but in hand, it is glaringly obvious – as much as you might try and justify it as a sight for targeting – and the first indication that maybe this toy isn’t as perfect as it first looks.


The rounded multi-slug chamber in the middle of the gun really is the most convincing part of this toy, because it’s very hard to imagine how that transforms into a robot in a convincing way.


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The transformation is very clever.  The legs are pretty much the same as Megatron’s; flipping forwards, stretching out and unfolding feet.  For the torso, you slide and rotate the mid-section, then there is a tiny trigger release on the back of the robot which you need to activate in order to release the chamber, you fold that down and push the metal pin which somewhat amazingly reveals an upper-arm hidden INSIDE the chamber!!!  This is brilliant, and by far the genius moment of this transformation.  Unfortunately, there is not enough space in the chamber for an entire arm, hence the arm extension and plug-in fists are necessary.  A shame, but for a toy from the early-eighties, you cannot really complain.

Every holds together nicely, but I wish the chamber could click back into place just a little more on the right hand side of the body, and the shoulder joint coming mid-way down the left shoulder / mid-torso is a little odd, as seen below.


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The head detail is stunning, just a fantastic and interesting sculpt, which might make you think of this toy as Rumble or Frenzy’s Dad, as there is a bit of family resemblance there!  Colour wise, this guy is actually a little bland, and you can see how the flash or red and blue on the inside of the Megatron / Browning figures made a big difference to the robot modes.


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Everything feels great, and the figure is sturdy and displayable, but in hand, this guy just doesn’t look as nice as it does in pictures, and I think it’s purely because you never see pictures of this guy from the side, where you can see how slightly awkward the body shape is, the slightly floaty head, and how much leftover gun just sits behind the figure’s torso.  I included one above to help people make an informed choice when considering purchasing him, because this piece is a bit of a grail item these days, and was on sale at Botcon 2016 for as high as $750 for a MIB version!

That’s not to say this guy isn’t worth picking up for your collection, and certainly, I needed to buy him and he looks great on display with the other guns!  He’s an amazing little figure for the time and an excellent piece of history, but he’s definitely one for Microchange and pre-TF collectors, and perhaps one that G1 collectors who might have considered picking up to boost their G1 Decepticons might want to evaluate, because I think Hasbro definitely made the right choice when it came to picking their Decepticon leader out of the three gun molds available.


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So, just who is Kiloton?  Never let it be said that the awesome chaps and chappettes over at the TFwiki leave any obscure reference untapped, and they like to associate the obscure Kiloton character and Megatron mentor as a reference to this unused pre-TF mold.  Not for me, personally, but I always enjoy attempts to integrate unused molds into TF lore.

Sadly, there have been zero official or third party updates to this character.  Ever.  So it’s difficult to show comparisons to how he might look in 2016, or to include links back to Kapow, but just go check out the site and look at their selection of Megatrons and third party versions to see whether you prefer gun modes, or modern updated modes.  What do you think, has the time of gun mode passed?  Did G2 Megatron get it right?  Comment below, and thanks for reading!

What can we say about the Diaclone Revival that hasn’t been said already in the short two months since it was released?  What angles can we show it at that haven’t been covered by Maz’s incredible photo coverage?

The approach I’m taking in today’s blog is simply that Dia-Battles V2 is a complete overhaul of the Diaclone concept rather than a straight update, and that maybe Dia-Battles V2 owes as much to another, different Takara design from a separate toy-line than it does the original Dia-Battles.  But which one?

To find the answer to these questions, first we have to go right back to 1980, 4 years before Transformers were a thing, to the pre-Hasbro land of Takara Diaclone.  To the original DIA-BATTLES.

Dia-Battles V1 / Diatron

Calling it Dia-Battles V1 is a bit disingenuous, but like the Generation One moniker that appeared long after the original line was finished, I imagine this is what he’ll come to be known as moving forward.




Shown above is my vintage Diatron (the name used during the Italian Gig distriution), it’s exactly the same as the toy issued in Japan as Diabattles, right down to having DIA-BATTLES written on the wings.  Heck, that’s a detail that even the Kingdam Knock-Off noticed and corrected for their release (but if you look closely below, you’ll see they used a picture of the original toy and not their KO).


