Everything Else Decepticon

| Astrotrain | Axer | Blitzwing | Bludgeon | Cyclonus | Scourge | Galvatron | Gnaw | Fangry |

| The Cassettes | Soundwave | Shockwave | Skullgrin | The Insecticons | The Micromasters |

| Monstructor | Reflector | Quake | Spinister | Thunderwing | Treadshot | Trypticon |

| G2 Water Launchers | G2 Rotorforce | G2 Gobots | G2 Cyberjets | Megatron | G2 Megatron |

| AM Megatron | G2 Dreadwing vs G2 Megatron ATB | What About Unicron? |


As you know, one of the more commonly-remembered variants on the triple-changer Astrotrain is the original "curved-wing", versus the later "snub-wing" release:

Astrotrain, Snubbed vs Curved Wings

In addition, there can be arms with a circular, numbered indent (versus a plain arm) and a foot that comes either plain, or with an extra line running through it (the leg-flap). Note also that the gun is changed between the versions, too: a mold-change, as well as number-stampings:

Simple vs Complex Foot | Plain vs Numbered Arm | Blank vs Numbered Guns

Reissue Astrotrain: One of the very last of the TRU reissues, it never actually made it there. ;-) He was along the pipe when TRU cancelled the classics reissues line, but since he was far enough along the process, Hasbro decided to release him as a DTC (cirect to consumer) toy off their website. As far as molding, he's pretty much identical to the last release of the Astrotrain in the USA line (snubwing, simple feet, numbered gun) with the notable exception that he's now white! In Japan, Astrotrain was reissued in white, so of course the American reissue had to be white as well (homages galore...though we prefer the Japanese reissue in testshot Astrotrain colors).

So, to wrap-up:

Type 1: Curved wing, complex foot, numbered arms, blank gun.
Type 2:
Type 3:
Type 4: Snubwing, simple foot, numbered gun.
Type 5: Reissue: Snubwing, simple feet, numbered gun.

Patent for Astrotrain

White Astrotrain Cookies


Blue and purple, or indigo and violet?! This seems to be an on-going problem with Decepticons. Either they can't decide if their symbols are supposed to be blue or purple, or in the case of Axer, whether his entire body should be blue or purple!



A case of altered bolt patterns; one unit has more than the other. This is a view under the turret (note also the difference in the curved loops that partially encircle the screw-hole). There is also a fist variant, where one unit has longer fingers than the other. And of course, there's a turret-barrel variant, as well (small vs large indent):

Complex Bolt Pattern | Simple Bolt Pattern | Blitzwing Gives Us the Finger | Turret Variants

And we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the fact that yes, there is a transition unit between these two variants. Ironic that a Triplechanger came in three variations, eh? :-)

So, to wrap-up:

Type 1: Simple bolt pattern, long-fingers.
Type 2: Simple bolt pattern, short-fingers.
Type 3: Complex bolt pattern, short-fingers.

So with three versions of him, it's only appropriate that there are *four* different swords for him, as well, although strangely we only have two different guns. Stranger still is that the initial-release of swords has a point to poke your eye out with; the later versions were rounded. There are also 4 head-paint variants between the different versions of him. It is also essential to note that the units themselves came in light vs dark-purple. Presumably, the changeover occurred somewhere along the Hasbro production line, as both types can be found with the Hasbro/Takara stampings:

Blitz Swords, Sharp vs Smooth | Blitzwing Swords (Smooth, 3 Versions)

Blitzwing Guns | Blitzwing Heads (4) and Bodies (2)

Joebot adds additional details about the moldings: "There's a heapin' load of differences that make parts between (the versions) entirely incompatible.

Type 1: Is the thin details on the sides and cockpit, with yellow behind the red on the visor. It also is thinner overall, barely perceptable, unless you go to swap internal pieces of the wings or chest. The mounting of the cockpit ends is at a steeper angle, and tapers to a thinner point. The lower holes on the robot's thighs are far larger, and the clips that hold the wings up in robot mode are completely differnt, that being half a clip instead of a whole.

Type 2: Is thick details on the cockpit and sides of the tank, with no yellow paint behind the visor. It is just slightly thicker all around, with a full wing clip and thicker chest ends. The holes behind the thighs are a smaller radius, making the leg less prone to breakage (not that I've ever seen one broken in such a way).

Therefore: Outer tank panels, wings, launchers, chests, cockpits, and the entire inner pieces which connect to them are incompatible across variations. The only pieces I've seen that seem to be the same are the diecast parts."


Ah, a favorite character of the G1 and G2 comics. :-) Bludgeon comes in two different colors on his tank-mode: rust, and maroon (simialr to Thrust). In addition, there is a small peg-variance between the two bodies and their corresponding turrets; like Metroplex, one set fits better than the other set. Best to have two sets to test-fit the difference.

