Unknown to the casual collector, the Transformers toy line was not the genesis of transforming toys. Nor was it the genesis of the toys used for many of the popular characters including Optimus Prime, Megatron, and Bumblebee. In fact, many of the early Transformers themselves had been designed and sold in Asian markets, and certain specialty shops in non-Asian markets for years before. They originated mainly from two lines produced by Japanese toy maker Takara named Micro Change and Diaclone. A handful of these toys were even sold in US markets under the brand name Diakron.
In 1983, after a visit to the Tokoyo Toy Show, Hasbro procured the rights to produce these toys and The Transformers became a re-branded amalgamation of [link here]Micro Change and Diaclone. Interestingly, Micro Change and Diaclone themselves are the result of a series of offshoots of G.I. Joe designed by Don Levine and produced by none other than Hasbro. Briefly:
- 1971 - Takara buys the rights from Hasbro to produce and sell G.I. Joes as "Combat Joe"
- 1972 - Combat Joe reformed into "Henshin Cyborg" (same scale (1/16 or 12") as Combat Joe with fully transparent bodies)
- 1974 - Henshin Cyborg scaled down to 1/18 or 4" with additional accessories and also vehicles and branded as "Microman Zone" known in the US, sold by Mego Corp. as "The Interchangable World of the Micronauts"
- 1980 - Takara introduces "Diaclone"
- 1982 - The first two recognizable "Transformers" are preduced under the Diaclone line - a red version of Sunstreaker and a black version of Ironhide.
- 1983 - "New Mircoman" is produced by Takara, with a subline called "Microchange" which were typically everyday household objects which turned into robots. Included in the fist wave were a number of toys which would wind up within the Transformers toyverse including Gun Robo (Megatron), Cassette Man (Soundwave), Cassettes, and minivehicles
G1 Transformers (Generation 1) are primarily what we buy and sell.
At the same time, many familiar faces appear in the catalogs of Takara's Diaclone line
Picture of complete G1 Transformers collection, nicely displayed. Click here, we have thousands in stock!
G1 Transformers Categories:
Also, more info on G1 Transformers can be found in our transformers toy lines discussion