Aside from their leader, the main villains during the first series of Generation 1 in 1984 were the Decepticon Jets. As one of the Jets, Skywarp transforms into a McDonnel-Douglass F-15C Eagle air superiority fighter.

US Patent for G1 Skywarp

Origins

Skywarp, like most Decepticons of the day, originated from Takara’s 1983 Diaclone toyline as Jet Robo F-15 Eagle, available in two flavors: Acrobat Type, whose deco would inspire Thundercracker, and Ultra-High-Speed Fighter Type, who would later become Starscream. These versions included a small plastic and die-cast driver that could fit in the cockpit of the jet, and featured numerous stickers reading “F-15” that were omitted from the Transformers release. The Jet Robo mold was designed by Koujin Ohno. His US Patent, titled Reconfigurable¬†toy¬†plane (aka Transformers G1 Skywarp) was filed on March 10, 1983 (U.S. Patent No. USD279804 S).

Description

Skywarp’s coloration is unrealistic, like most of the Decepticon Jets (colloquially known as “Seekers” due to a period catalog print ad), as he is molded primarily in a black plastic. His rudders, toes, and fists are molded in a bright purple, and further visual interest is added by purple stickered stripes on his wings and control surfaces, as well as silver paint on his jet engine intakes. His jet mode also features a translucent orange, opening canopy and non-retracting rolling die-cast metal landing gear. The front landing gear is removable for flight or transformation. His wings and rudders are each separate pieces that peg into the fuselage, and the blue elevators peg into the rudders. Non-realistic missile launchers plug into the bottoms of the wings, which can hold bullet-shaped missiles or the incendiary gun barrels. His transformation is simple from the standpoint of rotations of parts on the fuselage, with the nosecone threading through the central hole left by rotating his arms outward. The only modicum of complexity comes with the positioning of the wings and elevators, which may be removed and replaced, or simply rotated in place to clear the arms as they swing around. Once in robot mode, the launchers attach to the outside of Skywarp’s arms, and his fists slide over the ends of his arms and click into place. The wide stance of the rudders, elevators, and Skywarp’s triangular feet make him incredibly stable in robot mode. His wings are angled inward toward his centerline, with the leading edge down, as not to interfere with his arms. His small, sculpted black face can be highlighted with a gold eye sticker, which runs like a band across his head, covering much of his sculpted detail. Interestingly, the eye sticker has black outlines indicating where his sculpted eyes lie underneath. The die-cast metal jet intakes tower over each shoulder, featuring a recessed robot detail sticker inside them. Stickers on his chest, knees, and toes add further detail to his robot mode.

Collector Notes

Skywarp’s main body is quite sturdy, and very rarely broken. However, the pivot that moves the nose section into place can become worn, causing his head and chest to loll backwards slightly in robot mode. His accessories are far more prone to breakage, especially the thin catch tabs that hold the missiles in place. The barrels of the incendiary gun cannons are similarly thin and vulnerable. The sheer number of accessories included means that only a very tiny proportion of original Skywarps can be found complete.

Variants

Like all the former Diaclone toys, Skywarp has an innumerable plethora of variations in the first years of his production. Almost every accessory and piece has its own variations, but to primary archetypes of each component seem to exist, from early and late production. Early variations include: a cockpit canopy that is completely smooth inside the bubble, which was later modified with a heavier hinge and internal ridge for strength; fists with a single tab “cut” into the outside of the cuff, and a second was later added to the inside to improve tightness of fit; elevators with a filled-in underside and small attaching pegs, later replaced by larger pegs and a hollow underside; short-tab main wings were replaced by longer tabs that left a gap between the wing root and fuselage; launcher tabs with or without a rounded protrusion at the back of the tab, a number of molding variations on the inside of the fists, rudders to accommodate either the small or large tab elevators, and more.

Availability

Like all 1984 Decepticons, Skywarp was available again in 1985 with a rubsign placed on the top of the left-hand jet intake. Skywarp was available as an event exclusive from Takara in 2001, virtually unchanged from the original release. He was reissued again in the U.S. as part of Toys ’R’ Us Commemorative Edition in 2003, but his missiles had been comically extended to three inches because the launchers were functional. He was reissued once more in Japan as part of Transformers Encore in 2008

Redecos & Retools

Since Skywarp is made from the ubiquitous “Seeker Jet” mold, he has been redecoed and retooled an absurd number of times:

  • Diaclone Jet Robo F-15 Ultra-High-Speed Fighter Type, 1983, Japan and parts of Europe
  • Diaclone Jet Robo F-15 Acrobat Type, 1983, Japan and parts of Europe
  • Starscream, 1984, using the High-Speed Fighter Type deco, reissued in Japan in 2001 and 2007
  • Thundercracker, 1984, using the Acrobat Type deco, reissued in Japan in 2001 and 2008.
  • Thrust, 1985, with new wing and tailfin molds, reissued in Japan in 2001
  • Ramjet, 1985, with new wing, rudder, and missile molds, reissued in Japan in 2001
  • Dirge, 1985, with new wing and missile molds, reissued as an event exclusive in Japan in 2001 and in the U.S. in 2004
  • Generation 2 Starscream, 1993, with a new deco, new launchers and missiles, and a sound-box that attaches to pegs on the back of the jet
  • Generation 2 Ramjet, a redeco of Ramjet with the launcher and soundbox changes from Starscream
  • e-HOBBY Starscream Ghost Version, 2001, Japan, a version using translucent plastics, an orange canopy, and minimal decoration
  • e-HOBBY Starscream Black Version, 2001, Japan, using black and gunmetal gray plastics and gold highlights
  • Starscream Secret Version, 2001, Japan, a lucky draw figure limited to 5 pieces and using colorless translucent plastic for all plastic parts excepting the black pieces
  • e-HOBBY Sunstorm, Japan, 2003, in a new yellow and white deco
  • Toys ’R’ Us Commemorative Series Starscream, 2003, U.S., with working missile launchers and all four missiles extended comically to 3 inches
  • The Transformers Collection Starscream, 2003, Japan, in an entirely new deco based on his cartoon appearance and with retooled fists that could hold his missile launchers or a new gun-mode Megatron accessory