Bludgeon Inner Robot Variants


What, was he out in the cold too-long? Well anyways, the standard variant that everyone knows about is the blue-eared (and bleted, for that matter) version, versus the later unpainted one. In addition, a Targetmaster version was produced, of a slightly darker shade (actually, if you prefer, the purple color had more blue added to it). He also had his handholes enlarged, and a new hole molded into his back, all to accomodate the TM gun:

Plain vs Blue-Eared Regular Cyclonus | Regular vs TM Hands | Regular vs TM Back

You will also note that the indent on the underside of the nosecones is more pronounced for the TM version than the regular versions. Also of note, in the words of jerunski, "In the later variations of Cyclonus, they beefed the plastic around one of the moving parts of the wing assy and added some notches to make the wings easier to flip back." (Editor's note: For those looking, the initial-piece was a metal tab with plastic bushings, while the later version replaced the busings with one solid-metal piece.) From what I've seen, the blue ear versions are smooth, the TM versions are notched, and the "standard" version has both types of wings..." Of course, the guns changed between the two versions as well...dark vs light gray. :-)

Plastic vs Metal Wing Assembly | Regular vs Notched Wings | Cyclonus Guns

If that isn't bad enough, another 'transitional' unit enters the fray. :-) It is the later-version standard mold, but it is a *very* odd shade of purple. You know how the regular version is more purple-blue, while the TM version is more blue-purple? Well, this transitioon unit is all purple. It's like the blue was sucked right out of it. Mold-wise, it seems to fit exactly between the late-regular and first-version TM types. It has the notched wings and deeply-indented nosecone, but the regular-version handholes. As we are missing the wing with the copyright (the right arm) we cannot speculate further on the origins of this piece. It is possible that it is from a foreign country; we can only confirm that it was found in america. ;-) More info would be appreciated.

Robot-Mode (Regular vs Transition? Unit vs TM)

So, to wrap things up:

Type 1: Blue-ears, light purple, shallow nose indent, smooth wings. (Japan)
Type 2: Non-TM, light purple, shallow nose indent, smooth wings. (Japan)
Type 3: Non-TM, odd-purple, deep nose-indent, notched wings. (Unknown)
Type 4: TM version, dark purple, deep nose-indent, notched wings. (Macau)
Type 5: TM version, dark purple, deep nose-indent, notched wings. (Taiwan)


To TM, or not to TM, that is the question. :-) Like Cyclonus (and their Autobot movie counterparts), Scourge went thru some changes in their quest to become a Targetmaster. Again, the handholds were enlarged to accomodate a TM gun, and the toy were slightly re-molded to accomodate a gun in vehicle mode.

In the case of Scourge, that involved widening a hole already present in the top of his head, which presented a unique problem: where to store the head gun when the tm is attached...as if he didn't have enough problems with his wings before this gun issue! (For the record, I store the extra head-gun in the hollow of his legs when in vehicle-mode). During his transition, we ended up with two different regular versions, much like Cyclonus. In this case, the choice was painted wings, and sticker wings:

Painted vs Sticker Wings

If you want to REALLY get technical (and you know I do) there are actually THREE versions of Scourge: painted wing, sticker wing, and sticker wing Targetmaster:

3 Versions of Scourge

There is an obvious difference between painted wing, and sticker wing...and between TM and non-TM version...but if you look closely at the pic above, you see other differences between the versions, which will help you to know in the long run, to avoid someone swapping parts on you. There is a distinct difference between the sticker decals on the wings (see photo). In addition, the color of the plastic has undergone a change. It's a slight difference, but you can notice.

Another point of interest? The difference between the 'head guns' on the three versions. *There isn't one.* The mold is basically identical (3-later ones were glued in-place. For more details, click here!!

So, to wrap things up:

Type 1: Regular version, painted-wings, easily-seperated headgun.
Type 2: Regular version, sticker-wings securely-glued headgun.
Type 3: TM version, sticker-wings, securely-glued headgun.


I have summoned you here for a purpose...behold! Galvatron! Or at least, a variation on him...he comes with either orange, or red stickers:

Galvatron, Orange vs Red Stickers

(See Also: Japanese Galvatron Reissue)


Missing a screw. That's not all he's missing...err, ahem. There is a variation on the shark foot, where in place of one of the three screws, there is instead a plastic tab:

Gnaw, No Screw | Gnaw With Screw

It is interesting to note that the later-version of this mold also showed up in Japan as a mail-away exclusive. See the Jap/Euro section for more information.


The eyes have it. Our most vicious little headmaster Fangry comes with either yellow or green eyes:



(See Also: Pre-TF and Fake Cassettes)

(See Also: Chinese Cassettes and Reissue Japanese Cassettes)

Indents/no indents, gold/silver weapons, painted/stickers, plastic/metal...ugh. Like the Autobot cassettes, the Decepticons had varied and complicated changes through the line.

| Rumble, Frenzy, and Ratbat | Laserbeak and Buzzsaw | Slugfest and Overkill | Ravage |

Rumble, Frenzy, and Ratbat

We'll start with Rumble and Frenzy. Generally speaking, these came in two versions, called metal-toed (first release) and plastic-toed (second release). Not only was the toe (foot, really) switched from metal to plastic, but so were the joints. In addition, they went from a specialized screw, to a simple rivet to hold things together. Frenzy saw a further variation. In-addition to his original silver version, he recieved an updated "gold" version when he was repackaged with Ratbat (his tech spec pic was changed to the new color as well, see package variants for more info on that). Frenzy's stickers also saw a color-change; they started with purple highlights, but ended with blue highlights (in the version packed with Ratbat). And speaking of Ratbat, here's a look at him. He came in either the sticker decal version with silver weapons, or the "gold" edition with painted details.

Plastic vs Metal 'Toe' | Screw vs Rivet | Frenzy Gold vs Silver | Ratbat 2 Versions

Also, please note: Contrary to what you may have heard, there is no painted-details Frenzy in America. Painted details refers to Ratbat when he was packaged with Frenzy (However, painted-details cassettes from China, such as Buzzsaw and Steeljaw, have scattered themselves around, muddying the issue. Hence the mistake. See the Chinese cassettes section for details).

