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.

If there’s one thing the majority of the fandom loves that I completely agree with, it’s combiners.


Devastator, Raiden, Scramble City, G2 repaints, JRX, Road Caesar, TFCC Nexus Maximus (snigger), Brave toys, official, 3rd party; I love ’em all!

After the Devastator battles of 2012, it became pretty clear even to Hasbro that, yeah, there is a market for these things after all.  But what was the problem to begin with?  Why did Hasbro think the market would not respond?


History time.  Hasbro’s problem with doing Combiners during the early days of the CHUG era was a practical one; they didn’t believe retailers would know how to stock them given the mixed scale would place them into different cases, and not all retailers stock all assortments.  Given how annoying the distribution was for the Energon combiners back in 2003/2004, I guess they know what they’re talking about.  After the shelf-warmer disaster that was the ROTF combiners (Energon Bruticus and Superion – both clogged up the aisles until FP released add-on packs), and the failed Titan Devastator combiner all in 2009, it’s not surprising they were cautious.

The solution: test the market with a video game tie-in, and make all five components the same scale so they can all be distributed in the same case assortment.  This gave the world FOC Bruticus (the first rule of Wreckers club is we DO NOT TALK ABOUT RUINATION), and whatever your personal feelings on the matter; he sold very well, but with very mixed reactions online and in the fan community (leading to 3rd party add-on sets, and an entire replacement figure) and obviously the water had been tested, and it was lukewarm.

While that was happening in the retail stores, online dealers were selling TFC Hercules parts for up to $100/ £80 each, and Maketoys debut combiner Giant was selling for $350 / £300, and the online buzz surrounding these figures was HUGE!

I’ve spoke at great lengths about how the greatest legacy of 3rd Party releases to date has been the free market research that they gave Hasbro / Takara, proving just how much disposable income there is out there waiting for updates of these characters we all love.  While Takara took the direction of upping the quantity of Masterpiece releases and quality repaints, Hasbro and Takara took a decision to commit the mainline Transformers to Combiners… in a big way!

Combiner Wars has been a huge success, and by making the entire line (excluding Leader classes) interchangeable and interactive (harkening back to that original Scramble City ethos of 1986), case assortments were no problem for retailers, especially with savvy fans knowing exactly what they want.

For me, the best part of Combiner Wars has been the randomness; Sky Lynx… a torso-bot?  New characters with Rook, Alpha Bravo, and Offroad.  G2 repaints including the never before officially released Stunticons (don’t let us down on Defensor now guys).  SCROUNGE for goodness sake!!!  Sure, there have been miss-steps along the way – such as making Blast-Off a plane, keeping Groove as a scout class ‘bot, and how token the Hasbro first attempt at Scattorshot was –  but while Takara has capitalised on these miss-steps, Hasbro has also been quick to rectify and listen to fan feedback.  And good on them for doing so!

Of course, while this has been happening, the 3rd Party Combiners haven’t gone away, and in many ways Hasbro are still playing catch-up, as we’ve now had 4 different Devastators, 2 Computrons, 2 sets of Dinobots, Abonimus and all the Scramble City guys, and are already well in to the realms of Liokaiser, Dinoking and the Seacons.


Today, we’re going to be taking a look at Maketoys third combiner offering; Guardia, their version of the Protectobots, and we will be doing so alongside comparison shots of the Combiner Wars Defensor.


-  (262) E E


Groove is possibly the hardest figure of the team to do right for a multitude of reasons.  His scaling compared to his other team members makes zero sense, but this is G1 influenced, and Maketoys seemed to judge the fans wants, needs and expectations better than Hasbro with this one.

The robot mode for Axle just oozes character.  They’ve managed to do a complete 180 with the character and actually make him look cool.  His hyper-stylised and uber-poseable lean robot mode is very reminiscent of manga stylings , and I think people could criticise the company for going such a different direction for Axle, however, I think we’ve all come to expect this sort of creative liberty from the amazing designers that Maketoys employ.  If this was the first figure out of the gate from a new company, I’m sure it would be more divisive, but after Giant and Quantron, we have a bloody good idea what to expect from this company and designer, and stylised cool-ass ‘bots are the way to go.

