In order to fill out the Decepticon ranks of the first series of Generation 1 in 1984, Hasbro elected to include a number of Takara’s mini-cassette designs in a variety of colors sold in two-packs. Buzzsaw, however, was actually packaged with Soundwave.

US Patent for G1 Buzzsaw


Buzzsaw, like many early Transformers toys, originated in the Takara Microman: Microchange line. He was originally released as the MC03 Red Condor, who would later become Buzzsaw’s Transformer brother Laserbeak, and Blue Condor. These toys included a small, transparent tape case with a paper insert that was omitted for the Transformers release. The gold paint on Buzzsaw’s back was a modification of the Red Condor’s deco. Why Hasbro did not elect to use the extant blue and silver alternate deco for the second Transformer is unknown. Buzzsaw was designed by Takashi Matsuda. The US Patent, titled Combined reconfigurable toy cassette and box therefor (aka Transformers G1 Buzzsaw) was filed on December 2, 1983 (U.S. Patent No. USD283335 S). Note that the patent includes the Microchange tape case, which was never included with any US-release Transformers.


Buzzsaw transforms into a black and silver Olympus Type IV “Metal” MC60 Microcassette, in a real-life scale. The front of the cassette is detailed with stickers that fairly realistically depict the printing on a Microcassette, including the edges of the two tape reels as seen through a window, with a playback time gauge included below. Stickers were also used to represent the holes for the cassette player’s pins to insert, but actual holes (complete with a molded-in “tooth” look) are present for the player’s drive spindles. The back of the cassette features a gold die-cast metal piece that becomes the condor’s back, and large gold-backed robot-detail stickers that cover the wings. His transformation is simple, and produces a flat, angular robotic condor with a hooked beak and molded-in talon details. The addition of his two chrome rocket booster/gun accessories by pegging into the cassette holes gives the robot mode more dimension, and prevents the head from falling back into its tape-mode storage spot if loose.
Date stamp location: tailfins on robot side of tape (very early 1984), or under one or both wings (early 1984-)
Rubsign location: None (1984), or bottom center of sticker-decorated tape front (1985-)

Collector Notes

As with many of these smaller, finely detailed cassettes, Buzzsaw is prone to some fragile parts. The neck slides in a track made partly of die-cast metal, causing the plastic pins to wear down and become loose. In an extreme case, the head can be removed and lost by turning in any direction, or by one of the two pins breaking off. The gun barrels on his rocket booster accessories are incredibly thin, especially in earlier releases, and prone to breakage. For some reason, the left gun/booster is more commonly broken than the right. Finally, sometimes the pins on the die-cast back plate that attach the pivoting bird legs break, though the broken leg may appear to stay on in microcassette mode.


Like most of his brethren, Buzzsaw has production variations over the course of his release run. The variations are minor, other than the addition of a rubsign in 1985, and the switch from a very brief use of the Microchange mold to a pair of brand-new molds for the vast majority of his Transformers run. Reissues introduced other minor variations as well. The capital M with circle symbol that appears on one of these new molds seems to indicate a protected (trade)mark in some obscure Japanese usage, similar to © in American usage. Buzzsaw’s weapons started out with thick walls (when viewed from below), and coarse vents on the front, but went to thinner walls and finer front vents with both new tool sets. Since the weapons were left on the sprue inside Soundwave’s box, they should match left-to-right, but there may be cases where the sprue type included did not match the variant of the Buzzsaw figure. Similarly, the Buzzsaw may not always have exactly matched the Soundwave variant it was packed with, due to the imprecise nature of toy production. The weapons pairing suggested below is a presumed description of contemporaneous tooling changes to the figure and its weapons.
Type 1: Takara Japan (on tailfins), nothing stamped under wings, pre-rub, thick-walled guns, Japan printed on front sticker below tape window, Decepticon sticker on head
Type 2a: Takara Japan Ⓜ (right wing), 1 and 2 on wingtips, pre-rub, thin-walled guns, no Japan lettering on front sticker, Decepticon sticker on head
Type 2b: 創作・著作物 ©Takara Co. Ltd. 1974-1983 Japan (right wing), 3R and 3L on wingtips, pre-rub, thin walled guns?, no Japan lettering on front sticker, Decepticon sticker on head
Type 3a: Takara 1983 Japan Ⓜ (right wing), 1 and 2 on wingtips, with rubsign, thin-walled guns
Type 3b: 創作・著作物 ©Takara Co. Ltd. 1974-1983 Japan (right wing), 3R and 3L on wingtips, with rubsign, thin walled guns?
Type 4b: Hasbro '74, '83. 創作・著作物 ©Takara Co. Ltd. 1974-1983 Japan (right wing), 3R and 3L on wingtips, pre-rub, thin walled guns?
Type 4a: Takara 1983 Japan Ⓜ (right wing), ©Hasbro (left wing), 1 and 2 on wingtips, with rubsign, thin-walled, numbered guns


