20th Century Toy Collector

Illusion is the Ultimate Weapon!

Archive for December, 2011

Action Force – Zartan

In the US G.I. Joe came before Transformers. In Europe it was the other way around. Transformers were introduced here in 1985 and G.I. Joe didn’t get an official introduction until 1987. But that doesn’t mean that G.I. Joe action figures and vehicles weren’t available here! An English company called Palitoy had already been selling 3.3/4 inch action figures in Europe since the early 1980′s under the name of Action Force.


Action Force action figures – Palitoy


At some point Palitoy started licensing Hasbro’s G.I. Joe line and releasing it in Europe under their Action Force moniker. Here’s an example of that: Zartan and his Swamp Skier! I found this item online about a week ago and whipped out my credit card as fast as I could to make it mine. Just check it out:


Action Force Zartan – Palitoy (1985/86)

“G.I. Joe invades Europe”

I’m not 100% sure of the year above item was released, because there is no date information on the packaging, but judging by the release of the original in the US (1984) I’d guess Palitoy released the Action Force version of Zartan in Europe in 1985 or maybe 1986.

By 1987 Hasbro had acquired Palitoy and decided Europe was ready for a proper G.I. Joe invasion and introduced the line here as an international fighting force.


European launch of G.I. Joe – from pack-in catalog (1987)


The reason why I was so interested in this Action Force version of Zartan is because I scored the 1987 Dutch version of Zartan not too long ago. Here are both versions shown together. The new and the old! Check out the original article on Zartan that I wrote here!


Zartan – European Action Force and G.I. Joe versions



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Joustra Diaclone bomb

Exciting times if you’re a fan of early European Transformers history like me. Especially if you’re interested in a little niche section called Joustra Diaclones! For the uninitiated, Joustra is the name of a French toy company that briefly held the exclusive rights to sell Diaclone transformers in a major part of western Europe in 1984 and 1985. This was right before the Transformers onslaught hit Europe properly. What sets Joustra’s Diaclone releases apart from Japanese, Italian and Finnish Diaclones is that Joustra went to great lengths to customize the packaging for the European countries where they sold their stuff. Mindblowingly beautiful and exclusive packaging art work and a mini comic were produced especially for this line.


So why are these times exciting? Well, first off my good friend Maz of TF-1.com has just published his magnus opus on Joustra Diaclones. It’s a huge article that aims to be the definitive source on the exciting story of Joustra Diaclones and it succeeds at that (in spades!) I have tremendous respect for Maz, because his passion is so genuine and makes his articles a joy to read. In fact, Maz really inspired me to start collecting MB Transformers after I read his article on said subject matter. He is also partly responsible for me picking up the gauntlet and publishing my own articles that you can find on this website. One of the most humbling experiences for me is that Maz’s original article on MB Transformers has been updated now to reflect new information that has come to light because of my research and contains references to this site. That’s so über cool! Please check out Maz’s new article on Joustra Diaclones here and his updated article on MB Transformers here!


But that’s not all. The Joustra Diaclone party is not over, because yesterday a brand new website has launched that is devoted exclusively to Joustra Diaclones, aptly named Joustra-Diaclone.com. This website is a labour of love of another very, very good collector friend of mine, RPChristophe. RPC hails from France and is the most devoted Joustra Diaclone collector I have ever come across and is one of the nicest human beings I have ever had the privilege of knowing. His website is available in both French and English and contains scans of all the Joustra Diaclone catalogs and of nearly all the Joustra Diaclone packaging ever released. This guy even has a direct line to the Brizzi brothers, the French/Italian artists who were responsible for the wonderful art work for the Joustra Diaclone series!


“Mostly Transformers”

And last, but certainly not least, I’d like to draw your attention to another blog that I make sure to check out at least once a week and that’s Arkvander’s Mostly Transformers Redux blog. Although he lives across the pond I consider Arkvander a very like minded collector. His blog postings are well written, a joy to read and accompanied by great photography. I try to stay focused on collecting G1 Transformers, but this guy’s blog is testing my resolve. One of these days I’m probably going to cave and buy more recent TF stuff and it will all be his fault! :-)

So, is there anything my lazy ass has to offer today, you might wonder? Not yet, unfortunately. I am working hard on the 6th installment of my MB Transformers series of articles. Besides that, I’ve been extremely lucky in scoring some cool TF and GI Joe items that I was after (that’s on top of the stuff I mentioned in my previous postings). So collection wise, there is no shortage of cool stuff that I hope to photograph and publish here as soon as those packages have arrived safely here in the low countries. Have a great Sunday (or what’s left of it) and see you soon!

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Transformers – Starscream (MB)

They say the last mile is the hardest. That is certainly true for many things in life. Not in the least when you happen to find yourself collecting a rare subsection of a certain vintage toy line from the 1980′s that features transforming robots and your collection is nearing completion. Of course I am talking about my unhealthy obsession about collecting vintage European Transformers in Milton Bradley (MB) packaging.


Transformers – Starscream (MB) 1985

I started out collecting this toy line somewhere in mid-2009 and was initially discouraged by how hard it was to track these MB Transformers down in their original packaging. But, as with a lot of things, when I set my mind on doing something I try to persevere even though the odds are against me. My nostalgic passion for this toy line and the kick I got whenever I scored a new item kept me chugging along happily. Along the way I have had the pleasure of getting to know some of the coolest collector friends ever (and the odd dickhead too) and I’m still quite surprised at the number of people visiting this website on a daily basis. All in all, it has been a very fulfilling journey for me until now on so many levels and I have no doubts this will continue to be the case for a long time to come. Erm, right. What was I planning to write about before this post derailed into fluffy talk… Ah yes. Starscream!


“Starscream” – Check!

“45 of 53″

Starscream is the 45th addition to my MB Transformers collection and I now only have eight more Transformers to go before I reach my goal of utter world domination completing my MB Transformers collection! Starscream was released by MB as part of their second wave in late 1985 and was really one of the most important items (popularity wise) still missing from my MB collection. I scored this one a couple of weeks ago when I spotted it in an online classifieds ad between a shitload of other G1 Transformers. The original bubble insert is missing (it came with a reproduction insert), but the toy and the paperwork are original and the packaging is in great shape!


Transformers – Starscream (MB) 1985 (tech specs)

That means only eight more Transformers to go. Well, seven actually. I scored yet another MB Transformer last week and this one is even MISB (mint in sealed box), but I’m saving that for a future post. Until then check out photos of my current MB Transformers collection here and check out my want list here!


Right, I’m visiting my parents for the weekend to pick up said item (I have my packages delivered to my parents house) and will be making a small detour to a childhood buddy of mine (and fellow vintage toy collector) so my weekend can’t go wrong. Hope you have a good one too!

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