Saturday, 28 February 2015

Grandstand Convertors


Brief company history
Grandstand (also known as Grandstand Leisure Limited) was a known brand in the UK and New Zealand in the 1970s and 1980s which primarily imported and re-branded electronic games from third party manufacturers such as Tomy.
Grandstand was owned by Hales Ltd based in Harrogate, Yorkshire in England; Hales Ltd was a subsidiary of Adam Leisure Group PLC. The Grandstand brand was bought out by Tiger Electronics which in turn was bought out by Hasbro in 1998. The Adam Leisure Group as a company have since been dissolved.


Grandstand Convertors
In 1984 transforming robots were the latest fad with Tonka’s Go-Bots and Hasbro's Transformers. Grandstand decided to cash in on their success; while not fully diversifying from their main staple of gaming systems, they imported toys from various other toy lines in Japan licensing from such toy companies as Toybox, Yonezawa Corporation and Takara. As far as I'm aware Grandstand Convertors only had 11 toys in their lineup, 4 of which were “motorised” requiring batteries.
The Convertors had a paper thin storyline and each figure also had a brief bio and there was no supporting cartoon or comic to promote the line with children; even the boxes appear quite bland when compared to the original Transformers and Go-Bots. Unlike the Go-Bots and Transformers there was no good versus evil, all the Convertors were evil but anyone who captured one could use their power to defend against other Convertors.
The line was released in 1985 and lasted up to around 1987; against The Transformers there was no competition, however it meant the UK got to see a few of Takaras Diaclone and Microman releases.

Grandstand Convertors Catalogue 1985. Courtesy of Retromash.com

Grandstand Convertors Catalogue 1985. Courtesy of Retromash.com

The Backstory
This is the story of the evil Grandstand Convertors. It takes place not in the future, not in some dark and distant corner of the universe, but here and now on Earth. Your Earth!
Already these mutants have conquered almost all our galaxy. Yet because they represent a force so evil, hardly anyone has dared admit their existence or speak their name. But now their name must be spoken and someone has to make a stand. That someone is you. Only you can save the Earth.
First, you must learn learn to recognise a Convertor when you see one. It's not always easy - one minute they could be a car or a plane and the next...a deadly robot.
Deadliest of all is Omegatron, Lord of the Convertors and the ultimate mutant. Often he will appear as a tank or a rocket, but don't be fooled - he can quickly convert into a robot of monstrous power.
Omegatron has many followers, like Sigmatron and Betatron, and there are many battle machines in support too. Like the Deltarian Fighter which is capable of converting into over 16 different forms.
If you manage to capture a Convertor its power will pass on to you. You can then use it to defend the Earth against other Convertors. But watch out, they're sneaky that it may just change into something you can't recognise and slip out of your control again.
So stick with it, and be on your guard at all times, because the future of the Earth is in your hands.
Above all, remember - NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS!


The Toy Line


Omegatron


Omegatron is probably the most evil mutant in the entire universe. He is the dark master of all other Convertors.
His great powers enable him to convert into three different forms, each with many other variations.
The first of his main forms is the motorised Omega Space-Tank which is a powerful fighting vehicle with rotating gun turret.
The second form is the Omega Space Command-Centre made up of a rocket and track system around which the Omega Space-Tank patrols.
Finally, there is Omegatron himself, a fearsome motorised robot with glowing head, movable arms, and wings that can be changed to many different formations.

Original Price: £30.95
Omegatron is the most well known of the Convertors and the most common one found on eBay. Omegatron was licensed from Toybox and is identical to their own Mechabot-1 figure; Omegatron even came with Mechabot-1's sticker sheet. Mechabot-1 commands a high price on the second hand market, if you aren't picky Omegatron is a cheaper alternative. The figure is a repackaged Mechabot-1 and is certainly nowhere near as expensive. At the time, the only downside to Omegatron is that because it was licensed by Grandstand, Hasbro were unable to release Omega Supreme in the UK.


Deltatron

A distant relation of Sigmatron and Betatron, Deltatron too has an everyday disguise - that of a powerful fighter plane. He is one of the slickest of the Convertors because he can convert automatically to a deadly motorised robot.

Deltatron is a remote controlled robot licensed through Yonezawa Corporation. The original figure released in Japan was called "Fighter Robo"; with the remote control you move it forwards for the jet to transform into a robot and backwards to turn back into the jet. It came with a gun, a missile launcher and 3 missiles.


Sigmatron

Sigmatron is one of Omegatron's many followers. He is one of two warriors (the other is Betatron) whose great trick is to be disguised as an ordinary earth jeep, but then change in to an evil fighter robot to attack his enemies.

Sigmatron is licensed through Yonezawa Corporation, and unlike the other 2 figures licensed from Yonezawa, this figure is not motorised and is a more traditional transforming robot. It looks similar in jeep mode to Betatron, but this figure is big with its robot mode towering at 12 inches. For accessories, it comes with a chromed gun and radar dish. This figure is quite fragile as when you pull the bull bars section on the jeep to transform it into a robot, it is held on by 2 rubber / light plastic strips which are liable to break.


Betatron

The blood brother of Sigmatron, Betatron is equally as nasty in the way he can sneak up on earthlings in his everyday disguise of a motorised jeep. But watch out, he can quickly convert into two different motorised robots.

