18 August 2012

Project Vanguard - pre-Transformers Diaclone black New Lamborghini Countach LP500S (aka Sideswipe) MIB, unused

This post is done in conjunction with and posted at the same time with Maz's post on TF-1.com.

Remember my trip to Osaka / Tokyo at the end of June/ early July this year?

As with my previous trip there, I got something really special from this shop called Hero Gangu in Osaka on my final day there.

Hardcore collectors or even people in the general community would know that this is the same Hero Gangu known for case finds of unused Diaclones and MISB Transformers. I understand that they have in the past (either through Yahoo! Japan or through their own website) auctioned off such rare pieces as a diaclone campaign Jazz, MISB pre-rub G1 Prowl, MISB pre-rub G1 Bluestreak, case fresh Diaclone Ratchet, case fresh diaclone GiG Police Countach, G1 Sunstreaker MISB, G1 Artfire MISB, G1 japanese Swoop MISB, G1 Masterforce Minerva MISB amongst other things (all of which are in the hands of prominent TF or Diaclone collectors now). This was also the shop that had all 4 Japanese exclusive 'dino-cassettes' (before the KOs were released), which was what promoted me to make the trip there in the first place.

The "rare" stuff.

The last time, I was in the shop 30 minutes before I was due to depart for the airport, talked to the owner, and he sold me a case fresh diaclone CarRobot No.18: Marlboor Wheeljack MIB, unused. This is the same Marlboor Wheeljack that is now in a prominent TFW2005 member's collection from a deal we did in June last year.

But I digress.



In June/ July this year, I once again dropped by Hero Gangu, once again around 30 minutes before I'm due to depart for the airport. I bought a Menasor and Defensor decoy on that day and talked to the owner at the counter. I asked him whether he had anything 'special', special like the Marlboor Wheeljack he sold me last year.

The Marlboor from last year.

Once more he went behind the counter (where his inventory is) and came back with something in a Diaclone box. "Very nice. Tonight go on auction", he said as he handed it to me.

I looked at it and the first reaction in my mind was - "I've never seen a black LP500S Countach in a regular Countach box that is meant either for red or yellow Countach. It is either a PCDX black Countach or a reissue Deepcover in there, or it must either be a custom or a fake, perhaps?"

Powered Convoy DX giftset black Countach - this is the real thing, of course (photo courtesy of vf1).

"Can I take it out and see it?" I asked.

"Sure", he said.

Took it out and I immediately realised that it does not have any of the trappings of either the PCDX Countach (see photo above) or the reissue Deepcover, the only other 2 black Countachs that I know are in existence. For example, the gold door stickers (or tampographs) that should have been on PCDX Countach / Deepcover, are absent on this piece. Very curious. Like with Marlboor, the owner would not let me remove the toy from the insert to inspect it - I had to contend myself by looking at it and feeling it within its insert.

After more than 20 years of handling Transformers, I can safely say to myself that it looks like a Takara product, it feels like a Takara product and therefore it very probably is a Takara product. With 10 minutes to spare before I had to depart for the airport, I decided that I want to buy this piece - perhaps foolishly and/or unwisely.

"Sell to me?", I asked.

Like with Marlboor, he keyed his asking price into his pink calculator. 'Whoa, not cheap', I thought. 'But why not? I'm here, I'm about to go. It looks like a duck, walks like a duck, it must quack like a duck, therefore it is a duck (or a genuine Takara product). I'll leave with a bang, I'll get it'.

"Ok", I said. Paid for it, grabbed it and ran.

The grabbed item in question



It was only when I reached the airport, that I thought, 'Shit, what if it really is a fake or a custom? I've never heard of one before!'. It was then that I got into a small panic, found a free internet station and immediately shot off an email to my buddies and Diaclone veterans, Maz and vf1.

My only question - "Is there such a thing as black Sideswipe in Jap diaclone box?"

Then, I had to board my flight.

When I touched down and was having dinner with E, the answer that came back from the experts were to the effect of - "Nope, never heard of it. Might be a custom?"

On 7 July 2012, I showed the below photo of acquisitions from that trip on my blog and online, but I did not show the black Countach until I could be sure that it was something worth showing.



Maz, vf1 and I with the help of others including Specimen-17 spent hours, days, weeks and by now a bit more than a month fact finding and piecing together facts and evidence about this heretofore, doubtful Diaclone piece.

Now, we can say we are certain without doubt that this black Countach is a genuine Diaclone piece, heretofore, never before seen by collectors. Maz did a wonderful job and wrote a very detailed article in the tradition that only he can on his TF-1 website, to highlight our findings on this wonderful piece of Diaclone history (mostly they were his findings!).

Go read it. I will wait here. Go.



Back? Good.

