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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 & Robo expanded beyond the initial Car Robot line to include jets and trains, which also formed the first three-form combiner. Each train had an individual robot mode in addition to the combined robot. The idea was novel, as previous super-robots only incorporated vehicle components (e.g. Dia-Battles or Popy’s Combattler V), or smaller robots with no alternate mode (e.g. Microman Micro Robot 7, or Popy’s God Mars). 1983 also marked the last hurrah of the Diaclone Personnel figures (or Dia-Nauts as dubbed by fans and canonized in 2016) that were included with every set to date. After switching scale from 1/72 to 1/60 to incorporate smaller vehicles as larger toys, Diaclone sets lost scale completely to include larger vehicles (trains and jets) at similar sizes to the Car Robot toys. Despite the fluctuating scale, all the vehicles continued to come with the same size driver used since 1980. Of course, the continued adherence to realistic vehicles and the de-emphasis of driver interactivity further paved the road to Transformers G1. Nearly every new entry would be incorporated to the coming Transformers line in some form.
This catalog advances the story, telling about the Third Stage Attack System’s success in forcing Waruder Army off of Earth’s surface, finally turning the tide in the long and bitter war for Earth’s Freezon energy. So, top up your Car Robot’s Freezon reserves and join Transformerland in battling the Waruder guerrillas… This fully translated intel and high-resolution scans (click the images to view full size!) will tell you everything you need to know about the coming lunar assault!
Now, enter the world of
Front Cover

Due to budget cuts, the Robot Base logo has been replaced with five human troops.
Due to budget cuts, the Robot Base logo has been replaced with five human troops.

This is probably the most plain front cover, despite the large number of new figures contained inside. We see instead a group of Type II Diaclone corpsmen in place of Robot Base’s face in the pyramidal Diaclone logo, framed by metallic gold and silver inks. It’s hard to say whether these are the same five humans as pictured in earlier catalogs, but since they’re never named as characters, who cares?
Pages 1-2

Somehow, Battle Buffalo is suddenly my favorite Diaclone mecha. Reboot plz, TakaraTomy?
Somehow, Battle Buffalo is suddenly my favorite Diaclone mecha. Reboot plz, TakaraTomy?

Page 1
Diaclone Story
In the city of Earth’s headquarters, the base was reconstructed. It was engaged in developing new weapons in preparation for the next battle. Diaclone Headquarters appeared peaceful at first glance, but they had received unexpected information. Remnants of Waruder forces had formed underground guerilla organizations in various places to destroy development work. Diaclone Corps hurried to form Real & Robot troops to stand up and fight the Waruder guerillas.
Page 2
Diaclone Corps’ 3rd Stage Attack System has great success!
The former squadrons of the evil, sneaky Waruder Army retreated and disappeared before the Diaclone team. But they cannot be careless! The eerie eyes of an invasion have been shining somewhere in the endless unexplored space!!
Waruder Story
While secretly staying in contact with the organizations left on Earth, Waruder steadily built up a formidable and awful strategic plan. In addition, the Waruder underground organizations have added three new types of insect robots to mass production on Earth, using materials and the unique combat capabilities from the Waruder main force. With these subversive activities from within the earth, the day of world domination is near!
Our story spread is adorned with a gorgeous shot of the Third Stage Attack System troops assaulting the Waruder Moon base. A pair of Battle Buffaloes in the foreground crush some Walk Insecters, while in the background a Double Soldier fends off a Warudaros. In the distance some smaller Diaclone troops or mecha confront a couple more Warudaros, and what can only be presumed as Waruder Aircraft Carriers return fire at spaceborne Diaclone mecha. The carriers bear a strange resemblance to Combine Gunships from the Half Life 2 video games. The left inset is the same out-of-scale shot used in the 1982 catalogs featuring older mecha and the first Car Robot, while the right inset shows General Ingam looming over the solar system.
Pages 3-4

"Come on, transform and get in the fight!" "...I think that's just a regular car."
“Come on, transform and get in the fight!” “…I think that’s just a regular car.”

