Transformers were first unleashed onto the world in 1984 in the US. After the amazing success of the toyline in the States, it was exported to mainland Europe in 1985. Up until 1985 Hasbro was not really known as a brand name outside of the US and the UK, so for mainland Europe Hasbro decided to use their newly acquired brand MB (short for Milton Bradley) as the brand to release their Transformers line under. MB was taken over by Hasbro a year earlier in 1984 and enjoyed much bigger brand recognition in mainland Europe and also already had a distribution network in place. It was only in 1986 that the Transformers line started being marketed under the Hasbro brand in most of continental Europe.
MB Transformers were the first Transformers that I found in my local toy store in 1985 and early 1986 and, as such, the MB branded Transformers hold special nostalgic value to me. I’ve been casually collecting Transformers (and other cool 80′s stuff) since 2002 or so I guess. It was only around May 2009 that I got reacquainted with MB Transformers and that’s when I decided I would set myself to the task of collecting all the MB Transformers that were ever released. That’s easier said than done, because MB Transformers are so frickin’ rare. As long as you have enough cash, you could go on eBay and amass yourself a near complete collection of early G1 US Transformers within a month. But MB Transformers? Furgeddaboutit!
My current and up-to-date MB Transformers collection checklist
A total of 53 Transformers were released in 1985 under the MB brand. I plan to collect them all. I’m sure I will succeed, although I have a sneaking feeling it may take me many more years and a lot more money…. but that’s part of the fun of the journey! This page is an overview of all the MB Transformers I have in my collection thus far. It is one of the most complete MB Transformers collections I know of anywhere. I will continually update this page as I progress towards my ultimate goal: ’till All Are Mine!
Autobot Commander: Optimus Prime [Asst# 9124]
MB Optimus Prime (blue-foot) made by Takara, Japan.
MB Optimus Prime (red-foot) made by Ceji, France.
Two Primes are pictured here, because they’re not one and the same! The first one is a regular blue-foot Optimus Prime that was manufactured by Takara in Japan. It appears to be an early model, because the trailer still has metal plates (these were replaced later with stickers) and a grey roller! The second photo shows a red-foot MB Optimus Prime.
Contrary to some of the murmur on the Interwebs, there definitely was a red foot MB Optimus Prime. This red-foot Optimus Prime was a variant that was manufactured in 1985 by French toy maker Ceji under license from Takara. Ceji also produced a blue-foot Optimus Prime that was also available in MB packaging. So that means a total of three different Optimus Primes variations were available in MB packaging. I now only need a Ceji blue-foot Optimus Prime in MB packaging to complete my collection of MB Primes.
During my collecting endeavours I have encountered a total of 12 Optimus Primes in MB packaging. Four of those were blue-foot Primes made by Takara in Japan, six of those were red-foot Primes made by Ceji in France and two of those were blue-foot Primes also made by Ceji in France. The packaging of both Ceji blue- and red-foot releases is identical. The Japanese Takara MB Prime is different. It has a different copyright notice.
Just to make things even more confusing, this same blue-foot Optimus Prime made by Ceji was also released later (in 1986) in European Hasbro branded packaging. I have also seen Ceji red-foot Optimus Primes in 1986 European Hasbro packaging. Aaaargh!
Decepticon Leader: Megatron [Asst# 9113]
What MB collection can be complete without the fearless leader of the Decepticons? Like Optimus Prime, the MB Megatron is a true variant as it was manufactured in France by Ceji Revell. It has an additional “Made in France” stamping on the bot. The box was also printed in France, just like Optimus Prime’s. UPDATE: A total of two Megatrons were released by MB. The first one was most likely released as part of wave 1 and was made in Japan by Takara. This specific Megatron pictured above is part of wave 2 and was made by Ceji in France, under license from Takara.
Autobot Leader: Jetfire (Asst# 9114)
A strange thing happened in the MB universe. Not Optimus Prime, but Jetfire was initially billed as leader of the Autobots! The MB Jetfire that I have in my collection at the moment has a pretty crappy box, but I got him real cheap. If you’re interested in this whole Jetfire vs Optimus Prime leadership thing in the MB mythos, then I can recommend some further reading here, which is the fifth part of a series on articles on MB Transformers that I am currently writing.
