Sunday, 12 March 2017

GiG's Diaclone & Trasformers (Part 3: Trasformer Auto Robot)

The yellow version of Countach LP 500S (Source: eBay)

After completing their run of Takaras initial Diaclone figures in 1983 (see Part 2), the following year in 1984 GiG released their version of the Diaclone Car Robot line up. "Car" in Italian translates as "Auto", so these releases were renamed "Auto Robot", the name Diaclone was removed and instead they were re-branded under the name "Trasformer".

1984 Magazine advert. Source: eBay

Early on in the collectors scene in the late 90's, early 2000's these releases were largely ignored, being seen as cheaper versions of the original Transformers, especially when their accessories were replaced by the safety "mushroom" missiles. Now they are highly collectable and the prices to own them are going up and up.

Auto Robot sounds very similar to Autobot and Trasformer is near identical to Transformer and both the Trasformers and Transformers were released around the same time, but I believe these names are purely coincidental. When GiG were finally made to adopt the Transformers brand both the Car Robot toys and the Transformers were on the toy shelves together. GiGs Transformer releases still kept a small "Trasformer" logo on the box which stayed until 1988.

1984 Advert (Source: eBay)

However the figures themselves were more than likely produced in the same factories as the Transformers such as the Honda City Turbo (Skids) with one version being the Transformers release complete with a Transformers sticker sheet.

Unlike the Takaras Car Robots, GiGs Auto Robots do not come with the Inch Man drivers; the only exception being Powered Convoy. The Auto Robots also came with the original Japanese sticker sheet.

Below are the all the figures and their variants released under the Trasformer Auto Robot line:-

1) Countach LP 500S (1984, GiG)



Red Version (Source: eBay)

Yellow Version (Source: eBay)

Japanese Name: カウンタックLP500Sスーパーチューニング 
Article Number: Art.N.1

The Countach LP 500S was released in 2 variants, red or yellow. The yellow Countach was also released in Series 2 of Joustras Diaclone line in 1985.
The police car version of the Countach LP 500S was not "officially" available in Italy however it was released around 1985 in the same box as the yellow / red Countach and it even came with the Diaclone Inch Man. This Italian release was without the Kanji text (which translated as "Metropolitan Police") from the side of the vehicle mode.

GiGs version of the Countach LP500S Police Car (Source: TFW2005 poster ladiesman217)

GiGs version of the Countach LP500S Police Car (Source: TFW2005 poster ladiesman217)


2) Super Countach LP 500S (1984, GiG)



Source: eBay
Source: Lunatel of Giocattolivecchi.com

Japanese Name: ニューカウンタック LP500S
Article Number: Art.N.2

Released in 2 variants - red or yellow.

3) Fuoristrada J59 (1984, GiG)


Source: eBay

Japanese Name: J59 ジープ
Article Number: Art.N.3

4) Ligier JS11 F-1 (1984, GiG)



Version 1 - Citanes Source: Killcoffee of Giocattolivecchi.com

Version 2 - Ligier sticker Source: Killcoffee of Giocattolivecchi.com

Version 2 - Ligier printed Source: Killcoffee of Giocattolivecchi.com


Japanese Name: F-1リジェJS11
Article Number: Art.N.4

The Ligier JS11 F-1 was released in 3 variants by GiG. The initial version has Citanes printed on the side of the car, possibly due to censorship (Citanes was based on Gitanes, a French brand of cigarettes) a sticker with "Ligier" was placed on later versions and then this was replaced when "Liger" was printed on the side of the car.

5) Fairlady Z 280Z (1984, GiG)



Blue Version. Source: Killcoffee of Giocattolivecchi.com

Grey Version. Source: eBay

Japanese Name: フェアレディZ
Article Number: Art.N.5

Much like the Japanese release the Fairlady Z was released in both blue and grey. The grey version however was identical to Hasbro's Bluestreak, being completely grey whereas the original Japanese release had a black bonnet and roof.

6) Fairlady Z Police Car (1984, GiG)



Source: eBay

Japanese Name: ポリスカーフェアレディZ
Article Number: Art.N.6

The Diaclone name was removed from the police badge factory applied stickers - just like the Transformer version.

7) Porsche 935 Turbo (1984, GiG)



Source: eBay

Japanese Name: ポルシェ935ターボ
Article Number: Art.N.7

I've seen several GiG Porsche 935 Turbos with identical copyright stamps to the Transformers version (Takara.Co.LTD 1980-1984 Japan), however there may well be earlier variants identical to the Japanese version as there is with the Joustra Diaclone version of the Porsche 935.

Copyright stamp on a GiG Porsche 935 Turbo (Source: eBay)


8) Fairlady Z Racing Type (1984, GiG)



Source: eBay

Japanese Name: フェアレディZレーシング
Article Number: Art.N.8

9) Ambulance (1984, GiG)




Version 1 with Kanji sticker which translates as "Fire Department". Source: Killcoffee of Giocattolivecchi.com

Version 2, without the Kanji sticker. Source: eBay

Japanese Name: 救急車タイプ ワンボックスチェリーバネット
Article Number: Art.N.9

There were 2 varients of the Ambulance release, the first with the Kanji sticker (消防署) just like the Japanese version and the second version was without, just like the Transformers release.

10) Lancia Stratos Turbo (1984, GiG)




Version 2 with the Britax logo and 539 was printed on the roof. Source: eBay

Version 2, the Britax logo was removed and 539 was removed from the roof. Source: eBay

Version 3 had a blue tint to the white paint used on the roof canopy. Source: Killcoffee of Giocattolivecchi.com

Japanese Name: ランチアストラトスターボ
Article Number: Art.N.10

Although the "Marlboor" version of the Lancia Stratos did not see a release in Italy, the Alitalia version saw 3 variants released. Version 1 was identical to the version released in Japan with 539 on the roof and the "Britax" logo underneath the 539. Version 2 was identical to the Transformers version, there was a blank space on the roof (for the Autobot logo) and the "Britax" logo was removed. Version 3 had a blue tint to the white paint used on the roof canopy. This variant was also released in the early Transformers line.

