Variations: Everything Else Autobot G1 & G2

Photo courtesy of Dan the Art Guy!

| Minibots | Blaster | Blurr, Hot Rod, and Kup | Chromedome | Doublecross | Downshift | Hardhead |

| Hound | Inferno and Grapple | Inferno | Jazz | Jetfire | Landmine | Micromasters | Mirage |

| Metroplex and Rodimus Prime | Nightbeat | Omega Supreme | Perceptor | Pretender Grimlock |

| Prowl, Bluestreak, and Smokescreen | Ratchet and Ironhide | Roadbuster | Sandstorm and Springer |

| Sideswipe and Red Alert | Skids | Skylynx | Sunstreaker | Topspin and Twintwist |

| Tracks | Trailbreaker and Hoist | Wheeljack | AM Wheeljack | Whirl | Wreck-Gar | The Cassettes |

| G2 Water Cars | G2 Gobots | G2 Rotorforce | G2 Cyberjets |


These bots may be little, but they pack a mighty punch. :-) And so do their various variants. This information cache has grown so large, that minibots have been given their own main page. Follow this link to Super-Mega Minibot Rampage!


Solid back or removable back cover. Who's idea was it? Can't store anything in it! Soundwave could keep his guns in his. I found a piece of silly putty in mine.

Solid Back | Removable Back

When I pulled out the silly putty, I found a Takara 197* stamping underneath. Just goes to show you; they've been recycling Pre-TF molds all along. (Like everything else on this site wasn't enough of an indicator, eh?) :-) There's actually (because of stamping) at least 3 mold versions of Blaster:

Type 1: Removable back, Takara stamping.
Type 2: Removable back, Hasbro/Takara stamping.
Type 3: Solid back, Hasbro/Takara stamping.

There's also a change in the guns! Three of them, to be exact (but spread across 4 guns). :-) Similar to the Blurr gun variant (See: Blurr), one of the changes is the side the mold indents appear on. :-) There's also number-changes, as well as indent changes (large vs small, shallow vs deep). Click the pic below for a large view:

Type 1: No numbers, large-holed barrel.
Type 2: Numbered 2, small(shallow)-holed barrel.
Type 3: Same as Type 2, but numbered 3.
Type 4: Numbered 4, small(deep)-holed barrel.

SDCC Reissue Blaster

SDCC of-course stands for San Diego Comicon. :-) Like his Japanese reissue, this Blaster comes remolded, with a solid back, and China updated stampings. Oddly, while his gun is numbered 2, it has the deep indents, not the shallow ones. It is unknown yet whether they simply took the Twincast mold and retooled it back into reissue Blaster (since SoundBlaster was nominally retooled back into Soundwave). The tooling has the Hasbro/Takara with dates stamping, which is now partially blocked on the dates (first part block) and is stamped China. It's also interesting to note that this unit has both the tampo-stamped datecode on it (that used to be on the package back of mass-retail figures) *and* a second production code burned into the plastic itself. Talk about Overkill...

Type 1: Removable back, Takara stamping.
Type 2: Removable back, Hasbro/Takara stamping.
Type 3: Solid back, Hasbro/Takara stamping.
Type 4: Solid back, Hasbro/Takara CHINA blocked-dates stamping (reissue).

Patent for Blaster

(See Also: Japanese Reissue Blaster)

Blurr, Hot Rod, and Kup

Regular, Targetmaster versions, and 'transition' units! From regular to TM version in the vintage series, they widened the engine hole on Hot Rod, and molded pegholes to Kup and Blurr to accomodate the guns when in vehicle mode. Blurr's shield color changed (and was remolded with a larger peg to accomodate the wider hands), Hot Rod's toes went from metal to plastic, and Kup's wheels went from rubber and metal to straight plastic. All hands were widened to accomodate the TM guns.

Kup's Back | Hot Rod's Engine | Blurr's Chest | Blurr's Shield | Kup's Toes | Regular vs TM Fist Holes

Transition Units: The conversion from regular to TM version wasn't a straight shot. In essense, they 'cheapened' the original moldings first, then remolded them for Targetmasters. On Hot Rod, the later run regular version sported plastic toes. Taking note of the thighs: there were large thigh stickers on the regular version (both metal and the later plastic toed). However, the TM version, while initially having the large thigh stickers, eventually switched to *small* thigh stickers (that fit nicely into the molded thigh indents on the TM version).

Kup and Blurr: Kup made his change to plastic wheels before the remolded TM version came along. Blurr had a gun change on the regular version. The 'sides' of the gun are reversed later on. We don't know why. They are identical, but the moldings have switched sides. On Blurr's arm guards, we have the deep 'V' sticker. Later releases (and all Targetmaster versions) have the ends squared-off.

Hot Rod's Small vs Large Thigh Stickers | Blurr's Guns | Blurr's Arm Guards

Reissues: Note also that there is a 2002 re-release TRU version of the Hot Rod mold, called Rodimus Major, which is actually the later Targetmaster Hot Rod mold, but *MODIFIED* so that it comes closer in-line to the original regular release. Essentially, they put spacers in the engine hole and hand holes to shrink them back down. BUT...the size they used changed! None of the accs of the reissue are compatible with the regular or TM versions now!! It's an interesting mess. They may look similar, but no one can switch guns. Reissue has metal-toes, extremely small hand and head-holes that only fit its guns, large thigh stickers. (But small-thigh indents,...remember those? Leftover from the TM Version...) Oh, and he's not called 'Hot Rod' anymore. :-) They lost that particular copyright. The manufacturer-stampings give away the versions, too. So fear not those attempted evil parts-switchers! The new guy is dated the same, but stamped china. You think this is bad now, wait until the reissue TM version hits American stores...the mold has been changed *again*. More...

To recap:

Hot Rod:

Type 1: Regular version, large thigh stickers, metal toes. (Japan)
Type 2: Regular version, large thigh stickers, plastic toes. (Japan)
Type 3: TM version, large thigh stickers, plastic toes. (Taiwan)
Type 4: TM version, small thigh stickers, plastic toes. (Taiwan)
Type 5: Reissue, regular version, reverted molding, metal-toes. (China)
Type 6: Reissue, Targetmaster version. (China) More...


Type 1: Regular version, metal/rubber wheels.
Type 2: Regular version, plastic wheels.
Type 3: TM version, plastic wheels.


Type 1: Regular version, deep V stickers, gun dots on right side.
Type 2: Regular version, square arm stickers, gun dots on left side.
Type 3: TM version, square arm stickers, different-colored shield.


A rather odd-change...the clip on the back underside of the unit has a prong with one tine longer than the other. This, 'longer tine' can be either on the right side, or the left. It appears to be an actual mold-change...not a broken-piece, and not a piece you could install more than one way. Like I said, odd:

Chromedome Prongs


Monsterbot Doublecross; sporting either with or without a plastic guard tab around the spark button.

With Spark-Button Guard | Without Spark-Button Guard


Forgot to pay a fine? Or else some vandals came along and stole his license plate! (OK, ok, they lost the license to use the name, so they switched it out.) Mailaway versions with/without the word 'Celica" on the back plate:

Downshift Plates

Patent for Downshift


Initial runs came without a rivet in the leg, while later releases did:

Hardhead With and Without Rivet


The initial variant, brought to us by Esteban: "one launcher has a 'dome' molded into the site, while the other has a distinct (lack) of this dome." After careful searching, we've found 3 different mold-types for the launcher: Indented high, indented low, and non-indented. Himwari adds: The first run launchers are smooth, while later ones have more defined features with mold circles on the other side." In addition, there is a slight difference in the jeep gun, most easily noticed by how it either fits, or falls out of the diecast back end. ;-) Later versions of his gun have a bigger 'back part'. Missles were changed as well; you can have ridges or smooth going through the middle.