Buzzsaw was first available in the US and UK in 1984, sold exclusively with Soundwave. Like all 1984 Decepticons, Buzzsaw (with Soundwave) was available again in 1985 with a rubsign placed directly below the simulated tape reel window, and omitting the foil-stickered Decepticon logo on his head. This version was also introduced in continental Europe the same year. Due to Soundwave’s popularity, the pair continued to be available in 1986, an uncommon distinction for 1984 characters. Since Japan’s G1 - Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers Soundwave included Rumble, Buzzsaw was initially only available in the VSZ Set with Skids and Sunstreaker. The VSZ set also included the clear tape case of the Microchange release. Buzzsaw was available in Japan again in 1987, packed with Soundblaster. This version replaced the tape reel sticker with a diagram of Fortress Maximus, which revealed his weak point when viewed through Soundblaster’s translucent red door.
Buzzsaw was reissued in 2005 in Japan as part of the The Transformers Collection, packaged with reissue Soundblaster. He was reissued with Soundwave again for the U.S. through Toys ’R’ Us as a Commemorative Edition / Classics seires in 2007, once again including a clear plastic tape case. He was available once more during Encore in 2009 in The Great Cassette Operation with Ravage, Rewind, and Eject. The U.S. reissue was available again in 2009’s Universe 2 San Diego Comic Con / Hasbro Toy Shop exclusive Soundwave set.
Case Assortments (Item#/Asst#): 1984-1986: Soundwave and Buzzsaw (E5790/5790), 6 per case;
MSRP: $15.99
Packaging: Window box with top flap, inner styrofoam tray partially covered by gray cardboard cutout, Tech Spec on back
Robot Points: 3 Decepticon
Paperwork included:Instruction booklet without rubsign on last panel (1984) or with rubsign on last panel (1985-6), sticker sheet, Tech Specs Decoder, 1984 or 1985 (small) Catalog, “Reinforcements from Cybertron” (from mid 1984-), rubsign instructions addendum (late 1984 only)

Redecos & Retools

Buzzsaw’s mold was first used in Takara’s 1983 Microchange MC03 MicroCassette Robo Condor in two versions: Red Condor and Blue Condor. The Red Condor was released in 1984 as Laserbeak. The mold was redecoed like Blue Condor in 2005 for Takara’s e-HOBBY Garboil in the Cobalt Sentries set, and redecoed again in 2006 for e-HOBBY Kiss Players Cassettron Set Sundor. The mold was redecoed in 2013 to produce Linkin Park Buzzsaw: Special Edition, an all-gold redeco with no stickers. This version is identical to the Laserbeak released in the same set.

Character Bio

“My bite is worse than my bark.”
Civil and sophisticated yet very cruel and destructive. Approaches his lethal tasks like a fine artist. Each deadly mission is like working on a new masterpiece. Can pinpoint and photograph a thumbtack from 20 miles away. Flies at 250 mph. Carries twin mortar cannons. Diamond-hard, micro-serrated beak can carve up almost any opponent. Due to large ego, will often sulk rather than proceed if his plans go astray.

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