Page 3
The Real & Robo unit is formed!
In addition to Car Robot troops, Train Robo and Jet Fighter Robo deceive Waruder by appearing as normal vehicles and change to a battle type robot in an emergency.
Page 4
CAR ROBOT カーロボット
No.1 Countach LP500S Super Tuning
No.2 Onebox Cherry Vanette
No. 3 Countach Patrol Car Type
No. 4 Onebox Ambulance Type
This catalog brings a treat with every spread, and this time we see a pair of Warudaros assaulting a city. As promised, the fast-response Real & Robo mecha have shown up to fight it. Train Robo is already in combined form blasting away with his shoulder cannons, while some Diaclone Personnel get out of their Starion-type Change Attacker to back up a Fairlady Z and Cheetah-type Change Attacker already fighting the towering Warudaros. Overhead, another Starion and Super-High-Speed Fighter type Jet Robo prepare an airstrike. This art piece presents a very different scale perspective of the Warudaros, which looks nearly the size of the combined Train Robo- this is true to the toys, for whatever that’s worth. On the opposite page, the first-wave 1982 Car Robots roll out on patrol. We’re introduced to them below:
Countach LP500/Super Tuning (later Sunstreaker, albeit in yellow)
Onebox Cherry Vanette (later Ironhide, in red)
Countach Patrol Car Type (who was never adapted as a Transformer)
Onebox Ambulance Type (later Ratchet, without the Kanji door markings)

Page 5-6

You know, it might just be easier to collect the real cars.
You know, it might just be easier to collect the real cars.

CAR ROBOT カーロボット
With the advent of the underground Waruder organizations, the combat capabilities of Car Robot troops have been strengthened in addition to their original rescue activity function. As they are reinforced with new models, they will continue remarkable success all around.
No. 5 4WD Hilux
No.6 Honda City R
No. 7 Fairlady Z
No. 8 4WD Hilux Wrecker Type
No.9 Honda City Turbo
No. 10 Fire Engine
No.11 Fairlady Z Racing Type
No.12 J59 Jeep
Bottom margin:
“Change Squadron Car Robot” manga in progress in Shogakukan’s Televi-Kun!
The next spread showcases the newest entries into the growing Car Robot line. The artwork carries on the tradition of the new mecha flying and driving down the freeway to go about their counter-insurgent business. Note the silver variant Honda City R and yellow Hilux Wrecker Type – while available in toy form, these decoes are seldom portrayed in the advertising, and the red and black versions are photographed on the opposite page. The future Transformers displayed here are:
4WD Hilux (later Trailbreaker, with altered stripe stickers)
Fairlady Z (later Bluestreak, in monotone silver-there is no blue Bluestreak!)
4WD Hilux Wrecker Type (later Hoist, in a green and orange deco based on an Italian GIG Diaclone release)
Honda City Turbo (later Skids, in blue)
Fire Engine (a Mitsubishi Fuso 6×4 that was later adapted as Inferno, retooling away badging on the front of the cab)
Fairlady Z Racing Type (later Smokescreen) and
J59 Jeep (later Hound)

Page 7-8

Pssst... Hey, Tokaido... we were doing this one in train mode.
Pssst… Hey, Tokaido… we were doing this one in train mode.

In case of emergency, 6 types of trains can transform into robots and protect the city with remarkable success in hostile situations. When engaging a powerful enemy, the 6 types combine into one and attack with full power.
6 separate robots combine to a large robo!
Train labels:
Tokaido Shinkansen
L Limited Express
Tokai Express Train
Diesel Locomotive
Blue Train
Joetsu Shinkansen
Robot labels:
For high-speed combat
For Plains maneuvers
For steady mobility in wastelands
For Heavy equipment power
For night-fighting
For arctic combat (OK in heavy snow)
At last, the first combiner! Train Robo was eventually released as Raiden in Japan’s 1987 Transformers: Headmasters, even retaining references to the functions listed for the robots in the Transformers’ tech specs. The Diaclone toys did include the short segments of straight track that the stock photography uses to pose the trains. The names of the models may be confusing to Westerners, as they each relate to a part of the Japan National Railway (JNR) system. Perhaps the reason these were never released in the West is that while these locomotives would be iconic to the Japanese, they seem rather prosaic compared to sports cars and military hardware. There was a lot of engineering packed into these figures, which each had space for a Diaclone pilot, could connect end-to-end with included clips, and featured firing fists in the combined mode.
Page 9-10