Hasbro’s first attempt at CW Groove is a bit… well;

-  (252) E

I’m not with him.

Transformation wise, the Hasbro bots win.  I don’t want to have to say this four times, so presume I feel this way about all of the others except when I mention otherwise.  The Maketoys ones are not awful to transform, I found them easier and way more instinctual than both Giant and Quantron limbs.  I managed to transform all four of them from robot mode to vehicle mode without instructions all within the running time of Jaws 3 (1 hour 20).  I say this a lot, but I genuinely believe that had these been packaged in alt. mode, the first transformation experience would be so much more positive it would improve people’s perceptions of the transformations.


Groove’s G1 figure was the first Transformers motorcycle attempt, and he was always a bit basic; making him a police bike might have hurt his aesthetic, but it provided the extra bulk necessary to pad him out for a combiner limb.  It’s a bit unfair to compare the two we have here, as the scale is so different, not to mention the disparity in pricing.  Hasbro CW Groove makes a great pocket money bot, and kudos to Hasbro for trying to think about scaling by making Groove a smaller bot and chest attachment, even if the majority of fans want the old-school look.  As I always say, it’s great to have the option, and I love the attempt to add to the legacy of the brand not merely draw from it’s past that characters like Rook deliver.  Overall, I like the idea of the small bike mode a lot more than the execution.  Whereas the Maketoys one looks damn cool in both modes, and the bike mode is an especially pleasing end result.



-  (236) E
Streetwise is a bit of an also-fan in the Transformers history book, except for an excellent Christmas issue of the UK comic.  Perhaps it was a tad redundant having a second police car on the good-guys side?  To further compound bargain-Prowl comparisons, they also made him a Nissan Fairlady.  Doh!  Thankfully, two things made this guy stand out back in 1986, one was his fairly unique transformation making his front windshield his chest, and the other was his unique head-sculpt, completely separate from his combiner peg giving him a lot of character.   Thankfully, the Maketoys release; Rover, follows this unique transformation, which is great because I feel it gives his robot mode a really unique look.  Not so the CW figure, as it could be one of 100 characters, but then none of the Combiner Wars characters seem to integrate car parts into their robot mode particularly well, leaving Prowl’s robot mode hood-less and killing a key part of his character in the process.

Head wise, I cannot fault any of the head sculpts of the Combiner Wars line, they are an absolute highlight of the line across the board, and Streetwise is no exception.  Rover’s is equally good, similar enough to be recognisable as Streetwise, while different enough to not get sued have a character all of his own.


-  (240) E

Transformation; again you have to give it to Combiner Wars, just for it’s fun fiddle factor and done in seconds change.  Rover isn’t too bad, but the more involved transformation does give him split down the middle syndrome, similar to the P:RID release of Vehicon.  I feel this is the price we pay for a more involved robot mode which integrates parts.  Contrary to this, the CW Streetwise is uber clean in vehicle mode, though fairly generic with a bit of a shell-former robot hiding within.



“What’s got four wheels, a £50 price tag, and goes Woof? Maketoys Rover!” Thanks Alan.

Technically, he transforms into a Sheriff’s car, rather than a police car.  You wouldn’t know this looking at the CW release, which just has police lazily branded on him, and no efforts to even place a sheriff badge on him somewhere.  Repaints have killed a lot of the car molds for me in the CW line, and I really like how distinct Rover looks, and his SHERIFF badges are hard to miss.

MT Himed / First Aid

-  (246) E

First Aid, probably considered a Ratchet replacement for the 1986 range after the great cull of The Movie.  First Aid’s face-plate has somehow always managed to convey a lot of character, and that’s definitely carried over into this sculpt.  The inverse red cross on his chest somehow manages to look more Christian Rock album cover than I think it was intended.

Somehow, the boxy little ambulance guy ends up looking super suave.  They’ve somehow kept him lean and athletic.


-  (248) E
The transformation on Himed isn’t so bad, and honestly, I’m pretty amazed by the engineering involved.  That’s a crap ton of robot packed into a tiny little alt. mode that ends up smaller than the CW toy.  It’s one of the cleverest transformations I’ve played with, and at times makes you believe in mass shifting.  Compact.


