As the Transformers G1 progressed in 1985, Hasbro reached deeper into Takara’s Diaclone toy design bin, collecting some of the more novel ideas, such as Triple Changers. One of the first Triple Changers was Blitzwing, who transforms into a Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25PD “Foxbat-E” or a Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Type 74 Nana-Yon main battle tank.
Blitzwing was sourced from a 1983 Diaclone design by Koujin Ohno, called Triple Changer Jet Type. This version differed broadly in its color scheme, using a forest green and gray deco with whitish weapons and missiles. Its wing-mounted missile launchers had much stronger springs, and the sword came to a sharp point, instead of the rounded point most commonly seen on American Blitzwing releases. Unlike most Diaclone contributions to Transformers, the Triple Changers eschewed the die-cast and plastic drivers in order to change into vehicles of varying scale. Blitzwing’s US Patent, titled Reconfigurable jet-plane toy (aka Transformers G1 Blitzwing) was filed on May 25, 1984 (U.S. Patent No. USD287378 S).
Blitzwing transforms into a brick-like purple and gray MiG-25PD or a tan Type 74 tank. The jet mode is characterized by its more accurate flat top and delta-shaped wings over the unrealistic squared off fuselage and a tank turret hanging on the belly of the plane, pointed rearward. The jet mode features unpainted die-cast rudders, tiny plastic elevators, and large underwing missile launcher. A non-rolling die cast front landing gear supports the cockpit section of the plane, while the rear rests on semicircular bumps molded onto the upside-down tank turret. This mode is almost entirely covered in stickers or painted detail.
The tank mode is rather bland by comparison, but it represents a rather squat, plain-looking tank. The tracks and road wheels are raised molded details, highlighted with gray paint. The tank features tiny rollers underneath to allow it to roll, and a rotating turret. The hull features molded headlights at the front, and the turret has molded hatches and smoke grenade projectors. The transformation between the two modes is simple and apparent, as the cockpit of the jet is clearly visible in the rear deck of the tank. The transformation to robot mode is closes to jet mode. The large wing sections rotate up, and the arms and fists are extended from the flat tan area under the wings. The legs slide down and use the die-cast rudders as feet. Once the cockpit is flipped down, the robot’s yellow-helmed face is revealed. In robot mode, Blitzwing can wield his sword and rifle, however, the fist holes are in the inner side of the hands, rather than the top. For this reason, he can only hold the rifle in his right hand.
Blitzwing’s brick-like design is mostly sturdy, but it belies his design weaknesses. The wingtip darts are often broken or bent. Early production toys had removable turrets, which could simply be rotated to align with the connector and lifted off, leaving many toys turretless. Still more suffered breakage of the single screw post that holds the turret on. Blitzwing’s cockpit hinge is also prone to wear, allowing the jet to sag down with the cockpit pointed slightly upward.
Blitzwing has a number of variations over the course of his run. The earliest versions had a removable turret, with a complex pattern of plastic bumps around the turret swivel, to provide friction for the turret. Later versions had a different molding for this area, using two fewer friction bumps. Likewise, he had minor molding variations of his fists and tank barrel. International variants exist, such as Japanese production using a sharp pointed sword, and the Mexican Plasticos IGA version using very dark purple plastic and having a (badly) red-painted helmet.