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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 had to fend off the growing Waruder Army, now sporting its first mecha, before the Transformers could steal the show. For today, strap in to your favorite Blocker, sit back, and enjoy our high-res (click the images to view full-size!) scans and exclusive translations of…
Front Cover:

1981 Diaclone Catalog front cover
Those are his knees, not his feet. Now you can never un-see stubby Robot Base!

1/72nd Scale

The cover of the 1981 Catalog greets us with a painted art piece, replacing the diorama photograph of the 1980 Catalog; but the subject matter is the same: the Robot Base. The largest toy in the line at this point, Robot Base is posed heroically in anime fashion, in front of a bright and streaky background, with laser beams sizzling past him. The inset in the lower right corner shows some human members of the Diaclone Corps, each with a different colored suit and weapon. These five (plus the kid, “YOU”!) would be the closest thing to characters Diaclone would ever have, and we will see them again in later catalogs. The last key feature of the cover is less conspicuous. In the upper right, printed blue-on-bluish, is a note that Diaclone toys are presented in 1/72 scale. This fits well with the “Inchman” origin story, as a one-inch figure would represent a roughly six foot tall human. Transformers’ famous trouble with scale has deep roots… Diaclone would shift scale to 1/60 for many of the sets the following year.

Page 1-2

1981 Diaclone Catalog Page 1 - 2
I mean, really, can we talk about how Waruder doesn’t stand a chance? Especially with shooting like that…

Steal the energy of the Earth. Waruder army attack!
Waruder Army attacks become increasingly violent. They operate guerilla bases on the land, but the main attack corps comes from the lunar base. Meanwhile, Diaclone Corps developed one new mecha after another, and expanded to new bases around the world to meet the fierce battles.
The opening spread displays the whole Diaclone lineup to date, including two Warudaros mecha (displayed in each mode), to make it less obvious how outnumbered they are. This is a great shot for getting an idea of the robots’ scale, as they are displayed with familiar toys like the Dashers and the ubiquitous Gats Blocker. Other than the numerous Diaclone personnel figures (now including Type II pilots) milling around, close inspection also reveals the rare Waruder Army figures, standing in front of Sasorander and Arinder. Meanwhile, the wonderful blue-on-blue text gives a teaser of the storyline.