Hound Launchers Up the Wazoo | Hound Guns | Hound Missles

But wait! There's more. In the words of Himawari: " I'm surprised that you haven't covered some of the other differences; the thickness of the gas tanks (thicker is first I believe), the diameter of the tires (later versions were smaller in diameter), and of course there is the classic "my gun turrent always falls out" problem due to a larger hole in the back of Hounds leg on later releases hence a thicker peg on later gun turrents which also had their barrel shortened as well in later runs. Also, forgot to mention that the gas tank which is thinner also has a smaller peg." Whew. Breath, Himawari. :-) Now, compared to the Diaclone Hound, the holes are pretty large all-around. Rumors of a small-hole Hound in the Hasbro TF line abound, but I have yet to find one to confirm.

Gas Tanks | Spare Tires

I love it when folks come together on a project. :-) A note on the stickers. You can have light vs dark green ones. It's also interesting to note how the mold seems to, 'slip' on later runs; the diecast holes, meant to be large, seem to fill in a bit, giving us yet another mold-size (or maybe it's on-purpose, just to frustrate me):

Hound Stickers, Light vs Dark (Takara vs Hasbro/Takara)

Now, on the TRU Reissue Hound, we've got all kinds of interesting changes. You can read about most of them in-detail here, as the molding is identical (note that TRU Reissue Hound has not been released yet) but the short version is this:


So, to wrap-up:

Type 0: (Takara Circle) Small holes. (Pre-TF; unconfirmed existence for TF.)
Type 1: (Takara Circle) Large hole.
Type 2: (Takara Square) Large hole.
Type 3: (Hasbro/Takara) Medium hole.
Type 4: (Reissue)(Hasbro/Takara-China) Large hole.

Inferno and Grapple

Inferno was released first in the diaclone line, so we'll call him first here. :-) Units are the same except for color/what they had bolted to their head; Grapple got a hook, and Inferno has his ladder. Duh.

Inferno vs Grapple

Yes, there's *much* more than that. :-) Accessories were identical and interchangeable (fists, chrome pieces, and handgun) in that they fit; though if one is a purist on the chrome pieces (see Hoist and Trailbreaker) you will look for the ones that were molded in the same color plastic before chroming. Look closely at the chrome wear. You can tell.

An interesting note on accs: a small indent in the sides of certain G/I guns. Most are smooth. Also of interest are the variant grills. :-) G1 Grapple and Inferno came with either a smooth grill, or a fully indented grill. The presumption is that the smooth gun came with the smooth grill versions of these guys, and both were modified in later releases (copyright...Takara only vs Hasbro-Takara shared...seems to lend credit to this...though some would argue that the indented gun only came with a later-release Grapple.)

Inferno / Grapple Gun Variant | Inside View | Angled View | Front View

Note that there is also a Transitional variant...yea, afraid so. :-) On the initial-releases of Takara-only Grapples, the arm-holes were a bit too-tight...the pegs on the head-guard tended to break off. They addressed this concern fairly quickly, but no so quickly that we don't end up having three mold variants. :-) Strangely enough, they made no such change to Inferno, in either G1 *or* G2 versions.

Small vs Large-Holed Arms

More on Inferno: G1 vs G2

Differences between G1 and G2: The G2 unit is a richer red in color, as well as having that all-telling G2 Autobot stamping on his body. Flip the cockpit forward. :-) Note also the fuly-indented grill version on the G2 unit.

Mold Changes: The launch tabs in his fists were removed, and filled in, necessitating a modification to the fists that snapped into place. Instead of tabbed, they created a solid-poled fist. They changed the gun mold from hollow to solid, and...this seems really minute...they removed a small 'L'-shaped line from the wings.

Inferno Front | Inferno Arms | Inferno Accessories | Front of Grill | Back of Grill

Patent for Inferno

Reissues: Inferno is the first one out of the gate. This fellow is a mix of G1 and G2 moldings (as well as a few new items thrown in for good measure). For starters, They use the G2 Inferno molding for the shoulder-assy (2-holes vs G1 one-hole). In addition, the white wings (what plugs into the shoulder assy) is of the G2 style (no 'L'-connect line), excepting that the plug-in tab is now shorter. Gun-wise, it's a G1 mold (open stock) but the handle is considerably thicker. Another item...the holes on the side of the arm (plus the pegs on the side of the head) are Grapple-esque. That is, the pegs on the sides of the head are thicker, and the arm holes are wider (like Grapples; previous incarnations of Inferno were all of the small-hole variety). This is the second-occurance of this kind of change happening (see Hoist/Trailbreaker). I assume this change was first adopted for the Japanese-reissue collector series (streamlining the molds, making all the parts match up), and carried over into ours. The Grapple reissue seems to bear this out. It has the thick arm holes/head pegs...and the dual-holed shoulder assy previously found only on the G2 Inferno. :-) Talk about mixing and matching! An interesting find; the grill is not melted in on the sides (merely screwed in on the center). The unit is stamped China, of course. One one odd thing; they didn't chrome the hook, or the crane-brace. But the crane ratchets now, so I guess it works out. ;-)

Inferno Guns | Inferno Wings | Grapple Insides | Grapple Hook

In-place of the screw holding in reissue Inferno's ladder a rivet. Oddly, reissue Grapple still uses a screw. And like most reissues, the launchers(in this case, in the forearms) have no spring in them- the fists, etc have to hold in by their good looks. :-) One more item; the seat-lines(where a pilot would sit) are off Grapple for both of them. If you compare them to a vintage Inferno's insides, they're different. Not sure what made them choose one over the other. I notice that the ratcheting is more pronounced in the reissues; apparently, they tweaked the indents. Units are the detailed-grill variety, and yes, the eyes are blue these days. :-)

Screw vs Rivet | Inside Chrome | Ladder Ratcheting

The wrap-up: Mold types:

Grapple mold types:

Type 1: Small-holed arm, Takara-only, smooth grill.
Type 2: Large-holed arm, Takara-only, detailed grill.
Type 3: Large-holed arm, Hasbro/Takara shared, detailed grill.
Type 4: (Reissue) Large-holed arm, Hasbro/Takara (China), detailed grill.

Inferno mold types:

Type 1: Small-holed arm, Takara-only stamping (Japan), smooth grill.
Type 2: Small-holed arm, Hasbro/Takara shared (Japan), detailed grill.
Type 3: (G2) Small-holed arm, Hasbro/Takara shared (China), detailed grill.
Type 4: (Reissue) Large-holed arm, Hasbro/Takara (China), detailed grill.

Grapple Then and Now | Inferno Then and Now

(See Also: Artfire)


Are You Eating Cookies For Breakfast?

Just to clear up the confusion, NO, there wasn't a free Jazz IN a box of Cookie had to buy 2 boxes, send in the UPC symbols along with a few bucks, and then they'd mail it to you. :-) Sorry.

Differences between the two versions of the G1 units are best noticed by the sticker variations. The initial-release standard store-purchased one had the word, "Martinni" on various stickers, while the Cookie Crisp mail in had conspicuously blank stickers. Also of note is the headlight color change...from blue to green. :-)

Jazz Roof | Jazz Doors | Jazz Spoilers | Jazz Headlights

But wait! There's more! (there always is). If you look at the underside of the hood, The head-mounting bracket (diecast portion) comes as either a triangle-shape (cookie crisp version) or a flat-shape (martinni version). There is also a change in the hardware used...on some units, flat screws were used all-around, vs flat under the hood, and round in the back-end:

Jazz Diecast (Underside View) | Jazz Diecast (Left View) | Jazz Diecast (Right View) | Jazz Hardware

G2 Jazz forgoes the old sticker package entirely. He drops the back launcher in lieu of a handheld one that fits in the small hole in the roof (a great way to tell if your Jazz window has been 'repaired' (replaced) is to see what roof-type you have...G2 has a hole in it).

