15 September 2012

Transformers Scramble City Stuntron D-50: Motormaster MIB unused

For some years I have been hearing about the rarity of a D-50: Motormaster. For some years, I have been struggling to understand why it is rare.

I mean, it's just Motormaster. It's 1/5 of Menasor. Most people would not even bother buying it individually without the other 5 Stunticons (or in Japan's case, Stuntrons). What in the world is it then?

The "rarity" of this piece really piqued my interest when such high powered collectors like Puffmarko and HighPrime appear to be looking for this piece. HighPrime has been looking for it on TFW2005, Seibertron and Shmax for sometime. And when a guy with a collection like Puffmarko's appears to be looking for this piece, I stand up and listen.

It is also noteworthy that on the Shmax collector's database, it shows that only 2 people own a D-50: Motormaster (one of them is me). Given, that Shmax is not representative of an item's rarity, that is still very little people owning this piece.

This is what Fred of Fred's Workshop, the ultimate guru of variants, has to say:
"D-50 Motormaster was the hardest of all the original four Scramble City leaders for me to find. It didn't matter if I was looking for a loose one or a sealed one, launcher equipped Motormasters were tremendously scarce... On top of that, a sealed or boxed D-50 is even rarer, and I've talked to dealers at Botcon and other collectors who have stated that Menasor giftsets are more common than sealed/boxed D-50s. And that's saying a lot!"
On my trips to Japan, I've actually seen D-50s, but being sold as a set with the other Stunticons and at stupid prices and not in good condition. So I've ignored those. So, one day, must be about a month ago, I was walking around the toy shops here and my usual shop had a set of unused Stunticons! Yup, they had D-50, D-51, D-52, D-53 and D-54. Obviously selling as a set.

I ordinarily would not be interested. However, work has been so busy at the time, I don't think I've bought much of anything for the month, so I thought, maybe here is a chance to buy something. It'd be a frolic, sure, but Menasor was my favourite childhood combiner and here is a chance to buy it unused and score a rare D-50 at the same time. At the back of my mind, I also know I'd never buy a Menasor giftset because I hate the damn ugly box art.

After chatting with Maz and VF1, I decided to buy the set... ta da!

Here is D-50: Motormaster MIB, unused. I have to say, the box art is a lot nicer than the USA release's box art.

Here is a USA Motormaster, just for comparison's sake.

Close up of Motormaster in package. I know what you are thinking - 'a Japanese release, without a foam insert!'. You're right. More on that later.

Close up of the box art.

Close up of name and manufacturing details. My version is Made in Macau (printed in Hong Kong). Apparently, there is a version that is made in Japan. I think however, that there is some symmetry in me buying the Made in Hong Kong version while living in Hong Kong.

Transformation sequence on top of box

Back of box... only a very faint flap crease.

This is the back of the USA Motormaster box for comparison

The Japanese bio and tech specs

This is Motormaster out of the box. Contains unused paperworks package, unused accessories packet and Motormaster in bubble insert. Admittedly, this presentation kind of sucks for a Japanese release. It sure pales on comparison to having a styro insert where every piece can fit in a slot in the styro.

So, why did it come in a plastic bubble insert instead of a styro insert that was 'standard' for predominantly all Jap TFs? I quote a possible explanation from Scrambled! (Crazysteve's website):
"Just like my C-50 Silverbolt, my D-50 Motormaster came in a plastic bubble. This was a radical departure for Japanese Transformers at the time these two were released. Before Silverbolt and Motormaster came out, Takara packaged all Japanese release Transformers with styrofoam inserts, and used plastic bubbles for Transformers destined for sale outside of Japan. Takara even reverted to packaging Transformers in styrofoam inserts for domestic release after D-50 and C-50. So why they ever did this for these two Japanese releases I will probably never know. I have heard claims that D-50 and C-50 each came with styrofoam packaging at some point, but I have never seen examples of them like that."

Unused paperwork packet. I don't seem to see the bio card in there. In fact, I'm not even sure whether the early 1986 releases comes with bio cards. Anyone can answer this question?

[edit 19 Sep 2012: Thanks to Fighbird and Maz for answering this in the comments section - the early "D" series Destrons (and "C" series Autobots) do not have bio cards. In other words, all the 1986 Scramble City 'bots have no bio cards.]

Another shot of D-50: Motormaster with all its contents above. One might ask, what's so special about this piece? Why would it be that rare?

