Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Grandstand Convertors: Omegatron, Mechabot-1 & Omega Supreme



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.


Grandstand Motorised Convertors: Omegatron
The Convertors released by Grandstand in the UK in 1985 (see previous article) were a small number of transforming figures picked from a variety of toy lines from toy companies Takara, Yonezawa and Toybox.

Grandstand licensed Omegatron from Toybox for distribution in the UK in 1985 (which could have been why Hasbro were unable to release Omega Supreme in the UK). Due to the size and play-set nature of the figure Omegatron was made the centrepiece and the leader of the evil Convertors. It came with a high price tag as well, with a recommended retail price of £30.95 which is around £88 in modern currency (or $135 USD).




Omegatrons instructions displays 12 more variations of the "Power Wings" in robot mode as well as 4 more variations with the tank mode and encourages you to create your own variations. As one of the 4 motorised Convertors, Omegatron takes two AA batteries and in tank mode it rolls forwards with the turret spinning round and flashing red whereas in robot mode it can walk forwards with a flashing red light in the robot face. Omegatrons arms are quite articulated for a toy of this era but the rest of it is a brick which is understandable due to its walking gimmick and its transformation.

Below are further details and technical specifications from Omegatrons instructions:-
  1. Omega Space Command-Centre (OSCC): Consists of Omega Patrol Tank, Omega Computer Rocket and the Patrol Line.
  2. Omega Patrol Tank (OPT): An all-round space tank with heavy armour to guard OSCC from the Patrol Line.
  3. Omega Computer Rocket (OCR): The main weapon equipped with Cannon Blaster, has unlimited destructive power and is controlled by a fully automated computer system.
  4. Omegatron: In wartime all the units get together and convert themselves into Omegatron, "Lord of the Convertors".
Technical Specifications
Omega Patrol Yank (OPT)
Height: 12.6m
Length: 25.2m
Width: 16.2m
Weight: 27.2t
Engine: AT-P Ion-Turbine Motor x1
Max Speed: 421km/h
Armour: 270mm missile launcher x2; Anti-Aircraft Lasergun x1; 120mm Beam Gun x2
Crew: 7


Omega Computer Rocket (OCR)
Height: 45.0m
Width: 18.0m
Weight: 233.0t
Engine: M-36 Impulse Engine x1
Max Speed: Cosmo Speed 1.14 per sec
Armour: Cannon Blaster


Omegatron
Height: 49.0m (without power wings)
Weight: 1,360.0t
Engine: LH-308 Impulse Engine x2; 
AT-P Ion-Turbine Motor x1
Max Walking Speed: 240km/h
Max Flying Speed: Cosmo Speed 2.6 per sec
Max Power: 840,000os
Armour: Cannon Blaster x1; Anti-Aircraft Laser Gun x1; Photon Missile Gun x4; 120mm Beam Gun x8; High Powered Destro-Gripper x1
Crew: 7


At the time of writing Omegatron is easily obtainable on the secondary market and is considerably cheaper than the original Omega Supreme or its 2008 reissue. If Mechabot-1 is out of your price range Omegatron is a good alternative, the only difference being the packaging.

View the complete Omegatron gallery here at Soundwavesoblivion.com.

Brief History


Mechabot-1

The original version was called "Super Change Robo Mechabot-1" and was released in Japan in 1984. The actual toy design was created on behalf of Toybox by Junichi Ishikawa who worked for Tomy. The reason Tomy passed the toy to Toybox was because they had captured the market with children's train sets; rather than complete Tomy and Toybox were partners. However Mechabot-1 didn't sell as well as initially anticipated and the other planned motorised robot, Shuttle Dinosaur, also created for Toybox by Junichi Ishikawa, never saw a release in Japan (until 2008 in the Transformers Encore series).

The original Mechabot-1 (Source: eBay)

Mechabot-1 Instructions and sticker sheet (Source: eBay)

Mechabot-1 Variations

With the failure to sell to the domestic market, Toybox then took the Mechabot-1 to several overseas companies and it was licensed to Hasbro, Grandstand (UK), Gama (Germany), Orli Jouet (France) and GiG (Italy).
Additionally Hasbro also took the Shuttle Dinosaur from Toybox and introduced it in the Transfomers 1986 toy line as Sky Lynx.

