The second series of Generation 1 in 1985 included a number of new Mini Vehicles, a low-cost simple subgroup to compete against the numerous inexpensive toylines on pegs at the time. One of the new designs was Beachcomber, a blue 1982 Chenowth FAV (now better known as the Desert Patrol Vehicle or DPV).
Beachcomber’s mold was very likely originally designed by Akio Kitamura to be included in Takara’s Microman: Microchange line, but was never released in this capacity due to the line’s cancellation in early 1984. Unlike Diaclone, the Mini CAR robo assortment of Microchange (of which Beachcomber was presumably to have been a part) were intended to represent toy vehicles rather than real ones, causing many of the figures to have somewhat distorted proportions. However, the FAV was already a very small sandrail type vehicle, so much of Beachcomber’s toylike proportions are realistic. An early solicitation catalog depicted Beachcomber in red, but he was later changed to blue, likely because of the abundance of red Autobot characters already in production. Beachcomber’s US Patent, titled Reconfigurable toy vehicle (aka Transformers G1 Beachcomber) was filed on October 25, 1984 (U.S. Patent No. USD290723 S).
Beachcomber transforms into an unarmed 1982 Chenowth FAV, featuring blue bodywork, a black roll cage, and silver molded engine detail. Despite the small size of the toy, it is relatively faithul to the actual vehicle, accurately reproducing such details as the headlights, front suspension, diamond-patterned side cargo baskets, and overall proportions. He sports rubber tires on his plastic wheels, which are the same size as the rear tires of Bumblebee, but do not share the “Dunlop” markings. His transformation is very basic, with the side baskets forming the arms, the hood forming the legs, and the head flipping up from the back of the vehicle. His robot mode is plain but well-proportioned, with molded decoration for his plastic chest, simple sticker decorations, and a strange, angular head with large pentagonal eye-visors.
Date stamp location: Back of head plate, left side of vehicle on cargo basket (later 1985)
Rubsign location: Left side of car hood
Beachcomber is a simple and sturdy figure, and any sorts of breakage are uncommon and not due to design faults. However, true to its purpose, the black roll cage takes the brunt of the wear and tear, sometimes becoming warped or cracked.
VariantsBeing put into production after the end of Diaclone and Microchange, Beachcomber had little need for updates throughout his run. An international variant of Beachcomber also exists in France and Greece.
Type 1: “©TAKARA 1984 JAPAN” stamp, right arm (left side of vehicle) completely covered in crosshatch pattern
Type 2: “©TAKARA 1984 JAPAN” stamp, ©HASBRO '84” stamped on right arm (left side of vehicle)
Type 2FR: “©TAKARA 1984 [BLOCK]” stamp, ©HASBRO '84 on right arm (left side of vehicle), lighter blue. This variant was produced by French toymaker Ceji to increase supply for the continental European market, probably in 1986.
Beachcomber was available in the United States, UK, continental Europe , and Japan (as G1 - Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers Beachcomber) in 1985. He continued to be available in the US and mainland Europe (this time likely supplemented by the Ceji-produced Type 2FR, see “Variants”, above), and was introduced in Greece (as the El Greco-produced Αγγελιοφόρος [Aggelioforos, Messenger]) in 1986. During the early wave of 1986 in the US, Beachcomber was available with a random one of ten iron-on character patches.
Case Assortments (Item#/Asst#): 1985: Mini Vehicles Asst. 2 (F5904/5710), 3 per 24; early 1986: Mini Vehicles Asst. 3 with Prizes in Disguise Patch (5904/5711.05), 1 per 24; late 1986: Mini Vehicles Asst. 3 (5904/5711), 1 per 24
Packaging: Blister card with instructions and Tech Spec on back, white border around vehicle photo (early 1985), or gray border around vehicle photo (mid 1985-)
Robot Points: ½ Autobot
Paperwork included: none (1985), iron-on patch with “Prizes in Disguise” entry form (early 1986), “Look Inside for a Special Offer!” (late 1986)
Redecos & Retools
“Know the conflict within before facing the conflict without.”
No interest in warfare; prefers long, lone trips into deserts and along coasts…only places he feels he can escape to and relax. Cool-headed, low-key, personable–what Earthlings call “laid-back”. Fights when called upon despite anti-war feelings. Range of 800 miles…can go over very rugged terrain. Sensors can determine chemical composition of land and find needed resources. Susceptible to mental stress.