As the scale of the average Generation 1 Transformer continued to shrink in 1986, compatible playsets for the figures became much more feasible. Going far beyond 1985’s Omega Supreme in terms of play value and interactivity, Metroplex was the Autobot’s new triple-changing headquarters, and one of the largest robots at the time not made of multiple vehicles.


Metroplex’s novelty and apparent newness disguise his roots (like so many Autobots before him) in Takara’s Diaclone series. Diaclone was no stranger to transformable playset robots, sporting the likes of Robot Base in 1980 and Fortress Robot X in 1982. The relationship is closer than that, however. Just as Diaclone was originally developed as a smaller scale of Microman (itself a scaled-down version of the 12” Henshin Cyborg) in order to allow more complex vehicles to be feasible, the earliest titanic playset robots were scaled for interaction with the inch-tall Diaclone personnel. During the course of Diaclone, the features of the vehicles took precedence over the ability to house a driver, and were scaled down to allow new concepts like combining teams. The end result of this was Jizai Gattai - small scale vehicles that could combine in different ways to form a variety of super-robots. Metroplex’s direct ancestor was an unrealized playset designed to interact with the small vehicles of Jizai Gattai, which in turn became the “Scramble City” combiners.


Metroplex is an excercise in pure fantasy, transforming into a sprawling white and gray city-like base replete with ramps and workstations, or a wheeled aircraft carrier-like battle station bristling with cannons. both modes have an intense amount of molded and stickered details, creating a busy cityscape on the scale of the minivehicles meant to inhabit him.

In city mode, Metroplex’s legs unfurl to create ramped repair bays and workstations, while his arms and chest form the central tower, off of which miniature spires and faux skycrapers depend. The central tower features a long black ramp coming down from his chest compartment. The compartment itself houses a vehicle launcher, in the form of a manually operated lever that pushes a minivehicle toward the steep downhill ramp. The other half of his chest flips open to reveal a helipad. His arms point upward, with one being extended into a spire with the addition of an accessory.

His battle station mode appears at first shake like his robot mode in the seated position. His leg panels extend out to form a long runway or platform, with his knee cap accessories forming bays, and his large maroon missile launchers pointing forward like the deck guns of a battleship. Several other guns can be attached to his arms, shoulders, and back. In this mode, he can roll along the ground on wheels shared with Rodimus Prime (both the rubber-tire and plastic versions).

Finally, his robot mode stands taller than most combiners, featuring a blocky appearance with a broad chest, narrow waist, and chrome face with large red smokestack-like antennas. He can either mount or weild his various cannons, or detach the accessories to be combined into the robot Sixgun. Sixgun is comprised of... six guns, attached via the red and white tower parts, and weilding his own pistol by a side-hole on one of the black guns forming his arms. As part of the cancelled Diaclone Jizai Gattai series (see Origins, above), Metroplex can interact with the “Scramble City” style combiner figures released concurrently. Any of the Scramble City limb vehicles (though the Aerialbots are specifically recommended in his instructions) can connect to sockets on his shoulders and knees, giving him a “powered up” robot mode. Furthermore, the four 1986 Special Team leaders can attach their ramp or repair bay modes to Metroplex’s city mode by the small rectangular loops on his legs. This feature is compatibile with the Decepticons because in the original Diaclone context, all Earth-disguised robots were part of the heroic Diaclone Corps!

Metroplex includes two more small helpers: Scamper and Slammer. Scamper transforms into a small black sports car with tandem rear axles, perhaps inspired by the 1980 Briggs & Stratton hybrid car concept. Slammer is a small tank comprised of a non-rotating turret attached to a folding tower for Metroplex’s city mode. Scamper and Slammer are similar in size to the Special Team combiner vehicles with which he is meant to interact.
Date stamp location: back of robot waist
Rubsign location: center of chest, just below head

Collector Notes

Metroplex is generally sturdy under normal handling, but has several design flaws, beyond the ease with which his white and pale gray plastics can discolor. His waist pivot rotates his mass around a single screw stud, which can break the figure in half if abused. A more common issue is that his spring-loaded head cannot be pushed back into the chest without depressing the button, usually due to an accumulation of dirt and lack of lubrication where it slides past the latch inside. Scamper's arms are also prone to breakage: the post that attaches them to the shoulders or the car roof can break off and stick inside the roof, usually as a result of storage or shipping the figure with the protruding arms attached.


