As the Transformers brand reached its peak in 1986 Hasbro unleashed a gamut of new toys and merchandise. However, they had nearly exhausted Takara’s former Diaclone designs, and thus turned to unfinished ideas for that series. Most of these new designs were Combiners, which had proved wildly popular with 1985’s Devastator. One of these new combiners was First Aid, a Toyota MasterAce Surf Ambulance.
First Aid was originally conceptualized for a Diaclone subseries called “Jizai Gattai”, or Free Combination, which would have included the Stunticons, Combaticons, Aerialbots, Protectobots, and Metroplex. Each team had a theme, each limb figure could combine with any other team leader as any limb, and each leader figure had some sort of base mode, usually, with a spring-loaded vehicle launcher. All the figures could also interact with Metroplex. However, Transformers’ imminent success put Diaclone and Jizai Gattai on ice. It was Transformers’ long term success that saw these designs to completion, however. First Aid was desgined by Kaoru Matsumoto. His US Patent, titled Reconfigurable toy ambulance (aka Transformers G1 First Aid) was filed on October 24, 1985 (U.S. Patent No. USD296915 S).
First Aid transforms into a 1983 Toyota MasterAce Surf with ambulance markings and a light bar (even though only the larger HiAce was sold for ambulance use). His mode is distinguished by its slightly vaulted roof, square headlights, and large front bumper. He has realistic proportions, and is detailed with molded body lines and stickered windows and markings. He featured a painted silver front bumper and painted windshield, but was otherwise molded in the body colors, including the red light bar. He could be converted to an “Attack Vehicle” by attaching his dual cannon to the rear of the ambulance. His transformation is very simple, involving the basic scheme of folding the legs down from the rear of the vehicle, pulling the arms out from the sides, and flipping the front section back to reveal the robot head. In robot mode, he can wield his pistol, which attaches by a horizontal peg to the hole in the inside of his hand. His robot mode adornment is sparse, and largely limited to the molded faux-fists inside his arms and the molded and stickered details on his chest. As a “Scramble City” combiner, First Aid can transform into any combiner’s leg or arm by flipping the hood back, or extending the legs and flipping the head down toward the chest, respectively, and attaching the appropriate accessory. He typically forms Defensor’s left arm.
Take care when removing First Aid, or any other combiner limb, from a leader figure’s socket.
First Aid has several production variations over the course of G1. Early 1986 figures had a red-painted die-cast metal chest, while later 1986 and 1987 production used a red plastic chest. A third variant exists from 1991 that does not have a rubsign, and has a minor mold alteration to the side windows.
First Aid was available individually carded or in a Defensor gift set in 1986. Due to the popularity of combiners, he was available again in 1987, packaged with or without a random Autobot Decoy. He was available in 1991 in Europe’s continuation of G1, without a rubsign.
Redecos & Retools
First Aid’s mold was used again in 1992 to make Operation Combination Safety, available only in the Guard City gift set. This version differs from First Aid only in the robot’s chest, and may look identical in ambulance mode. First Aid was slated to be released in G2, in white and blue with a teal chest and gold head. Though the G2 Protectobots were cancelled, a handful of samples exist, including some sealed examples.