Page 3-4

1981 Diaclone Catalog Page 3 - 4
General Ingam gets two sections to justify being an evil jerk. That’s fair…

Part-1 The world has discovered a new energy to overcome the energy crisis!
The year 198X … the world was suffering a serious energy shortage. Each country was looking desperately for new energy resources. At last, the time has come for it to finally be discovered! It’s the ultra substance “Freezon”, and it’s able to put out several hundred times the energy of nuclear fission. The year 199X… Though there were still unknown parts of “Freezon”, it led to dramatic deveolpment of technology and the human race. The world was joining hands for the first time.
Part 2 “Land Master” has received an amazing interstellar message.
The world became divided into five federal states called the “Macrozone”. Each urban zone had a computer to manage its affairs. Each computer is connected by a hotline, to the Japan City “Methuselah Zone”, where the supercomputer “Land Master” managed the whole system. One day, “Land Master” received an amazing interstellar message from the universe…
Part 3 Knock down the Waruder Army! Diaclone Corps is formed.
[Our star, Waruder Army, has been depleted of energy and will perish. Danger! Head to Earth…] the signal was cut off. “Land Master” must protect the Earth, and called on the young people around the world with courage and passion. In their strong friendship, they form Earth’s defense army… Diaclone Corps! They’ll protect the Earth! Diaclone onstructs mecha to intercept the Waruder Army immediately!
Page 4 top banner: New members come from around the world! They’re Diaclone Corps!
Part 4 Second-stage Attack System activated! Good luck, Diaclone Corps!
The Waruder Army’s attack was intense, but Diaclone Corps successfully won a remarkable victory. Many parts of cities have been destroyed by urban combat. Waruder has established a secret base somewhere in the world, and began waging guerrilla warfare. However, it is impossible for Diaclone Corps to continue to oppose Waruder unless they power-up. Finally, the secondary attack system is started. New mecha sortie onto the battlefield one after another. Keep it up, Diaclone Corps!
Inset: Waruder Army attacks!!
1 The Waruder star is in a large, dark nebula…
Beyond the far parts of the universe, the planet Waruder is in a large, dark nebula. It has a highly developed, thriving scientific force. But due to the abuse of its energy resources, it is destined to become a dead star in 10 years unless its energy is replenished. Emperor Waruder sent out numerous research vessels to look for “Freezon”, which was the foundation of the prosperity of the Empire – and he discovered a rich Freezon deposit in Earth’s solar system.
2 General Ingam begins the march to Earth.
Emperor Waruder selected General Ingam from his generals to lead the attack on Earth with an insect army. General Ingam built a large fleet around a moving fortress, and finally started the march towards Earth. Planets that tried to prevent their march were left drained of energy and dead. Earth appeared before the eyes of Waruder. Drain it dry of Freezon! The Waruder Army attacks came one after another. But our planet had Diaclone Corps!
Callout: Drain all of Earth’s Freezon!!
This spread is our annual expository stockpile. We get another, less ambiguous shot at the origin story of the Diaclone Corps. We also get a background about Waruder, telling a little more about how their lust for energy (specifically Freezon) became strong enough to drive them to marauding through space. The page is decorated with the various Diaclone personnel from the cover, as well as a nice inset of Waruder pilots. Page three also uses the volcano cutaway, recycled from the 1980 story section. We also get our first depiction of General Ingam, the primary antagonist from the Waruder Army, and the source of the Waruder logo.
Page 5-6

1981 Diaclone Catalog Page 5 - 6
I still have no idea where “The Great” comes from! I mean, I guess he’s alright…

Page 5
Diaclone Corps’ largest and strongest robot base.
Robot Base ロボットベース
Waruder Army has finally attacked Diaclone Corps headquarters. Enemy missiles destroy one building after another. Robot Base is mobilized. The Freezon Beam Cannon can blow away mountains in one shot now. It is fired toward the enemy’s aircraft carrier fortress!
Insets & Captions:
*Operations Command Room
Each station is put into combat deployment. Prepare for missile launch!
*Base Escalator
Emergency report! Waruder Army is attacking the science district center. Members urgently board Robot Base!
*Base Attacker Hangar
Base Attacker No. 1, launch! The attack on Waruder’s aircraft carrier fortress begins.
It changes to a tank base!
Page 5 introduces us once again to Robot Base, still the most impressive piece in the lineup. Numerous insets display his many play features, with much of the content being reused from a similar display in his 1980 debut. The English text on this page announces him as “The Great Robot-Base”, although his purported greatness is not proclaimed anywhere in his Japanese proper name. For this reason, his name is often presented as Great Robot Base in English, Transformerland chooses to use the direct translation of just “Robot Base”. A new painting of Robot Base firing its Freezon Beam Cannon adjoins to…
Page 6
Insets and Captions:
*Moving head catapult
Catapult ready. Launch the Base Fighter toward the enemy!
*Dia Punch
Super-armored Dia Punch launcher OK. This will knock down the enemy radar fighter!
Diagram labels, clockwise from topmost:
Maser Cannon
All-directional electron wave radar
Operations Command Room
Freezon Beam Cannon
Weapons hangar
Freezon rocket engine DC-R
Small fighter hangar
Base caterpillar
Base catapult
Freezon missile launch pad
Fist cockpit
High-speed particle sensor
Vibration wave generator

Blue on blue text:
Total height: 31 meters
Weight: 167 tonnes
Page 6 features a new piece of cutaway art of Robot Base, labeled as a diagram with the numerous fictional systems of the mecha. The labels are largely the same as those used on the cutaway in the 1980 catalog, as are the statistics given about Robot Base’s size. There are also two additional insets with feature photos of the Dia Punch fist cockpits and the head catapult.
Page 7-8

1981 Diaclone Catalog Page 7 - 8
Big Powered proves that wearing fingerless gloves can lead to fingerless hands.

Page 7
Powered Suit crew can drive!
Big Powered ビッグパワード
-Strike the Waruder forward base!
Diaclone Corps commands the powerful heavy combat robo “Big Powered”. Enemy missiles can’t even make a dent in its high-density armored body! Half-Finger Missiles launch into the middle of the enemy! Total height: 12.7 meters Weight: 23 tonnes Top speed: Mach 15
Set Combines! Die-Cast!

