19 March 2008

A shocking D-iscovery

D-49: Shockwave. It came as quite a shock to me.

The shock came after I uncovered some facts while writing 'Clarity of thought over rashness of action'. There I talked about my acquisition of D-49 and while talking about it led myself into discovering some interesting tidbits about this gem.

From what I've found, I am convinced the Takara release Shockwave is a unique part G1 Transformers history. While I could be completely wrong on this one, my reasons are detailed below.

My D-49: Shockwave bought in back in year 2000
See D-49's instructions here.

With the success of Series 1, Hasbro wanted to get as much Transformer product out on the shelves as possible for 1985. However, there were insufficient 'vintage' Micro-man/ Micro-change/ Diaclone molds from Takara to go around and so they licenced molds from other toy companies and made them into Transformer characters. The other reason Hasbro had for doing this was so that Takara had time to design and manufacture the 1986 toys in conjunction with Transformers: The Movie.

These toy molds from other companies included:
  • Omega Supreme (Toy Box);
  • Jetfire (Bandai);
  • Sky Lynx (Toy Box);
  • Roadbuster (Takatoku, later bought over by Bandai);
  • Whirl (Takatoku, later bought over by Bandai);
  • Barrage (Bandai);
  • Chop Shop (Bandai);
  • Ransack (Bandai);
  • Venom (Bandai); and
  • Shockwave (ToyCo)
Generally, none of these have a Japanese Takara equivalent in the sense that Optims Prime is also C-01: Convoy in Japan and Megatron is also D-16: Megatron in Japan. None of the above were released as Transformers in Japan except for Shockwave.

I have confirmed this with Transformers: Generations. Omega Supreme, Jetfire, Sky Lynx, Roadbuster and Whirl are listed under Heroic Autobots on page 153, but there are no product numbers next to their listings (e.g.: C-01 or something). Barrage, Chop Shop, Ransack and Venom are listed under Evil Decepticons on page 155, but similarly there are no product numbers next to their listings. Additionally, all these are listed as 'Not sold in Japan' under the 'Price' column. [Note: I've translated the above info from Japanese using my scrapy command of the language but I am quite certain it is accurate.]

Shockwave on the other hand is listed with the product number '49', meaning it was released by Takara in 1985 as Destron number 49. His list price is 3980 Yen (US$35.00 or S$53.38 in today's prices) making him the most expensive Series 2 Transformer after the Devastator giftset.

Wikipedia has a comment consonant with my findings here.

What all these means is that Shockwave is an exception, the only exception in the '80s, that Takara made in releasing a toy not originally designed and/or made by them. Alternatively, it is also possible to say that only ToyCo agreed to licence their mold to Takara while Toy Box, Takatoku and Bandai, all of which are Japanese companies, refused.

In anycase, it seems that willingly but quite unwittingly, I've obtained and now own a piece of Transformer history - D-49: Shockwave.

D-49: Shockwave on display


  1. So is the actual figure any different than the US version? I would assume not, but I'm not sure if anyone has done a decent comparison.

    The box is obviously quite different.

  2. From what i can tell, there is no actual difference in the figure- they are both made in Korea! (but it still is of a quality befitting of a 1985 TF).

  3. I came across this and yes there is a slight difference. The plastic used in Japan is different than in the US. The japanese plastic is slightly more glossy, pearl-like, shinier than the US plastic. The US version is more flat. This is also true in the other Transformers toys. The ones from Japan always have a shinier plastic.

    1. No, there are NO discernable difference between the USA version of Shockwave and the Japanese version of Shockwave that the human eye can discern.

      A week ago (24 August 2013), I went and double-checked both my pieces and compared them under natural daylight at 4pm in the afternoon HKT. There are neither differences in the *shade* of purple nor the *gloss* of the plastic.

      Without telling her I what was looking for, I also asked my wife to see whether she thinks the 2 pieces were different - and she said 'for all intents and purposes, they appear the same to me'.


      My USA MIB piece was bought in 2004.
      My Japanese MIB piece was bought in 2000.
      ie: both pieces were bought WAY BEFORE the Zhong Jin KOs were released.

    2. I would also say that the absolute-ness of this statement is also inaccurate "The US version is more flat. This is also true in the other Transformers toys. The ones from Japan always have a shinier plastic".

      If you are thinking that Jap boxed TFs means they come from Japan and therefore are 'always shinier', I'd say that's a misconception.

      It is possible that toys *made* in a different country may exhibit differences in plastic shine or plastic density and solidness of construction, however, NOT all toys that come in Jap boxes are actually *made* in Japan.

      26 – Grimlock – there is a Made in Japan version AND a Made in Macau version
      (each Jap Dinobot has a made in Macau version)
      C-303: Minelba - made in Taiwan
      D-301: Wilder – made in Thailand

      HOWEVER, 49- Laserwave and USA boxed Shockwave was only ever MADE IN KOREA. Therefore, I don’t expect there to be differences in shine or shade etc and have checked that there is no such difference. I also do not know of anybody in the community proclaiming there to be differences in my 15 years of collecting, but would welcome positive empirical proof to the contrary if such exists. =)


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