It needs a mention: Europe is a big place. Unlike Japan, there are many, many countries in what I call Europe/UK. Where there is a need to breakdown a list by a specific country, I've done so on the previous page (Italy, Greece, and China, for example). For the most part, everything else gets lumped. There was a time when only packaging changes were notable. Now, mold-changes are coming out of the woodwork. :-)|
We start with a short version of the catagory. Items that I feel should be expanded upon are listed below in greater detail. And we know how much I love greater detail. :-) Heheh. (Complete listings always in-process...send in your submissions.) :-) Also, have a look at Morg's Japanese List and the Complete Euro-Tf list.)
In these modern times, with everything coming out of one factory, worldwide distribution, and standardization of the tri-logo packaging...we hoped we wouldn't see mold and paint changes in these toys anymore. Wishful thinking. :-) The changes keep coming (as you can see from the lists below), no matter which direction the toys are coming (here to there, or there to here). Japan still sees different packaging from most of the rest of the world, and US toy laws mean that the toys will be modified before they are released. So we'll track them here. Enjoy.
G1 (Japan): Metrotitan, Soundblaster (and Buzzsaw), Black Zarak, Artfire, Stepper, Astrotrain, Grand Maximus, Twincast (and Steeljaw), Goshooter, Minerva, Battle Gaia, Guard City, Greatshot, Blue Baccus, Black Shadow, Darkwings, God Ginrai, Sixnight, Rumbler, Slicer, Hardspark, Blaze, and...a number of misc Micromaster recolors, as well as a number of figures released in Giftsets. (Although one could arguably consider those mostly of a packaging-variant nature.) Also, Headmaster heads, Liokaiser, Landcross, and more.|
G1 (Europe): Action Masters, Classics, Obliterators, Rescue Force, recycled Machine Wars, Overlord, Motorvators...
G1.5 vs G2 (Japan and Europe): Trakkons, Lightformers, Predators vs Turbomasters Giftsets...
G2 (Japan and Europe): Sparkabots, Firecons, Archforce, Sureshot, Gobot Optimus Prime and Megatron...
Beastwars / BWII / BW Neo / BW Metals: Pretty much the whole series. :-) (See Below)
Car Robots: Pretty much the whole series. :-) (See Below)
Reissues: (See Below)
Micron Legends: (See Below)
Superlink: (See Below)
Binaltech: (See Below)
There were a number of them. It can be argued that many of these could technically be listed as Giftsets (albeit not exclusive, as we got them carded), as some of them came packaged in a box with an exclusive 'Micro Trailer' (which attached to Star Convoy, Grandus, and Sky Garry). However, I've decided to list the micro variants on their own page here.
These Micros are broken down into three catagories, based on type of variant. (The six-combiner gestaults, for example, are also cross-listed in the Japanese Giftsets listing.) The three sections on foreign micros are:
This is an interesting catagory. Items that were released in Europe...were also released in other parts of Europe, and then exclusively in Japan (but not in the USA, those bums). Names and packages changed. In many cases, the stickers and paintapps had slight changes as well. An interesting example would be the...
For another look at this era, check out Ben Yee's page. The listings below are only for toys that had variants (of course). :-)
Beast Wars: Stuff from the first series of the '95 USA.
Beast Wars II: Stuff from the second series of the USA, as well as recycled G2 and Machine Wars stuff.
Beast Wars Neo: A lot of stuff we didn't see. (Interestingly, some of the 'exclusive' molds in this series are now showing up in our newer series, like Armada, etc.)
Beast Wars Metals: Slightly different hues; toys say faction name (Cybertron, Destron) instead of the actual name of the toy, as in the American versions.
Beast Wars Returns: 2005 Japanese reissue of the USA Beast Machines line, and Japan's BW 10th Anniversary.
Car-Robots is no better; though America saw most of the line, a key piece (Brave Maximus) didn't make it over here again, due to safety laws (originally Fortress Maximus in 86). However, again, Korea had a release of it, nearly identical to the Japanese one. (We're finding that, excepting slight changes in paint-shadings, only the packaging seems to be altered.)
...yes, pretty much the whole series. :-) Most of the units came over to the USA in the RID line, with major-changes in paint apps and molding (extra autobot symbols, different plastic, etc). The links below go to images and comparison articles.