And...one final fun-thing about Rumble/Frenzy; their molding was used on an artifact; a radio, specifically. I only mention it here because it's kinda neat, and one of the few instances I can recall where an entire TF mold was incorporated into another tf-related item. :-) (Pic 2 | Pic 3)

So, in closing:

Type 1: Metal toes and joints, silver guns.
Type 2: Plastic toes and joints, silver guns.

Type 1: Metal toes and joints, purple stickers (Takara Japan), silver guns.
Type 2: Plastic toes and joints, purple stickers (Takara Japan), silver guns.
Type 3: Plastic toes and joints, *blue* stickers (Takara Macau), gold guns.

Type 1: Sticker details (Takara Japan), silver guns.
Type 2: Painted details (Takara Macau), gold guns.
Type 3: SDCC Reissue (with Soundwave) (in-process)

Also of interest: If you note above, we have a ** for the guns designation on each cassette. Here's why: there appears to be a molding difference in the guns for Rumble and Frenzy. Look here:

Cassette Guns

The gun issue may never be resolved, especially not after 20 years of mixing, so take with a grain of salt. We've heard two or three possibilities for this gun problem: either it's a mold difference between Rumble and Frenzy guns; it's a molding difference between the plastic and metal *versions* of Rumble/Frenzy; that it's the difference between real and fake weapons; or that...well, who knows. ;-)

Particle Man states: "The red cassette's guns have a thicker peg, jet, and barrel, and on the wing the area under the line is bigger than on the blue cassette's guns. This molding difference carries over to the gold guns for the blue cassette, as well as the silver one."

However, BelXul disagrees with that assessment, and states that: "The gun mount holes on Rumble and Frenzy. They are both plastic foot types and the holes are the same size. My evidence is the gun in both individual scans. It comes from the blue tape and suffers from some really bad chrome wear. It also fits in the Red tape. Same bad chrome wear with the blue peeking out from underneath.* Nnote of possible interest - though both have same "Hasbro '83" marking on top right corner of tapes, and both have same "Takara '83" in bottom center, the red one says it's made in "JAPAN 1983" whilst the blue one says "MACAU 1983" I don't know what difference this makes, but it might help in unraveling this gun/holes mystery."

So how about it folks? Can you solve the mystery? Drop us a line! We'll eventually incorporate all this info into a page on how to seperate fakes from real tf cassettes (oh wait, we already did that here. :-) And it looks like the fellow explaining the guns has the best handle on the situation, so far. Kudos to tgposs may be imminent...

Laserbeak and Buzzsaw

Here's a difference that you may not have noticed between Lazerbeak and Buzzsaw cassettes. Some cassette heads have a distinct ridge (like a mowhawk) running over the top, while others come with a thin moldline. This is confirmed as a mold-change on the units, versus the fake cassettes (which have smooth but imperfect moldings on the head). *The problem* is that I've been unable to determine the exact release order. For example, I have exactly one Laserbeak, and he has the mowhawk (stamped Hasbro-Takara under the wings). I have a pile of Buzzsaws, with many different copyrights, both with and without the mowhawk. It could very well be that a few heads were swapped out by collectors as they broke, but for the most part, they seem genuine. I just couldn't say for sure, because my Laserbeak sample isn't big enough. I *do* note that I've come across a later-issue rubsign Soundwave with a smooth Buzzsaw head, and that the Buzzsaw that came with Soundblaster has a mowhawk head. So my *theory* is that the smooth head came first, and the ridged head much, much later. But I don't know for sure (it's interesting to note that the Condor for the Japanese Soundwave reissue came with a smooth head...why a step back, I dunno).

Lazerbeak and Buzzsaw Heads Smooth vs Mohawk

And just when you thought we were finished. :-) There is a difference between Lazerbeak and Buzzsaw's guns, as seen on the pics. And you always wondered why some guns stuck tight, while others fell out:

Bird Guns, Top View | Bird Guns, Side View | Buzzsticker Change?

Now again, theory time here: we've got some nice crisp guns, and some not-so-nice guns. Over the years, the molds have worn down. There is also the possibility that there have been some fake guns working their way into the mix. All I can tell you is that I have several samples of these guns, and at the moment, no way to know for sure which gun goes to which cassette. :-) The *theory* is that the early-release Buzzsaw gets the crispest guns, while later versions of him (and Laserbeak) get succesively crappier guns. I've seen a Soundblaster with the worst set of gun vents you ever did see. ;-) Now, one thing to note: the real guns all have holes in the bottom of the peg, while *some* of the fake bird guns I've seen are solid-pegged on the bottom. Take with grain of salt, as this is only from my small sample. :-) For all I know, the only problem with how these guns fit is the mold tolerance wearing down with time (both on cassette and on gun) and that...well, you get the idea. More...

Bird Guns, Real vs Fake

So, in closing:

Buzzsaw and Laserbeak:
Type 1: Smooth head (Takara stamp on top of legs), crisp guns?
Type 2: Smooth head (Takara on bottom of one wing), blurry guns?
Type 3: Mowhawk head (Hasbro/Takara stamp under both wings), really blurry guns?
Type 4: SDCC Reissue, smooth head, redrawn guns.

