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.
Betatron is one of the "motorised" figures licensed by Yonezawa Toys and released for the Grandstand Convertors line in 1985 and is a "triple changer". It takes 2 AA batteries and it can roll forwards and backwards in vehicle mode and walk forwards and backwards in both its robot modes but unfortunately the two versions I have no longer work. The accessories it came with were two chromed claws and 4 chromed missiles on a sprue and a spring loaded bazooka.
The transformation is relatively simple; for the larger robot, from jeep mode remove the two roof halves and the front bumper then rotate the wheel sections forward to become the legs. There are three buttons on the robot chest, the far left and far right pop out the arms and the middle button pops out the head. The two chromed robot claws can be pushed into the spring loaded wrists and the two roof halves can be placed on either leg.
For the smaller robot starting from jeep mode, remove the two roof halves, turn the jeep mode on its back side so it is standing on its rear wheels and then attach the roof halves to both legs.
Compared to the Transformers released around the same period the toy looks rather primitive, however the figure is made of strong plastic and feels well made and it does have very good features being able to move in all three modes. There also appears to have been two versions released; the quality of the earlier 1985 is higher than later releases - from the feel of the plastic and the waist connector is diecast metal whereas later versions are plastic and due to the transformation, these are prone to breakage.
|Grandstand Convertors competition - who would you rather have for the price, Optimus Prime for £13.99 or Betatron for £16.99?|
|Yonezawa Toys original version: Daijim|
On a separate note, although Yonezawa were not one of the companies who licensed figures to Hasbro for use in the Transformers brand, they did enter the Transformers brand in Brazil. Estrela who had the licence to produce Transformers in Brazil mainly focused on the Minibots but they also released 3 remote controlled robots - Eletrix Porsche, Eletrix Jipe and Eletrix Esporte.
The original version of Betatron was called Daijim, released in 1983 in Japan (pictured above). Apart from its box the figure was identical however this was packaged with two AA batteries. As far as I know, following its original release, Daijim had 5 further official releases (including Betatron).
|Super Auto Robot, released by GiG in Italy (Source: Kuz78 of GV giocattolivecchi.com)|
|Giant Robot "Daijim" western release (Source: eBay)|
|Daijim from French company Euro Toy (Source: eBay)|
|"Trans-Bot-3" from the North American toyline "Convert-A-Bots" from Village Toys (Source: eBay)|
|Betatrons instruction sheet.|
There are 3 types of Knock off that I know of, two of which appear to be made by the same company, not to mention that this company also manufactured that strange Omega Supreme variant mentioned in my previous post. It is called Robot-Car 3 in 1, one release is in the same type of window box the original Daijim was released in and the other was a smaller box without a window. I'm not sure how many colours these came in but none seem to feature any chrome. The third knock off is made by the Taiwanese company Four Star and was released under the brand "Transistor Robots" and was just called "A.T Vehicle Robot-Car".
|Robot-Car (Source: eBay)|
|Robot-Car (Source: Collectiondx.com)|
|Four Stars Transistor Robots "A.T. Vehicle Robot-Car". Source: eBay|
|This Four Star KO came in either blue (pictured) or red (as seen on the box art) Source: eBay|