1980 - Takara introduces "Diaclone", toys which transform from robot into vehicles and are accompanied by one or more human "inchman" pilots also known as "Diaclone Drivers". Designers of these toys include Shoji Kawamori and Kazutaka Miyatake, from Japanese design studio "Studio Nue". In 1982, a red version of Sunstreaker and a black version of Ironhide were produced, the first molds to later be used in the Transformers toy line.
Below are some 1983 Takara Diaclone catalog scans. These catalogs were packed in with most of the figures from that toy line:
The front cover page is basically some image caputers of the artwork shown on the inside pages of the catalog.
Pages 1 and 2
The first two pages introduce the story of Diaclone, robots with human drivers. Further translation coming soon!
Pages 3 and 4
On page 3, we are introduced to the first toys of the series, starting with No. 1, a red version of the G1 Autobot Car, Sunstreaker. Among the figures shown here are notable variants including a black Ironhide, a blue version of Bluestreak. On page 4 we see a red version of Tracks. All of these color variants will become rare and desired variants among the G1 Transformers toy line, and ultimately turned into eHobby re-issues. We also see the first appearance of Battle Convoy, better known as Optimus Prime.
Pages 5 and 6
On page 5 of this catalog we are introduced to Topspin and Twintwist, the never-popular Jumpstarters. Page 6 gives us the first glimpse of the Constructicons, the first merge group, who combine to form the mighty Devastator (later known as Constructicon Devastator).
Pages 7 and 8
On page 7 we see the Diaclone Devastator and a figure who may appear unfamiliar to the casual observer, the Trainbots, who merge to for Raiden, the thunder god! Page 8 shows a couple color variants of the Trainbots (more on this coming soon).
Pages 9 and 10
Page 9 is shows the individual forms of the Diaclone Devastator robots, as well as the merged form. Notice the yellow, red, and orange color scheme. Page 10 gives us our first look at Dinosaur Robo, better known as the Dinobots. What's the story with these guys? Stay tuned!
Pages 11 and 12
Pages 11 and 12 run together and show us all 5 figures in the Dinosaur Robo subline. These figures each had their own color variations which distinguish them from their G1 counterparts. Beware however, as there are many knock-offs, new and vintage, of these very popular toys.
Pages 13 and 14
Pages 13 and 14 also run together, and show us our first Mail-Away transformers, Downshift, Overdirve, and Camshaft, known here as 'Double Changers', which basically have a weaponized car mode, not to be confused with 'Triple Changers', who had two distinct alternate (non-robot) modes.
Finally, on the back cover, we see some familiar versions of Decepticon jets, Starscream and Thundercracker. We also are introduced to the Insecticons, in a red and black color scheme, unlike their black and purple G1 counterparts. Ultimately the Diaclone Insecitcon color scheme will be adopted as an eHobby exclusive re-issue. We also see a number of Diaclone toys which never made the cross-over cut (need more info on these).
Diaclone Figure Checklist
(to be added)