Friday, August 22, 2008

25 Years Ago in Transfromers PART ONE: Happy Birthday, Robot Formerly Known as Battle Convoy

I was listening to a anime podcast last year and as the guy was talking about all the great panels he went to at Otaky-con (or whatever they call their big get together), he mentioned a panel called "25 years ago in Anime". I can't find anything on the internet revealing what exactly was discussed during that panel but I really liked the concept. I was thinking it would be really cool to do a series of blog posts discussing the history of the early Transformers toys and what it was like to be a kid back then. And then I thought, well hell, that's what I'm always doing anyways so how is that any different from the robotarded crap I usually write about. Then I realized that instead of rambling all unfocusedly as I usually do, what I had in mind was a well researched, well written retrospective series of articles focusing on the origins of Transformers and the era during which they were released, written chronologically on the anniversary of important milestones in the history of the toyline. But then I just laughed and thought, "Yeah right, like that's really gonna happen".


Because in the end I'm just a guy that doesn't know much about the toy robots I had when I was a kid and my collection isn't all that great. I have little robo-credibility. The only pre-Transformer toy robot I have is a Microchange minicar that my friend Maz gave me at Botcon. There was even that time at Botcon when I told a dealer I was interested in buying his Soundwave bop bag and as I was pointing to it he looked at me and went, "Um, that's an Optimus Prime bop bag". Duh. I'm easily the most unqualified person in the Transformer fandom to be writing about any of this stuff. SO HERE IT GOES ANYWAYS.


Even though I don't know anything, I thank Zeus I have friends that do. The same guy who gave me that Microchange minicar also runs a site called It's one of the best old school Transformer information resources ever written. On there he has an article about the release dates of the Japanese toys that eventually became the Transformers. That article is why we can be talking about 25 years ago in Transformers in 2008, which is 24 years after they were released. It was back in late 1982 that Japanese toy company Takara began the Car Robots subset of their Diaclone toyline. You can see in the article that the first trickle of toys that would eventually be Transformers were already released in Japan by now, or at least by now 25 years ago.


By July of 1983 a lot of classic molds had been released in the Diaclone line. The toys that would eventually be known as the Transformers Sunstreaker, Ironhide, Ratchet, Trailbreaker, Skids, Bluestreak, Inferno, Smokescreen, Hoist, Hound, Prowl and Jazz were already out. Of course they didn't call them that in Diaclone-they used the car models as the toy names. But we're all Amerikuhns here so I gotta use the names we know. Then in August of 1983, 25 years ago this month, Diaclone introduced the Ligier JS11 F-1, the New Countach LP500S and a semi truck they named Battle Convoy. These were the toys that in Transformers would become Mirage, Sideswipe and Optimus Prime.


For this first entry in "25 Years Ago in Transfromers" I would like to say happy 25th birthday to the toy robot that would eventually be known as Peter Cullen's meal ticket. It is somewhat fitting to me that the 25th anniversary toyline kicks off this holiday season with the reissue of Optimus Prime. I still have mine in the same shape it was the day I first opened it. Remember me this Black Friday when that snotty guy in the Wal-Mart toy aisle tells you that Hasbro is retarded for reissuing a 25th anniversary Optimus Prime in 2008. I have taught you what you need to say.


Naladahc said...

"Peter Cullen's meal ticket"


Rob said...

Why are Optimus Prime's smoke stacks chopped off in the 25 year reissue?

Evil King Macrocranios said...

For safety reasons. The US re-releases of Optimus have had short stacks ever since the Toys R Us Commemorative series reissue in '02. Of course, you have other options. All of the Japanese reissues of Convoy have kept the long stacks intact and they keep pumping that toy out in Japan every few years so they're not hard to come by.

Weasel said...

Alright, which pre-TF mini-car did you get? 'Cause if it's a pre-Bumblebee I may be forced to hate you for the rest of my life.
I'm kidding! Mostly... ;P

And I know I'm going to Hell for posting this, but when I hear about toy safety this little article pops into my head.

I am so going to Hell when I die. It's painfully obvious.

Evil King Macrocranios said...

It was the yellow MC-04 Porsche 924. You still don't have the MicroChange Volkswagen by now?

Weasel said...

Unfortunately, no. Prime keeps doing that "It's not Bumblebee" veto crap. I may have to tell him I don't freaking care or smack him upside the head with his Lucky Draw Primus. (I hope it's the former because the latter could result in death. Namely my own.)


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