I had no idea this piece existed.
Yes, I did know that Pretender Landmine was released in the USA in 1988, but I did not know that there was a Japanese boxed version, C-200: Lander, that was correspondingly released in Japan as part of the Chojin Masterforce series in 1988.
For the longest time, it was common perception among my collector friends and I that the Masterforce Cybertrons “began” with Metalhawk, since he was numbered C-201, which corresponds with the Destrons’ “first” Masterforce toy, D-201: Blood.
Then, in the last year or so, when I was ‘nearing’ completion of my Japanese G1 toys and was ‘diversifying’ into other TF paraphernalia, I discovered several pieces of vintage Masterforce marketing material that showed Landmine. He was not shown with the other Pretender figures but as part of what appeared to be a ‘special offer’ figure. At around the same time, I heard whispers from other collectors that ‘just when they thought they are done with Jap G1, they discovered that there is still the mailaway C-200: Lander to acquire!’.
C-200, it's true, it exists.
Wow, Landmine, one of my favourite Autobot Pretenders was actually a mailaway toy in Japan, and not just any mailaway. It’s a mailaway that got it’s own exclusive box – not a white box (like Omnibots) or a white box with cartoony drawings (like Ratchet) or a USA box posing as a Japanese mailaway (like Dirge or Repugnus) or a USA box with a golden Japanese sticker (like Gnaw), but this was a mailaway with its own box, designed to fit in with the other Cybertron Pretenders! (read more about mail away Japanese Transformers in this wonderful article by Maz entitled "Mail-away G1 Transformers - Part 2")
This was epic.
Tell me this is not epic.
Naturally my next question is – “where do I find one?”
I soon discovered that while not notoriously expensive, like most Japanese exclusive Transformers are, C-200: Lander was particularly difficult to come by. The promotional material I had seems to suggest that they mailed away Landers at a rate of 500 per month, up to a total of 3000 overall. That’s about 6 months in the year, in 1988, more than enough time for lots of Japanese to actually get one.
C-200 MIB with promotional material for mail away
3000 in total does sound like quite a large amount, but then, I just have not seen any around. Didn’t even know what it looked like.
Fast forward to early July. I went to Osaka and managed to obtain the ultra rare MyClone Red Alert (chase figure), which is something a collector buddy from Australia has been looking for for close to 3 years.
I suggested to him that we should trade for something on my wants list (which included C-200: Lander as one of the wants). He came back to me and said he could trade Lander and I was very happy! Yay!
So here it is, C-200: Lander MIB, unused.
His name is 'Lander', read that and weep Landmine.
Made in Macau rather than Japan
Stunning box art, seriously stunning (as with all the 1988 Pretenders)
The guy wears glasses. Don't mess with him.
Inside when flap is opened. This is a feature common to the 1988 Masterforce Pretenders released in Japan.
Diorama on box flap featuring Lander.
Insert with paperworks (I'm missing the bio card because my buddy collects them and so I agreed to let him keep it). Thus, technically, my Lander is 'incomplete'.
Instructions and unused sticker sheet.
His insert actually says "C200". No swapping of inserts!
Lander with promotional mail away offer which came with the toy, just in case the Japanese boy needs to mail order another Lander after already getting one.
The vinyl on the left is probably a store exclusive or display piece for marketing purposes back then. At the bottom, there is information on how to get a mail away Lander (from the looks of it).
Out of box and insert
Altogether now, Transformers Masterforce C-200: Lander, C-201: Metalhawk, C-202: Phoenix, C-203: Diver
- Mail-away G1 Transformers - Part 1, by Maz
- Mail-away G1 Transformers - Part 2, by Maz