It’s hard to make an ambulance look super dynamic and interesting, but at least Himed looks like First Aid in alt. mode, as once again, that alt. mode could be any one of maybe 6 different characters.  The clear windshield makes a big difference to me, and I also like the lack of huge, visible weapon ports.  Yet all of the Maketoys guys can use their weapons for a weaponised vehicle mode no problem.

MT Katana / Blades


-  (243) E

Katana is probably the most interesting figure in the set, in terms of what has come before with small helicopter ‘bots, and what we get here.  Sure, we’ve had some decent helicopter toys with varied designs in recent years; Springer, CHUG Blades, Skyhammer – but few in a deluxe scale.  Tomahawk came the closest, but his legs suffered a lot.

What we have here is a hyper stylised, lean, athletic poseable figure complete with all the hyperbolic terms I used with all the other figures, but with the added bonus of having a fantastic transformation.

-  (242) E
Katana is the biggest member of the team, limb-wise, and he’s just great.  So much fun to fiddle with, pose and play with.  I know that rotors becoming swords is the biggest cliche to hit Transformers since green construction vehicles, but I think the melee weapons really help give him a bit of extra character and identity within this team.

In vehicle mode, Katana looks great, and little details such as fold-out landing gear makes a real difference.  I also welcome the four helicopter blades over the two on Blades.  Overall, I like the design solution to hide the arms as guns on the CW version, but I like the clean helicopter mode and the option to attach weaponry  the MT version affords.


Interestingly, back in 2012 I opted for Hercules over Maketoys Giant, I preferred the bulk of the robot mods and found the transformation of the TFC versions to be more fun.  Giant was just too far out there aesthetically, and different from my idea of Devastator.  Fast forward a few years, and we have Quantron, Guardia, FP Intimidator and the FP Bruticus upgrade kit, and these combiners have such a distinct look and styling, that what I once considered a weakness, I now consider their greatest strength.

-  (262) E

Maketoys transformation really are the other end of the spectrum to the CW, with CW looking like it hasn’t learned anything about transformations other than articulation since 1986.  Is this a plus or a negative, and for which set?  Well, that’s up to the individual, with many people preferring the Fiddle Former aspect of the CW range, and yes, they are fun, yet sometimes there is something more rewarding in a complex transformation, no?

Maketoys give me everything I want in a combining Bot, and I don’t mind the price-point as they feel like quality products throughout, and at no point was I scared of breakages, but at the same time there is a part of me that would have liked slightly simpler transformations.  I feel there is a middle ground somewhere between complexity, pricepoint and aesthetic, which has not been hit yet with combiners, though I feel Classics era figures had the balance right, but no combiners.  Go figure.


Despite the matching character choices and end game, these figures really are aimed at two completely different markets, and that’s pretty cool.  The costs involved, not to mention the ease in which you can pick up the majority of CW figures, make the CW an obvious choice for the majority of collectors.  Should you want something more, and you’re not afraid by the price of entry, then Maketoys have the stylised bots for you.

So which one is better?  Quite simply, only the individual can decide.

Ultimately, I personally feel that with just a few minor changes, the CW would be great toys and very display worthy, but like a lot of Hasbro figures post 2011, they’re just a bit too simple, light, and cheap for me.  I find the clip-on wheels particularly lame.  For that reason, and space reasons, I am keeping the MT, but I’m holding out for a G2 Defensor set, so I can have the best of both worlds.


As soon as Vulcan is in hand, I will do a Hotspot comparison, and a combined mode comparison.


Thanks for reading.

You can find a full selection of Maketoys products right here.

06 Apr 2016

As found at Botcon…

I have a small wants list for Botcon, I try to keep my options open though as you never know what might turn up.


Case in point: thirty minutes after arriving at the Botcon hotel in Kentucky, I find these…

G2 Dead-End




G2 Wildrider


20160405_223233 20160405_223307




G2 Streetwise20160405_223357




G2 Groove


Megamus, who regularly hosts the Megatoyfan Parts Party at Botcon (room 1578 for those of you at Botcon) has these four UNRELEASED G2 figures available for sale.  For the sum of $2,500 each.