Slugfest and Overkill

Hang in there; we're almost finished! (That's a lie, we're not even close to done.) Cassette variations on Slugfest and Overkill: nothing too-fancy. You could have versions either with, or without, the rubsign indent. Both versions of each are stamped Macau (they're late-release cassettes, after all- haven't seen these stamped Japan ever). I presume the rubsign version is first, with the crudely-filled-in indent being the later version. Slugfest is a painted details cassette, while Slugfest appears to be an amalgum of both painted and tight-sticker details. Gee, at least something is simple in this section. :-)

Slugfest and Overkill, Indents vs No Indents

So, in closing:

Slugfest and Overkill:
Type 1: Rubsign with indent.
Type 2: Indent filled in.


Ravage is a big, big pickle. Just when I thought I could tell real from fake based on the mold-indent in his ass, I found out different. :-) There are some fakes that even copy the molding accurately. And there are a lot of real versions as well, and not always with a copystamp. Even the guns are a problem; for example, I have mold-variant Ravage guns with and withOUT a hole in the peg. If we made the assumption (as we did with the bird guns) that holed guns were real, and solid pegs were fake, we'd be set. Unfortunately, again, that only eliminates *some* of the fakes. :-) The gun issue may never be resolved, but heck, we're sure gonna keep trying. More...

Solid vs Holed Guns | 6 Ravages, 3 Real? | 6 Ravages (Sticker Side) | Butt Mold Variants

You'll note on the above pics that there are mold differences, sticker differences...and eye differences. All of the ravage cassettes that are confirmed 'real' have the same size eye. One that appears to be fake (grey eye) has the different molding on his ass. And the small-eyed one is just a puizzle; no copystamp, but the molding matches real Ravage...but the eye is small (and the sticker is in too-bad of a shape to make the call). Hell, even the brown one looks real mold-wise, but the darn sticker gives it away as 'not ravage'. :-) Still, at least for Ravage cassettes, the eye-detail is the best way to tell real from fake...if it's a grey eye, small eye, or no eye at all, it's not a real ravage...just a really good fake (there are 3 or 4 of them out there).

Ravage, 3 Different Eyes

A note on Ravage copystamps, from GMS: "The front paint is another semi-reliable way to tell your cassettes from what I've found. Another indicator is the center sticker showing the "tape", there should be more tape toward the tail (one very good knockoff places it upside down) and the "tape" on the sticker should be brownish, not yellow."

So again, we can sort out real from fake tapes, but not always the guns. Ah well, it's a start. :-)

So, in closing:

Type 1: No copystamp?, sticker (gun?).
Type 2: No copystamp?, rubsign (gun?).
Type 3: Hasbro/Takara copystamp (on tail), rubsign (gun?).
Type 4:
Type 5: SDCC Reissue (in-process)


Yes! he's different. Several variations, actually. There are two main variants; early-release has a solid fist, while the later one has a slotted fist (wrist). There's also a tape door variation, where the chrome trim is silver-gold on one, and pure gold on the other.

There are several different manufacturer-stampings on the back of the unit; this is a good way to trace the transitional mold-changes on the unit (for more information, see the stampings section). It also helps us trace a certain problem; specifically, a few Soundwaves have turned up where the stamping is on the outside of the battery cover, versus inside the unit itself. It screws things up considerably, because it means you can partswap and make a soundwave without any copyright stamping at all. ;-)

Takara-Only Stamping | Takara (With Dates) | Hasbro/Takara Stamping

No Stamping (It Was On The Battery Cover :-) | Battery Covers, Both Types

Getting back to the two main versions... There are slight mold variations between the two basic units, so they are not interchangeable. They have different tolerances on the depth of the chest, and the width of the leg gap where it would clip to the chest (one is thicker). This also affects the tolerances inside the unit, so the front of the chest (which one would swap with the cassette door intact since it's such a pain to remove) isn't interchangeable. It leaves a noticeable gap. So much for swapping out parts. :-) Eh, it's a good thing.

Maz continues: "I found that the MC Cassetteman (and it's KO) had triangular play/rec buttons that were separate from the middle chrome buttons and the US TF Soundwave was the same. All of them had the intrernal tape hinge mechanism too. The Japanese TF Soundwave, and Soundblaster and the reissue Soundwave appear to have trapezium shaped play/rec buttons which ARE attached to the middle chrome buttons under his tape door. These all have the external tape door mechanism. The VSY Soundwaves I've seen recently appear to be more like the US Soundwave."

The weapons fare no better. On the short gun, we have deep versus shallow indents, and differently-sized missle holes, while on the extended gun, we have clean versus crisp lines in the inner barrels, and smooth versus indented handles. The colors vary slightly as well, blue versus dark blue (this dark blue is not to be confused with the dark blue cassetteman knockoff weapons) (yes, there is a knockoff of the diaclone Cassette Man. He's a darker-blue, almost purple, and is stamped 'shimano'on his back, instead of Takara. Click here to see a comparison of the two).

Front View | Side View | Bottom View

It is interesting to note the evolution of the Soundwave mold; from the Pre-TF 'cassetteman' version, to the black dual-deck japanese Soundblaster, which was modified later on for the japanese reissues (see japanese reissues section for more information). It helps to understand why certain changes exist in the US line.

Soundwave Mold Comparison (Side View) | Soundwave Now

Reissue US Soundwave

Dear lord. They used the Japanese Soundblaster mold, but in Soundwave colors. These guys are killing me. So now in the US, Soundwave has a dual-tape door, along with all the other Japanese reissue molding differences found in the previous section.

