20th Century Toy Collector

Transform and Roll Out!

Archive for April, 2014

My MB Autobot Cars Collection

Of all the vintage toy lines that I collect Transformers are without a doubt my favourite. My primary focus is trying to complete my collection of Transformers that were released in continental Europe in 1985 by MB. Of all the subgroups of Transformers that were released, the Autobot cars have a special place in my heart. MB released a total of nine Autobot cars in 1985 in Europe and it took me a lot of time, money and energy to acquire these nine in their original packaging. It took me almost 5 years, around €2,000 and I don’t even want to know how many man hours! But seeing these awesome vintage pieces in my collection brings a smile to my face daily. No matter what. Check them out:

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Transformers – Autobot cars (MB) 1985 / Europe

I made this photo of my collection last weekend and went to town with Photoshop and added some grainy noise to the photo to make everything look like an old magazine print ad. :-)

“In the Beginning There was Diaclone”

What’s so cool about these MB Autobot cars is that they were originally Diaclone robots. Diaclone is the name of a Japanese toy line that most of the early G1 Transformers were based on, before Hasbro snapped them up. In Europe a French company called Ceji released these Diaclones in 1984 under their Joustra subsidiary. By 1985 Ceji was presumably in financial difficulties and Hasbro/MB bought their remaining stock of Diaclones and rebranded them as Transformers and released them in France, West-Germany, the Benelux, Spain (and possibly also Switzerland). More information on this interesting piece of toy history here.

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Joustra Diaclones

I’ll be writing in-depth articles on all nine of these MB Autobot cars in the near future, but for now let’s have a quick look at all of them, shall we? Autobot roll call time!!!!

“Trailbreaker”

Autobot strategist Trailbreaker. Transforms into a 1979 black Toyota Hi-Lux 4WD with cab. In the cartoon he is most remembered for using his awesome force field! This particular MB release is reused left-over stock of the Ceji Joustra Diaclone “Toyota 4×4″. What a beautiful toy!

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Transformers – Trailbreaker (MB) 1985 / Europe

“Ratchet”

Autobot medic Ratchet. Transforms into an early 1980′s Nissan Onebox Ambulance Vanette. In the cartoon Ratchet was the resident medic that could fix any injury that his Autobot brethren would sustain. This particular MB release is reused left-over stock of the Ceji Joustra Diaclone “Ambulance”.

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Transformers – Ratchet (MB) 1985 / Europe

“Mirage”

Autobot spy Mirage. Transforms into a Ligier JS-11 F-1 racing car! In the cartoon Mirage’s speciality was making himself invisible for a limited amount of time, which can come in quite handy when you’re a spy! This particular MB release is reused left-over stock of the Ceji Joustra Diaclone “Ligier”.

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Transformers – Mirage (MB) 1985 / Europe

“Jazz”

Autobot agent Jazz. Transforms into a 1981 Porsche 935 Turbo. In the cartoon Jazz was known for his love of music and gettin’ down, yeah! This particular MB release is reused left-over stock of the Ceji Joustra Diaclone “Porsche 935″. For some reason this is by far the rarest of all the MB Autobot cars ever released. If you ever find one, do not hesitate to snap it up. Literally worth its weight in gold!

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Transformers – Jazz (MB) 1985 / Europe

“Red Tracks”

Autobot warrior Tracks. Transforms into a 1980 Chevrolette Corvette. In the cartoon Tracks was known for being vain, and well… who could blame him. He looks awesome! This particular MB release is reused left-over stock of the Ceji Joustra Diaclone “Corvette” and that also explains why this MB version of Tracks is red instead of the regular old blue Tracks! One of the most well known colour variations in G1 Transformers collecting and absolutely the number one most popular (and highly expensive!) item of the whole MB Transformers line. Red Tracks’s vanity would not have it any other way!

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Transformers – Red Tracks (MB) 1985 / Europe

“Sunswipe”

Autobot warrior Sideswipe, erm, Sunstreaker, no wait…. What’s this? Well, it’s a Sunstreaker inside Sideswipe packaging! It’s still not clear how this mistake happened, but it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that MB actually sold Sunstreakers inside Sideswipe packaging! This particular MB release is reused left-over stock of the Ceji Joustra Diaclone “Countach”. It is one of the many packaging/variant mistakes that MB made in the very early days of Transformers in Europe and it’s the most outrageous one if you ask me. More about this weird packaging mistake in an article I wrote here.

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Transformers – Sunswipe (MB) 1985 / Europe

“Wheeljack”

Autobot engineer Wheeljack. Transforms into a 1975 Lancia Stratos Turbo #539. Wheeljack is fondly remembered for being the crazy inventor scientist among the Autobot ranks. This particular MB release is reused left-over stock of the Ceji Joustra Diaclone “Lancia Stratos”.

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Transformers – Wheeljack (MB) 1985 / Europe

“Prowl”

Autobot strategist Prowl. Transforms into a 1979 Datsun Fairlady 280ZX Police Cruiser. Prowl is generally considered to be the second in charge after Optimus Prime during the early G1 days. This particular MB release is reused left-over stock of the Ceji Joustra Diaclone “Fairlady Police”.

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Transformers – Prowl (MB) 1985 / Europe

“Hound”

Autobot scout Hound. Transforms into a Mitsubishi J59 Jeep. Hound’s function as scout was portrayed often in the early episodes of the cartoon along with this hologram gun. This particular MB release is reused left-over stock of the Ceji Joustra Diaclone “Jeep”.

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Transformers – Hound (MB) 1985 / Europe

I feel all giddy inside whenever I look at these nine MB Autobot cars in my collection. They hold such sentimental value to me and their historic significance in the very early years of Transformers in Europe is really the icing on the cake. Good times!

And with this nice little round up out of the way, join me soon for an in-depth look at MB’s Trailbreaker. Thanks for reading and see you back soon!

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