Reissue Minibot Keychains

American, Japanese, and Botcon versions, in vivid color! This sub-page is dedicated to the specific molding-changes between the original and reissue versions of the toys (and believe me, there were a *lot* of changes to the molding). Thanks to Zob for his info on the mold-changes for Keyjumper and Bumblekey. :-)

| Bumblebee and Cliffjumper | Windcharger and Brawn |

| Regular and Black Chase '7-11' Japan Minis | Botcon Keychains |

Review 1: Bumblebee and Cliffjumper

Stuff that's already been covered: The loop was added for the keychain, the Dunlop logo from the tires was removed, and in Cliffjumper's case, the sticker on the back of his head was replaced with Hubcap's, presumably because Hasbro doesn't have the original template any longer.

Stuff that I haven't seen mentioned yet: The head plates for both toys aren't as thick as on the originals. This makes them a little more difficult to grasp. The top corners of the head plates seem a little rounder, too.

Cliffjumper: I suspect that Hasbro actually took the G2 Hubcap mold and retooled it to create Cliffjumper again. The reason I say this is because the entire rear half of the vehicle appears to have been remolded; having to rebuild the spoiler in addition to adding the keychain loop is one possible explanation for this. The spoiler on the keychain version actually has sharper angles than the original Cliffjumper, and if you open their heads up and compare the two, you can see that the G2 version has a perfectly straight spoiler, while the keychain version's spoiler dips in the back, where it meets the opening for his head. Also, his tail lights aren't quite as tall in the back, which means that you can see a little more of his robot shoulders from this angle. (His shoulders themselves don't have nearly as sharp an angle to them as the original, but I think this is an artifact of mold degradation. After all, those arms have seen...five separate production runs, now? At least.) His roof is also slightly higher, and the height of his side windows were increased to match; the rear side windows are a little more triangular, now, and less "D" shaped. None of these changes, by the way, are artifacts of the Hubcap mold.

I guess the mold for his feet finally degraded to the point that somebody had to re-etch the headlights and hood markings, since those are entirely new. Close to the original, but a slightly different shape. Something else that changed was that a new reinforcing bar was added to his feet. Looking at my original Cliffjumper, I see there's a little bump on the bottom of each of his feet, near the outside toe, where this bar would have been. I'm guessing it was present on the Microman toy, but was removed for the Transformers line. Neither version of Hubcap has the little bump, but Keyjumper's got it, plus the reinforcing bar to go with it.

One thing that becomes really clear is that die-cast metal is a *lot* tougher on molds than plastic is. The plate on my G1 Cliffjumper's back is missing some paint around the edges, but beyond that it's perfectly smooth and shiny; it gets progressively worse with each Hubcap, and by the time you get to Keyjumper, it looks like somebody scrubbed that plate with a Brill-O pad. Also, his head mold was changed slightly. Somebody went in, took his existing eyes, and added more human-like, oval-shaped eyes inside them. I don't much like the makes him look effeminate to me, for some reason. Eh.

It's also worth noting that while G1 Cliffjumper is a bright, vibrant red, Keyjumper is a shade or two darker, like the color of a ripe cherry. The plastic seems like it's semi-transparent, too; hold G1 Cliffjumper up to the light, and you can see through his feet in places where the plastic is especially thin; do it with Keyjumper, and you can see through his feet in their entirety, except where his legs are blocking the light.

Bumblebee: Some of the same sort of changes popped up with Bumblebee...his front bumper was redone, probably to account for mold degradation, and he's missing the little ridges on his heels designed to help him stand. His rear bumper was also redone (his exhaust pipe is smaller on the new version). One change which I quite like is that the black piece on the back of his neck, which holds his head in place, had its corners lopped off so that it no longer juts out at a ninety-degree angle. It makes the angles of his car mode more graceful when looking at him from the side...makes him look a little less like a Penny Racer. :)

One thing that always ticked me off about G2 Bumblebee was that they got rid of the large plastic tabs that kept his legs from slipping out, and as a result, G2 Bumblebee's legs pop off every time I try to transform him. I'm pleased to see they replaced those tabs on Bumblekey, and they're even stronger and more effective now than they were on the G1 toy.

Both my G1 and G2 Bumblebee toys each have that curious, vestigal remains of the reinforcing toe bar, but only Bumblekey actually makes use of it. Doesn't look like it adds much support, from the looks of it, but hey. (Was this tab on the Microman version of the toy?) Again, the new version is a slightly different color...G1 Bumblebee is a slightly orangey Sunstreaker yellow (same color as G1 Hubcap), while Bumblekey is a brighter, almost-but-not-quite fluorescent yellow. I'm not seeing the same translucency in the plastic as I am with Keyjumper, though.

- Zob

Review 2: Brawn and Windcharger


Review 3: Regular and Black-Chase '7-11' Japan Minis

Essentially, as the title says...Japanese keychain minibots. Sharing the same mold as the Fun-4-All versions in America, these came boxed instead of carded (a recurring theme with Japanese TFs. :-) Initially, these saw release in Japan at unique (to us) locations, such as the 7-11 stores (thus, the nickname of '7-11 minibots').

In addition to the regular release, these also saw the inevitable 'chase' version. Packed one-to-a-case were these wonderful solid black minibots:

Review 4: Botcon Keychains

Following in the vein of the first Fun-4-All keychain releases, 3H brokered a deal for exclusive 2002 characters based on recolored minibot keychains. Europe saw Rook (recolored Windcharger) while the US saw Glyph and TapOut (Bumblebee and Cliffjumper, respectively).

(See Also: Botcon)

Note that there is a variant on Rook. :-) He comes with, or without his autobot symbol:

Minibots are great. -) The keychains were the original of the reissues. Japan saw further reissues of minibots (non-keychain versions) (though it is theorised that some of them were slated to be keychains, considering the mold updates). That information can be found on the minibots page.

(Webmaster's Note: In 2007 the four keyhcains were reissued on Heroes of Cybertron cards. Not sure if there are any mold differences, but I'm sure Fred will update this later. Brawn | Bumblebee | Cliffjumper | Windcharger)

(Fred Responds: I did note your addition of the 2007 recarded Cybertron minibot cards. :-) There was indeed a change to the mold, because the company (Fun4all) changed their name to BasicFun. That was noted on the mold, along with a date change as well (the metal loop of the keychain itself was also altered). From that point on, I believe the molds were taken back (ie, not lisc out to 3rd parties) so Takara could do the set in their encore line.)

(Webmaster's Note: I stand corrected. You are indeed all knowing. :-))