27 March 2011

How to tell if your Goodbye Megatron giftset is genuine/original?

Continued from the previous post here - Japanese Exclusive, 1986 vintage, Goodbye Megatron giftset.

*updated 3 April 2011*

Over the years, there have been much discussion and sometimes debate over this issue - How do you tell if a Goodbye Megatron giftset is genuine/original? Before we embark on the answers to this question, I'd like to briefly summarise what exactly the Goodbye Megatron giftset is.

This is the Goodbye Megatron giftset:

It was released by Takara in 1986, during the cinematic run of Transformers: The Movie ("TFTM"; this is the animated one from 1986, not to be confused with the 2007/ 2009/ 2011 Transformers live-action movies directed by Michael Bay), to 'commemorate' the death of Megatron in TFTM. This giftset was released by Takara exclusively for the Japanese market and not released in countries outside of Japan. Hence, its rarity. Together with the Goodbye Convoy giftset (which commemorated the death of Optimus Prime in TFTM), the Goodbye Megatron giftset is one of the twin crowning gems in any serious collectors of early year Transformers from '84-'86 years.

The giftset consists of 2 figures: Megatron, the leader of the Decepticons up untill his death in TFTM, and Starscream, Megatron's treacherous lieutenant who betrayed him in TFTM. This is how the inside of the Goodbye Megatron set looks:

Now, back to the main question of "How do you tell if a Goodbye Megatron giftset is genuine/original?"

"Well, if the toys are produced by Hasbro or Takara, are date stamped as such, and they are not KOs, then it'd be genuine", a casual collector may say. Sounds right?

Yes and no. Yes the toys may be genuine because they are produced by Takara/Hasbro, but also no, because they may not be those that originally came with the Goodbye Megatron giftset. The latter is the key aspect that collectors of this very expensive set is likely to be predominantly concerned with.

This 'originality' issue arises because the Goodbye Megatron giftset consists of 2 figures (Megatron and Starscream), both of which has seen a number of vintage releases and have also been reissued by either Takara or Hasbro numerous times since the early 2000s (for example, the following reissues on their surface and from appearances are near to exact dead-ringers with the figures from the Goodbye Megatron giftset: (1) "Megaplex Megatron" reissued by eHobby/Takara December 2002; (2) "22 - Starscream" released by Takara in July 2001; (3) Starscream reissued by Hasbro in February 2003; (4) "TFC-09: Starscream" reissued by Takara in June 2003; and (5) "Encore Starscream" reissued by Takara in August 2007). This means that a person with an incomplete Goodbye Megatron giftset could substitute parts and/or the entire figure/s, that are actually reissues, into the box and attempt to sell off the set as 'mint and complete' to an unsuspecting and ill-informed collector.

Seeing that this set is already worth USD$400+ in 1999 (according to Alvarez) and I have seen it Japan in February 2011 going for as much as ¥69,000 (approx USD$850), there is a lot of incentive for unscrupulous sellers to peddle off seemingly complete and mint Goodbye Megatron giftsets by inserting reissues in place of either missing figures or missing parts.


The issue with reissues
The key issue with reissues is of course that reissues are toys that are reproduced to look like the originals (albeit by the same company and copyright owner of the original toys). Reissues are not counterfeit toys, they are not knock-offs, but they are just not the original toys that came with the Goodbye Megatron set. Oh, and they are worth a lot less. One can buy a reissue Megatron for USD$60-70 and a reissue Starscream for USD$25-35.

If an unscrupulous seller puts reissues in place of the originals in a Goodbye Megatron giftset, an unaware collector would in essence by paying approximately USD$745, just for the pleasure of the box and the styrofoam insert!!! (assuming Goodbye Megatron giftset costs USD$850, then minus USD$70 and minus USD$35 = USD$745)

Should you be concerned?

Again, yes and no. If you bought your Goodbye Megatron set before the year 2000, then you can be fairly certain (although not 100%; see below), that the figures in the set are those that it originally came packaged with. However, if you bought your Goodbye Megatron set after the year 2000, then there could be genuine concerns regarding the originality of the figures.


Figure 1 - Starscream
I would like to talk about Starscream. I initially thought that Starscream was a simple issue to dispense with. On further research (pursuant to my update on 3 April 2011), I have revised my opinion. Starscream is actually quite complex as well. What strikes me as strange though, is that there is no separate listing for the Goodbye version of Starscream on Fred's Variants page, which is the holy bible for distingishing between Transformer variants. Until Fred updates his page, I guess the below might be as good as it gets (with the disclaimer that I'm nowhere near as good as Fred!).