Car-Brothers: Different colors, molding, etc.
Fire Convoy (Prime) / God Magnus (Ultra Magnus): Different plastic and mold/copyright changes. (Note also the release of a limited Black Fire Convoy, as well as a limited gold-rimmed Crystal Fire Convoy.)
Buildbots (Buildking): Plastic changes, color changes, and copyright changes. ;-)
Combatrons (Decepticons): Upside-down G2 auto symbols, totally new colors) (Note that these were originally G1 Combaticons.) (Note that we got gray accessories, while Japan got gold accessories...our tank (Armorhide / Danger) was changed as well). What's absolutely sad is that Family Dollar had a knockoff Valdigus (Ruination) in the correct colors. :-) Don't get fooled by the knockoffs! For more information on the extensive remolding of this piece, please see the RID section of the site (especially Zob's review).
Skybyte and the Predacons: almost no noticable change. Skybyte had some paint-apps changes, and the Predacons had chrome hue differences between the American and Japanese versions. (Primus forbid that anything be left alone.)
Black Convoy (Scourge): Originally a recolored G2 Lazer Prime. Pink vs red windows when BC was changed to Scourge for the USA market.
Brave Maximus: We're still waiting. :-) I suppose technically, since he was supposedly released as a lucky draw 'complete' set (with the Gasket/Grommit/Cog parts, etc), you might put him on List Two; however since he started as the American Fortress Maximus, then became the Japanese Grand Maximus, etc he belongs here. ;-) (Pics) It is interesting to note that the Master Sword associated with the original Japanese Fortress Maximus/Grand Maximus didn't come with the regular-release of Brave, but *was* included in the Fire Convoy giftset. :-) (Korean Version) It is also interesting to note that the Master Sword also *supposedly* came offered seperate as a 'lucky-draw' prize of only 20. (Pic) No confirmation on that last bit as of yet.
Towline and Skid-Z: Recycled Machine Wars molds...sigh. Plus the Jusco clear versions of each...
Spychangers: Recycled G2 Gobot molds (See the Autobot section for details.) Had fewer paint-apps from the American RID ones. Japan also saw a Jusco clear version of these, not to be confused with the American Kaybee clear releases. Heck, these things were reissued twice more, concurrent with Micron Legends toys (see below). More...
Reissues are an interesting can of worms. :-) One problem is, 'just before' and 'just after' don't necessarily apply in this case. These reissues are 15+ years later in Japan. (some argue that the 90's Classic re-releases in Europe should probably count as reissues, too...so many of these are reissues of reissues. What fun. :-) (Pic)
Another interesting development is how these reissues are packaged. The initial reissue cars and jets were in 'collectors edition' boxes...now we have E-Hobby exclusive boxes, Japanese vintage-style artwork and and Dreamwave art boxes, and of course Takara Tomy Encore boxes. Of course, with the demise of Dreamwave, I suppose we can't call them 'Dreamwave' boxes anymore anymore (take a look at the crappy Kup/Wheelie art...not Dreamwave at all). The fun continues.
A third item of interest is how these units have been changed mold-wise. I'll try to detail each one as information becomes available, but basically...we're looking at molds that have been tinkered with. Regular G1 and Euro-classics have (with minor-changes) all been relatively the same (barring manufacturer-stampings, and other details listed above). The reissues have undergone *numerous* changes. The reissues, as they hit America, have many of these same alterations (plus a few more, for saftey's sake). It's all going to be documented, one way or the other. :-)
Now that Takara has been bought out by Tomy (a shame, Takara lasted on it's own until 2005), the future of some reissues was uncertain. However, we have seen several of the previous reissued reissues reissued again, and a couple out of left field (Skylynx? WTF?).
Note that I've grouped these more or less in order of release (versus alphabetical). I may change that at some point, but frankly, this is more convenient for me. :-) When a new one gets released, I simply add it to the bottom.
To wrap up: Types of reissue japanese packaging
The Japanese version of America's Armada series.
(Note: Only the units that had some kind of mold/color change are hyperlinked/described here. Otherwise, they're not listed. :-)
The Japanese version of America's Energon series.
(Note: If there are mold/color changes in the line, they will be hyperlinked/described. Otherwise, as in the Micron legends section above, I've simply deleted them. :-) That being said, I could use some variant pics of the unpic'd ones below. Help!
