20th Century Toy Collector

More Than Meets The Eye!

Archive for July, 2011

Hail Jetfire! Leader of the Autobots!

I’ve had some really nice feedback on my last MB Transformers article and I’m really quite humbled by some of the reactions. It’s a real boost to find that fellow Transformers enthousiasts enjoy reading my musing as much as I enjoy writing them. I’m already a long way towards completing the 5th installment and contrary to what I originally had planned, this will not be an article about the introduction of Hasbro branded Transformers in Europe. Instead I have deciced that I will concentrate on another part of European Transformers history that I am most interested in investigating and that is MB Transformers mysteries and variants.


From a chronological standpoint it just makes a lot more sense to look at MB mysteries and variants (1985) first and to push back the article on Hasbro rebranding (1986) towards the end of the series. As I was doing research on the legal issues surrounding Optimus Prime’s release in Europe and the Jetfire leadership thing (in Europe, Jetfire was initially billed as leader of the Autobots in 1985!) I gained some new insights that further cement the theory in the 4th chapter and I will merge these back into that article as soon as chapter 5 is done.

So what are all those MB mysteries and variants then? Well, first of all there’s the issue of Jetfire being leader in the MB Transformers universe. As you will find, the explanation for this abnormality is closely tied to our famed maker of toys from Strasbourg called Joustra! Also, I believe the standing theory about it being related to an alledged trademark dispute about the name “Optimus Prime” in the Netherlands in 1985 is false. This really is such an intricate web of information that most of the the fifth installment will be dedicated to it. The remainder of this installement will look at the total of three (!) different Optimus Prime variants that MB released in 1985, so it’s really Optimus Prime’s party in the next installment of the article series on MB Transformers.

But there are many more mysteries surrounding the MB line to keep us occupied, that will follow in subsequent installments. There’s also the mystery of the Thundercracker/Starscream mixup, there’s the mythical MB Devastator gift set, the mystery of the MB Swoop, the case of the missing MB Autobot car and yellow Constructicons. All these mysteries and variants will be examined in the next few chapters so stay tuned. Who said MB Transformers were boring? :-) Have a great weekend!


posted by 20th Century Toy Collector in MB Transformers,Transformers and have Comments (2)

MB Astrotrain

Recently I managed to add another MB Transformer to my collection! Decepticon Triple Changer Astrotrain is the latest addition and was obtained as part of a trade that I made with a very good collector friend of mine, who is also based in the Netherlands. The box has some wear, but it’s still in reasonably good shape. It came with a custom insert, but that’s easily replaced with an original insert as soon as I manage to locate one.


With this latest addition my MB Transformers collection is now 81% complete and it’s really starting to become an uphill climb. Of the 53 officially released retail items, I’m now only missing 10. I’m going to have to think about some new strategies to obtain these remaining 10 items, because it’s getting increasingly hard to find items I am missing. Of course this is not entirely surprising, because that’s the way it goes. When you have nothing it’s easy to find items here and there, but as you approach your goal of completing the line it gets harder and harder and some of the most hard to find items are the ones you’ll end up chasing for a long time. But I have the time and I’m positive I’ll one day complete my collection of MB’s!! :-) Meanwhile, you can find photos of my current, up-to-date MB Transformers collection here.


posted by 20th Century Toy Collector in MB Transformers,Transformers and have No Comments

MB Transformers series – Part 4

Tonight is a small Anglo-Dutch party. My very good friend Maz from TF-1.com and I are proud to present to you some of our most interesting work to date. We hope you will find it is also some of our best work to date, because we’ve certainly poured our collective hearts and souls into it. Both articles that we’ve just finished writing go into amazing detail on a subject matter that we are pretty passionate about: European Joustra Diaclones and MB Transformers respectively.


First off, above you can see some of the graphical design for the latest installment in my series of articles on MB Transformers, which is now finally online! This fourth chapter examines the very close ties between the afforementioned two vintage toy lines from the mid-1980′s. This is the big one. Both in size and in message. Some numbers; the first two installments were around 2,500 words each. The third installment was the biggest one yet with approximately 5,000 words. The first draft of the fourth installment came close to the 9,500 mark! That was way too big. I also found the flow of the article was just too chaotic and I commenced on a 2-week long redesign, which ultimately saw this article end up with 7,500 words. Still quite large, but I now feel confident that it is ready for consumption and succeeds in getting my message across.

