History of Transformers

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by derbyhat7, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. derbyhat7

    derbyhat7 Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone know where to find a timeline of Transformers history from the 70s of Takara Diaclone to present? I am looking for a creditable source, Hasbro website would be ideal, but nothing there. I am thinking about doing my informative speech in speech class about TFs, but need creditable source of information. The more detailed the better. Thanks
     
  2. shibamura_prime

    shibamura_prime Jumpin' Jellyfish! Super Mod

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  3. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    Unfortunately, most of the sources that would be "creditable" in an academic sense will likely tend to be filled with inaccuracies, outdated information and a biased or PR-friendly perspective (for example, focusing on Hasbro while ignoring Takara, or focussing on the cartoon while ignoring the toys etc.).

    The Transformers Wiki would be a good place to start, but unfortunately it's not a creditable source, despite some of the fandom's best informed and most devoted experts working on it. Unfortunately an "expert" in fan circles would be a "nobody" to the general public, whereas an academic "expert" with only marginal knowledge of a specific subject such as Transformers would automatically be given bigger credence.

    (Also, Diaclone didn't start until the early 1980s.)
     
  4. spikex

    spikex Nightbird is my bitch

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    All I know is my g1 megatron has a 1974 or '76 (one of the two) takara copyright stamp on it. I will check when I get home.
     
  5. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    Aaand that is another misconception.

    Yes, Megatron and the other Microman toys have a "1974" copyright stamp. That's because the original Microman line started in 1974. Japanese copyright is weird like that.

    Microman Gun Robo and the other MicroChange toys were not released until 1983!
     
  6. derbyhat7

    derbyhat7 Well-Known Member

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    I made sure to be careful and choose the right category, the reason why it is not in toy discussion because the toon, comics, etc have a play in the history. The toys came first and inspired the cartoon. As far as backissues of toyfare, which ones? Is there somewhere that I can view them online, I dont have time to have them shipped, searching the right issues to get the full picture, etc. Is there a place to see these copies digitally and which copies/issues should I look at?


    So there isnt one TF or diaclone, microman, etc that ever came out in the 70s? As far as a credibility it can be other sources, my teacher is pretty laid back on this speech for sources, but she does not allow wikipedia. the TF wiki is diff, but I think the word wiki in the source would put a bad taste in her mouth. Any source you have is help, I will take a look at them and I can call her to see if she will accept it. Thanks for everybodys help so far. I want to do something fun for this speech cause the next speech will be persuasive speech and it will be long and boring and she will be much more strict.
     
  7. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    There are Microman toys that were available in the 1970s, but none of them were transforming robots. MicroChange, a sub-line of New Microman (a reboot of sorts), didn't start until 1983.

    Microman Forever - Takara Microman , Henshin Cyborg , Micronauts would be a starting point.

    http://www.geocities.com/futuristgroup/vpretfnumbers.html This one has tried to assemble solid release dates for the Diaclone toys. Site's currently unavailable, Wayback Machine to the rescue:
    Pre-transformers, listed by product number

    Maz's site also has some detailed articles on various stuff.
    TF-1

    My old interview with George Dunsay might also be useful.
    TFArchive - Transformers Fandom

    Here I've just compiled some information on the historic context for the G1 cartoon.

    Otherwise, if you have questions on certain points, ask me, I've also done a lot of research and generally know where to find stuff. ;) 
     
  8. spikex

    spikex Nightbird is my bitch

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    Hey! I said that's all I know! I could never type this without my dog's help! :dunce  But seriously, are there other tfs that was produced along with that line that was later transformerized like megatron?
     
  9. derbyhat7

    derbyhat7 Well-Known Member

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    I want to thank you for your help. Do I have this correct.
    Takara started making Diaclone, etc. around the early 80s. A man introduced the Takara line to George Dunsay, which started a partnership between Takara and Hasbro. Hasbro starting producing Diaclone as the Transformer brand. Shortly after, Hasbro asked Marvel to give each character a story, personality and started a comicbook about the transformers. In 1984 the first Transformers cartoon was aired and soon after Takara started to package their toy line as Transformers and ended the Diaclone name. The TF movie was released, kids cried (including me) when Optimus Prime died and made an impact that the writers never predicted (huge outroar by parents). After a couple of seasons, Japan headed in their own direction of toons, like headmasters, while USA created Beastwars. Over the years TFs toons have came out. Now we have the movie.....and so on.
     
