During the second series of Generation 1 in 1985, Hasbro had to broaden their search for molds to use for the Transformers. Among the toys they acquired license to use were the Deluxe Insecticons, like Venom, who transforms into a robotic cicada of family Cicadidae.
Venom was designed in 1984 by Japanese toy manufacturer Takatoku for a new toyline, Armored Insect Battalion Beetras. However, Takatoku went bankrupt before the series could finish (in part due to Dorvack, the source of Roadbuster and Whirl), releasing Venom as Beet-Zeguna. This version is molded in black and brown, with muted yellow paint details. Its orange wings are the same shade as the Transformers, but the wingtips come to a much sharper point. It also features a different sticker set than the Transformers release. Interestingly, there is no concept art of a “powered-up” version of Beet-Zeguna, unlike his peers.
Venom transforms into a green and orange robotic cicada, decorated with white stripes and sporting translucent orange wings. His insect mode is less articulated than his peers, though his insect legs can pivot somewhat, and his wings can be spread or raised. His transformation is somewhat simpler as well, but features spring-loaded arms and fists that automatically extend once the shoulder is pulled out. His transformation also places the cicada’s proboscis on top of his robot head as a large antenna. The insect legs fold away behind the robot’s back, and the wings fold up along his chest. He is armed with a green gun and a bearded axe with handle shorter than the blade. Unlike some of his peers, his arms can pivot forward to use the weapons.
Due to the detail of his design, Venom is prone to breakage. His wings attach along a narrow point, and the rotation required to transform him levers the wing perpendicular to his plane, eventually stressing it and causing it to snap off. Basically, when rotating the wing, hold the hinge directly, and do not use the wing as a lever to rotate the joint.
Likely due to his short production run, Venom does not have any known production variants.
Venom was available in the US and mainland Europe (excluding Italy and Greece) in 1985. He was never released in Japan or the UK. Due to Bandai owning the licenses to Takatoku’s designs, it is unlikely Venom will ever be reissued.
Redecos & Retools
Venom’s mold was first used in 1984 as Armored Battalion Beetras Beet-Zeguna. The mold has not been used since it was licensed for Transformers.