Know your pre-Kre-O Transforming construction sets

Discussion in 'Transformers 3rd Party Discussion' started by Scaleface, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. Scaleface

    Scaleface Well-Known Member

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    While Kre-O might be the latest in Tranforming construction sets, it was hardly the first attempt to make a build-it-yourself brick into Transformer set. Other (third party) companies have been trying to get this style toy to catch on since nearly as long as Transformers have existed.

    Let's look at a brief history shall we?

    Tenta's Roblocks

    Tente (toy) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    One of the earliest, in my opinion a successful attempt at making a third party Transformers from bricks was by Spanish company Tente with their Roblocks. Dating back to the late 80s, these toys were on the shelves at the same time as G1. The Roblocks themselves could actually transform, by folding them in half and tucking in the arms. Almost all Roblocks had a similar transformation, it's just the colors and details of the shapes that changed.

    Tente blocks were a unique shape, not Lego compatable.

    These sets are highly collectable, and can sometimes sell for over $100 on ebay.

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    1986 - Tyco's Robo Bloxx

    Based on the Roblocks designs, but made in new colors, with lego-compatable bricks.

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    1987 - Lego's Technic Robot

    Peeron: Robot (#8852-1)

    Sold in 1987 by Lego themselves, this set was a truck that basically stood up and sprouted arms, clearly inspired by the popular Transformers of the day.

    [​IMG]



    2000 Mega-Bloks Transforming Blok Bots

    Mega Brands - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Starting in 2000, Mega-Bloks released a line of large brick robots. These robots did not actually "transform" as we would call it, although the packaging clearly advertised them as transforming. When you opened them you discovered they used the came cop-out as Kre-O, you were given instructions as to two different assemblies, robot or vehicle. One of the distinctive features of this line is the heads all folded back to reveal a place for a Mini-Figure to pilot the vehicle. The line started out more brick, but then slowly became more like modern Bionicle toys, just skeletons sticks.

    These toys used stickers, and as Mega-Bloks they didn't stick together we well as Lego.

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    Enlighten Transforming Robots

    Enlighten (toy) - WikiAlpha

    Enlighten is one of those Chinese lego-like companies, in fact many of their early sets were directly copied from Lego. They are actually a very old company, and one of the first to come into legal battles with Lego over their brick design. Later sets they released were slightly more original designs, but still lego compatable. A couple years after Mega Bloks made their Blok Bots Enlighten released a "Transforming Robot" line which was heavily inspired by the Blok Bots. Having reviewed some of these sets, I found that the quality of the bricks is actually above Mega-Bloks, they don't fall apart. Also, their assembly instructions are better. On the down side they only give the picture of the alt mode, not full instructions for assembling it. The first 4 Transforming robots had very similar designs, which were inspired directly by a couple of the early Blok Bots. Later ones abandoned the design for smaller block robots.

    Unlike their Blok Bot ancestors, these toys didn't use stickers, they had painted decals on some blocks.

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    2003 - Built to Rule
    I'll keep this brief, since they were not "third party". Hasbro's early attempt at Lego Transformers (and GI Joes). Transformed by disassempling them. Characters inspired by Armada and Energon. Basically they are Unicron Trilogy Kre-O without the Kreons.

    [​IMG]



    Sluban

    Another Chinese company like Enlighten, this company released transforming robot block sets that include characters who look vaguely like Bumblebee and Jetfire. Transformation is basically laying down and folding up, but not bad. They also released some simple transforming robots in their space line. Bricks used were all common Lego bricks.

    ADDITIONAL - I recently learned that Sluban copies most of it's sets from Korean brick company Oxford Block, who is the maker of Kre-O. This explains why their bricks are so similar. All the Sluban sets are copies of Oxford sets, but you are more likely to find the Sluban copies than the original Oxford sets these days.

    [​IMG]

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    Kazi

    Another Chinese Lego-copier, this company started releasing transforming brick sets a couple years back, that have slowly started looking more like Transformers with each wave of toys. Early ones were simple bulldozers or helicopters, while later ones are clearly Bay-movie characters from Jetfire, Incinerator, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. Kazi also released a line of "Universe Warriors" along side the Transforming robots. While not transforming, they are combiners, with instructions included to make two robots into into big robot! Earlier Enlighten robots were made entirely of common Lego bricks, but later ones, like Optimus Prime and Bumblebee used a lot of custom parts.