Autobot Cars [Asst# 9107 & 9123]
A total of 9 Autobot cars were released by MB in two different assortments, being Trailbreaker, Ratchet and Jazz (assortment 9107) and Wheeljack, Sideswipe, Prowl, Mirage, Hound and Tracks (assortment 9123). All Autobot cars were manufactured in Japan by Takara. The product was shipped off to France where MB had the boxes printed (by a company called Cajofe). Again the MB releases are different and exciting. All the Autobot cars came in styro foam inserts instead of the bubble inserts that were common in the US, a remnant of their Diaclone origins. Of all the 9 Autobot cars, 8 are from the initial 1984 US line up, except for Tracks. Tracks is a second series 1985 US release Autobot car. Tracks is also not his regular blue self in the MB release. He’s red!!! One of the coolest G1 Transformers variants there is! Not too long ago I finally completed by MB Autobot car collection with the addition of Jazz.
Autobot Deluxe Vehicles [Asst# 9112]
Although most of the early G1 Transformers were based on toys released earlier by Japanese toy maker Takara, Hasbro needed more. Much more. That’s why they used moulds of transforming toys from rival Japanese companies. Both the Autobot Deluxe Vehicles are based on toys that were originally released in Japan by a company called Takatoku. Roadbuster was based on the VV-54 AR Mugen Calibur toy (what’s in a name) and Whirl was based on the Ovelon Gazette, both from the Special Armored Batallion Dorvack toyline.
Insecticons [Asst# 9102]
All three ‘regular’ Insecticons were released by MB. They’re more or less the smallest of the boxed Transformers and I really, really like the way the Insecticons packaging looks. Sometimes I really think it’s a pity that all the carded Transformers did not come in boxes as they did in Japan. I’m glad to be able to say that I recently completed my collection of MB Insecticons with the addition of Bombshell!!
Deluxe Insecticons [Asst# 9106]
Just like the Deluxe Autobot Vehicles, the Deluxe Insecticons were originally not from Takara, but also based on molds from rival Japanese toy maker Takatoku Toys. A total of 4 Deluxe Insecticons were released and all made the translation to MB’s 1985 line up. With the recent addition of Chop Shop my Deluxe Insecticon collection is now complete!
Jumpstarters [Asst# 9103]
Well, what can I say.. No Transformers G1 collection is complete without the Jumpstarters, and neither is an MB Transformers G1 collection, because both bots were released by MB. I’ve got them both. Topspin is even MISB (mint in sealed box). Twin Twist has a custom insert, which actually looks nicer, because I’ve seen quite some Jumpstarters come by and it’s almost impossible to find one without yellowed/brownish insert bubble.
Dinobots [Asst# 9108]
The Dinobots were the first real sub group inside the Autobot ranks and they kicked ass! I vividly remember watching the episode where the Dinobots were created when I was a kid and felt totally pumped when they ultimately joined the Autobots (gimme a break, it was 1985 and I was ten years old). Now the Autobots had a major advantage over the evil Decepticons! In the US a total of 5 Dinobots were released, being Grimlock, Slag, Sludge, Snarl and Swoop. Only the first four made it to the European MB line up in 1985. Swoop never saw a release in Europe. The exact reason is unknown, but perhaps it was due to stricter toy safety laws in Europe at the time. I have all four of the Dinobots released by MB.
Decepticon Planes [Asst# 9109]
The Decepticons Planes, also known as the Seeker Jets, are some of the most popular of the early G1 Decepticons. In the US a total of 6 Decepticon Jets were released. In 1984 Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp were released, followed in 1985 by Coneheads Thrust, Dirge and Ramjet. MB initially only released the 1985 jets as part of their first wave, but later also added Starscream to the line up (wave 2). I am delighted that I recently was able to complete my collection of coneheads with the addition of Dirge and Ramjet!!
Triple Changers [Asst# 9105]
A total of 2 Decepticon Triple Changers were released by MB, being Astrotrain and Blitzwing. I remember first seeing the triple changers and the concept just blew my ten year old mind. Not only did we have these great new robot toys that could transform into a vehicle, but now we had great new robot toys that transformed into two vehicles! If you look at both Astrotrain’s and Blitzwing’s alternate modes, it’s really a testament to the ingenuity of the Japanese engineers that came up with these designs. I have both Triple Changers in my collection!