There was also a difference in the molding of the handguns between G1 and G2...the shorter barrel is the most obvious difference. Other interesting mold changes include the feet, where the sidetabs on the chrome pieces were removed, and the back heel thickened into an 'L' shaped nubbin (G1 is just a straight ridge, so supposedly it tips over easier) The doortabs also underwent a change, where we go from beveled (G1) to a smaller peg notched almost halfway down (G2). It's also interesting to note that G2 Jazz came with two different missle-lengths...shorter ones initially, then lengthened in later runs (for the record, this does not seem to show up on G2 Onslaught):

Jazz Guns | Jazz Feet G1 vs G2 | Jazz Doors G1 vs G2

G2 Missles, Both Types (Package) | G2 Missles, Both Types (Loose)

Patent for Jazz

TRU Reissue Jazz is quite an interesting piece. The under-chassis is lifted straight off of the G2 mold (enlarged heel nubs, tabless chrome feet). The face and diecast front clip were remolded; redrawn with sharper lines (as well has having new injection points). The arms are now riveted to the front wheels. The door brackets are a new design (nubbed metal tip vs flat metal tip) while the doortabs are actually a throwback to G1 (rounded). The back windows are quite nice. The original Takara Dreamwave reissue (See: list one) had the G2 windows (similar to G1, excepting the upper reinforcement wedge at the end). The reissue ones (as well as the 2nd-wave of Dreamwave) have catch-nubs on the back (as well as an added 'lip' on the underside/back).

Jazz Windows | Jazz Doors | Jazz Faces | Jazz Front Clips (Diecast)

The handgun is completely new; it has the shorter barrel of G2, but has a flat handle-tip, is chromeless, and is newly indented in the stock. The launcher has been redesigned; it's more of a 'holder' now. The launch-tip is new, as is the chrome back-piece. The launcher itself is now a 2-pc disconnectable unit (which is nice, because you can use the upper barrel on his shoulder peg if you want him to have a 'fusion-cannon' look similar to Megatron. :-) (Though it's interesting to note that while the mold indents are similar, you can't easily unscrew the original one from the back.) Due to ever-tightening child-safety laws, the missles have been lengthened, and are also chromeless. Note also that, like other Hasbro reissues, the missles and launcher are grooved, so the parts only fit together one way.

Jazz Handguns | Jazz Launchers (Side) | Jazz Launchers (Front) | Jazz Missles

One Final Note: The stickers. Forgoing the G2 stickers for the more classic look, the stripes and '4' are back. However, instead of saying 'martinni' (original) or being blank (Cookie Crisp) they now say 'Meister'. (First done on the Dreamwave issue, presumably a play off of 'meistro, if you please'. :-) I'm teasing. Still...)

A further reissue of Jazz has been made, a black Targetmaster version called Richochet. This is made in-homage to the Japanese TM Stepper figure. The unit is the same molding as the reissue Jazz, with two major exceptions: 1) the face has reverted to a G1/G2 face (versus the smiley reissue face) and 2) the back spoiler has been modified to function the same as the vintage Japanese piece (ie, molded to fit the tm gun in vehicle-mode). More...!

One item of note; again, the chromed weapons for Japan are flat black plastic in the American line. The launcher is disabled. Otherwise, molding is functionally identical.

So, to recap:

Type 1: G1, Martinni-stickered, flat head-mount.
Type 2: G1, Blank-stickered, triangle head-mount.
Type 3: G2, Short gun, short missle, hole in roof, NO tabs on feet.
Type 4: G2, Short gun, long missle, hole in roof, NO tabs on feet.
Type 5: TRU Reissue, chromeless weapons, remolded front.
Type 6: TRU Reissue, chromeless weapons, remold spoiler, face, and TM.

(See Also: Vintage and Reissue Stepper)

(See Also: Cookie Crisp Jazz Revisited)

Jazz Then and Now


There USED to be three basic variations on the Jetfire line:


Type 1: Matshurio Painted Valk
Type 2: Matshurio Sticker Valk
Type 3: Bandai Plain-Wing

Now, if you want to get extremely detailed, you need to list the transitional units, where parts-changes started drifting between units (running production changes). This means that, technically, (if you were Ginrai) you would need to own seven Jetfires to cover all the bases. :-)

Matsushiro 1: Finer "ridged" detail on antennae, painted insignia, lined canopy.
Matsushiro 2: Finer "ridged" detail on antennae, sticker insignia, lined canopy.
Matsushiro 3: Finer "ridged" detail on antennae, sticker insignia, unlined canopy.
Matsu-Bandai: Matsu body with Bandai antennae/copyright. (Transitional Unit)
Bandai 1: Smooth antennae, Bandai logo, no insignia, no copyright.
Bandai 2: Smooth antennae, Bandai "box", no insignia, logo (C)1984.
Bandai 3: Smooth antennae, Bandai "box", no insignia, logo (C)1985.

Note: The 'Matshurio' and 'Bandai' designations refer to the mold stampings on the inside of the back of Jetfire units. These stampings allow us to differentiate between the versions.

Jetfire Manufacturer Stampings

Matshurio units came (more or less) with lined canopies. In addition, the wing backpack has a raised circle with three indents in the lower right-hand corner. On Bandai, the canopies are smooth, and the backpack indent is 'sunk in'. On the 'transition' Bandai unit, we have the Matshurio backpack, and no year stamping on the unit. :-) Bandai 1 is almost the same as the Matsu-Bandai. Between these two, and Matsu 3, you can see where the majority of the actual parts-changes occurred. We could also go on about how the backpack differred on the other side, from smooth, to a 'brick' pattern, but we think you get the idea. :-)

Jetfire Canopies | Jetfire Backpacks | Jetfire Brick-Pattern

It is also interesting to note a mold change in the accessories. :-) It is generally known that alot of the Jetfire parts (like soundwave) are not easily interchangeable between versions due to slight mold adjustments. This is presumed to carry over into the accessories on him, although it is not easily found out how the parts were changed (mostly, you just try on parts to see if they hold firm, fall off, or break). Here's a situation where an accessory change is easily visable. On the front part of the handle to Jetfire's gun, we have a molded ridge running on the handle:

Jetfire Guns | Bonus! Vintage Valkyre Catalogs! (Jetfire's Ancestors) | Jetfire Package (Inside View)

Patent for Jetfire


Yes, we apparently need a reason to own two Landmines. :-) Color-change on the inner robot; dark vs light-yellow:

Landmine Inner Robot Canopies


Of *course* there were Micromaster variations. :-) The micro-figs to Hothouse and Ironworks were recolored from the Off Road Patrol and Air Strike Patrol, respectively. In addition, you will recall a pack-variant that states Micro Stations came in two box versions. This seems to follow a mold-change as well; version one of the bases come with a blocked Macau stamping, while version two has changed mold colors, and an integrated mold-stamping. You'll also notice a slight change in the colors of the plastic. :-)

Hothouse Stamping (Blocked vs Standard) | Color-Changes

Ironworks Stamping (Blocked vs Standard) | Micro-Figs

At the turn of the millenium, KB toy stores did a number of recolor figures exclusive (nominally to them) of previously-unrelease vintage Japanese micro 6-combiners. While having been issued (and recently reissued) in Japan, this was a first for these micros on American shores. Defensor, Devastator, and Superion were colored differently than their Japanese counterparts.

(See Also: Combiner Gestaults)

(See Also: Foreign Micro-Recolors)


The pic speaks for itself. I'm told that one is the boxed one, while the other is the mail-in one. For all I know, they made this change prior to Mirage becoming a transformer :)

Mirage Gun

There's also a launcher variant, although my picture is too-crummy to show it. Fat lines versus thin lines on the barrel of the missle launcher:

Mirage Launcher

Thankfully, Maz comes to the rescue with a nice pic, and some further explanation between the rub and prerub launchers: "The launcher with the shorter barrel lines has a deeper indented circle-pattern towards the centre of the launcher. The launcher with the longer barrel lines has clips/pegs which are slightly more curved around the edge and also it appears to be ridged on one side, as in both halves of the clips are not the exact same shape or size. This launcher also has a different pattern for the segments towards the far end of the launcher. The segments are flatter and maybe a tad longer."

