TF-1.com - Early G1 Jets - Prototypes, Production samples, Early Release

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Maz, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. Maz

    Maz Square One TFW2005 Supporter

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    Hey guys,

    It's been a while since I put together anything this big or long, but I think it's been worth the wait. This article deals with the earliest versions of the G1 jets: Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, Ramjet, Thrust and Dirge. It focuses on the evolutionary process of these toys from original concepts and prototypes through samples to production pieces. There are still many gaps, but I feel that this article sheds some light on a few of those gaps that may previously have been unknown to most.

    I've split the article into three parts.

    Part 1: THE EARLY PRE-RUBSIGN SERIES 1 RELEASES

    This section shows one of the first Transformers, a Thundercracker, to ever hit a shelf in the US, most likely amongst the very first ever assortments of Transformers sold anywhere in 1984.

    Part 2: THE SERIES 2 CONCEPTS AND PROTOTYPES

    This section shows what could have been for Ramjet, Thrust and Dirge. It includes some great catalog photography and artwork from Japan that show very strange hybrids of the series 1 and series 2 jets. Also included in this section are amazing pictures of original G1 unpainted and painted RESIN HARDCOPY PROTOTYPE Thrust, Dirge and Ramjet wings, fins and weapons.

    Part 3: THE PRE-PRODUCTION ORANGE-CANOPIED RAMJET

    This section focuses on a very special US Transformers Ramjet that was a production sample previously in the possession of an ex-Hasbro VP responsible for TFs. It was intended to be part of a Hasbro TF museum collection but instead was sold off on eBay as part of a magnificent collection of production samples and variants.

    All in all, very text-heavy, picture-heavy and info-heavy.

    Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. Here ya go:
    http://www.tf-1.com/articles/eurous_frame.php?art=earlyjets

    Many thanks to Paul Hitchens, Himawari, Curt Fignar, all the other contributors of pics and of course to Paul Vromen for the spectacular Ramjet artwork in the sidebar.


    All the best
    Maz
     
  2. Master Megatron

    Master Megatron Action Bastard

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    Best read I've had in a while! Great job as always, I just can't get enough of your articles. :D  But didn't dirge/ramjet/thrust not come with launchers? I thought they just came with the engine things?
     
  3. Octane

    Octane Soul Crusher

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    Thrust had regular launchers.
     
  4. Omnibus Prime

    Omnibus Prime I'm too old for this shit TFW2005 Supporter

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    I want those red Dirge wings dammit! And the longer prototype Dirge/Ramjet wings are sick. Man I wish Hastaktomy would just start spitting out jet repaints/tools. In addition to a proper Thrust and Ramjet reissue, I'd love to see those red Dirge and white Thrust wings used somehow. A predominantly blue Thrust would be frickin' sweet. Etc. Etc.

    Great article as always. I <3 seekers though..probably moreso now.
     
  5. planetjacker

    planetjacker Critters burn real good. TFW2005 Supporter

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    Wonderful article as always friend. I love reading things about my favorite toys I might not otherwise know.
     
  6. Maz

    Maz Square One TFW2005 Supporter

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    Well jet repaints always prove to be hugely popular and sell out, the Starscreams and Sunstorm are good examples of that. I agree that the Thundercracker/Thrust hybrid has great-looking wings.

    Incidentally, I was going to add a scan from a very very early assortment code sheet which shows how close Hasbro were to giving Thrust those white/maroon wings. Hopefully I'll be able to add that tonight.

    All the best
    Maz
     
  7. Maz

    Maz Square One TFW2005 Supporter

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    Thanks man, that's the absolute best part isn't it? Seeing a character you know inside out with a huge twist. Those super-long Dirge wings absolutely floored me when I saw them on the jet, and it was just as stunning in robot mode.

    All the best
    Maz
     
  8. Maz

    Maz Square One TFW2005 Supporter

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    As Octane said, only production Thrust came with the series 1 style launchers and missiles. Ramjet and Dirge had non-launching black bombs, Dirge's being a lot thinner than Ramjet's.

    Looking at the MB catalog towards the end of the article though you can see that at some stage, there was a concept in place to give all three coneheads the series 1-style launcher/missile weapons.

    And of course to confuse matters further, in the US cartoon and movie, all 3 coneheads had weapons just like Starscream, Skywarp and Thundercracker.

    All the best
    Maz
     
  9. Golden Age

    Golden Age BATTLE BEAST

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    I dare say that I still prefer the original seekers over the MP-05 and Classics seekers. One question I have is...
    In 83' I had a pre-rub Skywarp that (as I recall) could hold a little Diaclone pilot. My third grade teacher confiscated the toy, and never gave it back to me. When I was 25 I bought a new G1 Skywarp (with rub-sign). That toy couldnt hold a pilot . Was it only my imagination, or are my new pilots all fakes?

    excellent article btw Maz.
     
  10. Maz

    Maz Square One TFW2005 Supporter

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    The prerub Skywarp you had, are you sure it was 1983? Transformers only hit shelves globally in 1984 at the earliest.

    The blue Diaclone F15 and grey Diaclone F15 were available in 1983 and both came with drivers.

    Also, all Skywarps should be able to hold a Diaclone pilot, assuming you have the correct pilot...although the F15 pilot was kinda big to start with. Maybe this will shed some light?
    http://www.tf-1.com/articles/pretf_frame.php?art=f15acro

    All the best
    Maz
     
  11. Golden Age

    Golden Age BATTLE BEAST

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    Must have been 84 then. It looks like that Jetrobo can comfortably hold the pilot. Maybe the pilots im using are KO's.
     
  12. Black Omen

    Black Omen Well-Known Member

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    Maz, You and Nevermore need to get together and do an official Pre-Transformers through Classics line book that has all this info. It's nice to know stuff like this.
     
  13. dj_convoy II

    dj_convoy II Remix!

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    I love these articles. Good job, as always.
     
  14. WhiteMocha

    WhiteMocha TFW2005 Supporter

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    Fascinating article, as always! As others have said, I really wish Takara had re-issued Dirge with the longer wings. He looks so much better in robot mode with the small wings jutting out from behind his shoulders.
     
  15. Maz

    Maz Square One TFW2005 Supporter

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    I must say that while I understand how the extra-long Dirge wings have caused the biggest stir, and the orange-canopied Ramjet has raised a few eyebrows, I'm really surprised more people haven't been amazed by the Thundercracker with the sanded wings!

    Has it been a common occurance in other US toylines?

    When I first heard about, then got a hold of the sanded Thundercracker, I couldn't believe it.

    All the best
    Maz
     
  16. kllrwlf

    kllrwlf Well-Known Member

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    All I know is that my head exploded with all the information and pictures that you've written.

    Thanks! :) 
     
  17. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Sorcerer

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    Wow, I'm really amazed at the whole story there.

    I'm a bit confused as to why we never saw the larger gold wings, and at the sanding.

    As an aside, I was suprised to find I rather liked the Proto-Dirge figure.
     
  18. Devvi

    Devvi Member

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    I can honoustly say I like your articles Maz, jolly good show :wink:  :music 
     
  19. Thundercracker

    Thundercracker Contemptuous

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    Man, I loved reading that. I have an early Thundercracker (solid wings, non-ridged canopy, solid fists, no takara trademark, crooked nose cone, and cut out decals) but I've never seen the sanded wing tips. Good find, and great article.
     
  20. Maz

    Maz Square One TFW2005 Supporter

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    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! :) 

    You do realise that all of this is your fault right? That first damn Diaclone Thundercracker that started me off on all this!

    All the best
    Maz
     

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