SDCC Reissue Soundwave

And just to make it more interesting, they reissued him again...this time as a San Deigo ComiCon exclusive. Along with Lazerbeak, Buzzsaw, Ratbat and Ravage (see Cassette sections), this reissue Soundwave sports the single tape door, but with the dual-tape door molding changes mentioned previously.

In the end, with the number of variations present, including stamping-changes, one might surmise that Soundwave had multiple mold-lines, some with concurrent running-changes. We'll do our best to put them in some type of order for you. ;-)

Soooo...to wrap-up:

Pre-TF Cassetteman: Takara-only (inside), solid fists.
Type 1: Takara-only (inside), solid fists.
Type 1a: Takara-only (on battery cover), solid fists.
Type 2: Takara-only with dates (inside), hollow fists.
Type 3: Hasbro-Takara with dates (inside), hollow fists.
-(Japan Soundblaster: Takara stamp (inside), hollow fists.)
-(Japan Reissue Soundwave: Hasbro/Takara-China stamp (inside), hollow fists.)
Type 4: TRU Reissue, Hasbro/Takara-China stamp (inside), hollow fists, but Japanese dual-door!
Type 5: SDCC Reissue, Hasbro/Takara-China stamp (inside), hollow fists, SINGLE-door.

It's interesting that type 1a doesn't seem to fit the overall pattern. Why would a Soundwave be released with the modified manufacturer-placement? This reminds me of the backwards-release of the Grapple/Inferno grills. :-) Ah well.

My working theory? Perhaps they put it outside for the initial Soundwave-release (running concurrent mold lines)...then saw what a bad idea it was, and put it back inside. :-) Or maybe that mold broke right away, and they didn't bother upating it. Who knows? I just document these things. :-)

One final interesting note: It appears that there is a Soundwave mold-change exclusive to France, where the first two fingers are molded as one (similar to Blitzwing, above). So far, France is the only place we've seen this. Is there an American equivalant? Let us know! Or better yet, sell one to us...we're a finger short here. :-)

Fingers, 3 vs 4

(See Also: Japanese Reissue Soundwave)

(Note: While the TRU reissue came with Ravage and Laserbeak, the SDCC Reissue came with Buzzsaw, Laserbeak, Ravage, and Ratbat.)


This is a bit of a stretch, but since I first mentioned it in the jets section of the site...Decepticons have this nasty habit of changing their sticker colors. Usually, it's basically either between blue or purple (indigo and violet, if you prefer) on the symbol; in some cases (which I'll scan in later) it's the entire sticker package. :-) Again, the first-issue jets suffer this the most, but Shockwave here flys in with no less than THREE symbol-color variations:

3 Shocking Shockwave Sticker Variants

Hey, they did this with the three Scourge variants, so why not with Shockwave, too?


The first variant in the Decepticon Pretenders catagory. :-) Skullgrin's insert (inner robot) came with fists that were either solid (hole for gun went only partially through) or hollow (gun hole went all the way through):

Skullgrin Fists, Solid vs Hollow

There is also a color variant on the robot: purple vs pink on the canopy.

Inner Robot, Pink vs Purple


(See Also: Pre-TF and Reissue Insecticons.)

Hey, gimme a break, it's 4 in the morning as I type this...of the original set of Insecticons, there were many changes to be found. All three come with selected sets of variants, both on their bodies, and on their weapons:

| Bombshell | Schrapnel | Kickback | Run Signs | Summary | Reissues |


Comes in two basic versions: the "scooped out" stinger (indented at the base so that it folded in further) and the standard stinger. In-addition, In addition, there was a mold change on the axels of the wheeled-legs (top/front of the arms); you will note it had either a small-axel housing, or a large axel-housing. In most cases, the Lg-axel housing goes with the scooped stinger, while the small one goes with the smooth (standard) stinger. Also of note is that although both types come with rubsigns, so far only the standard-stinger, small-axel housing comes with rubsign *INDENTS* on the leg (more on indents further in this section):

Standard vs Scooped Stinger | Bombshell Legs | Bombshell Guns

While we currently have only two body-variants, we have THREE gun variants. The one without barrel prongs seemingly came with the regular stinger, while the other two...are a mixed bag. Particle Man expounds on the subject, by stating: "The gun w/fins as the tip goes to the variant stinger and has a thinner, longer handle and the unfinned gun has a shorter, thicker handle for the standard unit."

Finally, of interest is the fact that both types came as either Takara-only stamping, or Hasbro/Takara-shared. No word at this time as to why. Current hypothesis includes keeing the mold-change and release-order intact, but makes for the possibility of concurrent production of both the old and new molds(the updating of copystamp on moldruns is the subject of entire pages of research. :-)


An interesting unit. The figure itself (with exception of copystamp, of course) stayed nearly the same, but he sported a variant weapon between versions: a plain gun, or a "winged-gun" variant. Also of note is the molding on the tips of the arm-guns; whether thrpugh mold degradation, re-etching, or actual change, the guntips on one version are narrower than the other:

Schrapnel Guns | Arm Tips

Patent for Schrapnel


He didn't escape variation-land either. If you look closely at his insect wings, you will note that some units have only one indent square, while others have FOUR indent squares (one per wing, per side). There is also an issue of the holes on the wings; The four-indent wings have two LARGE holes on the outside of one wing while the one-indent wings have a small hole only on the right side. Note that the body-parts between these two versions are *not* interchangeable. :-) And speaking of molding changes...look at the base of the head-antenna on each one: 4-indent version has almost pie-shaped slides cut into it, while the 1-indent version has more square ones:

Kickback Wings | Head Antennas | Sticker Change

Oh, we're not done. :-) Kickback also has a sticker variant; you can have the middle stripe on his chest sticker be either silver or red. There is also the issue of the yellow stickers on his knees: the 4-indent versions are about twice as large as the 1-indent version. :-) Note also the variant weapon for him; smooth handle-guard, versus ridged:

Kickback Guns

The four-indent version's gun has has a very narrow opening (to accomodate the narrower arms of the toy), while the wider one goes with the standard Kickback and has a wider opening.

