Decepticon Reconnaissance Reflector
Motto: "See and you can know, know and you can destroy."
Loves to observe things: vegetation, architecture, Earthen topography, and particularly comrades' mistakes. Likes to blackmail his associates and is impressed with his own ability. Has highly-developed infra-red vision that can record images in darkness through camouflage and at great distances. In camera mode, can emit powerful flash explosion that leaves enemy blind and disorientated for up to 15 seconds.
STR:7; INT:8; SPD:2; END:6; RNK:6; CRG:7; FPR:6; SKL:9
Reflector debuted in the first animated episode "More Than Meets the Eye Part 1" which aired September 1984, the toy however was only made available between 1986 and 1987 in North America and Canada as a mail-away only figure. In Japan Reflector was released by Takara as a mainline figure a year earlier in 1985 amongst the rest of the first wave of toys. For some reason Hasbro were reluctant to release the figure as a mainline toy which was an odd decision seeing as how Reflector was quite a prominent character, at least in the first few episodes anyway.
Reflector was intended to be portrayed as separate robots with one hive mind and in the show all three robots spoke simultaneously (voiced by Chris Latta (aka Starscream) in the series). Reflectors memorable scene was in the first episode when Thundercracker wanted a better look at an approaching vehicle. Reflector transformed and mass shifted into his camera form landing in Thundercracker's hands who in turn took a photograph of the vehicle and Reflector printed it out.
|Reflectors scene with Thundercracker in "More Than Meets the Eye Part 1"|
In camera mode there is a button on top of Spectro's head which when depressed gives a satisfying "click" noise. You can also peer through the lens on Viewfinders back just like a working camera which is a nice inclusion. The camera also has an "attack mode" where Viewfinders weapon is plugged into the telephoto lens and a missile can be placed into the flash cube.
Following this release the "Refraktor Reconnaissance Team 3-Pack" (intended for the cancelled HasCon 2019 event) was released as an online exclusive. This set came in a nice camera styled box and Reflector comes packaged in camera mode along with a small Kremzeek figure. The figure is based on the original G1 Reflector and comes with additional accessories to make the camera mode more authentic, including a flash cube, a grip and shutter button and a vewfinder.
View the full G1 Reflector gallery here on Flickr.com
Micro Change: Camera Robo MC-05 (1983)
|Initial design of the Micro Change Camera Robo|
Later design stages show the more familiar Camera Robo design. The images below show the resin prototype and the catalogue shows a coloured drawing of a further prototype which looks very similar to its final release. Note this prototype does not feature the flash cube which is also absent on the final box art for the Micro Change release.
|Resin prototype courtesy of The Spacebridge|
The premise of Camera Robo in the Micro Change series was that originally it was a real camera owned by a boy but it was "modified" by Microman Salam when it was discovered the boy was in danger. The Micro Change figures were inconspicuous household objects that would transform and protect the humans from the evil Acro Aliens, each of the robots had their own special abilities. The individual robots with Camera Robot also had their own names: Micro Shutter (Spectro), Micro Finder (Viewfinder) and Micro Winder (Spyglass). 15 collectors cards were also available by mail order and were similar to the later Transformer collector cards; each of these cards were a secret mission for the owner of the Micro Change figure.
|Box Front. Micro Change MC-05 Camera Robo. Source: Yahoo Auctions|
|Box Rear. Micro Change MC-05 Camera Robo. Source: Yahoo Auctions|
The back of the box features the Micro Change Story for MC-05 Camera Robo Flash Combination with some blurb for each robot. I've translated this below:-
Micro Change alter their appearance into familiar objects. When we are in danger Microman will be alerted through telepathy and come to our aid. The young boy who befriended Salam had taken a photograph one day which showed an Acro Alien shadow. Salam realised the Acro Alien could have attacked so he repurposed the boy's camera into a “Microx”. “Microx” is an ultra high performance camera that can take pictures of other dimensions. The camera can separate into 3 robots (Micro Shutter, Micro Finder and Micro Winder) to face the Acro Aliens and protect the boy!!
Model Number: MC-05A
Purpose: High Speed Offence
Characteristics: Dimensional teleportation
Model Number: MC-05B
Purpose: Dimensional interception
Characteristics: Early detection of beings from other dimensions
Model Number: MC-05C
Purpose: Battles other dimensional beings.
Characteristics: Continuous action
|Collectors Card for Camera Robo. Source: Alpha-H-7 Laboratory|
Secret Instruction No.-06
Micro-Shutter: High Speed Offence.
Micro-Finder: Dimensional interception.
Micro-Winder: Battles other dimensional beings.
Acroyer is hidden amongst the crowd at today's science show and may cause harm to people. Go to the venue with Takashi and protect people from the evil Acroyer with your dimensional shooting ability.
Joustra Diaclone: Caméra robot (1984)
As well as its release in Japan, Camera Robo was released the following year in 1984 for Joustra's Diaclone line called "Caméra robot".
|1984 Caméra robot. Source: eBay|
Function: Optical Intelligence Soldier
Ability: With high powered infrared vision he can detect enemies in the dark, even at long distances. Dazzles and confuses enemies with his powerful flash.
Character: Likes to observe the details in Earth’s geography; also has an interest in watching over his comrades. The complexity of his vision however often confuses him.
Takara released Reflector amongst the mainline of Transformer figures and other than the stickers the set was near identical to the Micro Change version. This box set had updated box art, although similar to the Micro Change release, but this artwork now included a flash cube. The name on the camera though had a spelling error saying "REFLECTR". Later releases in Japan used the same moulds as Hasbro's later releases (grey pegs on Viewfinders shoulders to stop the arms sliding off and the hollow section of Spyglass's gun was solid - the photograph above shows the earlier hollow gun).
The Transformers: Reflector (1986 / 1987)
|Reflector - not the white box was used for shipping. Source: eBay|
|The first Reflector mail-away leaflet|
Reflector was made available for $10 and two Robot Points (points printed on Transformer boxes designed to be cut out like the tech specs). As Reflector was a mail-away figure, a unique box was not designed, instead the polystyrene tray the figures sat in came in a plain white box with the text "Transformer Camera" Reflector appears to have been mailed in two different ways, one in a brown packing box and then the plain white box was inside; the second way Reflector was mailed was the address was attached to the plain white box.
|Brown box used for shipping. Source: eBay|
|Canadian Reflector. Note the "Fabrique Au Japon" in the bottom left of the white box. Source: eBay|
Various Knock Off Figures
As with many of the early Transformer / Micro Change and Diaclone figures, high quality knock off's were produced. Some of these examples were even sold at Toys R Us and Kay Bee toy stores in North America. From 2007 a few "high quality" knock offs were being produced in China, one of these was Reflector with two different versions, one was in the white mail-away box and the other was a replica G1 styled box. The mail-away box is very hard to tell apart from the original just from the box alone, the cardboard on the knock off is thinner but this is difficult to see in photographs. As Reflector was not released in a Hasbro G1 styled box the other knock off is easy to spot.
Transformer Camera Robots #1
Micro Change Camera Robots #2
The Convertible Robot to Camera #3
|Complete with Toys R Us Price tag. for $8.97 Source: eBay|
|Camera-Robo with Kay Bee Toys price tag. Source: eBay|
The Variables Robot to Camera #5
This is a slightly over-sized version of Reflector which comes in two different colours. The packaging also varies between Chinese or English text.
|Size Comparison. Source: eBay|
High Quality Knock Off Reflector #7
|Knock Off (left) & Original (right)|