Powerglide’s mold was very likely originally designed by Masaki Maruyama 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 Powerglide 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. Powerglide’s US Patent, titled Reconfigurable toy airplane (aka Transformers G1 Powerglide) was filed on October 25, 1984 (U.S. Patent No. USD290480 S).
Powerglide transforms into a red A-10 Thunderbolt II. His proportions are somewhat distorted, but otherwise features many recognizable sculpted details. Other than his rubsign placed in a shallow square indent between his engines, he features only one sticker on the top of the fuselage. Two large gray blocks hang from his wings where the real plane could mount bombs or droptanks. In jet mode, he rests on three molded pegs in the place of landing gear. Powerglide’s transformation involves pulling the tail down to form the legs, rotating the cockpit around to reveal the face, and rotating the wings up along the forward fuselage. The gray bombs / droptanks under the wings unfold to form his Popeye-like arms. His robot mode is rather tall compared to his Mini Vehicle peers, and has a different layout than the other 1985 Minis.
Date stamp location: Bottom of tail end of fuselage
Rubsign location: top center of fuselage
Powerglide has a few possible flaws when subjected to abusive handling. His broad, angled tailfins can sometimes break or stress due to their ability to catch on things. Less common is breakage of the tip of the aircraft’s chin gun. Similarly, the landing pegs can be broken off, particularly the front one. The most common defect in normally handled samples is the metal pins that hold his wings to the body tend to work their way out over time. They can simply be tapped or pressed back in. However, due to the tight fitment of the joint, the pin can fall out completely, but the wing can stay in place, appearing intact - until it is moved, and comes apart completely.
Powerglide does not have any major domestic variants, however the date stamp evolved over the course of his production.
Type 1: Takara 1984 Japan
Type 2: Takara Co. Ltd. 1984 Japan
Type 3: Takara Co. Ltd. 1984 Japan ©Hasbro 1984
Type ?GR: Lighter shade of red, stamping not catalogued
Type ?FR: ?
International versions also exist, including the version produced and sold by Greek licensee El Greco as Keravnos (Thunder), which is molded in a lighter shade of red, and a version produced in France by licensee Joustra. Type 2 and 3 are likely revisions of a second mold set, as there is no blocking and the stamping does not line up with "Co. Ltd." added.
Powerglide was available worldwide in 1985, and again in the US in 1986, this time with or without a randomly packed iron-on patch. He continued to be available Europe (this time likely supplemented by the Ceji-produced Type ?FR, see “Variants”, above), and was introduced in Greece (as the El Greco-produced Κεραυνός [Keraynós, Lightning]) in 1986. He was re-issued in 2005 as part of Takara’s Japanese series The Transformers Collection Minibot Team.
Case Assortments (Item#/Asst#): 1985: Mini Vehicles Asst. 2 (F5902/5710), 4 per 24; 1986: Mini Vehicles Asst. 3 (F5902/5711), 1 per 24, Mini Vehicles Asst. 3 with Iron-On Patch (F5902/5711.05), 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 (1986): none (1985), iron-on patch with “Prizes in Disguise” entry form (early 1986), “Look Inside for a Special Offer!” (late 1986)
Redecos & Retools
Powerglide was recolored as Bad Boy in the e-HOBBY exclusive G1 Gobots set.