Diagram labels (clockwise from top left):
Black hole generator
Freezon maser
Freezon high-speed engine
All-directional proximity radar
Finger Missile
Freezon rocket engine DX-VI
Ultra-high-speed shock maser
Powered cockpit
The new star mech of 1981 was Big Powered, a three-vehicle combiner piloted by Powered Suits, which in turn contained the standard Diaclone personnel. Like Robot Base on the previous spread, Big Powered gets a diagram of his fictional systems and powers, though this time a product photo is used, though there is an art piece depicting all his modes and components. Oddly, there is a small red “Die-Cast” callout logo, even though most robot toys of this size and time period had die-cast components as a matter of course. Only the smaller, cheaper offerings would have been acceptable without it. It’s an interesting twist on what seems to be a modern sales gimmick!
Page 8
Output: 10000 hp
Reinforced mobile armored suits have been developed for close combat with Waruder. Each has a large missile on its back for different applications. Total height: 3.2 meters Maximum speed: 150 km/h
-A Type Equipped with “Short-range missile”
-B Type Equipped with “Medium-range missile”
-C Type Equipped with “Long-range missile”
*Becomes the chest of Big Powered.
“Powered Suit Crew” piloting
Bombing the enemy bases with a large number of bombs and built-in missiles, enemies will not escape the high-speed fighter-bomber “Mach Powered”. The Power Maser opens fire! Total length: 12.8 meters Weight: 12 tonnes Top Speed: Mach 21
*Becomes the body of Big Powered.
“Powered Suit Crew” driving
“Land Powered” takes its place in the ground war. Catching any incoming enemy attack on the Fine Radar and the 360° rotating missile turret, it’s time for a two stage attack! Total length 5.8 meters Weight 10.5 tonnes
*Becomes the feet of Big Powered.
“Powered Suit Crew” driving
The enemy has fled to the seabed. “Earth Powered” aquatic engine engaged. It has tracks as well. It launches the wing-mounted tracking Freezon missile! –It’s a hit! Mission complete. Total length 9.4 meters Weight 9.5 tonnes Top Speed Mach 15
Page 8 gives additional information about each component of Big Powered, including a bit of story background in the form of each unit’s military function. Big Powered follows the traditional land, sea, and air theme, though his sea component is made infinitely more versatile with the ability to operate on land. It is interesting to note that while the Powered Suits are portrayed in a variety of colors elsewhere, they are shown here all in red. This makes them look remarkably similar, despite carrying different weapons and having different chest and head molding.
Page 9-10