Diabattles / Diatron features three separate vehicles that come together to form one robot mode.  Sort of like the Duocons, but a Trio… and good guys against the evil Waruders.  So, TrioBots maybe?


The combined robot mode is very basic, but a lot of fun with a terrific aesthetic, and a classic Takara headsculpt.  One think which really makes it stand out is the amount of die-cast metal and chrome parts, which in good condition really make the figure look great, but which sadly means that the figure is easily damaged and all too often the offerings of this guy on the collectors market are often damaged and look quite shoddy.  Combine that with blue plastic in the legs which is incredibly fragile now, and a questionable leg connecting joint, and the chances of finding this guy in great condition are slim.  Because of the combining nature of the robot mode, it is fairly easy for the wise collector to buy a couple of damaged ones and attempt to make one good, complete one, which is what I did here ( a wiser collector puts the figure safely away before their cats break it too!).


Transformation, if you can call it that, is easy and intuitive as it usually is with the vintage pieces.  The sliding wing panels on the winged vehicle; (02), lock the torso and head vehicle (01) into place, with the final vehicle (03) making up the legs.  Catchy naming scheme, huh?  The Gig version credits the vehicles as Cosmic 01, 02 and 03 respectively.

Lets take a look at those vehicle modes below, side-by-side with their contemporary updates.




Not much in common with these guys, I actually think the vintage does a better job of hiding the head with a simple panel slide, but I guess with the nature of the Diaclone story the transformation isn’t so much about disguise as function, and no-one can deny the coolness of the mechanised function that slowly reveals the head of Diabattles V2 with a very satisfying and Zoids-esque whirr.





Big yellow and red wings?  Check.  Blue cockpit for a Diaclone driver?  Check.  Anymore similarities?  No, not really.  I guess this section helps the final silhouette of the combined robot mode look a bit like the update.


Well I guess it seats two Diaclone drivers same as the original.


One thing the original does much better than the new figure, is that it uses all the parts in it’s final robot configuration.  It’s not a big problem, as the left-over parts combine to become the Boretto Fighter and have high levels of functionality separately, and totally work within the structure of the Diaclone universe.  It’s not even parts-forming as we know it, because where is it written that modular equipment can’t have bits left over?

Okay, we’ve gotten a bit ahead of ourselves.  Now you’re familiar with V1, lets check out V2 properly.

Dia-Battles V2


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As I said at the opening, you can’t really consider Dia-Battles V2 as merely an update of the original, it is in fact a complete re-imagining of the Dia concept.  And in my opinion, a much needed one.

We’ve seen the vehicle modes in direct comparison with the originals, so lets look at the “robot” mode.  It’s a million miles away from the original, but there is definitely enough homages to the original (the colour-scheme, headsculpt, basic proportions and silhouette) for it to work.  Make no mistake though, Takara have not just phoned this in.

Not content with an awesome robot mode, complete with swords and other accessories, not content with three vastly updated and re-imagined vehicle pods, Takara have made the WHOLE THING modular.  Sure, the original broke into three parts, but there was very little you could do with those three parts.  Not so with V2.


Firstly, the obvious one.  Lets make all three vehicles joint together to make one amazing uber-ship known as Battle Triser.  Great idea, and it also makes use of some of the leftover components from robot mode.  Everything is used here to great effect.


How about an obligatory Japanese mech look?  Fan-mode Ger-walks (originating in the Macross line and replicated by Jetfire fans everywhere) are a thing with fans these days, but Takara have made that easier by included it as an official mode.  Nice one Takara.  This ED-209 looking mother is known as Manual Mode.


The above pictured Scramble Mode is the third official combine mode from Takara to make use of all three components.  But they are not done yet.


You can combine two out of the three parts together to make four other official modes, including Hopper (above), Crawler (below), Glide and Fortress (not pictured).  And that’s without getting to fan modes!


Want more options?  No problem, because Takara also issued this in a Moonbase variant, and you can mix and match those parts to make as many interesting configurations as your heart desires.  All of which are fully interactive with the Diaclone Drivers included with the sets.  This adds on layers and layers of playability, to the point that I’m not surprised that a lot of people are troop-building these guys.


The little motorbike, Road Viper, is included with the V2 set.



