Gears was an Autobot Mini Vehicle released in 1984, in the first wave of Generation 1. Gears transforms into a generic 4WD pickup with no discernable styling cues to any real vehicle.

US Patent for G1 Gears

Origins

His mold was originally designed by Hideaki Yoke as part of Takara’s 1983 Microman: Microchange line as MC04 Mini CAR Robo 04: 4WD Truck. Unlike Diaclone, the Mini CAR Robo were actually meant to resemble toy vehicles rather than real vehicles, resulting in Gears’s somewhat distorted proportions. The US Patent, titled Reconfigurable toy vehicle (aka Transformers G1 Gears) was filed on October 4, 1985 (U.S. Patent No. USD295300 S).

Description

Gears resembles no real vehicle, but was obviously insipred by the jacked-up off-road pickups of the day. He has an oddly-shaped bed topper, a small chrome grill, and shares his deeply treaded plastic wheels with wave-mates Brawn and Huffer. Like all the former Microchange Mini CAR “big vehicles,” he also shares a similar, very simple, transformation scheme. His arms pull out from the sides, and his legs swing down from the rear of the vehicle. Also like the others, his face is molded on the bottom of his vehicle chassis.
Date stamp location: under front fenders, above wheels
Rubsign location: None (1984), or center of roof, facing sideways (1985)

Collector Notes

Due to his abject simplicity, Gears does not have any of the frailties or weaknesses of many of his contemporaries. However, his blue plastic is prone to yellowing. It is not as obvious as white plastics with the same problem, but his blue areas may turn slightly green or aquamarine if he has been exposed to too much UV light.

Variants

Gears is fairly straightforward, except for the change in his knees. This may have corresponded to other re-engineering changes on his thighs.
Type 1 Pre-rubsign, ©Takara Japan, large kneecaps
Type 2 Pre-rubsign, ©Takara Co. Ltd. Japan 1974-1983, small kneecaps
Type 3 With rubsign, ©Takara Co. Ltd. Japan 1974-1983, small kneecaps
Type 4 With rubsign, ©Takara Co. Ltd. Japan 1974-1983 ©Hasbro 1974-1983, small kneecaps
An international variant of Gears also exists in Mexico.

Availability

Gears was available in the US and UK as part of the first wave of G1 in 1984. He was available again in 1985 including continental Europe, having traded the Autobot logo on his hood scoop for a rubsign placed sideways over his sunroof. Also, like the other 1984 Minibots, some 1985 releases included a Mini-Spy. He did not see release in Japan until he was available virtually unchanged from his 1985 US release in Japan under Takara’s The Transformers Collection as part of the Minibot Team Set in 2004.
Case Assortments (Item#/Asst#): 1984: (E5706/5700), 4 per 24; 1985: Mini Vehicles with Mini-Spy (E5706/5709), 4 per 24; Mini Vehicles Assortment 2 (E5706/5710), 1 per 24
MSRP: $2.99
Packaging: Blister card with instructions and Tech Spec on back, displayed in vehicle mode (1984), or robot mode (1985)
Robot Points: 1/2 Autobot
Paperwork included:None

Redecos & Retools

Gears was recolored in Brazil by Estrela as the evil Pick-Up, and again in Japan to produce Small Foot in the 2004 G1 Gobots set. He was also retooled to make 1986 Swerve. Gears was available virtually unchanged from his 1985 release in Japan under Takara’s The Transformers Collection as part of the Minibot Team Set in 2004, indicating that Swerve may have been an entirely new mold set, in contrast to Cliffjumper, whose every would-be reissue was instead presented as his retool, Hubcap.