Sadly, as incomplete sets, I feel buying these would commit me to hunting down and completing both sets, and given the rarity of G2 Motormaster and Hot-Spot, that could take a lifetime and a house deposit.  I hope these end up in an amazing collection.

Amazing figures to see and hold in person, and in a fandom where the term “grail” gets thrown around a lot, these are true grails.


Thanks to Megamus for allowing me the chance to have a look at these extremely rare figures and to take photos.  You can check out his Transformers for Your Listening Pleasure Podcast here.



Two days back, we took a look at Boss on this blog, today, we’re looking at Scorch, as part of a week long look at the Turbomasters cars, a quick one each day, and then a recap and group shots at the weekend.  They are firmly G1, sometimes known as Euro G1.5 and occasionally mistaken for G2 figures.  Some people know a few of the molds from Machine Wars and even the Universe line of repaints, but not all the molds have been re-used.

The Turbomaster Cars for instance, were released in 1992 in Europe by Hasbro, and they were also released by Takara as part of the Operation Combination series in Japan later the same year, but they never saw release in the United States, ever, and to date have never had any repaints, retools or reissues.

The gimmick for this series (other than Transforming, of course) was missiles!  Lots and lots (and lots, seriously) of missiles.  Their rivals are the Predators (sometimes called the Predator Jets, who we will be looking at next week) also has the same gimmick, but with much more generic – and fragile – launchers.

So, Scorch then…



He actually has one of the most awkward robot modes of the group, mostly because of a very unique transformation that rotates his front wheels up towards the top of his cab.  His head is quite reminiscent of Armada Red Alert’s head and gives him a distinct look as a robot.  His light-piping works to great effect and he had very powerful missile launchers, and comes with enough spare that you can clip them on to the side of the legs.  Annoyingly, it was during the photo-shoot for this that I realised my Scorch pictured here, has the wrong missile-launcher.  This has since been rectified.


0__0 (49)

As a truck, he should be fairly generic and boring looking vehicle, probably the most generic of the team.  Luckily, a big-ass missile launcher and flame decals help, as everything with flames is 22.7% cooler, and he totally pulls this off.  The real appeal of this guy comes with just how quick he is to transform back and forth, something which gets lost inScorch the “super show accurate” complex transformations we find so often in the adult collectible field.  As part of a play pattern, a kid could transform this guy sub 10 seconds without any risk of damage.

The central section on Scorch is prone to paint wear, as it’s actually all clear-pink molded plastic with the yellow bits painted on.  Between this and the easily damaged fire pattern on the hood, it’s not always easy to get this guy in great condition, despite their relative cheapness in Europe.

This guy has had a few different re-names along the way; in some parts of mainline Europe he is known as Dragon, and in Japan where he was released with Shadow Jet / Falcon he was called Fire Road.   Curiously, these releases under Operation Combination are considered completely separate characters to the European releases, and not just different names for the same characters.



Fireroad and Shadow Jet

I only actually realised while researching this blog post that his 2010 reimagining for Botcon saw him named Turbomaster – not the first time a subgroup name has been reused for a single figure (we’re looking at you Beast Wars Insecticon and Dinobot).  Using the Classics Hound mold, the figure is a great little toy, but as a Scorch re-imagining it leaves a lot to be desired, mostly because the head-sculpt wasn’t changed and there wouldn’t be room for a proper sculpted Scorch head as part of the Hound toys transformation.  As always; I was happy to see the re-imagining of an obscure figure into the wider CHUG line, but without his team-mates, he is just a floaty individual which doesn’t quite fit anywhere.

Next:  He saved every one of us!



No-one can deny that the early days of Transformers G1 provided us with some real innovation, especially in this early Takara Diaclone and Micro-change toys.


Unfortunately, the good ol’ days only last so long, and pretty soon the reality of business takes over.  For Hasbro, this meant designing new toys in house which were cheaper to manufacture and – thanks to the nature of plastic over die-cast – with molds that would last much longer.