As you can see from the above, Dia-Battles V2 seems very much like it’s own thing.

But hang on… multiple components, highly modular interactivity giving you the ability to make a multitude of different vehicles all of whom are piloted by a Takara pilot?  Where have we seen that before???




Released in 1982 by Takara as part of the Microman Armoured Machine range, the above pictured Cosmic Fighter (later released in the West as Converters Deltarian Fighter) was a highly modular vehicle made up off multiple components giving you the ability to make a multitude of different vehicles all of whom are piloted by a Takara pilot.

I explain the history of this release in slightly greater detail here for those interested.



Stack Tank

There really is no set formula with this guy, and while the packaging and instructions mention 16 different and distinct vehicle modes, there are so many more weird and wacky configurations you can achieve.






I have no idea what this mode is.



Helicopter thing


Radar tank? I mean Crawler mode.



Sure, Takara have attempted to reboot the Microman line multiple times (occasionally using old Transformers molds such as Action Masters Optimus Prime of MicroMaster Countdown) with little success, and I’m certainly not saying they are attempting to sneak a Microman reboot into the new Diaclone Revival, nor am I saying Dia-Battles rips off this dated looking Microman mold.
I am however floating the concept that Takara designers perhaps borrowed a few ideas from the Cosmic Fighter when they came to the Dia-Battles V2 design table, maybe borrowing as much from it’s modular design as they borrowed from Diatron’s colours and aesthetic.

Maybe it’s all a coincidence?  Or toy design osmosis seeping into the designer’s heads?  What do you think?

As always, massive thanks to Kapow for allowing me a home for these articles, make sure they are your first port of call when considering the Diaclone Revival figures, the PE upgrades, or the Fans Project Dia-Battles / Dai Atlas updates; Trianix Alpha and Dai X.

Thanks for reading.

-Sid / Ceno / CZH


Most people know I have a fairly extensive G1 collection, but there are a few bits conspicuous by their absence, Pretenders for one.


I’m quick to say I have a near complete Euro / US collection, but way back when my goal was simply to collect 84-86.  I completed that set a while ago, but along the way there was one set that got away.  That set was the mail-away Powerdasher set.



Released as part of the Transformers line in 1984, they were only available via mail-order for $3 and two robot points, with the catch being you didn’t know which one of the three you were getting.  As well as transforming, the big gimmick with these was a pull back and go motor.

So after putting off buying this set for decades, I recently purchased a very nice Italian Diaclone set, as distributed by Gig.  But why did I put off buying these for so long?  Was it because of price, condition, or rarity?  Read on and find out.


F1 Dasher / Dragster / Aragon / Powerdasher Car*

(*format:  Japanese Diaclone name / Gig Diaclone name / Joustra and Trasformer name (adopted by TFwiki) / lame US name)




These are fairly simple figures, as you can see.  The robot mode for F1 Dasher is Optimus Prime coloured, but that is where the similarities end.  His massive “spoiler” becomes the legs and feet for the robot, and the front of the car folds down to make the arms / hands.


The vehicle mode is slightly more interesting in that there is room for a Diaclone driver (included!), and the toy features a pull back and go motor that has survived all these years.  You might note in the example pictured above, the robot head is clearly visible in alt. mode, it is supposed to rotate and hide away, but thirty years in packaging has left the head a tad stiff, and I didn’t want to risk breaking it for this shot.



I’ve not seen a Spoiler this big since Jon Snow died


Edit:  The head doesn’t rotate, which would explain why it wouldn’t move.  Don’t try that at home kids!

It might be of note to some that the Transformers release has black legs instead of blue, and you might have seen yellow headed “variants” too, but that’s just chrome wear.

Note that the original Diaclone names are included on stickers on all three toys.


Drill Dasher / Perforer / Zetar / Powerdasher Drilltank


Another pretty basic figure.  A lot of this guy looks backwards, especially the feet (see trio photo below), and I still think it’s an odd choice in this range to keep the cockpits prominent in robot mode and alt. mode, when they could have detailed the underside.  I’m not sure if they did this because the underside had to remain flat for alt. mode, but a few stickers could have pepped it up.



Look at that face!