1981 Diaclone Catalog Page 9 - 10
Seriously! It took a catalog and a half to get just one bad guy!

Page 9
14 aircraft combine
Gats Blocker ガッツブロッカー
-Crush the Waruder base!
Blockers 1 through 14 start the attack flying in formation, and fight while assembling one after another into different formations. Just then, the enemy flagship, a super speeder robo “Warudaros”, approaches. Blockers combine! It’s an ultra-combining robo weapon. Total height 9.9 meters Weight 21 tonnes Top Speed Mach 9
Diagram labels, clockwise from top left:
Freezon pulse flasher
Directional search antenna
Freezon hyper missile
Endless Launcher
Blocker kick
Freezon rocket engine DC-R VII
Main Freezon engine
Blocker hand
Ah, Gats Blocker. The only Diaclone toy many of us will own. This staple warrior of the first half of Diaclone was released TWICE in the US, and once in Britain, as Diakron Multi-Force 14, Kronoform Multi-Force, and Grandstand Convertors Alphatron, respectively. Certainly the most circulation of any non-Transformers Diaclone toy, the versions differ only by minor sticker and pilot adjustments. Presented here in his earliest form, he gets the same diagram and stats block treatment we have seen so far in this catalog. It’s worth noting that the diagram is actually a painted piece meant to look like a product shot – there was likely not a suitably finished sample for photography in time for catalog production. The concept of ersatz figures (art, mysterious silhouettes, prototypes, etc) in catalogs is something that would continue for many years to come, as needed when production samples weren’t ready.
Page 10
Fast fighter with excellent maneuverability and high-speed stability. It can also travel underwater. It has a powerful Waruder Beam in the nose. Total length 8.3 meters Weight 4.5 tonnes Top Speed Mach 20
Diagram label: Waruder Beam gun
Airborne of course, it can also operate in marshes and wastelands, and underground by spinning the Waruder Hands.
Total length 9.6 meters Weight 5.7 tonnes Top Speed Mach 15
Diagram label: Insect eye beam
With Waruder Missiles in its chest, the ultra-high-speed Glowing Cold cannon, and the freely moving arms with Destroy Cutters, it has the weapons systems of a heavy tank. It can fly short distances. Total length 6.3 meters Weight 7 tonnes Top Speed Mach 1
Diagram label: Destroy Cutter
-The Diaclone Corps’ defeat!
It’s consuming all the energy of the Earth. The large and powerful combat robo weapon “Warudaros”, made by the scientific might of the Waruder star, destroys one city after another under the command of General Ingam. Diaclone’s headquarters is next! Total height 12 meters Weight 17.2 tonnes Top Speed Mach 10
Diagram: Roaring Waruder Hand
Warudaros – the first and last main mecha of the Waruder Army. Presented here in separated and combined forms, each with the same type of statistics block shown for Diaclone mecha. We also get a glimpse of the Waruder Army logo, which is based on a bust of General Ingam. It’s not hard to note the similarities between Ingam and the Warudaros combined mode head. Like Gats Blocker, Warudaros did get a western release, although samples are far less common: Kronoform Wargon and Grandstand Convertors Siclonoid. These lack the pilot figures that were released with the Japanese version of the toy. The pilots had three unique body styles, and despite not being pictured here, they can be seen on the story page in the Waruder Army section. Due to the fact that they were only included with a couple sets (not even with all the Waruder sets), the pilot figures are highly desirable today.
Page 11-12
1981 Diaclone Catalog Page 11 - 12
At last, the first glorious Transformers… And the names they never actually had in Transformers.