Constructicons [Asst# 9101]
The Constructicons were the first combiner group of Transformers that could transform into one giant robot called Devastator. Again, when I first experienced this concept of a combiner group when I saw the episode featuring the Constructicons, I was blown away. Yeah, we’ve seen a lot of combiner groups since then and the concept of combiners has become very common to most collectors, but seeing it for the first time in the mid 1980′s was a blast! All six Constructicons were released seperately by MB in 1985. Although I have not been able to confirm it myself, there are several collectors I know, who believe there was also a Devastator gift set released by MB. Recently I was able to finally complete my MB Constructicons collection! All of ‘em are pictured above. Nothing like the sight of a complete set of carded Constructicons! By the way, Hook is the regular green version photographed here. The toy has a yellowish tint, but that’s just due to sun fading of this particular item.
Autobot Mini-Vehicles (1) [Asst# 9100]
A total of two assortments of Autobot mini-vehicles was released by MB in 1985. The first assortment consisted of five mini-vehicles that were all part of the 1985 (second) US series of mini-bots: Beachcomber, Cosmos, Powerglide, Seaspray and Warpath. Shortly thereafter a second assortment was added to the line up which featured a further 4 mini-vehicles from the 1984 US line up. I currently have Beachcomber, Cosmos and Seaspray in my collection.
Autobot Mini-Vehicles (2) [Asst# 9125]
A second assortment of Autobot mini-vehicles was added later in 1985 by MB to their line-up: Brawn, Gears, Huffer and Windcharger were added to the roster. All of them originally part of the first wave of mini-bots that were released a year earlier in 1984 in the US. This second assortment of mini-vehicles had their card backs printed France and as such differ slightly from the first assortment (which were printed in Japan, like most of the G1 cards and boxes). I currently have Gears, Huffer and Windcharger in my collection and I’m just missing Brawn.
Decepticon Communicator: Soundwave [Asst# 9111]
Soundwave is one of the coolest first series Decepticons. Featured heavily in the Sunbow cartoon it was unavoidable for MB to add Soundwave to their introductory 1985 Transformers line up. I have this very nice boxed MB Soundwave in my collection.
Decepticon Operations: Shockwave [Asst# 9116]
Also featured a lot in the early episodes of Sunbow’s G1 cartoon and in Marvel’s Transformers comics, another bad ass Transformer in the guise of Shockwave. Shockwave as a toy is gigantic and dwarfs most other Transformers. According to some collectors MB Shockwave was unavailable (or as good as) in the Netherlands. I certainly never recall seeing him in my local toy store. This specific MB Shockwave originates from France. He’s in reasonably good shape and the electronics still work!
Decepticon Plane: Starscream [Asst# 9126]
Another classic character: evil schemer Starscream! Starscream was released as part of the second wave of MB’s Transformers line up. He joins the earlier released Conehead jets from wave 1. This is the “regular” release. (MB also sold Thundercrackers inside MB Starscream packaging!) Please note: the insert here is a repro. MB Starscream came with an insert that has Starscream’s accessories in a “straight” bubble that is positioned parallel to the box window, instead of angled.
Decepticon Cassette: Laserbeak [Asst# 9104]
Hey! Here we have another fine MB packaging variation. In the US all the cassettes were released as dual packs, which means two cassettes were sold on a single cardback. In the first batch of promotional material, only Soundwave was planned for release. MB probably changed their minds later on, because later on Decepticon cassettes Laserbeak and Ravage were added to the line up. Instead of combining the two cassettes on one card, both cassettes were released on single cardbacks, which is a packaging variation that has never been seen elsewhere in the western world. I currently have Laserbeak in my collection, which is kind of special, because it’s a pre-rub version of Laserbeak! MB releases usually all have rub signs. In fact, the back of my MB Laserbeak card contains information about the rub sign, but there is no rub sign in sight on the toy!
Autobot Communicator: Blaster [Asst# 9115]
Soundwave’s Autobot counterpart is Blaster. Blaster was released by MB as part of their first wave of Transformers. None of the Blaster cassettes have ever been released by MB. This particular Blaster originates from France and is still mint in sealed box (MISB)!
’til All Are Mine
So that’s it! Those are all the MB Transformers that I have in my collection. I am constantly on the look out for new additions to my collection, so if you happen to have an item that I am missing and want to sell it, contact me! I am always on the look out for upgrades as well, so even if you have a boxed or carded MB Transformer that I already have, do get it in touch with me! I might be interested in buying it. You can contact me by using the “Contact” link. And if you want to know what MB Transformers I am still looking for, check out my brand new Wanted page! Thanks!