Insecticon Rubsigns

A note on rubsign indents on the insecticons: All units came with rubsigns...however, both Schrapnel and Bombshell came either with, or without, a rubsign *INDENT*:

Bombshell, Indent vs No-Indent | Schrapnel, Indent vs No-Indent

Please note also that even the term 'rubsign indent' isn't even completely accurate in the case of the Insecticons. :-)

In the words of Crazy-Steve: "If this were an email, I'd title it 'Insections don't have rubsign indents'. I know that may go against conventional wisdom, but check this out. Zobovor wrote something on ATT a while back that got me digging out my Insecticons. He was talking about how some of them have guide marks framing their rubsigns. That got me wondering, so I've taken a closer look at my bugs. It turns out that after careful inspection, I've found that Kickback's rubsign areas aren't 'indented' at all. They're raised square areas, with or without guide lines. Aside from what you've already got covered at your site, I found that there are two versions of Kickback's rubsign area. The first is a plain raised square area (that appears on the version with 4 squares), and the second is a square area with a slightly upraised rim that effectively frames the rubsign. It's this raised rim that Zobovor is probably referring to when he's writing about guide marks. Bombshell also has the guide marks/no guide mark variants going on. And I found that on Shrapnel they did something along the lines of what happened to the Terrorcons-they filled in parts of the mold to allow for a rubsign. Again, there's not really an indent per se, it's more of a flush square area framed by a slightly upraised rim..."

Kickback Wings | Bombshell | Schrapnel

So in the end, when striving for detail...we can't use the generic term 'rubsign indents' for the Insecticons. (Well, I still plan to call them indents, but that's beside the point. :-) Rubsign frames would be more accurate. Hey, it's what we're here for. :-) There's also the issue of some Insecticons not coming without all their paint-apps (see Schrapnel's visor) but we're not going to go into detail here...that's for another page. ;-)

Insecticon Reissues

Sadly, as many 80's transformers go, there are 20-yr later reissues. :-) Initially, only by Takara/Dreamwave, but like Perceptor above, the Insecticons saw a TRU reissue (long after the heyday of vintage molds had passed. Most of those mold-changes are discussed here in the reissues section (Japanese and TRU reissues share molding, but not the inclusion of the energon cubes.)

Insecticon Summary

So, to wrap-up:


Type 1: 4-indent wings, smooth gun, pie-wedge antennas, large leg stickers.
Type 2: 1-indent wings, lined gun, square antennas, small leg stickers.
Type 3: Reissue; 1-indent sharp wings


Type 1: Standard stinger, small axel-housing, smooth gun, rubsign indent (Takara and Hasbro/Takara versions).
Type 2: Scooped stinger, Large axel-housing, pronged gun, NO rub indent (Takara and Hasbro/Takara versions).
(Note: Transitional unit with altered copystamps and type two gun noted.)
Type 4: Reissue; standard stinger, smooth gun, rubsign indent (updated China stamping).


Type 1: Winged gun, No rub indent, narrow-tip arms.
Type 2: Smooth gun, rubsign indent, wide-tip arms.
Type 3: Reissue; smooth gun, rubsign indent.


Of *course* there were Micromaster variations. :-) The micro-figs to Airwave and Greasepit 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:

Hothouse Stamping (Blocked vs Standard) | Color-Changes | Ironworks Stamping (Blocked vs Standard)


We've also got Roughstuff in two colors: light, or dark-blue. Or blue and purple, if you prefer. I've found these in equal amounts, and I don't suspect fading. Just poor lighting, and a blind geezer in the color-matching dept. :-) Yes, the color-change is on every part of him, the weapons, trailer, etc. Similar to the V1 and V2 above, this change occured because of the timing of the mold runs (although the copyrights tend to stay the same, thankfully).

Roughstuff Me Up, Baby

Then there's the Cannon-Transport...for whatever reason, they changed the stickers between the releases. Best seen on the ramps, where the colors were swapped:


(See Also: Combiner Gestaults)

(See Also: Foreign Micro-Recolors)


Rumors abound of color-changes on the accessories for the figure; without enough samples, it is hard to determine if this is an actual variant, or some type of sun-damage (I'd have to drill through the parts to see). In the meantime, all the shells have gone through some slight paint-apps changes; sadly, though some are merely a result of shoddy workmanship, others still have the air of a proper change (such as light vs dark yellow points, etc).

Take Skowl for example. His eyes (and mouth) come in pink, or purple:

Skowl Eyes and Mouth

The others are the same. Birdbrain has light vs dark red on his chest, Icepick has light vs dark red eyes, Slog has light vs dark yellow chest, and Wildfly's green comes in different shades as well. :-) Hell, Bristleback is the only one that didn't seem to come with a change. How odd.

Birdbrain | Icepick | Slog | Wildfly

Note: Monstructor was recolored and re-released as Dinoking in the Japanese TF line...had different shells, too. :-)


Because anything Less would be Uncivilized!