Much Nicer Pics of Mirage Launchers

Himawari adds: "Just to also mention another thing that is later changed in the launchers is the beveling on the barrel. If looking at the barrel from the hole towards you, the first version which is the one with longer lines and ridge down the one side and such is flush. A transitional one would have lines indented in on "O" face where it is beveled. The last variant will be the same as the second except for a more defined bevel from looking towards the opening therefore more of a bevel than the second or first version, and a launcher trigger variant with the ridges continuing down further than the first two variations."

***just to make it clear, the one with the ridge and long lines w/non extended ridges on the trigger which is more circular than the other two is the diaclone version."

Metroplex and Rodimus Prime

I'm lumping these two together. Why? Because they share some of the same variations. And because I think they're both cheesy and, ahem. Anyways, these 2 guys come in either a rubber wheel, or later plastic wheel version. More details below.

Rodimus Prime originally came with rubber wheels, metal toes, and was stamped Japan. the second release did away with the rubber and metal, instead going with plastic wheels and toes, but still with a japan stamping. A still later release of the plastic version had a darker yellow coloring, and was stamped Taiwan (certain movie TFs, such as Rodimus Prime and Cyclonus, were being phased this way). The reissue of Rodimus Prime went back to rubber wheels and metal toes; however, the rim is a new design (tires still say desert dog, of course :-) and the copystamp has been updated to china. Like Tracks, Rodimus has been otherwise faithfully reproduced, mold-wise, to the original. Barring the rims, everything, even the injection points on the gun, are the same. Iteresting side-note: Many Rodimi originally came packed with blaster shield accs that has the lines all running angled in the same direction, from one shield to the other. This time, for symmetry's sake, they seem to have changed one of the blast shields so that you have a better pattern.

Rubber vs Plastic Wheels | Yellow vs Gold Spoilers

Comparison of All 3 Rim Types | Blast Shields Then and Now

The wrap-up: Rodimus Prime:

Type 1: Rubber-wheeled, yellow plastic. (Japan)
Type 2: Plastic-wheeled, yellow plastic. (Japan)
Type 3: Plastic-wheeled, dark yellow plastic. (Taiwan)
Type 4: Rubber-wheeled, rich yellow plastic. (China)

Rodimus Then and Now

(See Also: Zob's review of reissue Rodimus Prime.)

Metroplex came with chrome thighs on his rubber wheeled version, and chrome stickered thighs on his plastic wheeled version:


There is also a difference in fit on his parts between the rubber and plastic wheel versions. This is due to a mix of mold changes to his body, and to the accs themselves. With some parts, it's almost impossible to tell each version unless you test-fit the parts. However, this shouldn't matter to most folks, as Metro parts are fairly forgiving. If things are a little-too-loose, or a little-too-tight, it's ok. Frankly, it's too-hard for most people to properly match up parts. However...if you *really* want to, here's some pics and info on how. :-)

The shoulder antenna are molded differently (different injection pin points). They eyeball the same when looking at the diameter of the insertion peg, however the hole on Metroplex's *shoulder* was changed, so some units fit tight, while others are loose (actually, a change in mips location is a common way to tell apart not only Metroplex accs, but a number of TFs mold variants as well). You can have either light or dark red accs for Metro. (Need to tell which accs go to your unit? Testfit, and then match the color based on the head-antenna color.) Further changes on the body of Metroplex include the chest hole on front; kinda looks like a Mini-Con peg, you can see that while the center peg remained fairly consistant, the ring around the outer edge of the peg has changed in thickness. The large guns are different as well; it's been pointed out that you can have guns with either three or four lines in the center of the barrel (where it attaches to the stock) this gun, along with a few other parts, are transitioned not in terms of mold, but in terms of color between the two types of units.

Rubber vs Plastic Wheels | Antenna Changes | Light vs Dark Red Head Antennas

Dual-Gun Mold Changes

Body Parts Light vs Dark Red | Chest Circles | Big Gun Changes | Antenna Shoulder Holes

The wrap-up: Metroplex:

Type 1: Rubber-wheeled, large shoulder hole, small outer chest ring.
Type 2: Plastic-wheeled, small shoulder hole, Large outer chest ring.

One Note: As mentioned, there is a possibility for a transition unit for Metroplex, based on the color of the accs (a unit that is listed as light accs might have had a run of dark accs, for example). At this time, I am unable to detrmine where that transition (if any) might have occurred, so I leave it up to others to determine. If you have a metroplex (or several Metroplex...can that be plural with the singular spelling when it's used as a noun?) with original accs matched up, please let me know what you find.

Two Note: Although we haven't seen it in America (yet), there has been a recent Takara Tomy reissue of Metroplex/Titan in Japan. However, there have been a number of knockoffs of the same, that came out at the same time. Apparently, these KOs are good enough to fool retailers, so be careful. Read more about it in the Japanese Reissue Section.

Patent for Metroplex

Nightbeat he green? Is he blue? Turquoise? Either way, one is simply a LOT more green than it should be. It's not fading. All the parts, including the helmet, are consistant. Not a knockoff or a chemical reaction. (though these do exist in the mold, and must be discerned from the actual variant by careful observation of consistancy...take the toy apart and check underneath, if necessary, as sun and chemical-fades are inconsistant from one part of the toy to the next.)

Both these units were boxed when I got them. Identical, just a different color. The person in charge of matching colors ran off a few goofs before catching the mistake. :-) Not that my crummy pic below will show you anything. Remind me to take a new one with an actual camera. Just know that it exists, and your search continues.

Nightbeat Colors

Patent for Nightbeat

Omega Supreme

Tab, or No-Tab: On the first-release of Omega, there is a tab on the outer leg armor. Later releases of Omega do not have this tab. The tab fits into the notch on the side of the tank portion.

Outer Leg Armor, With and Without Locktabs

Earlier versions without the tab on the leg seem to have a harder plastic and dark red. Later tabbed versions have softer plastic and light red. There is a transitional unit of course.

(See Also: Takara Tomy Encore Reissue Omega Supreme and Omega Sentinal)


There are two distinct versions of the original Perceptor (and three variants within). There is the early Takara version, the later Hasbro-Takara (Japan) version, and a Hasbro/Takara Macau one (which shares traits of each previous unit).

Some changes between the two basic units: Perceptor comes with a variant launcher. Rounded, or squared-tip. There is also a change in the handgun between the two. The portion of the gun under the ammo clip can be either solid, or hollow. The chest plate between the two versions can be ribbed (indented, first version), versus smooth (Hasbro-Takara). The scopes were changed between each version as well; large-brace (first-version), and small-braced (later version):

Round vs Square Launch Tab | Perceptor Guns | Front of Chest | Manufacture Stampings (Rear)

Perceptor Scope Clips (Types 1 and 2)

Note also that the knob on the scope went thru a change, as did the adjustor knobs on his wrists. You can have Large tooth (small gap, type 1) or small tooth (large gap, type 2). There is a variant shoulderpad, but not the variant you think. The Pre-TF black Perceptor (and the KO of it) came with a completely different slotted mold (compared to the solid Perceptor-pad TF versions have). Actually, the change on Perceptor was more subtle; the initial-release had squared-corners; the later-release came with a number-stamp, and the outer-corners were cut (or rounded/squared-off, if you prefer):

Perceptor Knobs (Types 1 and 2) | Perceptor Shoulders, Square vs Cut | Gold Perceptor Knobs

You will note that the gold-version of Perceptor seems to be a hodge-podge of types. After comparing several of the type 3 units (and finding that they all have the same parts mix) I'm inclined to believe that, while the gold version seems to be a transitional between types one and two in terms of molding, the fact that it bears the MACAU stamping indicates it was the last Perceptor released in the line. It's also interesting to note that when we say, 'gold version' (meaning all the chome parts are gold) the chest plate is always silver (have seen several of these now, in similar fashion).