As kids, a lot of us might not have noticed the cheap-creep, but I remember my parent’s certainly voiced it as they loved the early years, but were not fans of the later era.  As metal disappeared, detailing became simpler, basic gimmicks took over, and sometimes hands disappeared to be replaced with stubs (I’m looking at you Powermaster Prime!), it was easy to see the difference from 1985 to 1987.

This wasn’t always a bad thing, as limitations can often spur creativity – case in point Budiansky and Furman’s writing, and some of the Hasbro designs have a charm and simplicity all of their own.  Many toys I disliked as a child I have come to love, including the much maligned Action Masters, and many collectors love their Pretender collections.

But sometimes we get The Firecons.


Despite a fairly cool first appearance in the comic-book, where they went toe-to-toe with Galvatron (spoiler – they lost), nothing could have prepared me for the toys.


Yeah.  Any Gee-wunners who go with the fleeting statement that all G1 are better than the toys we get now, need look at these guys.  From left to right, we have Flamefeather (blue), Cindersaur(purple) and Sparkstalker (pinky purple), released in 1988 as one of the lower priced figures in the TF range.

00000- (19) (1)

They transform from three decent enough looking mythological bird monster creatures (a lot of Decepticons went a bit feral cyber-beasty by this era), with some really nice sculpted detailing – albeit with rubber tyres sticking out of their chests – to…

00000- (7)


…this.  Three decent enough looking mythological bird monster creatures with robots carved onto their backs.  Their alt. mode legs retain the same function in robot mode, their robot arms unfold to reveal the very basic (and similar looking) robot heads underneath.  The alt mode head, tail and arms just fold behind the robot as mega-kibble, so don’t look behind or turn them around.

I guess much of the sacrifice was due to their gimmick (other than transforming), as the Firecons could fire sparks out of their beast mouths if you ran their alt. mode bellies along the ground, then it was a rush to point the sparks into your friends eyes before they stopped working (the sparks and the eyes!).  This was great fun as a kid, for the first week or so until you wore the flint out, and got a rollockin’ from the parents for scratching up the living room table / kitchen counter / doorframe.  Usually, this would result in a bit of paint work damage too, which is why the beaks and horns on these guys often have some paint rubbing.

These guys are cheap enough to collect, and an interesting curiouso, though I would suggest the main collecting reasons for these guys are a) nostalgia and b) a sense of completion.  But honestly?  How is that any different to the rest of collecting?  They are also something of a rarity – as they will never be displayed in robot mode in my collection.


00000- (27)


Two of the three were later released in Generation 2 exclusively in European markets (please note, European markets often also include Canada, presumably due to the dual language packaging and licensing deals in place), using one of my most hated giummicks; clear plastic.  Thankfully, the colours are suitably offensive and G2, so I do dig them.  A lot.  As much as I might joke about the Firecons, these G2 variations are legitimately hard to find, especially in the United States.


00000- (12)


Cindersaur didn’t make the cut, I’ve often wondered if his absence could be explained through gang-molding, as Flamefeather and Sparkstalker appear to share a few colour-schemes in the G1 and G2.  However, 16 years later as part of Botcon 2010, they did release a Cindersaur, albeit using the 10th Anniversary of Beast Wars Megatron mold, so it doesn’t really fit.  Despite an incredibly cool colour palette that makes me want to immediately do a custom to complete my G2 set proper, I just can’t get behind this toy.  It’s just too far from the source for me, and instead of “completing a set” with a mold 16 years remove, it instead starts yet another sub-set it Fun-Pub have no intention of finishing.  Points for effort though guys.


Cindersaur? Or just a blue Beast Megatron? You decide.


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Japanese releases of these, also in 1988.

Destron Sparkdash A


As the Decepticon Sparkdash sub-group, we saw Cindersaur re-coloured into a mean looking green and grey as Guzzle, Flamefeather released as Sizzle unchanged, and Sparkstalker in red as Javil.  These names are especially confusing if you’re familiar with the names of the Western Sparkabots; Fizzle, Sizzle and Guzzle.  We will do an article on these guys in the near future, but if you’d like to see more of the Destron Sparkdash’s, check out Brr-icy’s wonderful blog here.  These guys have fantastic packaging, that almost make you want to pay $200 for an unchanged $5 toy in the case of Flamefeather.