11) 4WD Hilux (1984, GiG)



Black version. Source: eBay

Blue version. Source: Killcoffee of Giocattolivecchi.com

Japanese Name: 4WDハイラックス
Article Number: Art.N.11

GiGs release of the 4WD Hilux omitted the yellow version, only being released in black and blue.

12) Honda City Turbo (1984 / 1985, GiG)



Blue version. Source: eBay

Red version. Source: Killcoffee of Giocattolivecchi.com

The Transformers "Skids" version. Source: Killcoffee of Giocattolivecchi.com

Japanese Name: ホンダ・シティターボ 
Article Number: Art.N.12

GiG did not release the black version of the Honda City Turbo, only releasing the blue and red version instead. Interestingly, the version released in 1985 was the Transformer version complete with a Transformers sticker sheet, additionally this version also came with the small scooter which was absent from the Transformers release.

13) Corvette Stingray (1985, GiG)



The red Corvette Stingray. Source: Killcoffee of Giocattolivecchi.com

Japanese Name: コルベットスティングレー
Article Number: Art.N.13

Unlike the other Transformer crossovers in GiGs Auto Robot line, the Corvette Stingray was only released in red, the colour initially intended for Tracks. The red Corvette Stingray version was also released in the second series of Joustras Diaclone line in 1985.

14) New Countach LP500S Police Car (1985, GiG)



Source: eBay

Japanese Name: ニューカウンタックLP500Sポリスカータイプ
Article Number: Art.N.14

Near identical to the Japanese version and harder to find, GiGs version retains the "Diaclone" name on the factory applied stickers. Without a box the main way to tell GiGs version apart from the original Japanese release is that the GiG version has the copyright stamp underneath the cars bonnet (being stamped: "Takara.Co.LTD Japan 1980-1982") which happens to be the same as the Transformers version. The Japanese Diaclone version has "Takara Japan" stamped on the back of the waist, the GiG version blocked this text out.

15) 4WD Hilux Autogru (1985, GiG)



Source: Killcoffee of Giocattolivecchi.com

Japanese Name: 4WD ハイラシクス レッカー車タイプ
Article Number: Art.N.15

Previously only released in red or blue in Japan, GiGs version uses the green version released in the Transformers line as Hoist. The Diaclone "Wrecker" sticker is retained on the GiG release. The Wrecker text was removed from the Transformers releases however there are a few examples of Hoist with the Wrecker sticker, common on the Japanese release of Hoist.

Hoist with the Wrecker sticker. Source: Transformers Generation Fool

16) Cherry Vanette (1985, GiG)



Black version. Source: Killcoffee of Giocattolivecchi.com

Red version. Source: Killcoffee of Giocattolivecchi.com

Japanese Name: ワンボックスチェリーバネット
Article Number: Art.N.16

GiG released the black version but also the red version which appeared in the Transformer line as Ironhide. Takara also released the red version of the Cherry Vanette in the Finish Diaclone line in 1984. Interestingly in the Japanese Transformers line Ironhide would not see a domestic release until 2001 and even then that was an exclusive reissue.

17) Camion Pompieri (1985, GiG)



Source: Killcoffee of Giocattolivecchi.com

Japanese Name: 消防自動車高層ビル用ハシゴ車
Article Number: Art.N.30

The GiG version retained the factory applied Kanji text sticker on the cab which translated as "Fire Department", however this is closer to the Transformers version of Inferno as the "head connector", which was chromed in the Japanese release, was unchromed black plastic.

18) Camion Gru (1985, GiG)



Source: eBay
Japanese Name: クレーン車
Article Number: Art.N.31

Just as GiGs Camion Pompieri, the "head connector" is black plastic like the Transformers Grapple release instead of chromed like the Japanese Diaclone version.

19) Camion Convoy Portauto (1985, GiG)



Blue version. Source: Killcoffee of Giocattolivecchi.com

Red version. Source: Killcoffee of Giocattolivecchi.com

Japanese Name: パワードコンボイ
Article Number: Art.N.50

Battle Convoy (Optimus Prime) never saw a release in Italy however the red cab was a variant included in GiGs Camion Convoy Portauto release. Like the Japanese Diaclone version this came with "Super Buggy" and the yellow Diaclone Inch Man. Interestingly the red cab version was also released in the Japanese Diaclone line.

Red version of Powered Convoy. (Source: tfsource.com)

1985 Camion Convoy Portauto magazine advert (Source: eBay)

The following 3 motorised figures were released under the Name "Auto-Robot" but the Trasformer logo was not present on the boxes. Technically these are not "Trasformers" but I thought I'd include these oddities as they are also called Auto Robots. These figures also originated from different toy manufacturers in Japan, not Takara.

20) Super Auto Robot (1985, GiG)

Super Auto Robot (Source: eBay)
Article Number: No.36033
Licensed from Japanese toy company Yonezawa and originally known as Daijim Robot, the history of this mould is covered in my Grandstand Convertors Betatron article.

21) Auto-Robot Filoguida 373 Datsun Camion (GiG)


Source: eBay
Licensed by Shinsei Kogyo Co. Ltd. this remote controlled robot was available in 3 colours, red, blue or black.

22) Auto-Robot Filoguida Fairlady Robot (GiG)


As with the above Datsun robot this was licensed by Shinsei Kogyo Co. Ltd. this remote controlled robot was available in 3 colours, red, blue or black. Unfortunately I don't have a visual example.


Also see:-

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