Reissue Perceptor

Pereptor saw a TRU reissue (along with the Insecticons) in the fall of 2010. Mold-wise, he's updated to a China mold-stamping. Still maintains the has/tak blocked with dates. Has a hollow gun and a rounded-tip launcher, but unlike the recent japanese-reissue (which also included an ehobby black diaclone recolor), the american launcher for perceptor is neutered. Rounded shoulder tabs, smooth chest. Oddly, while it has small-angle braces on the scope, it also has a short tb, making it a transitional between the two vintage scopes above.

It's also interesting to note that this unit has both the tampo-stamped datecode on it (that used to be on the package back of mass-retail figures) *and* a second production code burned into the plastic itself.

On a personal note, I liked that my vintage Perceptor said you could magnify items up to 1x. This new one says, 'not a working microscope.' Yes it is! Just not a very good one. Oh well :-) At least the head rolls up smoothly. The vintage ones always hurt my thumb.

So, to wrap-up:

Type 1: Takara-only stamp, ribbed chest plate, type 1 knobs, type 1 scope, squared-shoulder-tabs.
Type 2: Hasbro/Takara-Japan, smooth chest plate, type 2 knobs, type 2 scope, rounded-off shoulder-tabs.
Type 3: Hasbro/Takara-MACAU (blocked), gold-chrome, type 2 knobs, type 1 scope, squared shoulder-tabs.
Type 4: (TRU Reissue) Hasbro/Takara-CHINA (blocked), transitional scope, rounded shoulder tabs.

Patent for Perceptor

Pretender Grimlock

Yep, it's true. :-) The outer shell can come in either light, or dark blue. The inner robot can sport lighter dark-orange paint (on both his eyes and robot faceplate):

Outer Shell | Inner Robot

Note: There are many, many Dinobot variations, covered in their own section. Since Grimlock is a Pretender in this variant-case, he gets to appear with the rest of his autobot bretheren. :-) Note also that there were inner-shells-only release at Kmart, called Legends (Grimlock, Starscream, Bumblebee, and Jazz). These fellows also came in a nice boxed set in both Japan and Italy.

Prowl, Bluestreak, and Smokescreen

My favorite catagory of Transformer 'variation'. :-)

How I look at this? Bluestreak should be considered the 'base' mold. From there, we go with the other two as variants. For example, Prowl grew a nifty set of siren lights...while Smokscreen grabbed himself a spoiler, and a front air dam. "It's neet-o!"

PBS Top View | PBS Side View

But wait! There's more! The PBS cars had a major mold change between releases. Initially, they came with a diecast back end that didn't support the windshield (I call it the I-bracket version). Say hello to broken parts! In later releases, this support was altered to become an 'L' shaped bracket, which supported the roof better. *NOTE* that at this time, a TF Smokescreen with the I-bracket roof has not been proven to exist. Like other changes that get phased between the 84/85 releases, it is believed that Smokescreen in the TF series only came with the later L-bracket version (obviously, since Bluestreak and Prowl were released in both 84 and 85, they have both types).

Bluestreak Diecast Rear End (Both Types) | Bluestreak Heads | Prowl With I-Shaped Rear-End

Note the fact that PBS parts can be blank, or stamped '2' and '3' (heads, hands, etc) which corresponds to the approximate release-order for the mold (which helps us identify the transitional-variants between the different versions). Initial-releases of the molds are blank (corresponding with diaclone) while later issues have subsequent numbering on the parts. More...

The underside of the windshield had some changes as well. In the words of Crazy-steve: "The area in question is part of the head/windshield assembly. If you take a PBS in car mode and turn him upside down, then swing his arms out of the way you can see what I'm talking about. Look under the chin, just under the hump". The initial-releases didn't have this rim, while later-releases (and the reissues) do. Presumably this change was part of the attempt to try and reinforce the windshield strength of the PBS mold.

PBS-Underside of Roof | PBS Guns

Something else of note: To clear up the constant arguments about who is supposed to get what a small percentage of cases, these were PACKAGING errors...they threw in whatever was handy, and that was that. But the traditionally accepted format for who gets what is this: Prowl gets the gray launchers. Bluestreak gets the red ones. And Smokescreen gets the white ones. Yes, I know: I have sealed weaponpacks, and instruction books that show it a different way, I said, I consider this an error. But if you want to say that there's a 'variant' Prowl with white launchers...then by all means, do so! I'll support you. :-) Hehe. That reminds me, there appears to be a variant on the launcher moldings; apparently, original-moldings had spru marks on the top. Later-releases did not (changed where the plastic was fed through in the mold).

PBS Transitional Packings | Launcher Sprue Variants

Also, as a note for all you TF purists out there, on the chrome pieces (missles, guns): yes, they are interchangeable, but they were molded in different-colored plastic, based on their launcher color. This can be easily seen on parts with some chrome wear. So if you want to match up 'true' pieces with the figures, take note of this, and accept no substitutes!

And speaking of chrome...have a look at the guns. We're still trying to decide when the gun changes occurred...could have been specific to a particular release of the Z-cars (maybe only Bluestreak got the type 1 gun, for example) or maybe the change was made across the board in all three cars (for example, 84 z-cars had the type 1 gun, 85 had the type 2, last-release smokescreen had type 3...the reissue evidence seems to support this...). But hey, you tell us. We'd love to know what you know! :-)

5 Gun Types

The Reissues

Well, all good things get released again. :-) So...Changes? Oh, yes. :-) Well, sort of. Most of the molds are based off of the later-release mold (type 4) of G1...excepting the die-cast rear-end. The L-bracket has been changed, resulting in a new version of the bracket (I call it the triangle-bracket version, as that's what it looks like head-on). In addition, the rear-bumper has been altered slightly...made somewhat larger and thicker, for no reason that I can identify (originally available on Japanese reissues, carried over here). Beyond that...the missles and gun are no-longer chromed, and are made of flexible-plastic (the reissue missles appear veeerrrryy slightly smaller to the originals, might be because of the lack of chrome) and the launchers on all these fellows are even further-neutered...a plugged launch button, so all they do is hold them now. :-) The metal-tab on the doors has been squared-off (versus the original-rounded). Other than that, the mold is amazingly unchanged...which shows in the poor-quality of some of the toy, like the door-handles and face. With Jazz, they at least redrew the mold lines. :-) Ah, well.

A note on Silverstreak: The stickers have been changed from Fairlady Z to Streak (originally done for the Japanese-reissue).

A note on Prowl: The silver plastic looks rather cheap, but in all other aspects, it is a good representation (plastics formulas change from year to year).

A note on Smokescreen: The colors are better-matched. If you look at the colors of the metal, the painted plastic, and the stickers, you will see different shades of red. On the reissue, they got them all matched ;-) black, unchromed weapons, but I suppose I can live with that. Sigh...the 38 stickers are of a slightly different font.

L-Bracket vs Triangle-Bracket | Metal Door Tabs | Rear-Bumpers | Color-Matches

The only other minor note is that some of the parts (fists, for example) squeeked by with no number-stamps at all. When compared to the late G1, which were numbered...all other areas have standard numbering. (Pic) ...and that the paint-apps on the roof and rear-windows do not extend all the way to the nubs, as they did on previous issues. I think that about covers it...for now. :-)

Fairlady vs Streak Stickers | Reissue Accessories Japan vs USA | 5 Gun Types

Blue (Silver) Streak Old vs New | Prowl Old vs New | Smokescreen Old vs New

So, in conclusion: Prowl, Bluestreak, Smokescreen types:

Type 1: PB - I-bracket version, no reinforment ring, no part numbers.
Type 2: PB - I-bracket version, no reinforcement ring, numbered parts.
Type 3: PBS - L-bracket version, no reinforcement ring, numbered parts.
Type 4: PBS - L-bracket version, reinforcement ring, numbered parts.
Type 5: PBS - (Reissue) Triangle-bracket, reinforcement ring, some #'d parts.

Patent for Bluestreak

Why is Bluestreak's box Blue and other questions?

BONUS: Is there a 'true-blue' Bluestreak?

