Transformers.....More than meets the eye

By Toy Specialist - Kayleigh Davies 


All children of the 1980s will be familiar with Transformers from the popular cartoon and Hasbro’s best-selling toy line, which went on to spawn a movie franchise and many further toy lines, but they may be less familiar with the history behind them.



Hasbro’s Transformers are a masterclass in taking another company’s toy line and marketing it into a cultural phenomenon.


In 1980 in Japan Takara launched the Diaclone toy line, which consisted of transforming vehicles with miniature pilots taken from their Microman series. Diaclone’s 1982 releases included Car-Robots, robots which could disguise themselves as cars of the day. After Hasbro executives visited the Tokyo Toy Show in 1983 they licensed this line, along with some other vehicles from Takara’s Micro Change series, to become Transformers.


Transforming robots are undeniably cool, but Hasbro knew they needed more to make their Transformers a success, so the backstory of the heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons leaving the planet Cybertron and coming to Earth was revealed by the accompanying cartoon series. The rest is history!


Takara discontinued Diaclone and Microman in 1985 in favour of Transformers. However, interest in pre-Transformers toys remains strong with collectors. Though the Diaclone toys that would become G1 Transformers figures are of interest, the toys that didn’t make it as Transformers are also fascinating – and the two biggest of the line will make Transformers fans envious! The Great Robot Base and Fortress X are imposing figures with a staggering array of features, including magnetised figures and their pods, chutes, missiles, and of course the ability to transform. They are the holy grail of pre-Transformers toys and to find them complete is a difficult task.


We are delighted to offer both of these toys in our July sale, along with other boxed toys from the Diaclone line, as well as Kronoform, Diakron (both of which were Takara’s unsuccessful attempts as marketing Diaclone outside of Japan) and other transforming robot toys. They’re an amazing piece of toy history, as well as just being completely awesome.




Posted on 1 July 2022 in: Auction life

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