  10. lars573

    lars573 Well-Known Member

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    It didn't start the partnership. Takara released GI-Joe (the old school 60's stuff) in the 70's. It started there. Anyway the first Diaclone series was in 1980. Car robots (where Prime and the Autobot cars and the decepticon jets come from) was a sequel series from 1982. The first Microman series was in 1974. The one where TF's (Megatron, Blaster, Perceptor, Soundwave, Reflector, the mini-bots and micro casettes) come from is New Microman Microchange series, from 1983.

    Hasbro drafted these molds and repainted/redesinged the stickers for them. Got Marvel to make up names and backstories. And released them in 1984. In 1985 after seeing what a hit TF's was in Hasbro's markets. Takara canceled Microchange and Car robots. And released Transfomers. Takara also redirected the Car Robots and Microchange toys in development to become transformers. These include the first 4 scramble city combiner teams and Metroplex, Astrotrain, the 85 mini-bots, possibly the 86 cassettes.
     
  11. microbry

    microbry Member

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    Pre-Transformers history

    Actually Microman did have transforming robots in the 70's, though they were mostly more primitive "parts-former" style transformations for the most part as well as a gestalt robot called Giant Acroyear and as such tend to escape notice, not being full-on self-contained transformations. They even had a Sunstreaker-like Lambroghini "Cosmo Countach" that the back portion of which transformed into a robot mode from the waist up. The first fully self-contained transforming robots in the Microman line came out in late 1979 through early 1980 right before the Diaclone series was launched. These included "Death King" and "Punch Robo" which both borrowed heavily from the transformation used by the early 70's Brave Raideen robot from Popy. Shortly afterwards in 1980, Microman's second series, "New Microman" featured a large number of transforming robots and combiners, as did the new Diaclone series. Diaclone's robots were mostly piloted ones, while New Microman's were primarily sentient androids.

    I'm a lifelong Microman toy collector and occasional toy designer, and recently talked a lot about some of the details of Transformers' pre-history and inter-relationship with the classic "SF Land" Takara toylines in this portion of an interview here (there's other relevant bits earlier in the interview, but not as focused on Transformers):

    Fanmode interview: Bryan Wilkinson (part 5) : Fanmode

    I think it might clear up more details and provide some context and additional references for you.
     
  12. djstarscream

    djstarscream g1 nut

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    i think sunstreker was 1971 or 72
     
  13. microbry

    microbry Member

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    Only if you have a working time machine... :D 

    The actual car, the Lamborghini Countach itself was not produced until 1974. For that matter, self-contained transforming robot toys didn't come out until later and were extremely primitive. The first notable Japanese fully transforming robot toy was Brave Raideen, which didn't come out until 1975 and was not even by Takara. Microman didn't even start until 1974, let alone Diaclone in 1980.

    Sunstreaker's original Diaclone Car Robots toy was created by Koujin Ohno in 1982.
     
  14. djstarscream

    djstarscream g1 nut

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    thank u microbry for crating me on my tf history
     
  15. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    Here's a slightly more advanced version:

    Takara had a toyline named "Microman" in the 1970s that was derived from Hasbro's "G.I. Joe" line through a series of licensing, modifications and introduction of new toy technology. In the early 1980s, Microman was rebooted as New Microman, which spawned a spin-off named Diaclone. Diaclone and New Microman sub-line, MicroChange, both featured self-contained transforming robot toys, which were treated as piloted mecha in the associated official fiction. At the same time, other Japanese toy companies also had transfoming toy robots, so it's not like Takara invented the concept.

    Hasbro representatives discovered the Diaclone and MicroChange toys at Tokyo Toy Show in 1983. A toymaker named Henry Orenstein convinced Hasbro execs to secure a license to release the toys on the Western market. George Dunsay, then vice president of Hasbro's R&D department, assigned NYC-based advertising agency Griffin Bacal to come up with a concept (Griffin Bacal had previously helped retool Hasbro's "G.I. Joe" toyline into its 1980s incarnation, "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero"). Griffin Bacal decided to merge Diaclone and MicroChange into one line, named the new line "The Transformers", omitted the pilot figures, made the robots themselves the protagonists and divided them into the factions "Autobots" and "Decepticons".

    Hasbro then turned to comic book publisher Marvel (who had also been involved with "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero"). Then editor-in-chief Jim Shooter came up with a basic concept, handed it over to his editor Denny O'Neil who fleshed it out, named a few characters such as "Optimus Prime" and developed some character descriptions until he lost interest in the project. So editor Bob Budiansky was assigned to finish the concept, name the rest of the toys and write characterizations for all of them.

