During the second series of Generation 1 in 1985, Hasbro had to broaden their search for molds to use for the Transformers. Among the toys they acquired license to use were the Deluxe Insecticons, like Barrage, who transforms into a robotic Allomyrina dichotoma (Japanese rhinoceros beetle).
Barrage was designed in 1984 by Japanese toy manufacturer Takatoku for a new toyline, Armored Insect Battalion Beetras. However, Takatoku went bankrupt before the series could finish (in part due to Dorvack, the source of Roadbuster and Whirl), releasing Barrage as Beet-Gadol. This version is molded in black plastic with silver robot parts. It also features a different sticker set than the Transformers release. There was also an unproduced “powered-up” version with a yellow shell and larger horns on its head and thorax. Takatoku went bankrupt before Beetras toys were fully released, with Takara's competitor Bandai buying up the assets. Hasbro was able to license the figures from Beetras and Dorvack (in addition to the VF-1S Valkyrie from Macross) for the US market, but Takara was still competing domestically with Bandai in Japan, which prevented them from striking the same deal for Japanese-released G1.
Barrage’s alternate mode is a robotic Japanese rhinoceros beetle, whose green shell is decorated by white stripes and beady red eyes. A large antler-like horn extends from his head, and a smaller horn protrudes from his thorax. He features well-articulated (though fragile) insect legs, as well as poseable elytra (the shell-like wings on a beetle’s back). His transformation is complex and nuanced, and one of a very few Transformers designs to completely hide all the insect legs inside the humanoid robot form. The transformation makes use of all the articulation of the insect legs to do this, hiding two pairs within his lower legs and feet, and one pair in his chest. His robot mode head bears the horn from his thorax, and his insect head horn lies flat against his broad chest. His robot mode features far more articulation than most G1 designs, bending at the hips and knees, and being able to raise or rotate his shoulders. He includes a green gun and a yellow sword. His robot mode exudes a rather muscular appearance, especially in comparison to the smaller and frailer Takara designs.
Date stamp location: none
Rubsign location: rear of right elytra
Unfortunately, Barrage’s articulation provides many of his weaknesses. His insect legs are particularly prone to breakage, especially around the hinges. To make matters worse, these joints can be tight. Always handle his legs carefully and close to the joint. Another common breakage is the large head horn of the beetle. Breakage can include as little as a single spike tip, or the entire horn snapping off at the point where the main stem meets the forked section, or even the hooks on the head that allow the entire horn to pivot for transformation.
Some early Barrage specimens have a removable horn section: the upper piece where the horn forks can be pulled straight up off the main shaft section, revealing a thin rectangular peg at the end of the main stem.
Barrage was available in the US and mainland Europe (excluding Italy and Greece) in 1985. He was available again in 1986, but likely in lower numbers. He was never released in Japan or the UK. Due to Bandai owning the licenses to Takatoku’s designs, it is unlikely Barrage will ever be reissued.
Case Assortments (Item#/Asst#): 1985: Deluxe Insecticons (F5947/5745), 3 per 12
Packaging: Window box with top flap, inner plastic bubble sealed to cardboard insert, Tech Spec on back
Robot Points: 2 Decepticon
Paperwork included:Instructions, sticker sheet, Tech Specs Decoder, 1984 Catalog" OR 1985 Catalog (small), Reinforcements from Cybertron"1985 Catalog (small), "Reinforcements from Cybertron"
Redecos & Retools
Barrage’s mold was first used in 1984 decorated in black and silver as Armored Battalion Beetras Beet-Gadol. The mold has not been reused since it was licensed for Transformers.
“Nothing left standing means nothing left to change.”
Winning is not enough—this Insecticon's attack continues until the ground is scorched and leveled. Merciless, cruel...believes kindness only stirs hope among the vanquished. Disliked by fellow Decpticons. In insect mode, can shoot non-stop explosive charges from gun mounts, high energy photons from antenna. Flies 15 mph with 400 mile range. Has powerful sonic rifle in robot mode.