Destron Sparkdash B



In conclusion, the Firecons haven’t seen much love.  No CHUG re-imaginings, no Third Party Representation, and only the most token of name re-usage in Bot-Shots, you would have thought they’d have fit well in Beast Hunters.  At least Sparkstalker has had a decent showing in the IDW comics (with a name like that, you’d think he’d be a lot more bad-ass) but as yet, it hasn’t let to any new toys.  Despite my lack of fondness for the G1, it would be nice to see these guys done well as it could redeem them a little bit.  I was hoping to get these from a company like iGear or Mech iDeas as they seemed to fit with their concept of small and cost effective, but alas, thus far we have nothing.  Titan Masters anyone?

– CZH / Ceno Kibble / Sid.

00000- (20)

US G2 card-art

We mentioned the Skyscorchers a lot in the mid-week post, as the counterparts to the Autobot Axelerators.  Exactly the same deal applies with these guys; they were released in Europe as part of the Euro 1.5 era / continued G1 (complete with what we now consider the G2 logo) after Transformers had stopped in the US AND Japan.  Transformers stopped in the US after Action Masters effectively killed the line dead, and Japan continued until 1992 with Operation Combination.  Leaving Europe carrying the torch, which meant little old England got a few exclusive figures for a change (we did miss out on Perceptor, Swoop, Blaster, Trypticon, Fort Max, Sky Lynx, Omega Supreme and a whole host of others though).


Euro version, notice the different artwork.

Of course, their exclusivity was short-lived, as they were re-released as part of the G2 range proper the same year alongside the Axelerators, and like their European wave-rivals they also suffered re-branding, now known as the “Small Jets” and featuring all new names.  Pshh, I’ll take Skyscorchers over Small Jets any day of the week.

g2 logo con

Like the Axelerators, they also feature a similar weapon storage gimmick, where the hand-held weapons double up as a plane part – rather than engines, they become under-carriage radar / sonar devices.  These figures are also gang-molded, featuring alternating primary and secondary colour-schemes, and unlike the Autobots there are no differences between releases (I’m quite shocked they didn’t remove the green light-piping and canopies for a more boring smokey grey).  We present them here under their European names first, and US names second.



Hawk / Eagle Eye

This was the only Skyscorcher I actually bought at the time of release, the rest were picked up on the after-market a few years later.  Hence the missing toe / rear landing gear, lost somewhere to the mists of time.  It’s the eccentricities of collecting like this that I love, where I’ll happily pay big money for big ticket items, yet completely forget to hunt out a minor piece for a £5 figure.

Hawk is listed as an Infiltrator, which makes him no different to most Decepticons really… He’s  a fun toy, with a simple transformation – the simplest of the bunch – but even then it features a few surprises to make you feel its not just ANOTHER jet-to-robot transformation.  In this respect, these guys do outshine the Axelerators, as the transformations are generally more involved.


In jet mode, he becomes a Dassault Rafale jet or a Eurofighter Typhoon jet, depending on who you believe, one with great stickers on his wings, and a nice sticker proudly presenting his year of production; 93.  Bless him.

Snipe / Afterburner


I never really noticed until now quite how plain (should that be plane? ho-ho!) he looks in robot mode, it’s certainly a sharp contrast to his alt. mode.  At least his weapon compliments his European name of Snipe, and it makes you wonder if Eagle Eye was originally intended for this guy, as it certainly would have made more sense, but then again his function is Technicians Master rather than long-range offense of other such.  His transformation is much more than meets the eye (knocking them out of the park today), and I think anyone who has experienced the basic Beast Wars assortment variety of transforming present in Machine Wars would be very surprised by the involvement required for this sub-line.





In alt. mode, he really shines, with great decals and paintwork throughout destracting from an otherwise generic blue jet (which are admittedly way more common in Transformers than real-life), and a gnatty revised Con logo right in the centre of the fuselage.  His tail-fin logo is also really great in a naff nineties sort of way, I can imagine it being tattooed on Will Ferrel in Blades of Glory.  He transforms into a Lockheed F-104G Starfighter jet.



