Who Invented Transformers?

(See Also: Current Toy Design Process)

(See Also: Corporate Memos: Hasbro TFs Year 1)

Who invented transforming robots (Diaclone cars/trucks inparticular)? We know that Don Levine invented action figures, namely GI Joe, but who was the first to invent a robot that could transform into a vehicle/animal? What was the first Diaclone/Micro Change character invented that later came into production? Was Convoy the first, or just the most popular?

Thanks in advance-

(Fred has heart-attack from variant-information overload.)

"Of course. Of course. It's all so clear now." -Bones McCoy

Well, you wants, you gets. :-) Take it with a grain of salt, as always. Here's a short timeline for the Pre-TFs. For specific inventors of TFs, please visit the patent pages. For a product listing of Pre-TFs by year, see the Complete Pre-TF Listing. For a text presentation of the outline below, click here. Otherwise, read on, and...enjoy.

1960: Dakkachan: The little symbol used by Takara up through the 80s (insert crude drawing of the little winking bear here).

1974: Microman Cosmo-Countach (lambo to 1/2 robot, must buy, please sell me one).

1979: Diecast Gundam (clover) plus tv show.

1981: Gundam (plastic models) (Bandai).

1979-80: Chokokin (Bandai) Daimos, etc.

1982: Chokokin (Bandai) Guardian, Godmars, Vehicle Vltron, etc. (Interesting side note: a TF-liscenced walkietalkie being sold in the dealer room is shaped to look like Godmars.)

1980: Diaclone. :-) Waruder and standard mini-drivers, etc, the Great Robot Base (folloed by Fortress X in 82).

1981: Microman. :-) Ravage (cyber-dober descendent, oddly called Jguar, a cat...), Condor, and the Frenzy/Rumble robot.

1982: Macross. :-) This is where the valk from Takatoko toys comes in, as well as the GPB armor set.

1982: Machine Robo. Yeah, the gobots, powersuits, the base, etc.

1983: Diaclone. Car Robot- Ironhide, Sunstreaker, etc.

1983: Microman/change. Takara Perceptor, Blaster.

1983: Beetlus (Beetras, Takatoku Toys). Deluxe Insecticons (by the way, the ladybug apparently never even made it to prototype stage?).

1984: Dinosaur Robo, Trainrobo, Constructor Robo.

1985: Zazai Gattai (Free Combination). Pre-Superion (never released in this format) Also: The Road Vulcan, which we saw two years ago as that large unknown truck/robot!! Oh my god!!

More Notes: The TF storyline: (via press-release explaining the story) confused the Japanese, as they followed the storyline of the old toys. :-) They found it silly, childish even (faction symbols? Sentient? No drivers?), but the kids liked it.

1985: Henshin Sentai (Changeforce). Takara watches Hasbro, then attempts to create a story using existing Japanese Microman/Diaclone storyline. It was a way to get rid of old Pre-TF stock. (Apparently, this never quite worked out...but damn, the concept art of Blaster shooting Magnus, unreal!)

Followup Notes:

-Ravage is dog-based, off the cyber-Dober from 1975 Microforever line.

-Contrary to a certain article, the 82 Valk from Macross was not the first transforming robot (82). That honor goes to 1975 Raideen (robot/bird), followed by Combattler V (1976) as the first gestault.

-Takara wanted a way to unite the storylines, didn't like the American version, but Hasbro was bigger, thus won out.

-The reissue Diaclones are NOT popular with the Japanese.

-Italy (Gig): Mego was the middleman (helped with Microman/naut for American market, if you recall), and had the contact with Takara. When Mego went bankrupt, Gig went directly to Takara.

-Diakron and Kronoform in the US: Mego, again, was the middleman. :-)

-When they went Bankrupt, Hasbro stepped up to the plate. Interesting sidenote: Diakron and TF in America at the same time, because Takara's left hand didn't know what its right hand was doing. (Takara: "Oops...") :-)

But What About Godaikin?

Are they ancestors? Cousins? Have a look at the pre-transformers that might have been. More...