Transformation is insanely simple, to the point that the Gig release don’t include instruction sheets, just two pictures on the side explaining it.  Actually, the entire packaging is simple, the front of the box is just a shell that covers the polystyrene inner, no rear packaging so to speak.  They come with a sticker sheet, a tiny and very folded Diaclone catalogue, and a very small character card.





The alt. mode for this guy is cute, who doesn’t love a Drillformer?  It;s a shame the legs cover the awesome Drill Dasher side stickers.

The colour scheme is very nice.  Overall, this is my favourite of the trio, especially with the colour-matched Diaclone driver sat on top.


Sky Dasher / Dragster / Cromar / Powerdasher Jet




An inversion of the colours on the F1 type, these bright primary colours aren’t enough to help this very basic robot mode.  Note the stickers for a face that all three of these guys had, something that wasn’t seen on another Transformer  other than the much derided G1 Ratchet / Ironhide (we’ll come back to that in a minute).




The transformation is very similar to the F1 type, with the arms swinging over the head and the legs swinging around, this time to the side not over the figure, the wings are cleverly hidden inside the legs and act as the thigh joint for the legs in the process.  Ironically the most dangerous to pilot vehicle has the least convincing cockpit for the driver.


It’s a fun enough vehicle, as a kid I can imagine punching things as I fly the vehicle into them.  Which might explain the chrome wear a lot of these figures suffer.  As with the F1 type, the Transformers release has a black chest section rather than blue.



So why didn’t I buy them before?  Well, because of the complete lack of personality or media support growing up, I had no affinity with these characters, it’s also quite hard to find them in the UK for a decent price.  Even if you CAN find them in the UK, the chrome is usually damaged.  I mean, badly damaged.  Like the Drill type has a yellow drill for a head, not a chrome one damaged.




But that isn’t why I didn’t buy them.  I continually skipped these for years, because I think they are BAD TRANSFORMERS, and I stand by that.  Even a “completest” has limits (I’m not a completest, and I think it’s unhealthy to try).

But that’s not to say these are bad toys.

It’s a similar thing to G1 Ratchet and Ironhide, I think they are amazing toys for their time, but they are lousy Transformers and crap renditions of Ironhide and Ratchet if you know them from the cartoon or comic.  Like these Diaclone Dashers, they are also at their best when they are interacting with little Diaclone drivers as part of inhabited world in a completely separate toyline divorced from Transformers.  At least the Cherry Vannettes had the advantage of blending into the world thanks to the real-world alt. modes, which made them fit right alongside Sunstreaker and Trailbreaker, but these guys are an odd fit, as they don’t really look like anything, Earthmode or Cybertronian, and as such seem slightly out of place in both Diakron and Transformers.

I don’t want or need these for my Transformers shelf, as I don’t believe that sticking an Autobot logo on something is enough to bring a toy into that world.  Indeed, it took the combined efforts of Hasbro, Marvel and Sunbow to make the Takara toyline an intellectual property and brand to be reckoned with, but along the way the first humble mail-away offer, the Power-Dashers, never really found a place into the heart and soul of the line, which is why thirty years on we’ve had no homages of these characters – official or otherwise – not even as Mini-cons.




Which is why I’ve finally found a place for these in my burgeoning Diaclone collection after decades of Transformers collecting.

But it just shows that everything has a place, and even the oddest of toys can find a spot in a collection, when put into the proper context.  For me – in this case – it meant looking at toys I’d ignored for years in a different light, and I’m very glad I did.


Thanks for reading, be sure to check out the Kapow site for all the latest toys and pre-orders.

As strong as a Diamond, as fast as a Cyclone;  Diaclone!



Seems everyone is going Diaclone mad with the release of the Diaclone V2 series.  Good!  About time.

The earliest releases of Diaclone were quite different to the later Car Robots series that we know and love from their eventual licensing agreement and development with Hasbro, they were of a more science fiction bent, featuring the good Diaclone drivers and their (seemingly occasionally sentient) vehicles and armour, fighting the Evil Waruder Empire, some of whom later became the Insecticons (a name later used in Transformers for the Botcon 2015 Waruder set of Waspinator repaints). zetabio

We all know how early Diaclone and Micro-change figures were re-packaged, re-imagined and re-branded and released as Transformers in 1984 (if you’re unsure as to the who and the what, click here), what is perhaps less known is how some of the early non-TF molds of Diaclone were released in the West, fully licensed by Takara and put out by Hayes Ltd in 1981 as part of the Grandstand Converters line, which contained a mash-up of various toys from a multitude of different lines.


