In order to fill out the Decepticon ranks of the first series of Generation 1 in 1984, Hasbro elected to include a number of Takara’s cassette designs in a variety of colors sold in two-packs. Laserbeak was packed with Frenzy, and is the Cassette everyone remembers.

US Patent for G1 Laserbeak

Origins

Laserbeak, like many early Transformers toys, originated in the Takara Microman: Microchange line. He was originally released as MC03 MicroCassette Robo Red Condor. These toys included a small, transparent tape case with a paper insert that was omitted for the Transformers release. Laserbeak was designed by Takashi Matsuda. The US Patent titled Combined reconfigurable toy cassette and box therefor (aka Transformers G1 Laserbeak) was filed on December 2, 1983 (U.S. Patent No. USD283335 S).

Description

Laserbeak transforms into a black and silver Olympus Type IV “Metal” MC60 Microcassette, in a real-life scale. The front of the cassette is detailed with stickers that fairly realistically depict the printing on a Microcassette, including the edges of the two tape reels as seen through a window, with a playback time gauge included below. Stickers were also used to represent the holes for the cassette player’s pins to insert, but actual holes (complete with a molded-in “tooth” look) are present for the player’s drive spindles. The back of the cassette features a red die-cast metal piece that becomes the condor’s back, and large silver-backed robot-detail stickers that cover the wings. His transformation is simple, and produces a flat, angular robotic condor with a hooked beak and molded-in talon details. The addition of his two chrome rocket booster/gun accessories by pegging into the cassette holes gives the robot mode more dimension, and prevents the head from falling back into its alternate storage spot if loose.

Collector Notes

As with many smaller, finely detailed cassettes, Laserbeak is prone to some fragile parts. The neck slides in a track made partly of die-cast metal, causing the pins to wear and become loose. In an extreme case, the head can be removed and lost by turning in any direction. The gun barrels on his rocket booster accessories are incredibly thin, especially in earlier releases, and prone to breakage. For some reason, the left gun/booster is more commonly broken than the right.

Variants

Like most of his brethren, Laserbeak has production variations over the course of his release run. The variations are minor, and pertain the thickness of the mold line on his head, or the coarseness of the vents on his accessories. Reissues introduced other minor variations as well.

Availability

Like all 1984 Decepticons, Laserbeak was available again in 1985 with a rubsign placed directly below the simulated tape reel window, and omitting the foil Decepticon logo on his head. Laserbeak was reissued in 2003 in Japan as part of the The Transformers Collection, packaged with reissue Soundwave. He was reissued with Soundwave again for the U.S. through Toys R Us as a Commemorative Edition / Classics seires in 2007, albeit with a slightly more orange shade of red paint, and including a clear plastic tape case. He was reissued again in Japan the same year with the Transformers Encore reissue of Soundwave. He was available once more during Encore in 2009 in The Great Cassette Operation Vol. 3 with Frenzy, Rumble, and Overkill. The U.S. reissue was available again in 2009’s Universe San Diego Comic Con / Hasbro Toy Shop exclusive Soundwave set.

Redecos & Retools

>Buzzsaw’s mold was first used in Takara’s 1983 Microchange MC03 MicroCassette Robo Condor in two versions: Red Condor and Blue Condor.

. The Red Condor was released in 1984 as Laserbeak. The mold was redecoed in 2005 for Takara’s e-HOBBY Garboil in the Cobalt Sentries set, and again in 2006 for e-HOBBY Sundor

. The mold was redecoed in 2013 to produce Linkin Park Buzzsaw: Special Edition, an all-gold redeco with no stickers. This version is identical to the Laserbeak released in the same set.