Omegatron & Trans Robot

Grandstand and Gama were possibly the first to release the Mechabot-1 in the UK and Germany respectively. The Grandstand Convertors Omegatron toy is identical to Mechabot-1 but the Trans Robot toy had a few alterations yet the design of the Trans Robot box was the same as Mechabot-1 (with the addition of the radar on the photograph of the tank).

The name of Gama's Trans Robot, especially the font, took a few liberties from the Transformers brand. Additionally, Gama's version did not feature the gun at the back of the robot head; possibly down to censorship. The gun assembly has not been remoulded but they have been crudely cut off and a new radar dish attachment comes in the box. Additionally the Trans Robot red claw has a more purple tint to it.

Left: Omegatron (Soundwavesoblivion.com); Right: Trans Robot (Source: eBay)

Left: Omegatron (Source: eBay); Right: Trans Robot (Source: Hiroshi of GV giocattolivecchi.com)

Close up of the radar dish on the box art (Source: firebolt of giocattolivecchi.com)

Radar Dish in the box, notice the difference in the red colour of the claw (Source: firebolt of giocattolivecchi.com)

The gun has been crudely cut off (Source: firebolt of giocattolivecchi.com)

With the new radar dish attachment in place (Source: firebolt of giocattolivecchi.com)



Omega Supreme Variations

Hasbro wanted their version of Mechabot-1 to join the Autobot ranks and in order to do so they had to make changes to the robots colours. Dark grey and red in colour, Mechabot-1 could be seen as a Decepticon, with a change to light grey and yellow it was renamed Omega Supreme and released in Hasbros Transformer line in North America.

GiGs Megarobot and Orli Jouets Robotrack Mecabot did not follow Grandstand and Gama in replicating the original Mechabot-1, instead these releases are identical to the official Transformers release from the box art (including Autobot logos), instruction sheet to the actual figure, although the sticker sheets did not include the Autobot logo.

Left: Hasbro's Omega Supreme; Right: Orli Jouets Robotrack & Top: GiGs Megarobot (Source: Puffmarko of GV giocattolivecchi.com)

Other than the Omega Supreme box art, there is no Hasbro trademark on either GiG or Orli Jouets boxes. Both of the GiG and Orli versions copyright stampings have been blanked on the underside of the main tank body, yet these are "official" licensed releases.

The underside GiG's Megarobot showing the blanked copyright stamps (Source: firebolt of  GV giocattolivecchi.com)

The underside of Orli Jouets Robotrack showing a blanked copyright stamp. Courtesy of "The Others".


If the factory producing the figures had to make a running change with the colours for Hasbros Omega Supreme, it may explain why the French and Italian versions were identical to Omega Supreme.

Whether or not Hasbro allowed GiG or Orli Jouet to use the likeness of Omega Supreme is unknown. The box art on Orli Jouets version is the closet to Hasbros release, even down to using the Transformers font.

The Orli Jouet copyright on the box, it was even made in Italy, possibly with a partnership with GiG. (Source: Lastbattle of  GV giocattolivecchi.com)

The Orli Jouet box even features text saying "Vu à la T.V. / As seen on T.V." and there was a French television advert using the American Omega Supreme TV commercial.





Reissues


In the early 2000's Takara faced bankruptcy but were rescued in 2006 when they merged with fellow Japanese toy company and competitor, Tomy, to form Takara Tomy (the company is still called Tomy outside of Japan).
In 2007 Takara Tomy once again began reissuing selected Transformer figures in the Transformers Encore sub-line. Among the lineup was Omega Supreme, released in 2008 this was its first ever release in Japan. The merger of the two companies had given access to the original moulds produced for Toybox, including Sky Lynx, another figure which never saw an original release in Japan.

The reissued Omega Supreme was near identical to the original apart from the Autobot logo printed on the chest rather than a sticker and a newly moulded face to be more cartoon accurate though this was only a pair of eyes and a nose. Additionally a further character was released using the Omega Supreme mould - Gadep (Groundling Auto-Destruct Powerbroker) based on the Guardian robots seen on Cybertron in the 1985 Transformers cartoon episode "War Dawn". Gadep was only available as an e-Hobby exclusive.