Now, I can 're show' the photo further above, this time with the Diaclone black Countach MIB in the photo.

Here is a close up shot of the piece

Out of box

Shown with all its unused paperworks

Sleek black LP500S new Countach

In robot mode

Together with Red Alert (from Goodbye Convoy giftset) and G1 Sideswipe



This is what we named the investigation we embarked on for this piece. It's shorter and easier to refer to than 'the black Countach Sideswipe investigation'.

It was also my attempt at 'humanising' this piece a little by giving it a name, a profile and some tech spec values.

Long time TF fans would quickly realise the inspiration of his name - Vanguard. I also wanted to call it something without a “black” prefix. There are way too many toys with ‘black’ describing its colour – for example: Black Zarak, Black Shadow, etc. I also wanted something shorter than ‘New Lamborghini Countach LP500S in black’.

Vanguard's profile:
Vanguard is the stealth agent partner of Sideswipe in the G1 continuity. He is a forward scout, a deep cover reconnaissance agent proficient at infiltrating hostile enemy territory. Vanguard penetrates enemy encampments and relays information back to Sideswipe for real time sit-reps and on-ground situational assessment. Whilst not as quiet or undetectable as the Decepticon master of stealth, Ravage, Vanguard has the ability to evade most conventional forms of surveillance. He carries a light dampening gun that disrupts optic sensors for up to 0.2 breems. Using technology modified from Tracks’ black beam gun, Vanguard’s black light launcher shoots missiles that casts black rays over a 50 feet radius to cover his tracks during extraction from enemy territory.
Vanguard's tech specs:
Strength - 3
Intelligence - 8
Speed - 6
Endurance - 6
Rank - 5
Courage - 9
Firepower - 2
Skill - 8



Much love goes to my wife E, who was supportive throughout the process, listening to my fears and concerns and listening to facts and figures that Maz / vf1 comes back with. Thanks also for your assist with key pieces of photography.

A great big thank you to Diaclone veterans Maz and vf1, I would hug you if I could, my buddies. E says that "Maz is like Sherlock Holmes", and I think she is right.

I am very grateful for Specimen-17's timely assist with photos of G2 Sideswipe and eHobby Deepcover during our investigative phase - check out this man's Transformers online shop, it's impressive, I assure you.

I also appreciate Hyperoptic (aka G1-Junkie) and Arkvander (Mostly Transformers Redux), 2 veteran Transformers collectors, for giving me their quick 2 cents during the early stages of our fact finding exercise.




  1. Only can say BRAVO!!!

    Congrats for all the hard work and your adquisition, of course. This one is your new Holy Grail??? XD

    Thanks to share my friend, thanks!!!

    1. Thanks Predaking! My holy grail is still Diaclone Blue Bluestreak! heh...

  2. Absolutely great stuff and a once in a lifetime find!

    1. Thanks for being part of this once in a lifetime journey. Would not have happened, would not have been the same, without you! =)

  3. Just wow. I'm speechless. That is the find of a lifetime. Congratulations on the incredible addition. I don't even know what I would do if I found anything that rare. Probably just stare it at for days on end.

    1. Hi Optimal, thanks for dropping by. I did stare at it for days on end. It's so unexpected the find, still hard to believe. How have you and the collection been lately?

    2. It's stalled. I've actually been facing a lot of indecision as what to buy next. I'm thinking of drawing names out of a hat to decide.

    3. Hey dude, from the looks of your recent acquisitions trend, I'd say get another MM base or gun for headmaster Apeface, as suggestions. Since you have Hot House and Grease Pit, perhaps go for Iron Works? iIron Works was also featureded in this years BotCon comic!

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks dude!
      (saw your email, will have a think and then reply!)

  5. You definitely have a knack for acquiring amazing gems in the last minute just before your trips to Japan are about to end! : ) Hope this trend continues!

    1. Thanks buddy, this one was a combination of a leap of faith coupled with having Yen left over (I changed too much Yen for that 5 days it seems). I do hope this trend continues and I can continue to contribute to the knowledge of the community as well!

  6. Very, very, very nice! Also, can I blame you if my collection goes from being just Takara Tomy era figures to including Diaclones? Heh. Kidding. :) But seriously... The luckiest I got was with that one Predaking set (which still sits and waits for its AFA-based judgement).

    Also, HD, what happened to the "Black Tracks"? I see the new acquisition, but not that piece. :O

    1. Hey, being the only one of us that is in Japan, you are perfectly placed to collect diaclones if you wanted to.

      What's the hold up at AFA for that Predaking?

      Good pick on that Black Tracks is missing from the second pic - in fact, my wife asked my what happened to HER black Tracks. If I recall correctly, I actually took the photo with the black Sideswipe FIRST (where I forgot to put the black Tracks in there); then took the second photo with black Tracks there and with black Sideswipe removed.

