02 December 2017

Birthday 2017 - Takara 21-Reflector MIB and a delightful discovery

For my birthday this year, I did not prepare a rare and significant present like last year for myself in anticipation.

However, during the mid-afternoon, E and I had some time before our dinner and movie (Justice League) with friends and E suggested that we could go to the toy shops. We went and I visited the shop where I previously saw had a MIB Reflector (Takara version). Previously, on multiple occasions, the shop-keeper said he did not have a price in mind for the Reflector.

This time, he did. So after some haggling, I bought it - see photo above. One of the main reasons I wanted this set was because it had unpunched missiles, still on the sprue.

After dinner and the movie, I was home and looking over the 21-Reflector. I realised that the red robot had white strips at the knees of each leg. This was odd because I do not see this for most Reflectors out there, except the set that the Devstar37 showed me some years ago (yes, I remember these useless facets).

For those that has followed this blog, you would recall that Devstar37 was the good friend that I bought nearly 50 pieces of early Japanese G1 from, back in early 2013. 21-Reflector was not one of the pieces he sold to me, but he did offer it to me a few years after. I did not end up purchasing his Reflector, but had photos of it stored on my phone.

So then, I checked the photos and was quite surprised. The general wear on the box all seemed to look alike. I quickly messaged Devstar37 on Facebook and asked if he thought the set I bought from the shop could be his. After some discussion and sharing with him the photos of the contents, he quickly came to the conclusion that the set I bought was, somehow, indeed his set!

I was just blown away. Something I missed out on awhile ago has circled back and is now part of my early Takara collection, most of which was bought from Devstar37. This is such a reunion and make this D21-Reflector a much more delightful birthday present to myself than would have initially been the case.

This story has not ended though...

The next morning, I dug up all my other Reflectors (photo above). I compared the 21-Reflector that I just bought with the 21-Reflector that I currently own.

After some comparison, I realised that I had variants!

The set I just bought (which used to belong to my good friend Devstar37) was the "first release" of 21-Reflector. The words "1974, 1983, Takara, Japan" was stamped on the box, the instructions and all the robots. This was also the "skinny" missiles version with a matching flash cube for skinny missiles. The first release version matches the Diaclone Microx version in terms of molding.

Photos of 21-Reflector, "first release" version:

The version I had was the "second release" version. The words "1983, Takara, Japan; Hasbro" was stamped on the box, the instructions and all the robots. This was also the "fat" missiles version with a matching flash cube for fat missiles. Like other Takara early releases (like the cars), second releases have a bar code printed on the box - this version is no exception. The second release version matches the US released mailaway version in terms of molding.

Photo of 21-Reflector, "second release" version:

Photo comparison showing both releases (first release at top):

Photo comparison showing both releases (first release at top):

Photo comparison of the date stamps:

Photo comparison showing bar code on the second release box:

In closing, this has turned out to be a very good self-present. Not only did I reunite Devstar37's Reflector with the bulk of his collection (which now belongs to me), I also accidentally rounded out my Reflectors by having the 2 variants complete with unpunched missiles. Not bad at all!

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