First, this is a photo of the Goodbye version of Starscream.

These are the Starscream releases that we are interested to distinguish between:
  1. the "first" version of Starscream, released in a USA box in 1984, also called the pre-rub version ("Pre-rub Starscream");
  2. the "second" version of Starscream, released in a USA box in late 1984 and throughout 1985, also called the rub-sign version (let's call it the "1985 Starscream" because all versions subsequent to this one comes with rub-signs); 
  3. the Japanese box rub-sign version released in 1985, also known as the Japanese box "D-22: Starscream" (accordingly to Transformers Generations 2009, this version is identical to the second version Starscreams, so I'll also call this "1985 Starscream"). 
  4. the "third" version of Starscream is the one that came with the Goodbye Megatron giftset in 1986 ("Goodbye version Starscream"); and 
  5. any reissue releases of Starscreams since 1999 ("reissue Starscreams").
I recently translated the below write up about Starscream from Transformers Generations 2009 (volume 2), which lists all different variants of Starscream in very great detail.


This is what the text above says (far as I can tell): "The construction of the Goodbye version Starscream is based on the 1985 Starscream, but once again the fist holes for the Goodbye version Starscream has been amended to match the Pre-rub Starscream - they are rounded. Other than that, to prevent wear and tear during play, the pin that connects the body with the plane nosecone has been made thicker (and with additional molded reinforcement). [text not relevant to our discussion]. While the 'third version' of Starscream was initially released with the Goodbye Megatron giftset, all subsequent releases of Starscream are based on this version."

I will run through the above with descriptions and pictures below.

Let's deal with the easiest issue first - reissue Starscreams versus the Starscreams in bullet points (1) - (4). Simply put, all reissue Starscreams up to this point is made in China, but all the vintage ones were made in Japan.  A reissue Starscream's date stamp will say "Hasbro 1980, 1983; (some Japanese words); and Takara Co. Ltd 1980, 1983; CHINA". A reissue Starscream's date stamp would not say "JAPAN" anywhere.

The issue that remains is how to distinguish between the Starscreams in bullet points (1), (2+3) and (4).

[A] Date Stamp
  • Pre-rub Starscream - will not have the word "Hasbro" anywhere in its date stamp.
  • 1985 Starscream and Goodbye version Starscream - there will have a date stamp at the side of its left leg that says "Hasbro 1980, 1983; (some Japanese words); and Takara Co. Ltd 1980, 1983; JAPAN". According to Transformers Generations 2009 (vol 1), the fonts between the 1985 Starscream and Goodbye version Starscream are different. I really cannot tell, but just compare with the photo below of a Goodbye version Starscream.

[B] Nosecone reinforcement at collarbone/shoulder area
  • Pre-rub Starscream - no reinforcement (compare pictures below).
  • 1985 Starscream - no reinforcement (compare pictures below).
  • Goodbye version Starscream - has reinforcement (compare pictures below).
This is a photo from Transformers Generations 2009 (vol 1) showing a 1985 Starscream, which is similar to a Pre-rub Starscream in this respect - there is no reinforcement at the collarbone/ shoulder area.

This is a photo of the Goodbye version Starscream - the sliver sword is pointing at the reinforcement for the collarbone/ shoulder area.

[C] Fist holes

The 'fist holes' are found at the back of the fist (ie: I'm not talking about the peg holes in fists for holding guns, seeker fists do not have these anyway).
  • Pre-rub Starscream - round fist holes.
  • 1985 Starscream - square fist holes.
  • Goodbye version Starscream - round fist holes, which according to Transformers Generations 2009 (vol 1) are identical to a Pre-rub Starscream's.

[D] Missiles

This I'm not 100% certain. My suspicions are that since the Goodbye version of Starscream is the 'final' release of Starscream (at the time), it was sort of a 'premium' version. So premium that all the missiles did not come on sprues (or a 'tree' as some would have it). Instead the missiles all came either beautifully pre-cut or right out of molds that did not involve sprues.

I suspect the above is true because my Goodbye version Starscream's missiles comes so clean of any trace that they could have been cut from a sprue that I think it is how they were originally released. Like I said, I'm not 100% sure. But look at the pictures and judge for yourself.

(I should also mention that the short missiles have the number "11" stamped into them).



[E] Tailfins

Again, I have no idea whether these would be different, but I have seen enough Starscreams to know that tailfin molding could be different. I include the following pictures for reference in case you need to ID them.



