The most diverse offering of G1 Transformers in Latin America was presented in Mexico by Plasticos IGA, S.A. IGA obtained a license for Mexican production from Hasbro in 1985 and produced a large segment of the Takara-based US lineup to that point, including most or all of the Autobot Cars, Decepticon Jets, and Mini-Vehicles in some form. The IGA Transformers were often noted for their lower-quality plastics, blotted-out copyright stamps, and lack of factory-applied stickers seen in other markets. However, many IGA Transformers are considerably different than their global counterparts, often by color replacement, and use of non-retooled molds for characters that were retools in other countries. Their rarity, especially in color schemes not sold abroad, make many of these figures prized in the modern collector market.
The story of IGA’s production order and tooling is spotty at best. Because new samples of previously unknown figures and variants surface from time to time, piecing together a comprehensive list of figures sold between 1985 and 1986 or -7 is difficult. However, it is well established that the only offerings were based in Takara-designed molds of Diaclone or Microchange origin. The tooling used tends to best comply with later, post-rubsign variants, if not a variation on 1986 Hasbro tooling (for example, Mexican Cliffjumper has date stamping on both feet- a feature that would only appear on 1986 production Bumblebee and Hubcap toys). Some tooling seems to date even further along, such as the Mexican Megatron being stamped “Made in France”, where that figure was not produced until 1987. The only known exception to the Diaclone and Microchange tooling origins is the IGA Metroplex, produced with sparkling maroon weapons in place of the rust-red.
To make matters worse, a large quantity of IGA-produced toys turned up at retailers all over Europe around 1989, the result of a potential grey-market import deal. Since much of continental Europe did not receive parts or any of G1 prior to 1986, the low-cost, Spanish-language IGA toys offered a great way to obtain popular early characters that were no longer regularly available. To this day, many IGA samples that surface do so in otherwise innocuous European childhood collections. The nature of the sudden influx of Mexican transformers to Europe is contested, with some suggesting IGA clearancing unsold stock from poor local sales performance, while others such as noted collector Fighbird make a case for a second IGA production run to help meet sudden demand in continental Europe while avoiding official Hasbro channels.
Other than several distinct color schemes, many IGA Transformers are distinguished by a rather unfortunate “bleeding eyes” variant. Due to lax safety standards, early-production toys used lead-based paint for detailing, especially the shade of yellow use for many characters’ eyes (and Blitzwing’s whole head), as well as the shade of silver used for the faces of the Jumpstarters. This problem was later... addressed... by having non-toxic red paint hand-painted over the problem areas. Needless to say, the hand-painting was done in haste, with the sole intention of completely encasing the lead-containing areas, leading to rather sloppy gobs of red paint slathered on many figures’s faces. Many of the corrected figures were sold in Europe, usually identified by a large “Non-Toxic” certification sticker applied to the packaging.
The exact years of production for IGA’s Transformers are obscure, and pinning and end date on the series depends on the truth behind the European export deal, but the final distribution IGA toys petered out quickly in 1990 with the appearance of European G1’s Classic reissues.