Ah, the 'white' Astrotrain. Available in Japan (and the Phillipines) it is distinctive from the USA version mainly by its colorscheme, a nice white that more closely resembles its real-life counterpart. Most people haven't sought to question its existence, its reason for being...until now.
"The origin of white Astrotrain? I've heard people say that it was the colour scheme intended for a planned Diaclone version. Makes some sense, since Diaclone-colored vehicles were usually the correct colour for a particular figure since faction colours weren't an issue."|
But wait! There's more. Recall that, on the USA Astrotrain, one of the more commonly-remembered variants on the Triplechanger Astrotrain is the original "curved-wing" versus the later "snub-wing" release.
"White Astrotrain appears to be the "later" snubbed wing version. So either Takara knew about Hasbro's early Astrotrain releases (and therefore their colour scheme) and decided to use their improved snub-wing mold...or it means that Takara did their own thing and came up with a better mold, the snub wing, and Hasbro later copied the idea. Er...or the two are completely unrelated."
If the first suggestion above is true, then Takara had time to see what the correct color-scheme was supposed to be. "Going by that logic, the white colour was chosen with full knowledge of Hasbro's choice of purple for their Astrotrain. Then of course Takara released Astrotrain again but in the Hasbro purple colour scheme. Why? were sales bad because the toy didn't match the show colour? I know Argus and probably many European fans passed on Red Tracks because he wasn't blue like in the comics/show etc...could this be a similar thing?"
(Hehe...maybe they just didn't want to get sued by NASA. :-)
Reissue Astrotrain: See the reissues section of list one for details. Essentially, the molding is similar to the vintage version (in this case, snub wing, but a #5 gun). However, the stickers and plastic quality are different. And of-course, no NASA stickers. :-)|
E-Hobby also reissued an Astrotrain in 'prototype' colors (the color of him in the catalog pics). Neat.