After seeing the mock up of the black hooded Bluestreak in the Autobot car section of the 1984 Hasbro catalog I was wondering what surprises may lie ahead with the minicars. Would I find official Hasbro names for the red Bumblebee and yellow Cliffjumper? Could there possibly be either a white or yellow Hasbro mockup of the Microchange MC-04 Mazda Familia 1500XG "Bumblejumper"? It was fun to dream but I realized if those things existed in this catalog someone would've already exposed them by now. After 25 years of Transformers I'm sure that if there really were an official name for any of those guys it would be well known among the fandom, or at least the part of the fandom that pays attention to this stuff. Sure enough, there was really nothing new or special in the minibot section of the catalog that the rest of the Transformer fandom would care about. Thankfully I am a special kind of robotarded and thanks to my background in toy robots newspaper ads collecting I found something really interesting anyways. Well maybe it's not really that interesting and it's actually kind of dumb, but in a field like Transformers archaeology where everybody's figured everything out already the key to sounding smart is tricking other people into thinking the dumb stuff you know is interesting.
Lionel Playworld 11/01/85
Don's Toys 11/22/84
Longs Drug 12/06/85
HERE'S ANOTHER LINE MESS I'VE GOTTEN MYSELF INTO
I noticed that something interesting almost instantly after looking at the way the mincars were arranged on the page. It has to do with the line art in the newspaper ads for the 1984 minicars, which I found was unique among line art used in ads for the other 1984 Transformers. Although it's derived from photographs used in the 1984 Hasbro toy fair catalog like other Transformers ads, minicar line art differs from the catalog in that the poses in the ads are mirror images of the poses in the catalog. So while the bottom of page 67 of the '84 Hasbro Toy catalog shows all the minibots except Brawn facing right, the ads always have all the minibots except Brawn facing left. I thought it may have been possible that the ad line art comes from a different photoshoot where the photographers posed the toys facing the other direction, but Windcharger proves their ad drawings are mirrored from the catalog (or the catalog image is mirrored itself). Not only are the drawings in the exact same poses just flipped horizontally, but the biggest clue lies in how Windcharger is the only minicar with an asymmetrical vehicle mode. In the catalog his hood has a scoop on the passenger side. In every ad with Windcharger line art the hood scoop appears on the driver side. In real life Windcharger's scoop is also on the driver side and the scoop is usually the place where his Autobot sticker is placed. Why the picture in the catalog is a mirror image of the '84 Autobot minicar newspaper ads I have no idea, but hey I'll bet just knowing that is a great icebreaker at Transformer parties. It would make you sound interesting.
I was unpacking my stuff and noticed that the interior of the octagonal 1984 Transformers Jumbo collectors case uses the toy catalog pages for the Autobot minicars and Decepticon jets. This version has what I believe to be the unedited version with the minicars unmirrored and no name labels by each figure.