All posts by Ben Meier

Ben started collecting plastic robots at the ripe old age of two. His life mission ever since has been to accumulate as many as possible.
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Diaclone Toy Catalog Scans Translation: Late 1982: Diaclone Gets Real (& Robo)!

As Diaclone advanced through its third year of product, it became clear that the road led inexorably to Transformers. Though initially a small sub-line of disguised fast responder mecha, the Real & Robo Car Robots rapidly expanded to become nearly the entire Diaclone force. Together with additional R&R toys like Jet Robo, Construction Vehicle Robo, […]

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Diaclone Toy Catalog Scans Translation: 1981: Finally, some bad guys!

Though the past of Transformers is deeply entwined with Takara’s Diaclone, the family resemblance was not always so apparent. Even by the second round of product line in 1981, Takara had yet to hit on a design that would become a world-famous Transformers character (though some designs did barely make the cut). Nevertheless, Diaclone Corps […]

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Diaclone Toy Catalog Scans Translation: 1980: In the beginning, Takara created the Diaclone…

The history of Transformers has always been as interesting as the toys themselves. There is a whole family tree behind the eponymous Robots in Disguise, and those fans who venture up its branches eventually find the faces unfamiliar, but the family resemblance strong nonetheless. This might be the most fascinating part of the family tree, […]

1982 Diaclone catalog logo

Diaclone Toy Catalog Scans Translation: 1982: Introducing Car Robot Pre-Transformers

In my longtime fascination with Takara’s Pre-Transformers toylines, it’s always been interesting to see the many robot toys that were never selected for Transformers re-use. Diaclone started out as a somewhat different genre of robot sci-fi than the more familiar G1 tone of “Robots in Disguise”… these earler ‘mecha’ weren’t so disguised. They were gorgeous […]

1983-4 Diaclone Catalog Logo

Diaclone Toy Catalog Scans Translation: 1984: Dinosaur Robo Pre-Transformers

I’ve always had a fascination with Takara’s pre-Transformers toy series like Diaclone. It’s been mysterious, static, and just out of reach beyond the iron barrier of the Japanese language. Now, with a little technology, and a lot of persistence, Transformerland breaks that barrier with a full translation of a 1983-4 Diaclone toy catalog. With the […]

The notorious transformable block assembly.

The G1 Transformers Patent Table (and the reversibly transformable toy block assembly)

You wouldn’t know it by the avalanche of vintage knockoffs, but Hasbro had filed US Patents for nearly all of the original G1 Transformers. These legalese-named patents protect the “ornamental design” and often the transformation mechanism of classic Transformers characters, typically for up to 10 years. To the fandom, however, these patents present an interesting […]

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Masterpiece Wheeljack: a Piece of Racing History (and who the heck is Exhaust?)

Wheeljack has always fascinated me. His alternate mode, the Group 5 Lancia Stratos Turbo, stood out like a sore thumb among the Autobot Cars: it was not quite an exotic like Sideswipe, though it was wide and flat, but it didn’t look like a racer either: certainly Mirage belonged in F1, and certainly Jazz belonged […]

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The Rejected Robots #1 – Binocular Robo Scope Man

By 1984, it was clear that Takara’s long-running Microman toyline was at an end. Transformers G1 was having huge success in the United States, and Takara was gearing up to follow suit for 1985. However, a few more transforming robots were released in the Microchange sub-series. Transformers picked up almost all of these designs, as […]