13 May 2012

1987, Series 4, Fortress Maximus USA box - whoa!

This is part of item #6 of the Calm before the Storm post. 

For some time now, I've been wanting to look for a US boxed Fortress Maximus. At one point, I even debated with myself whether I should get just the US boxed FM or the Jap box C-114 FM. Since as early as 2007, I already had the Jap box C-114 FM MIB, and from then, I was on the look out, on and off, for a US boxed version.

Actually, I only wanted the box, you see. I thought it'd be awesome to the US box FM and the Jap box C-114 FM next to each other. That'd be all sorts of cool.

Some time in mid April this year, an opportunity arose - an OZ Former member I've traded with in the past was selling his collection and among the pieces being sold was a US boxed FM. The asking price plus shipping from Australia would result in the price being a hair's breadth away from $2,000. I tried to move the price down to a more palatable level but he would not budge because there is another member who has a "hold" on the toy and is trying to pay by installments.

My thoughts were that there is value to a seller to be able to receive funds in full, and immediately on concluding a deal, but I will not pay the asking price and wanted, in fact, just a mere 5.5% revision downwards of the price - seriously, just a drop in the ocean. Seller did not want to budge and preferred to receive payment by installments, which would take either 9 months or 4.5 months to fully pay up.

So I went away and looked elsewhere.

Just so happened that someone on TFW2005 was also selling a FM USA box, for US$250, which I thought was more than reasonable given the sheer size of the box (came with styro insert too). This is the seller's sale thread.

So I bought it, and here it is.


Very decent looking and depicts FM in all his 3 modes.


This is of course the most beautiful part of the box and perhaps its main selling point.

Full frontal shot of box front. Very impressive looking box art. Perhaps not as nice as the Jap box C-114 art, but very impressive nonetheless. It is this piece of art, rather than the C-114 piece, that brings back fond childhood memories for me. I remember a US boxed FM selling at Isetan Havelock Road for only SGD$110, and it was there for months and months and still no one bought it.

Showing his 'double' headmaster feature.

Close up of box art head design. Looks like the comic version FM is heavily influenced by this piece of art.

Close up of box art detail. I like the extra effort the artist took to show that FM was transformed from a city and that there are some parts with city lights shining though tiny little windows even when he is in bot mode.

Another example.

Close up of leg portion. Here it almost appears like there is a deep hangar bay or deployment area of some sort that extends inside FM's leg. Very cool.

This is a close up of his left foot, where Gasket/Grommet appears to be rolling out from a very deep tunnel. Again, nice touch but very cool result.

FM in city mode, my favourite - 'with working elevator, jail cell, awesome vehicle launchers and more!'

FM in battle station mode, one of the least convincing modes - 'this multi-laser arsenal rolls into battle!'

Ages 7 & Up. Actually, I doubt that even a 7 year-old has the strength to wrestle with and transform this monster!


Full shot of back of box. Very impressive and that piece of back of box art is very big.

Lower half of the back of box showing the now classic transformation sequence.

FM Tech Specs.

This guy is worth 16 Robot Points. Don't think there is another Transformer out there that is worth that many robot points.

The Tech Specs meter gimmick.


Both of the sides of the box look the same and they are laid out in a landscape type format with the same stock photos that were used for the bottom left of the front of box.

'Transforms from robot to battle station to city and back!'
I really like how vintage TF toys describe exactly what you get inside the package and even give the parts names. ie: not just 'contains 4 guns'. This is what FM includes: "Headmaster 'Fortress Maximus' super robot. 'Spike' Headmaster figure/ robot head, 'Cerebros' robot/ robot head, photon rifle, 'Gasket' recon/ attach vehicle, 'Grommet' armored vehicle, 2 laser arms, dual laser blaster, laser rifle, laser, radar scope, label sheet, tech specs decoder and instructions." My, that is a lot of stuff!


This is very much like the top of box, just that the background is in red rather than black.

Again, we see a listing of what comes in the package. As a kid, I loved to read these (and the tech specs) at the department stores which sells Transformers.

Back in 1987, FM costs $89.99, a steal by today's standards.

So then, what's the significance of this particular acquisition?

There is. And I will reveal exactly what in the next post...


  1. $250 for just the box? I want to say that's a lot to pay. Makes me wish I had kept all my boxes as a kid...

    1. hey dude, yeah, TF boxes have become quite the expensive item nowadays. Although I don't think I overpaid for a FM box (and foam) because I've seen it go for even more before. Boxes for the 1987 Targetmasters and especially Targetmaster Scourge can be very expensive like that too, so don't go chucking those out if you have em!

  2. Pay by installment? This is hilarious. Is the market that frothy? After the US housing subprime market, here comes the Transformer subprime market.

    Ah yes, 1987, I too was at the Forum (or was it Parkway Parade) Toys R Us and the first time I saw the box I was like "wow, wouldn't it be awesome if I were to own that". Oh well, never owned one till now and for some reason my interest has cooled down quite a bit this past year.

    1. Actually, there are a population of collectors out there that has to "pay by installments" nowadays. Not really a surprise considering how expensive G1 has become. A Fort Max MIB is more or less a fresh grad's entire month's pay if we look at it objectively.

      Wow, The Forum is classic! That's the first I hear it being mentioned in years! Did you know that the TRU there used to have MISB Optimus Primes even into the early 90s? It was a haven for all these 'cancelled' toy lines back then because I think all the dead stock went there and was just sitting there.

    2. Forum?! as in the one in Orchard? Rarely visited that TRU, most of the time the TRU i hung out at was at Parkway Parade

    3. Yup, the one near Hard Rock Cafe. I live around there, so frequented there more than the Parkway one, which was really far away.

  3. I will say that the box art is probably the best of the G1 stuff. Looking at it now brings back memories of when I got my Fort Max for Christmas that year.

    1. You lucky boy, got FM as a kid! Must be a very sweet xmas. Did you keep it till today?

  4. I think this was 'the' present of the '80's. In today's money this figure would have cost close to $200, and I'm not sure I know many parents willing to spend that much for a toy. No wonder the value only continues to go up.

    1. Back in the day, a $30 toy was already pushing where my parents were concerned. So $200 is completely and utterly out of the question. I got a lot of $6 or $7 toys though, eg: Ninja Turtles.

  5. Wow, $90 for this back in the day? Wow.


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