[F] Red colouration

Another possible way to tell the difference between Starscream versions is the red colouration of the body. However, this is very subtle and is very difficult to compare using photos. Anyway, I have provided a Goodbye Megatron Starscream body shot for comparison, but I doubt it would help much.


So that's Starscream. Now onto Megatron!


Figure 2 - Megatron
Then, we get to the gem in this set - Megatron.

Megatron is easier. There are a few tell-tale signs that when used collectively, can aid in distinguishing the Goodbye Megatron from other Megatrons. 

[1] Firstly, the Goodbye Megatron is grey, not chrome-silver like all the other vintage releases and reissues of Megatron. We are most interested in distinguishing between the following releases of Megatron, all of which are grey: 
  1. the 1985 Japanese exclusve D-16: Megatron ("D-16");
  2. the 1985 Japanese exclusive VSX giftset ("VSX Megatron");
  3. the 1986 Japanese exclusive Goodbye Megatron giftset ("Goodbye Megatron"); and
  4. the 2002 eHobby reissue "Megaplex" Megatron ("Megaplex"). 
These above are the 3 figures you want to distinguish your Goodbye Megatron from.

[2] The other side of the Megatron gun should say the below. 
  • D-16 and VSX Megatron = should say the same thing
  • Megaplex Megatron = would have different date stamps (ie: the year should be different) and should say "China" instead of "Japan" 

[3] Goodbye Megatron comes with an attachment piece for the Scope/ Fusion Cannon as below. 
  • D-16 release =  does not have this attachment but will have the screw hole on side of the gun to accommodate this attachment (probably because it was molded from the pre-Transformers MC-13: U.N.C.L.E. version of "Megatron")
  • VSX and Megaplex releases = identical to the photo below


[4] Bottom of the handle (or back of Goodbye Megatron's feet), should look like the picture below. 
  • D-16 Megatron = looks the same as the pic below
  • All other releases of Megatron, including including pre-Transformers, vintage and reissues = will have molding for the attachment of a butt stock. 


[5] Insides of the legs and arms of Megatron. 
  • Goodbye Megatron = red insides
  • D-16 Megatron = blue insides
  • VSX Megatron = blue insides
  • Megaplex Megatron = blue insides
  • All other releases of Megatron, including pre-Transformers, vintage and reissues = red insides

Notes: The very common misconception is that since the box art of Goodbye Megatron shows blue insides, the Goodbye Megatron toy must also have blue insides - this-is-incorrect. Goodbye Megatron = red insides. This has been confirmed by collectors on TFW such as Puffmarko who has owned a Goodbye Megatron since time immemorial (ok, I kid, but these guys have owned this set since way way before the reissues). See discussion here.



[6] One side of the Megatron gun should say "M.C. 12.13". I believe that the D-16, VSX Megatron and releases say the same thing, but I cannot be sure whether the Megaplex release is identical.

[7] This is how the pin on Goodbye Megatron's left arm looks. I'm told that there are differences, but I am not aware of how to distinguish them.

[8] This is how the head of Goodbye Megatron. I'm told that there are differences in terms of the paint for the eye colour, but again, I am not aware of how to distinguish them.

There is no one single best way to tell if your Megatron is the "Goodbye" version of Megatron, but through a combination of the above identifying techniques, a collector should be able to distinguish between a Goodbye Megatron and the other 3 key figures it is likely to be mixed up with. However, that is not to say that a person owning a few Megatrons, including the above 3 figures cannot mix and match the parts to assemble a "Goodbye Megatron" that fits all the criteria above.

Therefore, in addition to checking all the above, it'd be sensible for a collector to also check for signs of tampering (not an easy thing to do, I know). With the above in mind, my one recommendation is this - if you are about to sink a significant amount of money into a Goodbye Megatron giftset, you should at the very least afford yourself the opportunity to physically inspect the set and satisfy yourself as to all the above. If you are buying from overseas and cannot physically inspect the set and all its contents, the risk of you getting a 'cobbled' together set consisting of a mix and match of parts and a possibly cobbled together Megatron, increases exponentially.