The most common of these is the Diaclone Gats Blocker which was released in the Grandstand line as Alphatron, but other releases included a Microman vehicle which was included as Deltrian Tracker, one of the Waruders which was released as Siclonoid, and some of the more savvy of you may have noticed Omega Supreme in different colour scheme parading around as Omegatron, this was duel-licensed from Tomy / Toybox for UK release in Converters, and may have been the reason that Omega Supreme did not get a UK release.  Over time, we’ll take a look at all these guys, but today we’re taking a look at a latter-day Grandstand Converters figure from the second range; Zetanoid.


Zetanoid / Dia-Attacker




Any of the green packaged Converters range are from the second range which was made in much smaller numbers, and it is speculated that it may be harder to find than the original Diaclone Dia-Attacker release.  Released in 1985, the packaging only features a date-stamp for 1981, but this is referring to Takara’s original copyright date for the mold.  The packaging is pretty disappointing, with the same image on the back and front of the packaging which really wastes the potential of showing exactly what the toy can do, and a generic throwaway story and profile on the side of packaging that offers less insight and character into the Converters background than the (uniquely British) little comics on the back of Space Raiders crisps.


zetabio spaceraiders


The differences between Zetanoid and Dia-Attacker are minor, heck, even the inner styrofoam containers are identical.  The most glaring omission from the Zetanoid set are the Diaclone drivers, these were absent from most of the Diaclone re-releases (including the Transformers range).  The missiles are included (although long since lost in my version), and a running change seems to be that the head-crest that comes with Zetanoid is now yellow, rather than the original Diaclone chrome plated, though I have seen evidence of both releases with the Gig and Takara releases.  The chrome on the toy often wears, and reveals all the molded plastic underneath to be the same yellow as the head-crest, so whether some of the head-crests just escaped the chroming process by design or accident is unknown.  Another common defect is the chest stickers, which are prone to wear and cracking on the flexible plastic material.







The toy interacts well with the Diaclone drivers as seen above, and you can swap the (slightly too large) fists out with the little vehicle pods for extra playability, although sadly the vehicle pods and fists don’t seem to store well in the missile holes.  You can also rotate the fists and seat a Diaclone driver in the back of them, which looks a bit odd, but explains the slight over-sized-ness of them.



The head sculpt is awesome, channeling more than a little bit of KISS’s Peter Criss.  It’s one of the most distinct faces in a line note-worthy for it’s awesome head designs.  Purely subjective, but I’ve always felt Takara’s robot faces are what gave Transformers the edge over Go-Bots in making us invest in these characters for 30 plus years, and these same faces are evident all the way back to early Diaclone, all the way up to latter-day Brave toys.



A look at a release packaged with the Diaclone drivers, missiles, and two head-crests, in yellow and chrome.


This is one of the examples of early Diaclone which actually transforms, rather than pulling apart into separate components like Gats-blocker, Dia-Battle, or even Robot Fortress X.  The transformation is basic, fold the arms under, put the cod-piece / cockpit forward, rotate the head back section forward into the chest section, and swing the legs backwards rotating the wings in the process.  Ta-da!




You can also choose to store the fists in the arms whilst in vehicle mode, it does limit the playability of the vehicle pods which can also plug in under there.  As well as the two smaller pods, the larger vehicle which sits on top of the vehicle mode and stores on the back of the robot mode is detachable (although sliding a vehicle on top of 30 years old mint chrome is never fun and always a risk), and this gives an extra dimension of playability.

It’s a fun toy, although I feel the lack of Diaclone Drivers hurts the release, in a same way that as a kid I always felt there was something missing for the driver seats and cockpits of the early G1 toys.



Diaclone Release



Rear of box, Gig release

It seems a collectors work is never done; whilst researching this article I have seen photos and evidence of a black and purple knock off of this mold, which I now really need.  Sigh.

Thanks for reading, and if you want to get onboard with the new Diaclone V2, keep an eye on the Kapow! website for those, and the unofficial Perfect Effect offerings.