The answer is...yes...and no. The Pre-TF version exists, but no one has come forward with a blue unit SEALED in an American box...we've come across a number of fakes (including some nice customs), and even a Diaclone unit that was shoved into a loose American box. Sooo...if you've got 'the real thing', why not share it with the world? :-) Or at least sell it to me, eh? :-)

For more Bluestreak info than you can shake a stick at, click here.

(See Also: Zob's review of reissue Smokescreen.)

Ratchet and Ironhide

Cross-canopy, NON Cross-canopy...and pegs!


The first sticker variation on a G1 Transformer! Setting the standard for generations to come. When we say cross, or no-cross, what we are referring to is the red cross sticker on the top of the vehicle canopy, as seen above. What is further interesting about this change is that they also took the time to alter the boxart to match the change in the toy. THAT's not something you see everyday. :-)

Cross vs Non-Cross Boxart | Cross vs Non-Cross Package

Oh, but we aren't done with Ratchet by a long shot! There were a SUBSTANTIAL number of mold changes between these versions. Take a look at these, for starters. The no-cross figure has a half-circle gun mount, while the cross-canopy has a figure with a fully encircled gun-mount. The non-cross fig comes with a complex dashboard, while the cross-canopy one comes with a simple dashboard. (This is the fun part: look reeeeaaaallly close at those dashboards, and tell me what happened at the factories. This has been confirmed on multiple sealed units.) Note also the thick versus thin bumpers:

Ratchet Gun Mounts, Bottom View | Ratchet Dashboard, Top View

The no-cross has an indented arm, while the cross-canopy fig has a full (straight, if you prefer) arm. The hands on non-cross version are slighty wider then on cross version. In the words of Argus: "other than the witdth, the hands appear completely remolded. (Full thumb is cross version.) Also, when looking into the window on top of the launcher with the red launch button facing you, one notices that the non-cross version has slightly smaller 'eyes'. The cross version also has two tabs (square block) attached in the left and right lower corners. There's also a variation on the underside of the back of the base."

Ratchet Arms/Bumpers, Cross vs Non-Cross | Ratchet Hands | Ratchet Back

I know, we've spent all this time talking about the two different versions of Ratchet, that we've ignored Ironhide. I'll make up for that now. :-) There was a peg variation between Ironhide and Ratchet. I don't know why, but Ratchet came with a beveled top, while Ironhide was a if the peg variant wasn't enough, they also make a change to the pegs on the guns! Have a look at short and fat, versus thin and long. Also, to refine Ironhide a bit: one is a half-circle, thick-bumper, with indented arms. He has a complex dash. The unit is comparable to the non-crossed canopy Ratchet. And yes, there is of-course an Ironhide in the second mold as well. We aim to please. :-)

Ratchet vs Ironhide Pegs | Ratchet vs Ironhide Guns | Ironhide, Robot-Mode

Patent for Ironhide

So, to recap:

Type 1: Half-circle gun-mount, thick-bumper, indented arms, complex dash.
Type 2: Full-circle gun-mount, thin bumbers, straight arms, simple dash.

To clear up a persistant rumor about Ironhide's canopy: No 'solid canopy' version should exist. Look under your stickers. See those two holes? Those are for the Ratchet version, where sirens are mounted. I haven't found one without holes. Nor do I expect to. Even the diaclone versions of Ironhide (ie, black onebox) have the holes in the canopy. It made no sense to alter that mold in such a minor way, especially when it would be covered up by stickers. :-)

(See Also: Ratchet and Ironhide Japanese Collector Series and Encore Reissues)


We've found that he comes in three different versions of green! And two versions of brown!

Roadbuster Greens | Roadbuster Browns

OK, ok, all joking aside, these changes do have a pattern. There are *three* presumed releases of Roadbuster in the US TF line (but 4 variations; we'll get back to that in a moment). This is based on copyright and other mold-changes, specifically the back. The back panel (which covers the cockpit area in robot mode) has three variations. Ever wonder why most roadbusters are missing the steering wheel? The first back panel doesn't clear the steering wheel. It catches on it, and eventually breaks it off. The second one has a semicircular gap in the top edge which corresponds to the steering wheel, allowing the panel to close without catching on the wheel. And the third one has a rectangular slat, accomplishing the same thing as the semi-circle and presumed to be version three as the mold progressed. However, note that the semi-cicular version comes in two types as well: large, and small.

Roadbuster Backs, Versions 1 and 2 | Version 3 | Version 2, Two Types

So, to wrap things up:

Type 1: No-slot canopy.
Type 2: Small circle canopy.
Type 3: Large-circle canopy.
Type 4: Square canopy.

(See Also: Takatou Mugen Calibre Armored Reissue!)

Sideswipe and Red Alert

Change the color, slap on a set of siren lights (this seems to be a recurring theme with Hasbro) and presto! We have Red Alert. Molding is the same, just a color-change from red to white.

Wrong! :-) There are actually several mold-changes. For example, Red Alert's spoiler comes with a distinct ridge on the underside that the G1 and G2 Sideswipes lack (although strangely enough, some type-1 Sideswipe units come with one spoiler-half with a slight ridge). There are enough of these out there to preclude partswapping aftermarket. Then there's the launcher itself. :-) In G1, there are two versions of the launcher. Sideswipe can come with both launcher types in the US, but Red Alert, being a later-release, comes only with the one (odd, considering the next bit of info). If that wasn't bad enough, these fellows also come in 3 mold types! Most easily distinguished by the lines on the underside of the diecast 'foot', you can have 1, 2, or 3 lines. More... Now, note that Sideswipe, having been released both in 84/85, has all three molding types (plus the mixed up one), while Red Alert, being a later run, only comes in types 2 and 3. At least, we've never come across a 1-line Red Alert.

Launchers (V1 vs V2) | Back of Vehicle (Shows Feet and Spoilers)

Then we get to G2...and Sideswipe again. Except for a small hole in the roof to accomodate a new weapon, the mold to him is identical to the type-3 late-release Sideswipe. What was significant was a color change from red to black, and an updated graphics package. They also made a small change to his handgun; the grip is squatter on the gen 2 gun versus the gen 1. The most interesting thing is the missle-change mid-production; initial-releases had shorter missles, while later-releases had longer ones (for the record, this does not seem to show up on G2 Onslaught):

Sideswipe, G1 vs G2 | Sideswipe Guns G1 vs G2

G2 Sideswipe Missles (Package) | G2 Swipe Missles (Loose)

Patent for Sideswipe

Then, of-course, we get to the American TRU reissues. Red Aert was first out of the gate. The launcher was changed again, most notably on the front chrome piece (for most TRU reissues, 'launcher' isn't the correct word...more like 'holder'). The most disappointing part of all? The defective molding from Clampdown and Deepcover (See: List One) has shown itself here, in the molding of the legs. Looks okay from the top, right? Now flip the vehicle over, and compare to the originals. Look specifically at the black plastic panels above the chrome foot-tabs. Notice how they look cocked inward at a bad angle? Horrible, isn't it? The view of the die-cast from the back isn't any better, what with misaligned pieces, and varying degrees of molding depth. Transforming to robot mode, you will also notice a distinct looseness in the legs. If you peer inside, you will note they tried to remold the diecast to semi-correct this. (See the tab and hole inside the legs?) A noble effort, but...sigh. Still, it's a nice new toy. And a variant. :-) Since this toy carried over from presumably one of several sideswipe molds, the spoiler-ridge is gone. The reissue has 3-lines in the diecast, just like G2, but what is more interesting is the fact that it *has* waistblocks (definately a throwback on that one). Other changes include copystamp (China) and the replacement of windshield pins with rivets. You will also note the front windshield tab is thicker and longer than the originals. You'll also note that, as usual, the launcher is disabled (the type 3 indents keep the missle from locking fully into if having the spring removed wasn't enough).

One interesting note: While Red Alert saw a wide reissue at TRU, the Sideswipe did not. In fact, Sideswipe didn't make it to USA TRU stores at all (they cancelled their classics reissues line while Sideswipe and Astrotrain were still in the pipe.) What little there was of Swipe's initial run out of the warehouse went solely to Canada (where rabid collectors paid 50 bucks to import him). A year later, he showed up at American Kaybee $9.99 (TRU was charging $24.99 and up for reissues). So enjoy! At that price, buy two.