I couldn't pick just one, so... p.9) Starscream was caught cheating on Megatron!  p.10) M-M-M-M.A.S.K.! M.A.S.K. is the mighty power that can save the day!
I couldn’t pick just one, so…

p.9) Starscream was caught cheating on Megatron!

p.10) M-M-M-M.A.S.K.! M.A.S.K. is the mighty power that can save the day!

Page 9
An actual F-15 Eagle can change as needed to a high-speed aerial combat robo! The Real & Robo aerial division troops stop Waruder guerrilla activity by monitoring from the sky.
Jet Fighter Robo F-15 Eagle
Silver (Super High-Speed Fighter Type)
Blue (Acrobat Type)
Page 10
Page 10
チェンジアタッカー Change Attacker
Normally acting as a practical car, in case of emergency it changes to a machine for combat reconnaissance! These newly developed wheels are a reinforcement to the Real & Robot troops.
Onebox (air force transformation) for aerial combat reconnaissance
Starion (drill type) for underground combat reconnaissance
Lamborghini Cheetah (hovercraft type) for land and sea combat reconnaissance
We get yet another delightful art piece that is sure to confuse the uninitiated Transformers fan – a trio of Jet Fighter Robo engage in some aerial combat, including a heroic-looking, rifle-wielding not-Starscream! Portrayed in fanciful colors and brandishing purely sci-fi arm-mounted cannons in addition to a rifle reminiscent of Galactic Whirlwind Sasuraiger’s, the prototype models photographed below confirm how early in the design this Jet Robo art was created. The sleek-looking prototypes feature painted faces and non-interchangeable missiles, as well as snazzy JASDF roundels for the Acrobat Type. Japan began using license-built Mitsubishi F-15Js just two years earlier, in 1981. The Super-High-Speed Fighter Type (probably what we would call “Air Superiority Fighter”) was eventually adapted as Starscream, while the deep blue Acrobat Type became Thundercracker. Skywarp is conspicuous in his absence, as the black and purple deco was invented to flesh out the 1984 Decepticon forces.
The opposing page features the Change Attackers (mis-Romanized as Chang Attacar), some of the last non-robot toys to be introduced. The trio of small pull-back motorized vehicles each had spring-loaded push-button transformations to various scout vehicles. They could seat Diaclone Personnel, but barely. Due to the lack of humanoid alternate modes, they were passed over for Transformers.
Page 11-12

A little heavy on the prototypes, prototypes.
A little heavy on the prototypes, prototypes.