    Marvel also created a comic book series, and Marvel's Marvel Productions and Griffin Bacal's Sunbow Productions cooperated on developing a cartoon series for television. Marvel and Sunbow redesign the characters for the comics and the cartoon, leading to some drastic discrepancies in appearance (especially Ironhide and Ratchet). Because the Federal Communications Commission still banned cartoons aimed at advertising toys, Hasbro officially declared the cartoon an advertisement for the comics (which in turn advertised the toys) to circumvent the ban. However, the FCC lifted the ban in 1984.

    The toys were first presented to the public in February at New York Toy Fair. In March, an article in Marvel Age #17 announces the upcoming comic series. A commercial advertising the Marvel comics first aired aired in spring, using animated scenes with slightly different character models than the later cartoon. The first toys were released around May 1984, more or less coinciding with the release of the first Marvel comic. The first episode of the cartoon didn't air until September 1984.
     
  16. derbyhat7

    derbyhat7 Well-Known Member

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    Thank You for the info, this info is not only a big help to my paper, but it something I personally wanted to know. Nevermore, I am not doubting your info at all, but how do we know this is fact and not assumption? What I mean is, where did this info come from and how do we know the source of this info is accurate? I am want to know, did the US go without a TF toon for years after season 4(the rebirth episodes) while Japan had Headmaters, Victory, etc while we had nothing. I thought beast wars came out right after season 4 or close to it.
     
  17. Sol Fury

    Sol Fury The British Butcher Administrator News Staff

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    After Season 4, the Rebirth trilogy, there was no new Transformers cartoon in the US until Beast Wars debuted in the mid 90s. There were, however, two shows that edited footage of the first three seasons. The first came out after season 4, and used bridge sections featuring a boy named Tom Kenny, and a puppet Powermaster Optimus Prime. The framing sequence was Optimus Prime telling Tom about his adventures. Generation 2 also had a cartoon series that edited footage from the old shows, with new bumpers featuring the "Cybernet Space Cube". Neither show introduced any additional new footage, and were basically vehicles to rerun the old shows.


    I'd also say, though Nevermore will be far better able to qualify his sources, that everything Nevermore has posted is accurate. He is one of the most knowledgeable members of the TF community and would not post up this information if he were uncertain of its accuracy.

    Probably won't help with your paper and citing references, but take it from me, you can definitely trust Nevermore's info.
     
  18. Sol Fury

    Sol Fury The British Butcher Administrator News Staff

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    After Season 4, the Rebirth trilogy, there was no new Transformers cartoon in the US until Beast Wars debuted in the mid 90s. There were, however, two shows that edited footage of the first three seasons. The first came out after season 4, and used bridge sections featuring a boy named Tom Kenny, and a puppet Powermaster Optimus Prime. The framing sequence was Optimus Prime telling Tom about his adventures. Generation 2 also had a cartoon series that edited footage from the old shows, with new bumpers featuring the "Cybernet Space Cube". Neither show introduced any additional new footage, and were basically vehicles to rerun the old shows.


    I'd also say, though Nevermore will be far better able to qualify his sources, that everything Nevermore has posted is accurate. He is one of the most knowledgeable members of the TF community and would not post up this information if he were uncertain of its accuracy.

    Probably won't help with your paper and citing references, but take it from me, you can definitely trust Nevermore's info.
     
  19. derbyhat7

    derbyhat7 Well-Known Member

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    I know that Nevermore's info is correct and I do not question his accuracy. The reason why I ask the accuracy is to have source to his info. TFwiki is available and I know it is correct, but I want to know the source. This is for a paper I am doing in college. I know that a credible source according to college probably does not exist in their eyes, but my teacher is not very strict about sources. I guess what I am asking is, where does this info come from? There are some sources I know will be acceptable. I am just trying to avoid any wiki or forum as a source.......
    EDIT: I called my teacher and she siad she would accept the TFwiki as a source, I just wanted to thank everyone for their help, Sol Fury and Nevermore you rock!
     
  20. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    Sorry for not noticing this earlier.

    Some details are backed up by my interview with George Dunsay.

    Other details are taken from an internal Hasbro memo posted on Fred's now defunct variations site.

    The Marvel Age article also contains some details (but incorrectly claims that Hasbro developed the toys).

    And then there's some interviews with Bob Budiansky.
     

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