Page 11
-It’s attacking the Waruder aircraft carrier fortress!
Dia Attacker fires missiles from both feet one after another. The enemy aircraft carrier is shaking. Now it fires the Flasher Beam. It changes to the Space Attacker to continue bombing.
Callout: It changes to a Space Attacker!!
Total length 13 meters Weight 10 tonnes Speed Mach 8
This armored attack vehicle scampers across marshes and wastelands at high speed.
-F-1 Robo
Total length 4 meters Weight 2.7 tonnes Top Speed Mach 2
Combat vehicles that can travel underground have been developed to attack enemy guerrillas.
-Drill Robo
Total length 3.5 meters Weight 3.3 tonnes Top speed Mach 1
A high-speed vehicle good at aerial combat, they use a Freezon Beam.
-Sky Robo
Total length 3.3 meters Weight 2 tonnes Top speed Mach 15
The final page of new product prominently features the few Diaclone toys not comprised of multiple vehicles. Dia-Attacker is the foremost of these, complete with product photography and a nice art piece (which has some notable color deviations), and the usual stats and story block. Like some of the other 1981 releases, Dia-Attacker saw US release in Kronoform, as the evil Attakon. Below, he is followed by the Dashers… all-new, but barely a footnote due to their status as the low-cost, all-plastic offering for the year. Each transforms from a vehicle into a humanoid robot… a trait that would earn them a spot in Transformers as mail-away exclusives, referred to only as “Powerdashers”, and usually in the collective sense. However, their names in Diaclone are commonly used by fans to refer to specific Transformers Powerdashers. The Dashers/Powerdashers predate all the other pre-Transformers (except Takatoku’s Macross Valkyrie) by at least a year… a humble beginning, if ever there was one.
Page 12
Power Base
Each can operate as a mobile front-line base with a unique function
1 block 5.6 meters X 5.6 meters
Type-1 Command center
Type-2 Dispatch area
Type -3 Supply area
Type -4 Repair center
* The photo above is a combination of the four.
Small high-speed air vehicles with close-range Freezon missiles.
Top speed Mach 5
Small high-speed fighter with napalm-type Freezon missiles.
Top speed Mach 10
Small two-seater attack aircraft with high-speed Freezon missiles.
Top speed Mach 6
Dia Battles ダイアバトルス
– It is in pursuit of the Waruder fighter!
Enemy fighters flee. Battles 01, 02, 03, combine to prevent their escape. They begin pursuit! Steadily, Dia Battles approaches enemy. It rapidly turns in to reverse the enemy retreat.
Total length 8.2 meters weight 9.3 tonnes speed Mach 6
The high-speed command vehicle Dia Train plunges into the enemy front. It becomes an interceptor aircraft in an Attack Change! It attacks from the air.
Total length 10.2 meters Weight 8.5 tonnes Top airspeed Mach 5 Land speed 500 km/h
Callout: Attack Change!
From the desert to the swamp, wherever the enemy is hiding – the special radar will find them! According to data analysis, the enemy is in the jungle. Cosmo Roller is on the trail.
Callout: Attack Change!

The final product page reviews the previous year’s releases, the Power Bases, Dia Battles, Dia Train, and Cosmo Roller. Despite being backmarkers, each still gets a little text and some statistics to help make the sell. Unfortunately, that makes for a very cluttered page!
Page 13-14

1981 Diaclone Catalog Page 13 - 14
Robot Base is distracted from the battle by one of the voices in his head.

Page 13
Now, all of these mecha are at your command.
The final spread starts with a checklist of all the toys available so far, including both the 1980 and 1981 lineups. This would continue until Diaclone’s popularity (and thus its lineup) ballooned with Real & Robo toys to the point where they would not all fit without using multiple pages.
Page 14
Waruder Army is looming, stand up, Diaclone Corps!
Finally, a nice art piece depicting Robot Base and some human personnel battling off a separated Warudaros, with the effigy of General Ingam looming overhead. Red and Yellow seem to have acquired the helmets of the Type II mini-figures, despite still using the Type I armor. I think this would have made a much more exciting cover piece than the stoic shot of mostly the same cast. This piece would make a great wall poster! Also, the use of “The Great” Diaclone at the bottom of the page suggests further that those words are not in fact part of Robot Base’s official name.
Back Cover
1981 Diaclone Catalog Back Cover
Your Grandpa doesn’t think such depictions are racist.

Diaclone Corps three vows
1 It is right to try to act with courage.
2 Do not forget the friendly love for peace.
3 Let’s fight the Waruder Army.
As with most of these catalogs, we close the back cover with the Diaclone Corps three vows, which you must follow (as well as dedicating hundreds or thousands of hard-earned dollars) if you wish to be a member of Diaclone Corps. It also gives the Takara legal information and Dakko-chan logo, which is discussed further in the previous catalog translation.
The stage is set for a huge sea change in Diaclone design, with Real & Robo, Kojin Ohno’s brainchild. The unbroken thread of Transformers history strengthens considerably in the very next catalog… read on! Never forget the friendly love of peace!

Many thanks to Sanjeev “Brownnoize” for providing us with excellent scans of these hard-to-find pages!

Published by Ben Meier

Ben started collecting plastic robots at the ripe old age of two. His life mission ever since has been to accumulate as many as possible.