Let me first apologize in advance for the substandard pics in this review. I wanted these to turn out a lot better than they did. The scans however I was quite pleased with.
In this review I'll be comparing the Mexican Skywarp (released by the company IGA) from circa 1985 with the earlier rubsign-version US Skywarp(mainly Hasbro) from about the same time, possibly a bit earlier. The reason I called it an early rubsign US Skywarp is that it has the rubsign, but is only stamped Takara instead of shared Hasbro/Takara.
As with almost all 1st series Mexican TF boxes, the text is mostly in Spanish, there is the small IGA logo in the bottom corner instead of the Hasbro logo, the colour of the box is lighter than that of a US release, the Mexican assortment number is printed in black over the US case assortment number (in white), and the insert and packaging are typically made of cheaper materials. Its instruction manual is very papery and nowhere near as glossy as the US instruction booklets. Typical Mexican TF attribute.
Mas De Lo Que Ves baby, Mas De Lo Que Ves.
And the Mexican Skywarp is indeed more than meets the eye.
For this insert pic I've used the insert from my Mexican Thundercracker. No biggie, they're pretty much identical and made of similar low-quality materials. Although, the Mex Thundercracker insert I now have is a touch shinier than the last one... anyway... You've probably noticed the main thing that sets the Mexican Skywarp aside from all other releases of this character in other countries. It has a purple nosecone.
In the old 1984 catalogs, Skywarp's instruction booklet and on Skywarp's box (and even in Takara's recent stock photos on the Jazz/Prowl reissue inner box flaps), Skywarp was shown with a purple nosecone, purple launchers and missiles and purple rudders. I always thought this looked fantastic and it was a shame that the toy had a black nosecone, even if it was more show accurate.
Now. I'm pretty sure there ARE Skywarps with purple weapons (seen them myself) but they may not be Mexican. And this review is about the Mexican Skywarp so let's get back to it. =) The nosecone is indeed purple and this Skywarp has the same shared characteristics as the other Mexican TF Decepticon jets. The wheels are black plastic instead of silver diecast, the nosecone is a solid plastic (with molding defect blob)instead of flexible rubber, the fists are molded pretty badly, the copyright has a block...but I'll get to that in more detail later.
Here's the Mexican Skywarp in robot mode:
With a purple conehead...
Again, as with all Mexican TFs, the sticker sheet is identical to the US ones. It's the FACTORY labels that show differences to their US counterparts. The differences between Mex Skywarp and US Skywarp's factory labels are minute compared to the differences shown for the Mex Starscream and Mex Thundercracker.
Now for some comparison shots! Mex on the left, US rubsign TF on the right:
The nosecone effect in full. Some will like it, some won't. I personally prefer the purple nosecone. It adds a little more uniformity to the 1st series jet colour schemes. It's one occasion I don't mind the lack of show accuracy. You can also see another typical Mexican characteristic, the lack of a rubsign. There are no smooth-canopied Mexican series 1 jets, they all have the striped canopy.
Also, slightly visible in that pic and the next is the difference in shade between the purple on Mex Skywarp and that of the US one. The Mexican version has a slightly duller shade of purple.
The shoulders are also a darker grey die cast as opposed to the US version's brighter silver die cast. The black on the two toys is not entirely the same either, but the difference is too minute to be seen in the pics/scans.
A note about the launchers on the Mexican Skywarp (and in fact all Mexican jets), they do fire the missiles very well, but it's very hard to get the missiles to stay in every time. The springs are pretty damn strong.
Right, let's get closer in:
A few of the differences become much clearer in this pic. For a start, the molding defect on the Mex toy's nosecone can be seen very clearly. This is not a one-off, the two Mexican Thundercrackers I've had also share this molding issue. The Blob. Possibly clearer in the conehead pic. Also visible clearly is the Mex toy's black plastic wheel on the landing gear, and the usual silver diecast wheel for the US release.
One thing of interest, all the Mex jets I have had have really tight nose sections. The weight of the hard plastic nosecone does not weaken the joint and make the nosecone droop in jet mode. This unfortunately isn't the case for the Japanese Diaclone jets which also have hard nosecones.
In the above picture, you can see that the back wheels on the Mex jet also are black plastic, and maybe you can make out the difference in shade of the silver diecast shoulder/intake sections.
Now, I'll concentrate a little more on the parts from these two jets. The main wings.
The Mex wing on the right (as with Mex Thundercracker) is the solid version. Solid, just like the Japanese Diaclone wing mold and like the very very early prerub US jet wing mold. The rubsign US Skywarp wing has the hollow cavity running perpendicular to the main peg.
How do you distinguish a Mex wing from an early pre-rub US wing? Well, look at the length of the main peg. Very early prerub US jets had a short peg on a solid wing, rubsign US jets had a long peg on a hollow wing. Mexican main wings are an amalgam. Solid wing, long peg.
You can use a similar rule for the rudders:
As always, Mex on the left, US on the right. The Mex rudders are the solid version while the rubsign US are the hollow version. Pre rub US jets also have solid rudders and unlike Thundercracker and Starscream, Mex Skywarp is way too close in colour to the US version to be distinguished that way. So again, look at the connecting peg. It's neither identical to the US rubsign long fat peg, nor the US prerub short thin peg, it's somewhere in between. I think.
Ah, finally a scan that really shows the colour difference between the purple plastic on both these toys. This difference in purple plastic is consistent all over the two toys. I really don't need to say much here, just a small mention of the darker purple on the US tailfin's factory sticker. This is also consistent throughout all the factory labels on these two toys, but is probably clearest in the above scan.
The colour difference is again in evidence. The Mex fist on the left shows the same molding imperfections as the Mex Thundercracker's fists do. Although, it's a lot clearer for the Skywarp comparison than it was for the Thundercracker one due to the colour of Thuncercracker's fists.
The copyrights. First the Mex one...
Then the US...
Now, ignoring the fact that the Mex one is Hasbro stamped and the US one isn't (for reasons stated at the beginning of this review), the main difference here is the block. A feature that many Mexican TFs have. There is a raised plastic block over where the Mex jet's copyright would say "JAPAN". This is most likely due to the fact that Japan was not the country of manufacture for this toy, or even its mold. This is not to say that Mex TFs without the block weren't manufactured in Mexico... but let's not get into that here. =)
That about covers it. There are of course unexplainable oddities with the Mexican jets. The origin of the molding is a big one. Some characteristics are Japanese Diaclone, some Italain Diaclone, some prerub TF, some rubsign TF. All over the place. For a more in depth look at that if anyone is interested, read the Mex Thundercracker review here: Thundercrackers Review
One other oddity was first pointed out by Morg on his site. The Mexican Skywarp's box back, as with almost all 1st series Mex TFs is missing the tech spec graph and instead has the IGA logo with some text:
Yet, the Skywarp still has the 1-10 scale for the graph. They didn't remove that from the box but they did remove it on Thundercracker's box. Odd. It is clear though that the Mexicans used the US box very heavily as a template for the 1st series of releases. Hence all the little things clearly blocked out on the Mex boxes, like robot points (no Mex mailaway promos), "Clip'n'save" text (no Mex mailaway promos) and the blatant printing over the US case asst. numbers.
Overall, the Mexican Skywarp is a gorgeous toy. I love the G1 jets anyway and Skywarp has a great colour scheme. The purple nosecone just adds to it. It's how Skywarp was always meant to look! My only gripe is The Blob defect on the nosecone, but it really is a small gripe. =)