The Diaclone 1:60 Scale Adventure World was resurrected by TakaraTomy in 2016, to the delight of fans in Japan and abroad. The toyline purports to pick up where the original Diaclone series left off. Featuring new adult collector-oriented designs in 1:60 scale, the series kicked off with sets inspired by original figures from 1980 and 1981. The mecha fit stylistically with the early sci-fi mecha of the original series, eschewing references to the now-dated cars and other real vehicles featured from 1982 onward.
Each of the sets include one or more Diaclone personnel, using the now-canonized fan term “Dia-Nauts”. The highly poseable figures feature strong permanent magnets in the feet to allow them to walk on ferrous surfaces, including ferrous stickers that can be installed on some of the larger mecha figures. The figures are nominally compatible with the original sets (and, by extension, Generation 1 Transformers), but their wider ball-jointed hips make proper seating impossible on some older toys. The new mecha designs are highly modular, using combining components that are compatible across sets, including many interchangeable accessories. The designs allow collectors to assemble a number of different mecha or vehicles from the larger sets, including the ability to custom build various robots using parts from multiple sets.
TakaraTomy’s marketing was carefully designed to appeal to the adults who played with Diaclone in the 1980s. The packaging features a flat red and black-striped theme that closely matches the earliest toys that have been re-interpreted in this line. Further, the storyline provided both in pack-in materials and online portrays itself as a sequel to the stories told in the original series’ catalogs. (A full translation of each original catalog is available on the TFL Blog via the Diaclone page!) The modern chapters of the Diaclone story have been translated by Bryan Wilkinson at the Crew of Spirited Boys Microman Club.
Early on, the series was mostly comprised of variants of the Dia-Battles V2 design, including an extensive retool in the Cosmo Maneuver type. The second phase of the line comprised of the Powered System, a reimagining of the original Diaclone Powered suits in a wide variety of colors, designs, and in-universe fuctions. The suits can combine with larger mecha like Dia-Battles V2, and with the Dartloader and Gyroseptor, unassembled vehicle kits whose components can be used to upgrade the Powered Suits. These kits also included numerous adaptors to combine accessories, including adapting accessories from the 3mm posts used by the Powered System to the 4mm posts of larger mecha and vice-versa. The next big announcement was the Big-Powered GV series, the largest figure of the line to date, who interacts heavily with the Powered System (as the original Big Powered did with the vintage Powered Suits). Most recently, the line introduced the Powered System Maneuver types, a set of larger, more intricate and articulated Powered Suits, whose “Raid Chamber” containers are designed to interact with Battle Buffalo Mk IV Striker. This era of the line also introduces the first villain toys in the reboot: the Waruder Suits, unique and vaguely monsterous mecha with numerous pegs to combine into larger monsters.
Based on solid sales and growing success, the series will continue for the forseeable future, releasing a handful of new figures each year at a pace similar to Transformers Masterpiece.The cycle seems to consist of one large mecha for each year, followed by its redeco or retool, with smaller mecha like the Powered System and Dia-Naut figure packs interspersed between to introduce or build on new transformation concepts.