SC-02 - Hot Shot - Different paintapps, no black details.
SC-03 - Inferno - Red and gray plastics darker.
SC-04 - Road Buster (Ironhide)
SC-05 - Skyfire (Jetfire) - No electronics, red vs orange plastic weapons.
SC-06 - Blast Arm (Strongarm)
SC-07 - Air Glide (Sky Blast) - All four autobot sigils painted.
SC-08 - Energon Saber Team: Pulse, Laser, Beam (Wreckage, Skyboom, Scattor)
SC-09 - Cliffjumper: Hopper, Charge, Runway (Grindor, High Wire, Sureshock) - Orange paint now red.
SC-11 - Red Alert (Prowl) - Darker grey plastic on legs.
SC-12 - Signal Flare - Lighter blue and lighter brown.
SC-13 - SL Grand Convoy (Optimus Prime)
SC-14 - Kicker (Regular Version)
SC-15 - Landmine
SC-17 - Wing Saber (Wing Saber) - Paint apps changes, white vs none on shoulders.
SC-18 - Overdrive (Cliffjumper)
SC-19 Wheeljack (Downshift) - Different colors on legs; grey instead of green.
SC-20 - Sprung (Bulkhead)
SC-21 - Inferno Supermode Volt (Roadblock)
SC-22 - Omega Supreme
SC-24 - Road Buster Supermode Wild w/Orange Energy Axe.
SC-25 - Skyfire Supermode Sonic w/Red Energy Spear.
SC-26 - Superion: Afterburner, Airraider, Firebolt, Skydive, Slingshot - Mucho paintapps changes.
SD-01 - Nightscream (Starscream) - Lighter grey plastic, same as the Armada version.
SD-02 - Ironhide (Demolishor) - Nearly identical to the later-issue KB exclusive version.
SD-03 - Sandstorm (Cyclonus) - Nearly identical to the later-issue KB exclusive version.
SD-04 - Shockwave (Tidal Wave)
SD-05 - Mega Zarak (Scorponok) - Beautiful compared to ours...gold in-place of orange plastic.
SD-06 - Command Jaguar (Battle Ravage) - Note the different color of the figure, and the weapons.
SD-07 - Galvatron (Megatron) - Smaller than USA edition. Now released at TRU.
SD-08 - Shadowhawk (Divebomb) - Identical to ours.
SD-09 - Command Jaguar Desert Type
SD-10 - Snow Storm (Snow Cat: Cyclonus II)
SD-11 - Iron Tread (Demolishor II)
SD-12 - Dinobot (Cruellock)
SD-13 - Shadowhawk - Marine Type - Nice blue color.
SD-15 - Dark Fleet (Mirage) - Blue compared to our yellow version.
SD-16 - Chrome Horn (Insecticon) - Green vs gold energon weaponry.
SD-17 - Dinobot Magma-Type (Doomlock)
SD-19 - Nightscream Supermode Rebirth w/Yellow Energy Drill Cannon - Nice recolor.
SD-20 - Galvatron Supermode General w/Purple Energy Blade - Small version purple recolor.
SD-21 - Bruticus: Onslaught, Swindle, Vortex, Blast Off, Brawl
EX-01 - Buildron: Crane, Longhaul, Scavenger, Bonecrusher, Scrapper - Reportedly a TRU Japan exclusive, and the last toy in the SuperLink line.
SS-01 - Super Link Hot Shot [& Inferno]
SS-02 - Super Link Road Buster [& Skyfire]
Anniversary Set - SL Convoy & Kicker w/E-Saber & D-sword - Chrome Kicker version. Note that the Japanese Superlink STD Convoy has sparkly/pearlescent plastic and paint on the cab front, whereas the American Energon TRU Optimus Prime has plain plastic and paint. No Sparklies. ** - Booster ver. 1 (Sea Team) Hover, Mire, Solar
** - Booster ver. 1 (Blizzard Saber Team) Beacon, Quantum, Lens
**- Booster ver. 1 (Adventure Team) Torque, Crunch, Spoil
** - Booster ver. 1 Thyristor
** - Booster ver. 1 Chrome
** - Booster ver. 1 Synapse
** - Micron Booster ver. 2 Frenzy Brake, Damper, Filter (Pink)
** - Micron Booster ver. 2 (Air Military Team) Blitz, Effect, Seeker
** - Micron Booster ver. 2 (Emergency Team) Cluster, Groove, Rotor
** - Micron Booster ver. 2 Processor - Orange Thunderclash
** - Micron Booster ver. 2 Triac - Purple Thunderclash
** - Micron Booster ver. 2 Saber - Metallic Blue Thunderclash
Store exclusive figures:
EX-01 - Buildron: Crane, Longhaul Scavenger, Bonecrusher, Scrapper - Reportedly a TRU Japan exclusive, and the last toy in the Superlink line.
