20th Century Toy Collector

More Than Meets The Eye!

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 on July 29, 2011 by 20th Century Toy Collector in MB Transformers,Transformers and has Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Hail Jetfire! Leader of the Autobots!”

  1. onslaught86 says:

    Hi there – Absolutely loving these articles, this is exactly the sort of trivia that originally drew me into the hobby and has kept me here ever since. The demise of Fred’s US Variant archive saw much of my favourite material disappear, this gives me hope that there’s plenty more to see yet – lovely pictures too. The power of crowd-sourced nostalgia, eh?

    One thing I’ve been meaning to pass along regarding the Hasbro Bradley vs. Hasbro vs. MB terminology is the interesting copyright information on the late-G1 European exclusives, which are probably my favourite niche of the whole franchise – Because, of course, there was no US packaging at all, it makes the whole mess rather intriguing, and multiple countries are still listed as Milton Bradley-serviced. What got me the most is that Hasbro UK is listed as a division of Hasbro Bradley UK Ltd. – that must have been one odd organisational structure. Take a look:



    Also strikes me as odd that Skydive was manufactured in Macau, while Flash was manufactured in China – and that they’re specifically listed as “Manufactured by Takara Co. Ltd.” Both were acquired in New Zealand – I’m unsure when exactly Hasbro Australia (Which Hasbro NZ is a division of) came into its own.

    I also have an Italian GiG-branded Beast Wars Transquito box in storage if it’s of interest at all. :)

    Cheers for the info!

    – o86

    • 20th Century Toy Collector says:

      Thx for your kind comments and the photos! Great to hear from people who have the same interest in this sort of trivia from the other side of the globe! :-)

      As it happens I am currently puzzling together the hierarchy of the various international Hasbro/MB subsidiaries that were out there in the 80s and 90s and I plan to include that info in a future article. From what I’ve learned so far, it seems that the various European MB subsidiaries were very autonomous for many years after MB’s takeover by Hasbro. E.g. in the Netherlands, “Hasbro Netherlands” is a subsidiary of MB International BV (and still is to this day!). Also the French MB and Kenner/Parker operations remained very autonomous for many many years. Not entirely surprising given the way the French are ;-) You can learn a lot by googling for SEC filings for Hasbro. Try googling “sec ex-22 hasbro subsidiaries” and see what comes up. ;-)

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