Original Price: £16.99
Betatron is licensed through Yonezawa Corporation and is a motorised triple changer - a jeep mode and 2 different robot modes. In jeep & robot mode it can roll or walk forwards or backwards. In the full robot mode, it does not have any motorised gimmicks. In Japan it was originally released as "Daijim Robot". For accessories, it comes with a front bumber, x2 chromed fists, x2 leg covers, x1 bazooka and 4 missiles.



Alphatron



Alphatron is one of the most versatile of the Convertors because not only is he a fearsome warrior robot but also a complete force of 14 micro space-fighters. This great skill means that Alphatron can surround and entrap an enemy all on his own and then switch back to a robot to destroy them.

Original Price: £11.99
Licensed by Takara, Alphatron is also known as Gats-Blocker from the Diaclone line, also Multiforce and Multi-Force 14 from Takaras North American Kronoform and Diakron toyline (not to mention, Dai-Gats from GiGs Diaclone line and Multi-Force 14 from Joustra Diaclone). Alphatron did not come with the 5 Diaclone drivers which came with the original Diaclone version; but as well as the 14 vehicles and launching pad, it came with 3 yellow missiles and 6 black pegs which plug into the combination ports of some of the vehicles so they can join with other vehicles.


Deltarian Fighter
Source: eBay
The Deltarian fighting vehicles provide a deadly back-up force for Omegatron and his robot followers. Just like the robots, these vehicles are capable of adopting various different guises.
Chief vehicle in the Deltrian Force is the Deltarian Fighter, a motorised space fighter-plane with over 16 different formations, making it deadly not only in the air but on land and in the sea as well.

Original Price: £16.50
Licensed from Takara, this is from the Microman line called the "Armored Machine Cosmic Fighter" and this was also released in the Kronoform toyline called "Invacepton". It is identical to Takaras release and as far as I know I don't think any accessories were dropped for the Convertors release. The Microman figure however was different from the original Takara release; just as the Kronoform release this came with a blue version of M011 Salam (instead of M008 Cleo). The stickers shown on the box art reference Microman but on the actual stickers this reference has been removed.
With thanks to the comment below by Jeff Jacobson, this mould was also used in Playmates 1995 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toyline called the "Mini Mutants Cyber-Jet Playset."


Deltarian Tracker
Source: eBay
Original Price: £12
Licensed from Takara, this is from the Diaclone line called "Cosmo Roller". It has also seen releases through GiGs and Joustra Diaclone series called "Cosmo Car" as well as Kronoforms line called "Modulator". The mould was last used (albeit in different colours and accessories) in Playmates 1995 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toyline called the "Mini Mutants Cyber-Rover Playset."


Deltarian Shuttle
Source: eBay
One of Omegatron’s back-up force led by the Deltarian Fighter, the Deltarian Shuttle is equally at home on land as a futuristic train or in the air as a space shuttle helping bring fuel and arms to other Convertors.

Original Price: £9.84
Licensed from Takara, this is from the Diaclone line called "Dai-Train" and it was called "Protectron" in the Kronoform line. Transforms into a futuristic train and shuttle.



Siclonoid

Siclonoid is one of the few Convertors whose everyday form is hideous and frightening. Because of this he has to be an expert in concealment to avoid being spotted by earthlings. He's so evil, Siclonoid must be approached with complete caution. He is one of the deadliest robot Convertors, capable of converting into a robotic tarantula, mosquito, or spider at a moment's notice.

Original Price: £18.99
Licensed from Takara, this is from the Diaclone line called "Warudaros" and Kronoforms "Wargon". Three insect robots combine into one larger robot. Hard to come across on the secondary market.


Silorg Warrior
Source: eBay

The Silorg Warrior is a soldier of fortune who joined the Convertors simply for money. Originally an android from a distant galaxy, he was invested by Omegatron with the special power to convert into a winged warrior or a bird-like fighter plane.

Original Price: £11.49
Licensed from Takara, this is from the 1979 Magnemo series "Machine Saurer" called "Death Cross". It was also released in GiGs Micronauts series and was called "Red Falcon". The figure is held together magnetically and can be reassembled in various forms. Very hard to come across on the secondary market and commands a high price.


Zetanoid

Zetanoid is a typical Convertor - nasty and capable of adopting a host of different forms. One minute he can be an awesome warrior robot and the next a futuristic fighter-plane with many variations.
He is always kitted out in immaculate battle-dress and is extremely arrogant, ready to take on any challenge.

Original Price: £14.69
Licensed from Takara, from the Diaclone line and was called "Dai-Attacker" and in the Kronoform line it was called "Attakon". Transforms from robot mode to various jet configurations. Another very hard to find figure with a high price tag.

That's it for the Grandstand Convertors for now, thanks for looking.

2 comments:

  1. It looks like there was another TMNT toy based on an earlier Takara one.
    Mini-Mutants Cyber-Jet Playset
    http://www.tmnttoys.com/95others/cyberjet/index.html

    (I was unaware of either of these until I saw the "Cyber-Rover" on this page. It's cool to discover new connections between toylines like this.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great find, thank you! I had no idea about that one. I'll make an addition to the article

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