We buy toys! Learn more...

Diaclone Toy Catalog Scans Translation: 1985: a Powered Conclusion!

By 1984, the handwriting was on the wall. Transformers was the future of transforming robot toylines everywhere. Try as they might, Takara could no longer justify avoiding the introduction of the Robots in Disguise to the Japanese market. After all, they had all the brilliant engineering of Diaclone (not to mention Microchange), plus the benefit […]

Diaclone Toy Catalog Scans Translation: 1983: Waruder’s on the Ropes!

As the Diaclone toyline entered its fourth year, Real & Robo had essentially taken over the toyline. Gone were the fanciful sci-fi designs of the earlier years, save for a few holdover mecha. The line was zeroed in on the new robots in disguise. With the talents of Kojin Ohno to lead the way, Real […]

Diaclone Toy Catalog Scans Translation: Late 1982: Diaclone Gets Real (& Robo)!

As Diaclone advanced through its third year of product, it became clear that the road led inexorably to Transformers. Though initially a small sub-line of disguised fast responder mecha, the Real & Robo Car Robots rapidly expanded to become nearly the entire Diaclone force. Together with additional R&R toys like Jet Robo, Construction Vehicle Robo, […]

Diaclone Toy Catalog Scans Translation: 1981: Finally, some bad guys!

Though the past of Transformers is deeply entwined with Takara’s Diaclone, the family resemblance was not always so apparent. Even by the second round of product line in 1981, Takara had yet to hit on a design that would become a world-famous Transformers character (though some designs did barely make the cut). Nevertheless, Diaclone Corps […]

Diaclone Toy Catalog Scans Translation: 1980: In the beginning, Takara created the Diaclone…

The history of Transformers has always been as interesting as the toys themselves. There is a whole family tree behind the eponymous Robots in Disguise, and those fans who venture up its branches eventually find the faces unfamiliar, but the family resemblance strong nonetheless. This might be the most fascinating part of the family tree, […]

Diaclone Toy Catalog Scans Translation: Early 1982: Introducing Car Robot Pre-Transformers

In my longtime fascination with Takara’s Pre-Transformers toylines, it’s always been interesting to see the many robot toys that were never selected for Transformers re-use. Diaclone started out as a somewhat different genre of robot sci-fi than the more familiar G1 tone of “Robots in Disguise”… these earler ‘mecha’ weren’t so disguised. They were gorgeous […]

Diaclone Toy Catalog Scans Translation: 1984: Dinosaur Robo Pre-Transformers

I’ve always had a fascination with Takara’s pre-Transformers toy series like Diaclone. It’s been mysterious, static, and just out of reach beyond the iron barrier of the Japanese language. Now, with a little technology, and a lot of persistence, Transformerland breaks that barrier with a full translation of a 1983-4 Diaclone toy catalog. With the […]

The G1 Transformers Patent Table (and the reversibly transformable toy block assembly)

You wouldn’t know it by the avalanche of vintage knockoffs, but Hasbro had filed US Patents for nearly all of the original G1 Transformers. These legalese-named patents protect the “ornamental design” and often the transformation mechanism of classic Transformers characters, typically for up to 10 years. To the fandom, however, these patents present an interesting […]

Masterpiece Wheeljack: a Piece of Racing History (and who the heck is Exhaust?)

Wheeljack has always fascinated me. His alternate mode, the Group 5 Lancia Stratos Turbo, stood out like a sore thumb among the Autobot Cars: it was not quite an exotic like Sideswipe, though it was wide and flat, but it didn’t look like a racer either: certainly Mirage belonged in F1, and certainly Jazz belonged […]

Give Me a Break: Tales from the Shockwave Boneyard

Everyone loves G1, but let’s be honest: these toys were not made to last. Shockwave is probably one of the worst offenders: almost every part of his body is waiting to crack, split, crunch, or shatter. That stern die-cast feel and heavy brick-like appearance are just an illusion… Let’s take a look from the ground […]