Reflector comes in a number of versions, and...a couple of fakes try to weasel their way in as well. :-)

The commonly accepted release order for Reflector bits are; the Pre-TF Microx, the fake Microx, early USA and Japanese Reflectors based on Microx mold, updated USA Reflectors, and finally Japanese Reflector based on updated USA mold. Not that this matters to anyone, of course... :-)

Variant guns for the Reflector set: it is commonly assumed that the hollow gun, and the tapered-barrel lens laser gun are the initial-variants (Microx, early Reflector) while the solid gun, and reinforced-barrel lens laser are the later-releases. If you look closly at these guns, you can also puzzle out the fakes; they're usually of poorer-quality (a 'softer' molding) than the two sets of real accessories. This applies to puzzling out the x-in box guns as well.

Same situation with the missle-firing flash. The regular TF version has a wider hole, that accomodates the larger-diameter tabbed and non-tabbed missles. The fake one is off-colored, molding doesn't line up, and it takes those crazy-narrow-shafted fake ones. :-)

Solid vs Hollow Guns | X-In-Box Guns

Lens Laser, Reinforced Barrel | Lens Laser, Tapered Barrel

Missle-Launching Flash (vs) (Side) | Missle-Launching Flash (vs) (Front)

There was also a missle variant in the USA. Reflector came with either a small tab on the upper missle shaft, or without this tab. Do not confuse these missles with the silver microx (or grey KO, for that matter) multi-tab missles, which amazingly did NOT end up in Reflector boxes...that we know of. These missles have multiple tabs around the shaft of the missle.

Reflector Missles, Tabbed, NON-Tabbed, and Fake

Also of note, from Himwari, on telling what type of Reflector you have: "...the true Microx version (presumably counter version, too) were made without the plastic pegs, BUT the Transformer version was made w/ both plastic and no plastic peg.

To make matters worse, the mold between the original Microx version and the later revised Transformer version with the plastic pegs are totally different. Also, the shade of grey on the Lens of reflector is different between the original Microx and later Transformer w/plastic pegs. I've got 3 Reflectors here all in different condition, none of them are Microx (TF version), and one of them is the same mold as the microx! (Micro Change). Even the picture of Reflector in Figure O (a Japanese toy mag) has the Transformer version w/no plastic pegs. Basically making it the same as a Microx reflector adding the reflector factor sticker and rubsign. As for gun differences, I think Fred already covered those. :-) Thanks." -Himawari

If that's not enough, there's a sticker variation on Reflector too...in the words of Crazy-Steve: "...Next up is what could possibly be a Reflector sticker variant. All Viewfinder robots have a small area on the upper right of their chest sticker that consists of a small silver square flanked by two red ones. I have one version where the two red squares are considerably larger than the red squares of the other version." And sure enough, comparing several of them here, we found it. :-)

Reflector Chest Stickers, 2 Types

Soooo...to wrap-up:

Microx: Pre-TF mold, NO pegs on middle robot arms.
Type 1 Japanese Reflector: Same as Microx, multitab missles.
Type 1 Amercian Version: Like Microx, NO pegs, tapered lens laser, hollow gun, NO tab missle.
Type 2 American Version: Mold-change, pegged arms, reinforced lens laser, solid gun, single-tab missle.
Japanese Refector: Updated American mold carried over, pegged arms.

(See Also: Reflectors Around the World.)


Purple and blue. Since we started putting all the other sticker variations on the site, it seemed time for this one to go up, too. Believe it or not, this was the first one I ever noticed a color difference on. After it was pointed out to me, I began to look at the colors of all the other stickers. :-) That should qualify this for some sort of honor...

The First Sticker Variation I Personally Knew About, Way Back When...

Of course, recently Quake earned another honor by having a mold change on his turret. :-) He comes either with a small indent, or an actual deep hole in the base of the turet gun (not that this scan can prove it:)

Quake Turret, Indented vs Holed


Green and blue. How do these things keep turning up? :-) Here we have a spinister with a green canopy, while the other is blue. This is not a fading issue. The colors are fresh, uniform. If you wanna be picky and call one green-blue, and the other blue-green, I'm not going to stand in your way:

Spinister Cockpits


Similar to Nightbeat (See: Autobots), Thunderwing comes in either a light, or a dark blue. This coloring is consistant with the shell, wings, feet, as well as the inner robot's wings and feet. In addition, you will note a change in the color of the paintapps; light vs dark gold.

Face Paint | Light vs Dark Blue Plastic


Not on the figure this time, but on the Action Master partner itself...Catgut comes with either a 2-step, or a 3-step handle. No, we don't know why either.

Cats and Guts


A sticker-change, of course. :-) Light vs dark-purple (indigo vs violet), best seen here on his little car, Fulltilt:

Tryppy Cars

Generation 2 Water Launchers

The G2 Water Launchers, like their Autobot counterparts, came in a large-bellows version, and a small bellows version:

Jetstorm Large vs Small Bellows

Deluge Large Bellows (Bar-Spoiler) vs Small Bellows (Twin-Tab Spoiler)

In addition, Deluge had a modified spoiler connection, where the large bellows spoiler attached with a bar connection, and the small bellows spoiler attached with the twin-tab connector.

Generation 2 Rotorforce

Black vs red rotors. Ransack and Powerdive, Decepticon Rotorforce, had a first-run that included black rotors in the packaging. Subsequent runs had red rotors.