      Man, you guys are really keeping me honest...!

    2. Actually, I am still in California. I'll email you details on that, as I have taken a photo in Ikebukuro that might amuse you. :)

      And with Predaking (aka No.4), he is still in my closet. I ended up getting five other pieces since December. Heh. But I am thinking that unless I get two more pieces, I can possibly have him be the first submission shortly after my upcoming birthday.

      And heh. :) I had cases like that happen. But in your case, it reminds me of that one old movie, "Yours, Mine, and Ours". :)

    3. Ikebukuro is that "girl love" Mandarake right? I remember going there, walking in and seeing strangely clad girls (many were like the 'maids' culture thing), and then surreptitiously walking out and never looking back. *shudder*

      Look forward to more updates of your collection!

  7. [Contact]No - no words. No words to describe it. Poetry! They should've sent a poet. So beautiful. So beautiful... I had no idea. [/Contact]

  8. Love it... Absolutely love it! :O

    I apologise for not having read this article earlier dude when you posted its link over at OZformers, as Bartrim & Myself had a 4:00am & 4:30am start in order to attend Sunday's Parramatta Fair (I had only 2hrs sleep prior :p).

    Absolutely amazing; your write-up here coupled with Maz's beautifully articulate account reads so enthrallingly, as your adventures and discoveries have always captured me and this is easily akin to a great mystery novel (Sherlock Holmes indeed). :)

    As someone who is very much intrigued by the background behind a figure (Such as its production history, development procedures & design inspirations), Transformers' early G1 development is often a rich source but Diaclone? - To me that line/brand is like a forgotten ancient city shrouded in the mists of a language barrier, secluded market and time, so in saying that you can hopefully see why your written delivery and Maz's forensically physical examination of Vanguard (A wonderfully suitable name, profile & techspec I might add ;)) leaves me utterly blown away. :D

    I cannot congratulate you all enough for such an amazing investigative opportunity - as well as the cementing of what I've described you, HD, as for the longest time: A superior collector in the art of search & acquisition, "The Master Seeker". XD

    Seriously dude, I'm so happy for you as I love this mold and Vanguard looks so distinctly crisp in presence and colour; With the added fact of him being simply Black, he gets additional points from Hursticon too but wow - What an amazing history this guy has eh?, hidden away for so many years but now he couldn't be in better or more deserving hands. ;)

    Well done HD, well done!

    1. hey Hursti, thanks for the (as always) very detailed comments and feedback. And that little bit of poetry too... I like this "To me that line/brand is like a forgotten ancient city shrouded in the mists of a language barrier, secluded market and time,..." heh.

      Very glad you liked the forensic precision of the writing, lots of credit has to go to Maz and lots of credit to other collaborators like VF1 and Specimen-17 for providing key pieces of photography - it's hard to believe that betweeon the few of us, only Specimen-17 has a G2 Sideswipe! (also, only VF1 has a PCDX black Countach, cos these things are way rare).

      Happy to keep / retain the 'master of search and acquisition' title you betowed me... =)

      How did the Parra Fair go? I just saw photos of it on Gok's facebook and I do miss you guys and that Westfield...

    2. Hehe - cheers man :),

      The Parra Fair was unfortunately quite light on the TF related front, really only having about 4 stalls offering TFs at all; either they were 'Unicron Trilogy' era figures, current Transformers: Prime (Takara & Hasbro) figures that aren't available in Aus yet or just junkers and the usually well-overpriced G1 figures (That have been there for years). :/

      Not only that but there were quite a number of missing regular stalls too, I'd say somewhere in the vicinity of 5-6 regulars being MIA - The hall was noticeably bare, the worst I've seen in a number of years. :o

      The golden offer though? - a MISB SDCC 2012 Transformers: Fall of Cybertron - Bruticus Giftset... $350AUD non-Negotiable! :O

      The best part of the quarterly Parra Fair has become the "Post-Fair Westfield Food Court Meet", as you know it's the social aspect that often is the most enjoyable facet of the day - Getting to muck around with new acquisitions, discuss various TF topics and other shenanigans. :D

    3. Yeah, totally agree that Parra Fair highlight was and still is the post fair Westfield outing... and scouring nearby shops!

      Was the 'side room' filled as well? Oh, I should email you guys about helping me look out for this poster that Gok has on his wall...

      Did you manage to get an BW or G1 stuff?