    [​IMG]

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    2012 - Robot Top Deformation

    I only saw a couple pictures of the boxes online once, but someone in china seemed to make actual KOs of the larger Kre-O sets. Here is an example:

    [​IMG]

    2012 - Star Diamond Trans Robots.

    Another Chinese attempt at Transformer blocks. 4 sets of "Trans Robots" have been released... inspired by Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Barricade and Blackout from the Bay-movies. All are small sets that have to be reassembled to transform. In fact I noticed that Blackout is based on a previously released Helicopter set from Star Diamond that they just added the robot parts to the set to make him a Trans Robot. So far all the parts used to make Trans Robots seem to be standard Lego bricks.

    [​IMG]

    A second line from Star Diamond is the Blocks Deformation Soldiers. These are larger, more complicate sets. Like the Trans Robots, most of them were previously released as only vehicle, then they added the robot mode parts. Four different models exist so far - tank, apc, helicopter and humvee.

    [​IMG]
     

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  2. megatroptimus

    megatroptimus Translatorminator

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    Very informative, thanks!
     
  3. Cadbane

    Cadbane Well-Known Member

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    wow I never knew this much about brick formers before.
     
  4. mellowmut

    mellowmut Sidekick

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    Good read. Thanks for taking the time to share
     
  5. Scaleface

    Scaleface Well-Known Member

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    Some interesting stuff out there. Here is one bit of trivia that I found interesting... Did you know 25 years before TFClub's Hercules, there was another transforming robot with that name from the Roblocks?

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  6. echotransformer

    echotransformer Well-Known Member

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    Incredible reference. Can't thank you enough, Scaleface.
     
  7. archieboy

    archieboy Well-Known Member

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    Hey man, does that Kazi Bumblebee transform or parts-form? Do you have pics of their version of Optimus? Thanks. :) 
     
  8. Scaleface

    Scaleface Well-Known Member

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    The Kazi sets transform for real.

    The Sluban, Tente, Tyco and Kazi toys transform, the others reassemble.
     
  9. Satomiblood

    Satomiblood Prototype Black

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    I owned a Tente set as a kid. It was the 0792 Skymaster, to be exact. But I don't see how Tente is considered a 3rd party. They were their own brand and their unique brick system was not in any way compatible with Lego or any of the latter's clones. Plus, none of the sets were based on any existing Transformer characters.
     
  10. Scaleface

    Scaleface Well-Known Member

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    For my purposes, Tente are Transforming toys made by companies not Hasbro/Takara. They are not inspired by Transformers any more than Gobots or Convertors, but they are cashing in on the transforming toy robot craze of the 80s.

    Also, the Tente Roblocks became the Tyco Robo Bloxx, which were the same designs, but changed to be Lego-compatable, so sorta evolved into not-Lego.

    Sluban, Kazi and Star Diamond are the only companies that made sets that were inspired by actual Transformer characters. All of them made Bumblebees, and two made Optimus Primes.
     
  11. Satomiblood

    Satomiblood Prototype Black

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    Maybe it's simply an issue of semantics.
     
  12. Scaleface

    Scaleface Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I see your point, they are not Lego, nor Transformers.

    I did want to mention them because they were the first Transforming bricks. Plus they are cool.
     
  13. Satomiblood

    Satomiblood Prototype Black

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    Yea, I really think that Kre-O should've taken after Tente and similar companies.
     
  14. Scopedog

    Scopedog Active Member

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    What's going on in this thread?

    l_p1004961364.jpg
     
  15. jbz

    jbz Well-Known Member

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    Awesome post. I've been trying to find a place to buy that Sluban Red Spider and the yellow Humble Bee. Any ideas?
     
  16. Scaleface

    Scaleface Well-Known Member

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    Toy Brick City
     
  17. Scopedog

    Scopedog Active Member

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  18. Scopedog

    Scopedog Active Member

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  19. Scaleface

    Scaleface Well-Known Member

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    I also need to add some Oxford robot transformer sets.
     
  20. Scaleface

    Scaleface Well-Known Member

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    Just going over some facts. Seems all the Sluban robot sets are copies of Oxford sets.
     

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