Extra - Paperworks
If you require your Goodbye Megatron giftset to, in what is commonly known in some collecting circles, be 101% complete, these are the paperworks that it should come with:
  1. Destron Heroes Poster (perhaps the single most important thing in a Goodbye Megatron giftset and the one thing is most commonly missing is this poster, which features art of all Japanese released Decepticons from the year 1984 to 1986).
  2. Goodbye set coupon (this is exclusive to the Goodbye Megatron and Goodbye Convoy giftsets and also an item that is commonly missing).
  3. "16 - Megatron" instruction and sticker sheets (this is similar to the instruction sheet that came with the 1984/85 release of 16 - Megatron).
  4. "22 - Starscream" instruction and sticker sheets (this is similar to the instruction sheet that came with the 1984/85 release of 22 - Starscream).
  5. Tech Spec decoder.
  6. S.T.A.R.S. and other mail-away order catalogue.
  7. Transformers 1986 catalogue.
  8. White postcard (no idea what this is but all Japanese released Transformers has this).
Photo showing paperworks items 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6.


Photo showing paperworks items 2, 7 and 8


Photo showing a close up of the "Goodbye" coupon


Trivia
Ensure that the little piece of styrofoam on your Goodbye Megatron giftset is not broken off. Like the USA boxed Megatron, the little piece of styro at the top is the first to go for callous collectors handling this gem.

I hope the above helps. 

If you know any of the above to be erroneous, please, please, do contact me as quickly as you can so that I can fix it.

Many thanks!

~ HD

16 comments:

  1. nice! thanks alot!! very informative! it will certainly help me in finding the piece that i want!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Informative as usual, H_D!
    Now I'm tempted to get this or the goodbye Convoy giftsets. :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks guys! Let me know if you spot any inaccuracies. I want the article to be as accurate as possible so that collectors know what to look out for. =)

    ReplyDelete
  4. nice update! i gonna print this out and use it as a guide man...

    ReplyDelete
  5. @ zfeakye: Glad it helps. Let me know if you find out anything otherwise. Especially about the missiles, which I'm not 100% sure of.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a great set! thanks for the informative article also, well done.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks Chris! My intent was to consolidate all information on this great Giftset here because its so difficult to find information online and even if found, the information is patchy and incomplete. I really hope the information here will help collectors fine a good original set for themselves!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Have any of you ever seen a goodbye megatron starscream with a yellow canopy instead of the clear?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been asked this question so many times today if you can believe it. You're buying the GBM set from a TFW seller?

      Long story short, that is a KO Starscream. No vintage G1 Starscream has even been released with an orange canopy and the only reissue starscreams with orange canopies don't look like that.

      This is the KO version right here- http://stayinginthebox.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/collecting-suckerpunch-ive-been-kod/

      Check my article here if you need any more information- http://heroicdecepticon.blogspot.hk/2011/03/how-to-tell-if-your-goodbye-megatron.html and here http://heroicdecepticon.blogspot.hk/2011/04/update-to-how-to-tell-if-your-goodbye.html

      For it to be original, the Starscream must be the exact version in my articles above, as is confirmed by the official Transformers generations book.

      Let me know if you need to find out more.

      Cheers,
      HD

      Delete
    2. i sent you pics of what the seller sent me, The copyrights matches (kingdams dont have copyrights) The neck reinforcement matches the copyrights on megatron are good. Stock on megatron is good, all the paperwork including the posters and sealed accessories are like the other one you had that you bought. Can you just review the images I sent you and let me know, I don't know how easy it is to change the canopy but possibly the original owner liked a yellow canopy better and put it on that one, or possible factory error?

      Delete
    3. edit, I just saw that it looks like the legs have the part where the stock piece would go, I missed that on my first look, so it looks like this is not a good set. Thanks for your site

      Delete
    4. Yes, the back of Megatrons legs have the molding for the stock attachment and the styro has been cut to accommodate that. Just check it against my pics.

      I think that BOTH SS and Megs are not originals for that particular set on sale.

      Delete
  9. I picked up the set for 175 shipped good deal for whats there? (box/styro/manuals/accessories/poster/)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is an awesomely good deal! Congrats

      Delete
  10. Thanks again for this tremendous resource as it saved me over 400 dollars on what would have been a major error. Now comes the fun part of trying to make it whole again. When I get it in the mail, do you mind if I send you better pics of the paperwork and bagged accessories to determine if it matches what you have for your set?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sent you the pics of what I picked up, poster looks good, accessories I believe are good, the tape has started to yellow on some of the accesory bags. I shot you an email with pics of everything I got, let me know what you think

    ReplyDelete

Your comment will be beamed to me and will be visible within 3 to 7 hours typically. Do check back or subscribe to this post for my responses or to see comments from other readers! ~ HD

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