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- Well they did "Technically" come out Hamleys in London got some but the rumour is that they may have been samples and Hasbro UK never had the stock for very long. Ultimately they ended up in places like Germany and Belgium.
Some people claim similar trouble with Actionmaster assortment 4 but they did come out in Toymaster stores and were a bit more common than the Elites which were bordering on the impossible to get in the UK.
I guess there must have been some about possible in other places as I cant imagine otherwise why they do from time to time show up in car boot sale finds as it's not like someone is very likely to have got them in Germany I'd think.
it's a pain trying to track down the more obscure things I still can't find a Mexican Demolishor McDonalds toy for example.
- There is such a thing as Blind Pick orders so that is quite possible if it was Hasbro or a clearance importer who had them they could have arrived that way, I think you said you could find no record of those items being part of the 90's Chinese re-releases.
But as I said there's definitely cases of importers handling Transformers through the 90's in odd packaging I.e. Colossus or Spark being sold instead of Clench and Pyro. I also remember that American AquaSpeeders and Rollerforce were out here too.
I don't know where those Thundercats ended up - they appear in lots of adverts in Model mart etc magazines in the 1990's That said I used to have a big local Poundstretcher and they had that Thunder-claw vehicle so you could be right.
So I have no specific knowledge in that case though about that store.
- I also remembered that around the time you mentioned a few MASK & Rocklords and even some DX Gobots (Machine Robo DX) toys showed up in clearance stores much later than the original release - perhaps the possible explanation is that they were as you say "End of Line" things if G1 was replaced by G2 or G2 had finished then people might have been clearancing and clearing out those what they would have seen as "Dead Brands".
Sometimes if a store closes or has a spring clean they find things that they forgot they had (this happens a lot in TRU I notice).
I can't say I've heard any specific references to 1986 toys showing up in the 90's but I do understand Ultra Magnus and Rodimus did hang around quite a number of years but I don't think it would have been 5 years.
Hasbro UK used to offer the older items as items you could still order sometimes 2 or 3 years after they 1st came out and even put them in the catalogues still but again I don't think it was that long.
The only Ultra Magnus related story I can think of is Boots (when they used to sell more toys) and a mostly dead store called Martains the newsagents used to sell that Ultra Magnus with the plastic wheels and unpainted face some months after the original version had left stock. so it's possible that Cheap American reissue versions of Rodimus and Ultra Magnus with plastic wheels might have shown up later. but I have no specific word of that. and the UK might not have even got many rubber wheeled Rodimus anyway.
- Such things usually come from a few potential sources.
1. They are Warehouse finds from Hasbro themselves
2. They are dead stock from America or Canada or Australia re-imported to the UK by either Hasbro personally or by a gray importer like Kingsley Paige (also known as United Overseas) or MBC Ltd.
3. There are other ways things come in now that probably didn't happen in the 1980/1990's
As to the specifics I know of lots of G2 oddities in European packaging that came in post G2 lots of that was from places like Italy pretty much all of that came via grey imports as they all have import stickers on them. It's possible that as also happened with Thundercats some of that had been sitting in a middleman warehouse in Europe somewhere until someone found it. (someone found 12,000 Thundercats figures in a German Warehouse in the 90's).
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