Due to the high production demand, and the cost-cutting implemented throughout 1986, Metroplex has several variations. The most obvious is the early-production figures with chrome front thigh panels and chrome wheels with rubber Desert Dog tires being replaced by the later plastic-wheeled figures, which had white front thighs with a silver sticker placed on the hip. Both of these major versions are further available in two minor versions: one with a single screw through the hip/crotch assembly, and one with two screws. Japan received only types 2a and 2b. A further Type 2b variant exists produced by Plasticos IGA for the domestic Mexican market, identifiable by the maroon accessories being cast in sparkly red plastic, and lower-quality paper stickers applied to the hips.
Type 1a: "©Hasbro 1985 ©Takara Co. Ltd. 1985 Japan" stamped, rubber tires on chrome wheels, chrome thigh front halves, one screw through back of hips
Type 1b: "©Hasbro 1985 ©Takara Co. Ltd. 1985 Japan" stamped, rubber tires on chrome wheels, chrome thigh front halves, two screws through back of hips
Type 2a: "©Hasbro 1985 ©Takara Co. Ltd. 1985 Japan" stamped, black plastic wheels with chrome hubcap details, white thigh front halves with silver sticker, one screw through back of hips
Type 2b: "©Hasbro 1985 ©Takara Co. Ltd. 1985 Japan" stamped, black plastic wheels with chrome hubcap details, white thigh front halves with silver sticker, two screws through back of hips
Type 2MX: "©Hasbro 1985 ©Takara Co. Ltd. 1985 Japan" stamped, black plastic wheels with chrome hubcap details, white thigh front halves with silver sticker, two screws through back of hips, metallic red sparkly plastic for Sixgun body and missile launchers


Metroplex was available in the US, Europe, and Japan (as Metroflex), as well as licensed Plasticos IGA production for the Mexican market in 1986. Metroplex was available again in 1987. Metroplex was reissued in Japan in 2008's Encore, nearly identical to the Type 1a variant, but stamped “China” instead of Japan.
Case Assortments (Item#/Asst#): 1986: Metroplex (G5791/5791) case of 6
MSRP: $34.99
Packaging: Windowless box with foam tray, tech spec on back
Robot Points: 5 Autobot
Paperwork included:Instructions with sticker application guide slip, sticker sheet, Tech Specs Decoder, 1985 Catalog (small, in early 1986 only), "The Battle is Far from Over!" (early 1986), 1986 Catalog (in late 1986 through 1987), "Have the Decepticons defeated us once and for all?" (late 1986-1987), one of four random "Decipher the Decepticon Sweepstakes!" glow-in-the-dark posters (late 1986 only)

Character Bio

“Vigilance is the foundation on which victories are built.”
Startlingly versatile, staggeringly strong, the Autobot's last line of defense...a mighty instrument of titanic destructive force. Extremely modest about his achievements...berates himself for not doing more. In robot mode, he can lift 70,000 tons, has shoulder-mounted twin high-energy maser cannons and omni-directional receiving and transmitting antenna. In city mode, has helipad and fully equipped repair bays that can handle four vehicles at once. Left rear tower transforms into tank, Slammer, who has rocket-propelled mortar cannon. Scamper is sports car with side-mounted electro-blasters; transforms into robot, uses high-energy particle beam pistol. Six-Gun is small robot, has ion-pulse rifles for arms, twin surface-to-air guided missile launchers on back, acetylene pistol. In battle station mode, uses all these weapons and twin disruptor rays, laser lances, powerful anti-matter projectors.

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