Type 1 vs Type 3 Launchers | Working vs Disabled Launchers (Front)

Roof Pin vs Rivet | Diecast Reissues | Waistblocks

Sideswipe Old vs New | Red Alert Old vs New

So, to wrap up:


Type 1: 1-line foot, takara copyright, version 1 launcher.
Type 2: 2-line foot, (transitional) copyright, version 2 launcher.
Type 3: 3-line foot, Hasbro/Takara copyright, version 2 launcher.
Type 4: 3-line foot, G2 unit, squat handgun, short missles.
Type 5: 3-line foot, G2 unit, squat handgun, long missles.
Type 6: Reissue, 3-line foot, H/T-china-stamping, version 3 launcher.

Red Alert:

Type 1: Unproven existence for RedAlert mold, see above.
Type 2: 2-line foot, (transitional) copyright, version 2 launcher.
Type 3: 3-line foot, Hasbro/Takara copyright, version 2 launcher.
Type 4: Reissue, 3-line foot, H/T-china-stamping, version 3 launcher.

(See Also: Zob's review of reissue Red Alert.)


Similar to Tracks, the TRU reissue Skids remains faithful to the original molding of the toy. With the exception of the copyright change (new one reads really odd on the doors). Everything seems to be identical to the original. I do note that the sunroof is drawn differently; you will see that while the original sunroof had rounded corners, the reissue is more rectangular and squared off.

One further item of note; the weapons. While seemingly identical to the originals, the inside of the reissue launcher has nothing in it (original Skids didn't have a really functional launcher either, so no loss). However, one of the handguns has been remolded; a small tip has been give added plastic; either for strength or safety I couldn't guess.

Skids Guns | Skids Roof Lines | Skids (Loose) | Tires

Skids Then and Now


Well, there's two variants, actually...the easy-to-see color change on the leg posts (brown vs black) and...the hard-to-see change inside the unit, between plain white gears, and multi-colored gears. :-)

Skylynx Color Change

(See Also: Encore Reissue Skylynx)


Thin Missles, Fat Missles, and more!

Initial releases of Sunstreaker had thin-tipped missles; subsequent releases had fat-tipped missles. Also of note is the change in the moldings on the rear-end. Lifting the arms and looking at the small square holes that go through the rear fenders, you will note that one release has a small square hole, with a large mold indent next to it, while the later version has a larger square hole, with a small indent.

Sunstreaker Missles, Fat vs Thin Tip | Mold Indents, Small vs Large

Also of note is the distinct difference in color between the releases of the unit. One is a deep yellow, mustard in appearance on the paint and canopy, while the other is decidedly canary yellow. :-) Ironically, the red Sunstreaker faces this problem, as well. (Though for a different reason...)

Light vs Dark Yellow Sunstreaker Canopies

Patent for Sunstreaker

The wrap-up:

Type 1: Takara, small square, large indent, thin missles.
Type 2: Hasbro/Takara, large square, small indent, thick missles.
Type 3:

(Beware of Knockoffs: Sunstreaker and Wheeljack.)

Topspin and Twin Twist

D.A.R. wing decal, plain decal. On his wing, that is. For whatever reason, they felt they had to change the sticker from the original DAR to the plain one. So tell me which is more anal...Hasbro taking the time to switch this, or me for noticing that they did?

Topspin, Plain vs D.A.R. Decal

Also, for your viewing pleasure:

At least 5 different Topspin guns.

At least 4 different Twin Twist guns.

Don't ask me why, but they tinkered with the molds to the guns on both of these guys. Despite what I've been told, I've only been able to identify 8 of the 9 variant guns. Click on the photo for an enlarged pic. Perhaps you'll find the 'mystery 9th' gun. :-)

Patent for Jumpstarters

(See Also: Jumpstarters around the World.)


Tracks. One of the few variant units that has, for lack of a better variants. Of all the TRU Hasbro reissues, Tracks has remained the most faithful to the original mold. The only noticable difference on the vehicle is the blocked copyright (odd that it doesn't say China) unless you count the wheelhubs, which are a smooth rivet (vs a dimpled rivet). The only part that appears to be recast are the weapons-pods. For starters, they sport a small dimple on the ends. For another, the lines and structure around the new white parts indicate that it was cast off an original weapon, and modified. This time, they apparently glued the back ends securely; I can't budge these, whereas I can pull off the knobs on the original Tracks.

I'm tempted to simply throw away my original Tracks; the reissue is that close.

Tracks Backs | Weapons | Then and Now

(See Also: Red Tracks)

Trailbreaker and Hoist

In a soon to be classic move, Hasbro released a retooling of an existing mold as a different character in the second wave. In this case, Hoist is viewed as a re-tooling of the Trailbreaker mold (just like diaclone releases). Same basic design, just swap out the truck cap for the tow package, throw on a new coat of paint, and presto! Another Transformer. Eh...

Again, for all you TF purists out there, on the chrome pieces: yes, they are interchangeable, but they were molded in different-colored plastic...Trailbreaker in red, and hoist in orange...this can be easily seen on parts with some chrome wear. So if you want to match up 'true' pieces with the figures, take note of this, and accept no substitutes!

Yes, there's quite a bit more...The first release of Trailbreaker had solid-palmed fists. Somewhere along the way, they switched to hollow-palmed fists. Presumably, this was a change made during the 85 run, as Hoist has the same variant:

Fists, Solid vs Hollow

In addition to the fist-change, there was also a mold change in the shoulders. The recessed shoulder screw, and a later 'raised' screw/mount...which doesn't let you put the stickers on properly. :-) There's also a tab on the arm of the raised-screw versions, that is absent on the earlier version. What's odd is the amount of the raised-mount: Trailbreaker goes from no-raise, to BIG raise, while Hoist simply has a small raise (at least, on both versions I've seen). There is a rumor that Trailbreaker comes with a transitional small-raised screw mount as well, but I've not seen this mold version yet.

In addition, the 2nd version Trailbreaker (hollow-fist/raised screw mount) is associated with having the slotted-canopy, used for storing the 'shoulder missles' (versus the original solid canopy):

Trailbreaker Shoulders | Trailbreaker Arms | Trailbreaker Canopies

Sticker variations. In the words of crazy-steve: "The difference is in the pinstriping on the sides of the vehicle mode. The white pinstripes and the simulated keyhole come in either thick or thin versions, and the forward turnsignals are either solid red squares or they have a little bit of detailing...The thick pinstripe version is the one without the arm tab."

Stripes (Back End) | Stripes (Front End)

And finally, here's the trademark stampings from each Trailbreaker. "Oddly enough, the tabbed elbow version has the same stamping on both feet. I mistakenly labeled the pictures with the word 'shoulder' instead of 'elbow', but you know what I mean. Based on the stampings, I think the arm tabs were improvements to the mold added by Hasbro during later pressings. By my logic, Diaclone Trailbreakers shouldn't have the arm tabs. But who knows?"

Non-Tabbed-Arm (Takara) | Tabbed-Arm (Hasbro/Takara)

Patent for Trailbreakers

Reissues: Hoist is first out of the gate. Very nice, and copies the late-release G1 version almost exactly...weapons, hollow-fists...right down to the MIPs! (mold-injection points). A couple of small changes: The fist-hole is smaller, to help hold in the accs...because the springs are gone from this version (still, I give credit that we got nice chrome stuff, instead of black safety missles). The new Hoist is definately crisper on the mold lines, especially on the die-cast. Smooth. The window is of a slightly lighter blue hue, and of-course the orange is lighter.

What I find extremely odd is that it has the trailbreaker-mold on the arms(large-raised screw mount...pic below). Unless I'm missing a couple of transitional units...apparently, this change was adopted for the japanese-reissue collector series, and carried over into ours(borrowing bits from two sets of molds to make one smoothly-transitioning set of toys)(see also: Grapple/Inferno for similar-changes).