I find it entertaining that the Energon Perceptor mold (in Japan) is called Cliffjumper...then an exclusive recolor is called Windcharger...if this keeps up, we'll end up with one called Hubcap, or God forbid Wheelie. :-) And on Windcharger, Defensis writes: "Toys R Us Japan. One team member at a time, with purchase, and hooo man, the final unit of the trio is/was a doozy in those terms...only available with the purchase of Omega Supreme. Fusion cannon to my head, I'd hazard TRU Japan was leery about having the huge bugger stay on shelves for any length of time. (All that stuff I've heard about Japanese collectors not being so enamored of huge and expensive (mostly huge) toys. Space concerns. LIVING SPACE concerns..."
Speaking of interesting...Slugslinger is being marketed in Japan as a 'USA exclusive' figure. Hmmm...
Another interesting tidbit: Our Kicker is a completely different mold than the Japanese Superlink Kicker. Theirs is based off a Microman design, while ours is decidedly more GiJoe figure-like... (Comparison Pic)
Store exclusive weapons, so far:
Lucky Limited Gold Grand Convoy - ?? prize, limited to ??
Silver Rodimus Convoy
The Japanese version of America's Alternator series, release concurrently with Superlink.
The short version: These are superior to the American versions. :-) Well, they're heavier, at least. Unlike Hasbro's all-plastic versions, the Japanese ones are made with many diecast components. That's...pretty much it. It's a huge change, I'll grant you, but hey, at least the colors and paint apps are the same. :-) OK, that's not true, either. Please see the Alternators section for additional information.
It's interesting to note that 'American' car molds (mustang) always have right steer in Japan, while Japanese model cars (Hondas, subarus) have the steering wheel on the right side...except when they're converted from Binaltech to alt, at which point the steering wheels go onto the left. Nice touch. Something only a true lover of both versions would know: even the material used to make the steering wheel (between Binaltech an Alternator versions) changes on many of the vehicles. :-) Mold changes and material changes. Gotta love it.
In 2004, Takara released a line containing recolors of Machinewars and Beast Wars toys, as well as all new molds; scaled down versions of their larger-sized toys. Considering the scale to which they were shrunk, I find it appropriate to put the TF Juniors listing in the same area...after all, it's pretty much the same concept to me. ;-)
The Japanese version of America's 2005 Cybertron line.
GC-01 - Galaxy Convoy
GD-01 - Master Megatron
THS-01 - Galaxy Convoy (Smaller version of Galaxy Convoy.)
Micron Booster Version 3 (Pic)
- Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Jack, Trigger, Bit, Gauge, Dice, Plier, Clamp, Socket, Bug Drone, Plug, Wrench...and the chase metallic goober that rules over them all is Bug General.
Runabout vs Longrack; Blurr vs Buzzsaw: Now here's an interesting set of remolds. :-) Each of these was an Armada mold, retooled to be a different character. The homages run rampant, and are covered in the Cybertron section of the site. As for paint changes between the American and Japanese versions, it seems that Run and Blurr are identical, while Blurr and Buzzsaw (in-process).
Galaxy Force mini-me: Actually, I dunno what to call the tiny ones. I've forgotten their names. Basically, tiny versions of many of your favorite GF TFs, now fun-size! These were released in America too (Fleetfarm and Shopko, for example) but one key piece is the 3-pk clear giftset of Prime, Megatron, and Starscream exclusive to Japan (pic in-process).
Japan had a few recolors exclusive to their market:
Note that the package back was similar, with the addition of a Japanese sticker on the package front in Bumblebee's cases.
Bumblebee 74 - Clear blue windows version.