Rotors, Red vs Black

It is interesting to note that all black rotors have pointed tips, while red rotors initially came with pointed tips, then switched to the more rounded tips of the blue rotors from the Autobot Rotorforce.

In addition, the Ransack canopy changed. Initial releases of pointed rotors (black and red) came with a thin-lined canopy, while the later rounded red rotor release came with the thinner canopy:

Ransack Canopies

Generation 2 Gobots

I can't think of a single Decepticon Gobot that wasn't an Autobot recolor. There were only four Decepticon Gobots, and every one of them had the mold recycled and recolored.

Nightracer, a Decepticon, was of the same mold as Bumblebee and Highbeam, but was issued only as a 1995 Botcon exclusive.

Nightracer and Friends

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

Megatron, Frenzy, etc | Soundwave, etc

Note: The G2 Gobots were recolored, renamed, and re-released several years later in the RID series, and later still in the Armada/Energon series as 'Spychangers'.

(See Also: Japanese-Spychangers)

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 stelth 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 | Airraid vs Skyjack, Jetfire vs Hooligan

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


Yes, Megatron, the ORIGINAL, had a variation...it seems that there were some holdover parts in the unit from when he could shoot plastic bullets. The firing chamber has the original design in the first-release, which is the long plastic runner going uninterrupted from front to back. (That doesn't mean he could actually fire the bullets; merely that part of that design was left in.) American-release Megatron, either version, is not a bullet-firing toy. Safety regulations, and all that. Subsequent releases were of the more common variety, where the long strip is interrupted, and the side clips are more pronounced. There is also a color-change in the eyes; orange vs gold:

Megatron Chest | Megatron Eyes

There's also a change in the accessories...the silver gun, specifically. It can come without a peg...and with a peg. There is still some argument on whether or not the pegless gun actually came with a us-released toy. So far, only one unconfirmed example has presented itself. We'll keep searching.

Megatron Rifle (Side) | Megatron Rifle (Back)

But wait! There's more! On the standard-release of the pegged gun, there are three (3!) different versions. In RMT's words: "You're the only one I know (that) might appreciate this disovery. Sometimes I just take out a big stack of the same accessory and see if anything is different or if I let a fake slip in. The result today is that I have found three (3) variations of the pegged verson of the Megatron chrome rifle. All the variations are on the underside. They are 1)the five hole, 2) the four hole, and 3) the slot with 1 hole."

Pegged Megatron Gun, 3 Versions

In the words of Argus: "In sort of general order of release: Japanese MC-12: 4 holes (which is the non-handle version as well). Italian MC-13: 5 holes. MB Megatron: 5 holes." When we look at the reissue guns, Defensis adds: "Original 16-Special Megatron: 5 holes, like the one on the right of the pic. 16-S Black Megatron: 5 holes, ditto. Collection 6 Megatron: 5 holes, ditto. Megaplex: 4 holes--the fifth, NEAREST to the back of the gun, is filled in (not like the 4-hole version in the pic, where the hole at the opposite end of the line of 5 is filled)." At this time, I am still unable to properly place the slotted-gun. Judging by mold-markings, the slotted gun would either be the first, or the last-release gun in the US (not confirmed at this time). I go by the fact that, 1) the side peg on the back of the stock is the crispest-cut, and 2) the 'nipples' on the end of the twin-prongs are the thickest/largest (compared to 4 and 5 hole, which go from small, to medium nips). However, if you look at the MiPs (mold-injection points) they appear to be rather blurred-out, almost as though the mold was run a number of times, and was wearing-out. This could mean that the crisp-cut peg was merely a mold-repair. As this is the only gun I have that didn't come originally with a figure, I cannot research it further (to compare variants on the figure would tell us more). So if someone can cough-up a figure with a slotted-gun...let us know. :-)

(See Also: Megatrons Around the World.)

Generation 2 Megatron

In the words of Argus; "We have G2 Megatron. Megatron came with a main gun that could be closed and one that COULDN'T. It connected to the back side of the main body of the gun before the point of it can ever get close to the front connector. All copyrights are identical. The upper flaps are the same length. It's the swivel part which is manufactured incorectly. Up until recently I was under the impression they were all bugged. ;)"

Door Closes | Door Doesn't Close

Action Master Megatron

What can I say? There's a color difference on the figure. Blue vs purple, on the waist, and hands:

Megatron Waist and Hands

Generation 2 Megatron vs Megatron ATB

Yes, the ATB exists...just NOT as a mass-produced toy. As Megatron, he never made it past prototype/production sample stage. A few were given out as sample/prizes at Botcon. They show up on ebay from time to time.

There are some persistant rumors that somehow, a few of these ended up in G2 Dreadwing boxes. There is also a persistant rumor that somehow, some complete prototypes (box and all) ended up on shelves in Ohio with the regular ones. How is any of this possible? I don't know, so take it with as many grains of salt as you need to. As always, there's no evidence to back up the claims.

Click here to see an entire page dedicated to this mold, from his G2 versions all the way to Armada. :-)

What About Unicron? Sorry, my friends...the original never made it past prototype stage. Our loss. Or perhaps not, if you look at Hasbro's Prototype. On the other hand, the new Unicron model might have been more to fans liking...if they'd ever gotten past the prototype stage there. :-) There's also rumblings of a new Unicron toy for the Armada series...if it gets released. It looks like they're getting close. But then again, they've been close before. :-) Maybe third time's the charm...More...