Hooray!  A name that is consistent amoungst all territories!  Although as a fun-fact, it’s worth mentioning that his working title was Terraswoop.  This guy is easily my favourite of the bunch, even though his transformation is less involved than the others (but still would feel perfectly suited on a bigger toy), a transformation which gives him a very unique silhouette in the shoulders, which is needed, as the colour scheme on the robot mode needs something to help it pop.  It’s worth noting the under-wing engines become the lower legs of the robot, another factor contributing to his somewhat unique look.


It’s his alt. mode that makes this guy stand out so much, it’s not like the Ling-Temco-Vought A-7E Corsair II jet is a favourite of mine, with it’s rounded features massively different from the typical style of fighter-jet we usually get in Transformers, making it look more like a transporter of some kind.  Looks can be deceptive, as a bit of research shows it is a fighter jet in service from Vietnam through Desert Storm, with it’s heavy emphasis on radar and accuracy, and it’s under-cockpit air-intake giving it it’s distinct look.  The plane mode on the real-world fighter jet isn’t quite as fat as the way the toy presents it, but I think that helps give this toy an identity.


Tornado / Windrazor




Saving the leader until last, a grey Decepticon jet with blue parts and red trimming… hmmm, where have we seen that before.  He doesn’t look to offer much in the way different to a lot of other jet robots, but actually – once again – his transformation is remarkably involved, needing a few more twist and turns than expected.  His profile describes him as an evil genius, but how sad we never get to see that in any of his comic-book appearances.


As a F-16 Fighting Falcon, he definitely wanders back into the more recognisable sort of fighter jet, although his single tailfin does differentiate him from the F15 Eagle of Starscream and company.  Even if his bad tattoo flash on his tailfin might be more at home on an Eagle.  Or on Eagle Eye.  Honestly, their names seem very interchangeable for the most part, and this guys working title of Whirlwind could easily apply to all of them.


Overall, I’m a big fan of these toys, especially their transformations and Terradive in particular is a stand-out figure.  I can’t help feeling that they look less visually appealing than the Axelerators, and for the time, the colour-schemes are very subdued – although paint-apps and stickers do attempt to give them more personality.


Mostly, my favourite thing about these guys are their uniform head-sculpts, which manage to have a lot of sinister personality considering they have no real faces so to speak.  Nowhere are these heads better presented then on their US box artwork (Sadly, it’s really hard to find the Euro artwork, which wasn’t printed in the otherwise amazing Transformers Legacy artwork book), and I’m pleased to say over on my personal blog I’m sharing some exclusive paperwork from the Hasbro offices, showing the work in progress in developing that artwork.  Most interesting are the notes on Snipe, where a new head and leg have been re-drawn and stuck over the original sheets.  Check it out here on my blog.



Just a sample.


They have never been re-released or reissued outside of their Euro 1.5 / G2 origins, nor have they been recoloured, although, they too came close with Takara’s planned Block Town line, where it’s presumed they would have adopted the names of Hawking, Snipe, Terradive and Sky Tornado, respectively, as their original colours would have been called had they been released in 1993.  It’s of note, that these guys would have all jumped faction to Autobots for the Block Town release.  Sadly, as they never got released, I will have to resort to customs one day, but without stickers and tampo, I can’t see them working as well.



He’s not fat, he’s big-boned.


Despite their awesomeness, these are not big collectors pieces and are excuse the pun, under the radar for a lot of collectors (ho-ho), despite recent fiction appearances in the Regeneration comic series – in fact the best part of that series was probably all the cameos by obscure latter-day G1 / G2 characters.  There have been no homages or re-imaginings of these characters at all, in twenty years… no Fun Publishing toys, no e-hobby exclusives… nothing.  A shocker.


They can still be picked up relatively cheap, and while I get most modern collectors have drifted toward Masterpiece and Combiner Wars, I implore you to at least pick up one of these toys and give them a look, and remind yourself what simple fun these toys used to be.


0 (6)