    4. The side room was actually the barest to be honest, it was shy about 3-4 stalls on it's own but the regular Star Wars & Movie Poster guys were there. :/

      If you've got a photo or something of said poster of Goki's, I'd be happy to give you a hand and scour the inter-webs. ;)

      Unfortunately no; most if not all of the G1 stuff was boxed and either grossly over-priced or quite possibly fake with very few loose figures available at all, Beast Wars-wise there was the odd figure but sadly the Parra Fair rarely has any of the Japanese (BWII/BWNeo) lines that I'm after as there is only 2 figures from the Western BW line that I'm missing (That aren't Convention Exclusives ;)) & the 2 Playsets.

      I did pickup 3 Minicons though & Cybertron (Legends Class) Soundwave, for my ever-ongoing Soundwave Collection XD - The rest I got from other Members, consisting of:
      - (Asian Exclusive) Generations - Powerdive, from Crankcase76
      - (G1) Pretender - Finback (Shell Only), from Liege_Prime
      - (G1) Pretender - Landmine's Gun, from Liege_Prime
      - (G1) Pretender - Splashdown's Large Gun, from Liege_Prime
      - (TF:P/RiD) Deluxe - Knockout, from 1AZRAEL1 via Fatbot.

      I also picked up one of these that I had been after for just over a decade; it's Leatherface from the Original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" film, standing 18" tall & with motion-sensor activated sound effects - The best part is that it only cost me $50AU. :D

  9. I've been reading your blog for some time now, but until now have never posted a comment. As a G1 collector I am always in awe of the stuff you haul in. My wife makes fun of me when I read your articles because I apparently make semi-orgasmic sounds while reading. Even though I don't collect Diaclones and don't know nearly as much about them as I do G1 Transformers, I can't help but be amazed at this find. Having a piece, that until you purchased it, was forgotten by history is just mind blowing. vf1 said something in his article that holds true for every collector of these wonderful transforming toys: (I'm paraphrasing) it's a rare thing to find something new and unheard of when you're talking about toys that are 25 - 30 years old. You study every aspect of your hobby and you think you've seen everything. You absolutely do not expect new things to be unearthed this late in the game. And the best part, in my humble opinion , is that this isn't an item you were even looking for. You just happened to be at the precise right place at the precise right time. The only thing I can even compare that to in my experience is when I found a white Headmaster Warrior Kirk. I never thought I'd even see one, so I never bothered to look for the white Headmaster Warrior variants. I don't know how rare/common they are in your neck of the woods, but where I live you're more likely to find a unicorn playing chess with Bigfoot. When I stumbled upon it (completely by accident) it was a moment of pure transcendence. Didn't mean to go on rambling, but I'm very excited for you and for the collecting community as a whole. Cheers!

    1. hi, thanks for the kind words and thanks for reading my blog! Sometimes, I wonder whether there is any audience at all. heh.

      I must commend your wife for seeing the lighter side of collecting. Any person who can laugh with you for reading and oggling over 30 year old toys that many consider childish, is definitely a keeper!

      It is true, that there isn't much to be discovered nowadays, but then, with the depth of this toyline and its rich history, who knows what tomorrow might bring. A friend of mine who speaks and writes Japanese has actually pointed out our articles to the Takara employee who is designing the upcoming Masterpiece Sideswipe and asked if he knows anything about this piece. Let's see what that goes.... =)

      Congrats on finding a white Headmaster. Finding *any* of them is a task, so really big congrats for finding Kirk, which is the nicest of the 3 that turn into humanoids. White HMs are *not* common in any neck of the woods. I do see lots of the coloured ones (non-KOs), but never a white HM in person.

      Unlike you, there was no moment of transcendence for me when I found this piece, because I just didn't know what it was!

      ~ HD

  10. this is crazy!! the only one piece in the world and u have it?!!!
    Congrats is an understatement!!

  11. This piece is rarer than the yellow Sideswipe, Marlboor Wheeljack, and Blue Bluestreak all combined! Congrats on this impossible find!

    1. Heh, I like your assessment! I'm not sure if its really *that* rare, but it'd be pretty close I'm sure! =)

    2. Okay, okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but you do have an incredible piece there! I wish I could be lucky enough to get one myself.

      You also have a great blog as well! I first came across it a couple of months back. Great stuff.

    3. @ David, thanks for the kind words man! I'm really sorry your comment fell through the cracks and that I'm just replying now... Cheers

    4. Just re-visited this thread again after 3yrs! Do you still own this Black Sideswipe?

  12. This is such a nice piece! Congrats on the find, and thank you for continually sharing with our fandom :)

  13. This is such a nice piece! Congrats on the find, and thanks for continually sharing these things with our fandom :)

    1. hiya, thanks for the kind words.

      I've received messages from you via TFW2005, here and on the email. I really really apologise for not responding, but I do explain why over here - http://heroicdecepticon.blogspot.hk/2013/02/back-after-somewhat-of-break.html

      I will speak to you soon over the email!



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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