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 cassette designs in a variety of colors sold in two-packs. Laserbeak, a red condor robot, is the Mini-Cassette everyone remembers. He was packed with Frenzy,

US Patent for G1 Laserbeak


Laserbeak, like many early Transformers toys, originated in the Takara Microman: Microchange line. He was originally released as MC03 MicroCassette Robo Red Condor. These toys included a small, transparent tape case with a paper insert that was omitted for the Transformers release. Laserbeak was designed by Takashi Matsuda. The US Patent titled Combined reconfigurable toy cassette and box therefor (aka Transformers G1 Laserbeak) was filed on December 2, 1983 (U.S. Patent No. USD283335 S). Note that the patent includes the tape case that was omitted from the US Transformers release.


Laserbeak 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 red die-cast metal piece that becomes the condor’s back, and large silver-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 alternate storage spot if loose. He is nearly indiscernable from the Buzzsaw figure from the tape front, since they are both molded entirely in black plastic, and share the same front sticker design.
Date stamp location: none or 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, Laserbeak 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, Laserbeak has production variations over the course of his release run. He appears to use revisions of the already-tired and worn Microchange tooling through most of his Transformers production run, whereas Buzzsaw transitions quickly to a newly-cut mold. The quality of the molding visibly deteriorates from Type 1 through Type 6. Laserbeak eventually gains his own new mold, easily identified by the “mohawk”-like ridge down the center of his bird head. Other than this, the primary variations are to his date stamping, which at one point even comprises a date sticker, and a slight change to the red paint on his back. Since accessories are not precisely packed with the matching production era of the figure in the factory, notes on Frenzy are best-guess deductions. There are likely transitional periods when figures packed together did not exactly match the updates to their individual molds.
Type 1: Japan (on bottom center of front sticker), pre-rub, dark thick red, smooth head, thick-walled guns (with T1 Frenzy)
Type 2: Takara Japan (on tailfins), pre-rub, dark thick red, smooth head, thick-walled guns (with T2 Frenzy)
Type 3: [BLOCK] (on tailfins), pre-rub, dark thick red, smooth head (with T2 Frenzy)
Type 4: [BLOCK] (on tailfins), JAPAN white sticker under right wing, pre-rub, lighter red, smooth head (with T3 Frenzy)
Type 5: [BLOCK] (on tailfins), ©Takara Co. Ltd. Japan 1983 (left wing), pre-rub, dark thin red, smooth head (with T4 Frenzy)
Type 6: [BLOCK] (on tailfins), ©Takara Co. Ltd. Japan 1983 (left wing), with rubsign, lighter red, smooth head (with T4 Frenzy)
Type 7: [BLOCK] (on tailfins), ©Takara Co. Ltd. Japan 1983 (left wing) ©Hasbro 1983 (right wing), with rubsign, lighter red, smooth head (with T5 Frenzy)
Type 8: [BLOCK] (on tailfins), ©Takara Co. Ltd. Japan 1983 (left wing, smaller font) ©Hasbro 1983 (right wing, smaller font), with rubsign, lighter red, ridged “mohawk” head (comes with T5 Frenzy)


Laserbeak debuted in the US and UK in 1984. Like all 1984 Decepticons, Laserbeak was available again in 1985 with a rubsign placed directly below the simulated tape reel window, and omitting the foil Decepticon logo on his head. He was also introduced in continental Europe, available in a unique single-pack blister card. Japan also received the 1985 version named Condor, in a single-pack box, complete with the clear tape case omitted from Western releases. Laserbeak was reissued in 2003 in Japan as part of the The Transformers Collection, packaged with reissue Soundwave. He was reissued with Soundwave again for the U.S. through Toys R Us as a Commemorative Edition / Classics seires in 2007, albeit with a slightly more orange shade of red paint, and including a clear plastic tape case. He was reissued again in Japan the same year with the Transformers Encore reissue of Soundwave. He was available once more during Encore in 2009 in The Great Cassette Operation Vol. 3 with Frenzy, Rumble, and Overkill. The U.S. reissue was available again in 2009’s Universe San Diego Comic Con / Hasbro Toy Shop exclusive Soundwave set.
Case Assortments (Item#/Asst#): 1984-1985: Mini Cassettes Assortment 1 (E5732/5730), 12 per 24; 1986: Mini Cassettes Assortment 2 (G5933/5733), 6 per 24; 1987: Mini Cassettes Assortment 3 (G5933/5734), 4 per 24
MSRP: $5.99
Packaging: Blister card with instructions and Tech Spec on back
Robot Points: 1 Decepticon
Paperwork included:“Look Inside for a Special Offer!” (1985), “Inside… A Transformer not Sold in Any Store!” (1986)

Redecos & Retools

Laserbeak’s mold was first used in Takara’s 1983 Microchange MC03 MicroCassette Robo Condor in two versions: Red Condor and Blue Condor. Laserbeak was redecoed in 1984 as Buzzsaw, included with Soundwave. The mold was redecoed like MC Blue Condor in 2005 for Takara’s e-HOBBY Garboil in the Cobalt Sentries set, and again in 2006 for the e-HOBBY exclusive 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

“The only point I like in Autobots: melting point.”
LASERBEAK takes pleasure in hunting his prey—usually the straggling survivors of a battle. Noticeably not brave. Will run for safety if threatened. Flies at speeds up to 250 mph. Uses two independently targetable laser cannons with extreme precision to get information from captives. Shortage of ruby crystals that powers the lasers can panic his systems into shutting down.

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