Page 11 (Attack Robo portion)
There are Sky Type and Drill Type, and when the Waruder underground hideout is discovered, they go straight to the destination, and change to robots for battle! They’ll smash Waruder’s secret hideout!
Sky Type for aerial combat
Drill Type for underground combat
Page 12 (and Waruder Mecha from 11)
Waruder combination
ワルダロス Warudaros
Sasorander Arinder Mosquider
Walk Insecter 1 Walk Insecter 2
昆虫ロボ Insect Robo
They are the main mecha of the Waruder underground organization. Because they use materials from the Earth, In addition to the battle capabilities of Waruder, they can perform with the best of the Diaclone mecha, and boast tough bodies. There are three types: stag beetle (kuwagata), locust (batta), and Japanese rhinoceros beetle (kabuto), which can each change to a well-equipped destructive robot as needed.
Stag Beetle Type Locust Type Rhinoceros Beetle Type
This spread introduces some of the last fantasy-based alternate mode mecha: the Attack Robo (later Bakuten Attack Robo). These pull-back motorized figures would automatically spring open to robots on the run, and were totally recolored to make the Transformers Jumpstarters, Topspin and Twin Twist. Lacking prototypes for photography, we are shown airbrushed designs with unused deco features and enclosed pockets for the human operators.
Most of the spread is dominated by the Waruder forces – which pad out their three new offerings with old photos of Warudaros and the Walk Insecters. The new toys are the Insecter Robo – robotic insects with humanoid modes. They included the unique Waruder type pilots, except when sold as a giftset. Shown here are early prototypes, barely resembling the Transformers Insecticons they would become. They were eventually sold under the proper names Kuwagatorer, Battas, and Kabutron, each a play on the Japanese names for the insects given here. We also get an art piece showing swarms of the Insecters flying above a city – imagery not unlike the Insecticons in G1.
Page 13-14

Wait, this didn't have an Autobot symbol on the cover?
Wait, this didn’t have an Autobot symbol on the cover?

Page 13
Miscellaneous Mecha, left to right, top to bottom:

Battles 01 Dia Battles Gats Blocker
Battles 02 Powered Suits
Battles 03 Dasher Series
Robot Base Robot & Robo Twin Soldier Air Powered Big Powered Dia-Attacker
Land Powered
Earth Powered
Battle Buffalo
Sky Base Robot & Robo DX Double Soldier Fortress Robot X
By section:
Change Attacker
Lamborghini Cheetah
Attack Robo
Sky Type
Drill Type
Waruder Mecha
Walk Insecter 1
Walk Insecter 2
Page 13, by section:
Car Robot
No.1 [Countach LP500 Super Tuning]
No.2 [Onebox Cherry Vanette]
No.3 [Countach LP500 Patrol Car Type]
No.4 [Onebox Ambulance Type]
No.5 [4WD Hilux]
No.6 [City R]
No.7 [Fairlady Z]
No.8 [4WD Hilux Wrecker Type]
No.9 [City Turbo]
No.10 [Fire Engine]
No.11 [Fairlady Z Racing Type]
No.12 [J59 Jeep]
Train Robo
Tokaido Shinkansen
L Limited Express
Tokai Express Train
Diesel Locomotive
Blue Train
Joetsu Shinkansen
Jet Fighter Robo F-15 Eagle
Super High-Speed Fighter Type
Acrobat Type

Insecter Robo
Stag Beetle Type
Locust Type
Rhinoceros Beetle Type
We conclude with a summary of all available Diaclone toys, for the first time, this page is the only appearance of several figures – Robot Base, Dia-Battles, Gats Blocker, Big Powered, Dia-Attacker, Dashers, Sky Base, and even the more recent Fortress Robot X, Twin Combat, and Double Soldier. This is also the first list that has been pruned – the Power Bases, Dia-Train, and Cosmo Roller are all absent. Get ready for a lot more of that! Even so, this is a far cry from modern toy release schedules, where figures are seldom available 6 months after their initial release, much less four years later like Dia-Battles and Robot Base shown here. It’s fair to say in the modern cutthroat business of toy purchasing, few toy series last nearly that long as stores push for “New!” at all times.
Back cover

Oldie but goldie.
Oldie but goldie.

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.
Another back cover, and again the three vows. The idiosyncratic vows promote peace before a somewhat jingoistic call to action against the invading Waruders. This is the first cover not featuring the Diaclone logo in any form, where as previous catalogs usually featured several, often inventing new logos that were used once or twice at most.
The 1983 catalog parallels the first wave of Transformers in so many ways, but so many of the figures are presented in ways unfamiliar to American Transformers fans. In the coming waves of Diaclone, we’ll see more and more familiar faces and fewer of those earlier warriors that held Waruder away from Earth’s Freezon just long enough. We’ll venture through more adventures in the pages ahead – read on!

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.