Transformers Encore Omega Supreme

e-Hobby Exclusive Gadep

Knock Offs

Mechabot-1 wasn't without knock-offs; several were produced including one strange oddity. Three knock-offs: "Mechabot-1" (English box text), "Space Tank" and "Cosmos Robot" had boxes almost identical to the original however inside the box of all three was a blue and grey robot with chromed parts and yellow tracks.

There were however variations; the Mechabot-1 KO also featured a robot with colours identical to the original Mechabot-1 (see below).

Mechabot-1 KO with a colour scheme identical to the original. Courtesy of High Desert Joe

Mechabot-1 KO with a colour scheme identical to the original. Courtesy of High Desert Joe

The "Space Tank" version also appears to have two variants, one where the tank body is grey unlike the usual blue of the KO's, and the second variant has a light grey body with dark grey legs - almost a mixture between Mechabot-1 and Omega Supreme.

The fourth knock-off called "Space Tank" had a Transformers styled box but the robot inside was identical to the other three aforementioned knock-offs.

The fifth knock-off called "Super Combination Robot" is a mixture of transforming robots of very poor quality. Its hardly identical to Mechabot-1, but has a remoulded tank section, changeable heads, one of which is Mechabot-1's head, a remoulded back-pack which now contains electronics and remoulded outer leg halves. Its a very ugly combination, a full review can be found about this figure here at Collection DX. There appears to be two versions of this toy, one boxed and the other on blister card.


Super Change Robo Mechabot-1. (Source: angrycanadiandecepticon)

Super Change Robot Space Tank (Source: eBay)

Another Variant of the Super Change Robot Space Tank

Variant of the Super Change Robot Space Tank (Source: eBay)

Super Change Robot Cosmos Robot (Source: Transformerland.com)

Super Change Robot Space Tank (Source: Transformers New Zealand Forums, User ScR4p\m/3T4L)

Super Combination Robot (Source: eBay)


In Summary



Official toys:-
Super Change Robo Mechabot-1, 1984 (Toybox)
Omegatron, 1985 (Grandstand, licensed by Toybox)
Trans Robot, 1985 (Gama, licensed by Toybox)
Omega Supreme, 1985 (Hasbro, licensed by Toybox)
Megarobot, 1985 (GiG, licensed by Toybox)
Robotrack Mecabot, 1985 (Orli Jouet, licensed by Toybox)
Omega Supreme, 2008 (Takara Tomy)
Gadep, 2008 (Takara Tomy)

Knock-Offs:-
Mechabot-1 (Mechabot-1 styled packaging, English text. Identical colours to the official Mechabot-1)
Mechabot-1 (Mechabot-1 styled packaging, English text)
Space Tank (Mechabot-1 styled packaging)
Space Tank (Mechabot-1 styled packaging - dark grey body variant)
Space Tank (Mechabot-1 styled packaging - light grey body variant)
Cosmos Robot (Mechabot-1 styled packaging)
Space Tank (Transformer styled packaging)





Special Thanks to Maziar "Maz" Shahsafdari & Marco "Puffmarko" Salerno for taking the time to assist with this article.

5 comments:

  1. Well done, Jeremy! This is not a mould I am any sort of expert on, so it's great to read an educational piece like this.

    All the best
    Maz

    ReplyDelete
  2. One of the knock-offs appeared in the movie Ninja Terminator.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThpdB-W89gg

    ReplyDelete
  3. I stumbled upon your blog site when I was looking for information on a Space Tank version of Omega Supreme. It's really nice to see the vintage knock off version being documented as well. In many cases, they are a little known and under appreciated corner of vintage Transformers collecting. In many cases, vintage KOs are excellent quality, unlike many of the cheepo dollar store versions that we see today. Keep up the great work!

    ReplyDelete
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  5. Great Post, I'll be posting my own photos of Grandstand Convertors Omegatron with an Orange Canopy as I'm customising it soon.

    Plus I've added some photos of the Grandstand Converters Omegatron on the TFW2005 Forum recently.

    http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/threads/converters-omegatron-in-the-uk-during-1985-to-make-up-for-the-hasbro-uk-release-of-g1-omega-supreme.1143359/

    ReplyDelete