20th Century Toy Collector

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Transformers G1: Jazz (MB)

Pssst… wanna hear a secret? When international collectors think of the MB Transformers line they usually think of the red Tracks variant, which is considered to be very, very rare to find inside its original packaging (and it is!). It might come as a surprise to some, but the red Tracks is not the rarest of all the MB releases. Going by my own collecting experience and that of fellow MB Transformers collectors I have found that there are several Transformers that are even harder to find inside their original packaging than the mythical red Tracks. One of these, without a doubt, is MB Jazz. It is one of the rarest Transformers to find inside its original packaging.

Transformers – Jazz (MB) 1985

As you may have read in my previous post I recently finally tracked down a complete MB Jazz. I found this one in Belgium a couple of months ago, which is coincidentally the same country where the only other MB Jazz sighting I know of was located. This MB Jazz was childhood owned by the seller and is 100% complete as you can see, even down to the used sticker sheet. The seller recalls getting this MB Jazz and an MB Optimus Prime for Sinterklaas in December 1985 (Sinterklaas is -more or less- the Dutch/Belgian equivalent of Santa Claus), which fits nicely with the confirmed first appearance of Transformers in Europe.


Jazz is a fan favourite and was certainly popular as a toy among all my buddies in the 1980’s. The funny thing about the packaging on this MB version of Jazz is that an alteration has been made to the name badge. Take a look, here’s what the packaging of the US version of Jazz looks like:

Transformers – Jazz (Hasbro) 1984 – US name badge

And now take a look at the packaging of the European MB version of Jazz from 1985. Right behind his name we can see the addition of the name “Porsche”:

Transformers – Jazz (MB) 1985 – name badge variation

I have to admit that I am quite baffled as to the meaning behind this packaging variation. Each and every of the 53 known Transformers that MB released in Europe have 100% identical name badges on their packaging compared to the US versions they are based on. Jazz is the only one that has this variation. If you look closely you will also observe that the change has been done rather crudely. The typeface normally used for the name badges on G1 Transformers looks like it’s part of the Eurostile typeface family. Yet, the altered part of Jazz’s name badge in the European release is obviously done in a different typeface, named Helvetica, which is coincidentally the same typeface that was used for the European age notice and the multi-lingual tech specs on the back of the box in the European releases. This means that this alteration was made specifically for the European market. You can even see that the width of the name badge has been increased to allow for the longer text.

It is also quite interesting to note that this is the only vintage G1 MB Autobot car that carries the trademarked name of the car that it is based on (Porsche) on its packaging. It looks like Hasbro was careful to avoid using the brand names of the Autobot cars they released in the early years (Lancia, Datsun, Corvette, Porsche, etc.), but somehow it was decided that the European release of Jazz could carry the name Porsche on the packaging. The reason as to why I am so intrigued by this is because I wonder whether this was a deliberate change to the European packaging that was OK’ed by Hasbro’s/MB’s legal department or whether it was simply a change done by the person who was responsible for localizing the US packaging of Jazz for the European market that slipped under the radar. Either way, quite an interesting packaging variation if you ask me.

Transformers – Jazz (MB) 1985

“1986 re-release”

In 1986 Transformers in Europe started getting released under the Hasbro brand. A lot of the 1985 MB-branded releases were re-released in Europe in 1986, but now with Hasbro branded packaging. The funny thing about this is that the Hasbro branded European 1986 release of Jazz still carries this same name badge variation.

Transformers – Jazz (Hasbro Europe) 1986 – name badge variation


“Joustra Diaclone”

As most hardcore followers of this blog will know (all three of you), there is an interesting history to some of the European 1985 MB Transformers releases. A lot of them were originally meant to be released as Diaclones by a French toy company called Ceji Joustra in Europe in 1984. Although I do not have hard proof (yet), it is my conviction that MB Jazz originally saw release as a Joustra Diaclone Porsche 935 in Europe under the Joustra Diaclone brand and was re-assigned in 1985 to MB’s Transformers brand. You can read the details about this theory here. One of the many things that supports this theory is that a lot of the Joustra Diaclone Porsche 935 releases and the MB Jazz carry the same copyright stamp, (which is coincidentally also the same copyright stamp for most of the 1984 pre-rub releases of US Jazz)

Transformers – Jazz (MB) 1985 – copyright stamp

Transformers – Jazz (MB) 1985

Transformers – Jazz (MB) 1985

Transformers – Jazz (MB) 1985

“Cajofe date code”

If we look at one of the inside flaps of MB Jazz’s packaging we see the familiar Cajofe logo of the French company that was responsible for printing the wave 2 MB Transformers packaging. We can also observe the date code that Cajofe used to print as part of their production process. It shows a date code of “08 85”, which of course translates to August 1985. This date code is the same for all the Autobot cars that MB released, which suggests that this toy was released in Europe shortly after that (I’d guess an October or November 1985 release).

Transformers – Jazz (MB) 1985 – Cajofe date code

Transformers – Jazz (MB) 1985

So there you have it! MB Jazz, one of the most sought after MB Transformers. If you ever find one inside its original packaging do not hesitate to obtain it. :-)




  • Many thanks to ‘patobot’ for the use of the photo of the US Jazz packaging. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.


posted on March 29, 2012 by 20th Century Toy Collector in MB Transformers,Transformers and has Comments (6)

6 Responses to “Transformers G1: Jazz (MB)”

  1. Fighbird says:

    I claim “Hardcore follower” #1! :-p

    Stunning stuff as always, Mijo – can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next (maybe some Dutch Action Force as well?).


  2. Maz says:

    Hardcore follower #2 here, simply the best photographic, graphical and verbal presentation of Transformers-related literature ever found on the Internet. You sir, are my hero.

    All the best

  3. Marc says:

    I Guess this makes me “Hardcore follower #3” :)
    Once again you wrote a really nice article. I hope you won’t run out on enthousiasm now you’ve completed your MB cars-series? I agree with Fighbird on the Action Force btw. More gijoe! :)

  4. Arkvander says:

    I’ll claim “Die Hard Mijo Fan #1” :) Another homerun with Jazz here. The thing I love the most about your articles is how much I learn from them. You really are doing a great service to the fandom at large, keep it up!

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