Hoist and Trailbreaker Arm Comparison

So, to wrap-up:


Type 1: Solid fists, flat screw mounts, non-tabbed arms, solid canopy, thick pinstripes.
Type 2: Potential transitional variant.
Type 3: Hollow fists, raised screw mounts, tabbed arms, slotted canopy, thin pinstripes.


Type 1: Solid fists, small-raised screw mounts, non-tabbed arms.
Type 2: Hollow fists, small-raised screw mounts, tabbed arms.
Type 3: (Reissue) Hollow-fists, Large-raised screw mounts, tabbed arms.

Hoist Then and Now

(See Also: Japanese Collector Series and Encore Reissues Trailbreaker/Hoist)

Sandstorm and Springer

Nothing Here But A Pic of Sandstorm and Springer

Sandstorm and Springer. 66% of the Autobots triple threat scenerio. And these two are double that. :-) Springer had his choice of a metal or plastic chest, and Sandstorm came with either metal or plastic feet. Like Rodimus, Hot Rod, and Kup (released in the same era, see above). Metal was first-release, plastic second.

There are unconfirmed rumors of a black-plastic toed Sandstorm (which could be the euro-Classics version, I haven't had one to compare) but for now, all we know about is metal (with black plastic insert) versus plastic (one solid piece, orange).

Springer Chest Plates | Sandstorm Seet


Ever wonder why sometimes you'd get a set that either fell off, or wouldn't go on at all? The reason is that there were two different sizes!

Wheeljack Spoilers

...explains all those broken-off pegs, eh? :-) In addition, there was a change in the cockpit molding between these two units, involving a circle in the bottom front. There's also a change in the wheelhubs between the two versions (rivited, vs smooth bolt):

Wheeljack Cockpits | Wheeljack Hubs

In the words of Esteban: "The initial-release version is the one with the smooth back and no upraised circle in the cockpit. And you know what? I think I've found a reason for the upraised circle in the coockpit. It looks like it's there so that one of the screws that connects the back plate to the cockpit can go in farther than on a Wheeljack that doesn't have it. Just turn over a Wheeljack with the upraised circle and look at where that screw goes in. You'll see what I mean."

Also, in the words of Esteban: "Wheeljack has two long rectangular 'slats' on his back. They're the runners that guide the leg mechanism when the legs are extended and retracted. They're about 3/4 inch long and just below the posts where the wings attach to. The variant is that some Wheeljacks have 'smooth' slat runners and other Wheeljacks have indented, 'ribbed' slat runners, with an upraised lip along the length of the runner."

Note: The no-circle version has smooth slats, while the circled-one has ridged slats.

So, to wrap-up:

Type 1: Bolt wheels, smooth slats, no circle, large spoiler tabs.
Type 2: Rivet wheels, slotted slats, circle, small spoiler tabs.
Type 3: Transitional mold-stamping. (in-process)
Type 4: Transitional mold-stamping. (in-process)

Patent for Wheeljack

(Beware of Knockoffs: Sunstreaker and Wheeljack.)

Action Master Wheeljack

AM Wheeljack comes in either red, or pink! (Most noticeable on the waist and eyes.)

AM Wheeljack Waist | AM Wheeljack Face


Cage canopy, and smooth canopy. Most of us have seen the smooth, clear canopy on Whirl. There was also a release where there was a gridwork, or 'cage' around the canopy, giving it (I suppose) a more realistic look. I'm not sure why they started it, much less stopped it.

Canopies Top | Canopies Side


Metal vs Plastic Wheels. Msipher lists metal on his site, but I believe this to be false. I can confirm two versions of the Plastic wheeled one: painted, and unpainted:

Painted vs Unpainted Wheels


(See Also: Pre-TF and fake cassettes.)

Indents/or no, gold/silver weapons, painted/stickers, etc. Like the Decepticon cassettes, the Autobot cassettes were a headache to keep track of. Some, like Ramhorn/Steeljaw, were simple color changes for their weapons, while others went to to further extremes. Rewind and Eject not only changed their weapon colors, but they also switched from sticker decals to painted details (and changed their copystamp along the way):

Ramhorn and Steeljaw | Rewind and Eject, Painted vs Sticker Details, Gold vs Silver Weapons

In the grand tradition of "mucking things up", they decided to phase out the rubsign indent on the painted details cassettes, as seen below. These two were the only Autobot cassettes to have this happen to them.

Rewind and Eject, Rubsign Indent, No Rubsign Indent

So, in closing, we have three different types of cassettes for Rewind and Eject:

Type 1: Sticker details, rubsign indent, Japan.
Type 2: Painted details, rubsign indent, Macau.
Type 3: Painted details, NO rubb indent, Macau.

And, we have two different types of cassettes for Steeljaw and Ramhorn:

Type 1: Sticker details, rubsign indent, Japan (silver weapons).
Type 2: Sticker details, rubsign indent, Japan (gold weapons).
Type 3: See China/Hong Kong section for painted details/no rubsign indent Macau versions.

(Note: Certain cassettes, such as Steeljaw and Frenzy, were not available in America as painted details. They were, however, produced in china. For more details on Chinese and HK cassettes, go here.)

(See also: Pre-TF and Other Cassettes page.)

(See also: Chinese Cassettes.)

(Note: Cassettes have been reissued in Japan. Now sporting painted details, these tapes were further reissued in sets of their own, as well as with the SDCC Blaster. The sDCC Blaster tapes -Steeljaw, Ramhorn, and Eject- sport painted details, crisp tight molds, and updated CHINA mold stampings.)

Generation 2 Water Launchers

Like their Decepticon counterparts, Drench and Gobots came with either a large bellows, or a small bellows to their launchers:

Drench Large vs Small Launchers | Gobots Large vs Small Launchers

Generation 2 Gobots

Solid vs transparent plastic chest plates and guns...two of the Autobots, (Motormouth and Gearhead) came with either a transparent plastic chest and legs, or solid of the same. These were the only two that came as both that I know of...all the others were either one, or the other...

Motormouth and Gearhead, Solid vs Transparent (Bottom View)

Recolors: As many as three recolors of the same mold at a given time. Autobots Firecracker, Optimus Prime, and Sideswipe share a mold, while Bumblebee and Highbeam share another. Nightracer, a Decepticon, was of the same mold as Bumblebee, but was issued only as a 95 Botcon exclusive.

Firecracker / Sideswipe / Optimus Prime | Nightracer / Highbeam / Bumblebee

Autobot Blowout share the same mold as Decepticons Frenzy and Megatron, just as Gearhead and the Decepticon Soundwave did:

Blowout / Frenzy / Megatron | Gearhead / Soundwave

The final four! Motormouth and Ironhide share a truck mold, while Mirage and Doubleclutch share a racecar mold:

Motormouth / Ironhide | Doubleclutch / Mirage

Note: The G2 Gobots were recolored, renamed, and re-released several years later in the RID series, and later still in the Armada/Energon/Universe series as 'Spychangers'. There have further been innumerable reissues and recolors thru Family Dollar, which we cover endlessly in other sections. :-)
(See Slso: Japanese-Spychangers)

Generation 2 Rotorforce:

Like their Decepticon counterparts, these fellows came with pointed, and tapered tips on the rotors:

Blue Rotors, Pointed vs Round

Generation 2 Cyberjets

An interesting situation. 3 molds, 6 jets (sound familiar?) In this case, 3 Autobots and 3 Decepticons. Great articularion for the time. Jetfire/Hooligan shared an F-15 mold, Air Raid/Skyjack shared a stealth bomber mode, and Strafe/Spacecase shared an x-plane (think GI Joe Conquest) mold. With the exception of the stealth bomber (both black, but different symbols and highlights), the jets bear striking color differences:

Strafe vs Spacecase | Air Raid vs Skyjack and Jetfire vs Hooligan

Note: The Cyberjets were reissued in the 2004 Universe line.