Content wise, this is why I embarked on this unholy mission of writing a series of articles on MB Transformers. The previous three chapters, while informative and enjoyable in their own right, were all leading up to the information that can be found in chapter four. It ties an important and relatively unknown portion of early European Transformers history together. This is the story I wanted to tell. This is what I think happened between MB and Joustra in 1985 and I think it’s very exciting. This is what I needed to get out of my system and share with fellow G1 Transformers enthousiasts on the world wide interwebs. I guess observant collectors will have put this together before, but to my knowledge this information has never been published online in such a comprehensive way and since it’s been more than 25 years, I thought it was high time it got told! I really hope you enjoy it!

Please don’t think that the rest of the series will be boring. Although I cannot deny that this is really the high point of the series, there is still much more to tell and you can count on my usual nerdy and meticulous methods of investigation and obsessive attention to detail for the remaining 6 chapters. I won’t give out an estimate for the release date of the 5th chapter, because I need an even bigger break than after the last chapter. It’ll be here when it’s here. For now, enjoy the “MB and Joustra Connection” by clicking here.


“Joustra Diaclone Lancia Stratos”

But like I said, that’s only one half of the party! As soon as you’re done reading the “MB & Joustra Connection” there is some further reading that I can heartily recommend from my favourite vintage Transformers site, TF-1.com.


Through an amazing bout of luck and coincidence my good friend Maz got his hands on a very, very rare Joustra Diaclone wave 2 item; Lancia Stratos, a.k.a. pre-Wheeljack! This is the first time a Joustra Diaclone Lancia Stratos has surfaced publicly complete inside his packaging! You can count on Maz to thoroughly examine this item and place it against the background of both its earlier and later incarnations, accompanied with many, many photographs in his trademark style. It’s the next best thing to owning one yourself! At this moment this is the only known Joustra Diaclone Lancia Stratos in the world of which publicly available, photographic evidence exists! Check out TF-1.com’s amazing scoop by clicking here.

posted by 20th Century Toy Collector in Joustra Diaclone,MB Transformers,Transformers and have Comment (1)

Coming soon! (Update)


The fourth installment of my series on MB Transformers is ready to go and will be published today at 2200 CEST (Amsterdam), 2100 BST (London), 1600 EDT (New York). There’s a reason behind this exact publishing time aside from trying to act dramatic, because a new and exciting article will be going live tonight at UK based TF-1.com around that same time. We’ve chosen to synchronize the publication time of our respective articles for practical reasons. All I can say is that TF-1.com has a real treat in store for fans of European Transformers. So that’s not one, but two pieces of new and original content on European Transformers that you can look forward to. Good times!



Regular visitors of this website will be familiar with my ongoing series of articles on the subject of European Transformers released by MB (Milton Bradley) and everything that surrounds it. So far I have published three articles on this subject matter and my goal is to finish this epikos with a mammoth total of 10 articles. A constant concern that I have in everything that I write for this site is that I want to strike the best achievable balance between hardcore geeky information that will appeal to the hardcore collector and content that is still digestible by the majority of visitors, who might have nothing more than a passing interest in the subject matter. To whichever category you feel you belong, I want you to feel welcome whenever you visit this site. That’s not always an easy task. But what continues to fuel my desire to keep on writing is the number of unique visitors that have read my MB articles so far and the number of visitors who are visiting this site on a regular basis. I’m quite humbled by the number of visitors and some of the reactions I have gotten so far. Very cool.


I know there are several of you out there who are very eagerly awaiting the fourth installment in my series on MB Transformers (Hi, Christophe!). I’m afraid it’s still not finished yet. The third installment was the biggest one yet and was twice the size of the second installment! Well, much to my own surprise, the first draft of the fourth installment was even double the size of the third installment! After walking away and coming back to it after a couple of days, it was clear to me that the fourth installment needed some trimming and improvement. I am currently wrestling with both the length of the article and the visual presentation. With so much information that I want to convey in this chapter, the visual aspect is more important than ever.

All I can say is that this fourth installment will be my favourite! And although it’s shaping up to be the most challenging chapter for me to write yet, I’m having lots of fun creating it. I hope some of that fun will be reflected in the article itself when you get a chance to read it in the near future. Transformers remain my number one passion….. and if you feel the same…. well, you’re in very good company here. :-)

posted by 20th Century Toy Collector in Joustra Diaclone,MB Transformers,Transformers and have Comments (2)