I have to be honest and say that I don't know. But if I could guess, I'd say, maybe one of the following or a combination of the following:
  • the better box art with the correctly transformed legs.
  • it being the very first Destron piece with the "D" prefix (ie: before that, both Cybertrons and Destrons were numbered consecutively without any prefix - for example, 38 - Broadblast or 17 - Soundwave).
  • having a bubble insert instead of a styro one made it harder to get a 'displayable' piece.
  • the Japanese release Motormaster is actually different from the USA release - the former contains a launching mechanism! See Scrambled!'s Motormaster page.
Happy to hear more thoughts that will shed more light on this piece.

In the meantime, I leave you with some photos of my USA Stunticons and his combined form, the mighty Menasor!


  1. Congrats on an awesome purchase.

    When I first started to delve into buying Japanese G1 one of my collecting goals was the complete the Scramble City combiners by buying them individually. Sure the giftsets were cool and everything, but for me at least there was just something cool about having all of them packaged individually. Of course this is when I discovered how freakin' hard to find D-50 Motormaster was...even on Yahoo! Japan auctions 10+ years ago. The only set I ever managed to complete was the Terrorcons & Seacons. My focus then shifted to completing Dinoking (which seemed far easier ironically enough!).

    1. I completely agree with you on the individual boxed members of Scramble City combiners - there's just something about them that were cool. For me, its that they have individual box art.

      I've never thought or realised how rare D-50 is, but in recent years, it sort of dawned on me.

      I don't really care to buy a Japanese version if the particular toy has a US release, so I don't have any Scramble City combiners in Jap packaging (except this set).... heh

  2. The Stunticons were the only set my brother and I were able to complete as kids (and really it was my Brother, he got Motormaster for his birthday) - this was great to see the Japan/Takara version up close. I never realized how much taller Superion was.

    1. My brother and I complete the Stunticons and Menasor at the same time (by buying individual members). Menasor was mine, Superion was his - I never liked, and still don't like Superion.

  3. Very nice. And another congrats from me as well. :)

    Also, I think I have mentioned this as well, but when I was a kid - Superion was my #1 favorite combiner. So I guess this would be my favorite among the pieces you have received this year. ;) That, and I can vouch on how hard it is to find this, as I found two vintage Soundlasters and a MOSC "Generation 2" Devastator set. (BTW, I hope those links helped.)

    So I guess all I can say is that I need to step up my game now, as I am stuck changing my list... Not adding to it. And that is pretty maddening, even with the way I hope to develop my collection. ;p And with that said... Keep up the good work. :)

    1. Sorry Kuma, I think I just said above that I don't like Superion! Sorry!

      Gotta step up the game dude, since you are in Japan!

  4. Beautiful find! Am a big Stunticon fan! :)

    I don't think I can add much about why D-50 is so rare. True, he's rarely seen single-packed without his 4 minions alongside him, but when I was on Yahoo! Japan myself some 10 years ago, I found quite a few lots containing loose Motormasters with the launcher and all (I'm assuming Flywheels was referring to a boxed Motormaster, which was indeed a rare sight).

    The pre-movie 1986 characters for Takara didn't have trading cards. Movie characters like Scourge and Cyclonus had some (but looked quite a bit different than the more commonly seen later ones), and am assuming that Galvatron, Rodmus and the rest of the movie cast had as well (cannot verify this, though) - which is kind of odd considering that Japan didn't get the movie at that point.

    I would heartily recommend trying to track down the other 2 launcher equipped Scramble City commanders, BTW. While Motormaster's is the best one of them IMO, Onslaught and Silverbolt do seem more "complete" and fun with them (I never understood that loose red thing on Silverbolt when I was a kid). :)

    1. Thanks for dropping by Fighbird =)

      I think you are right, the webmaster of the Scrambled! website did also say that loose MMs with launchers are quite prevalent, but the boxed version is relatively rarer.

      I can confirm that "Movie" characters like Rodimus, Galvatron, Scourge and Cyclonus definitely has bio cards. You can see these cards here - http://heroicdecepticon.blogspot.hk/2010/12/large-haul-of-vintage-japanese.html

      Now that you mention it, yes, the red strip on Silverbolt is weird! I too was having all sorts of trouble figuring out why its needed as a kid.

  5. Utterly fantastic article, one of your best IMO. Agree fully with your assessment of rarity, and echo Martin's statements about collectors cards. Here's the first type:

    All the best

    1. Hey buddy, thanks for the kind words. Your articles still take the cake, I must say! =)

      Thanks for the info re the bio cards and its true the movie characters had cards (which I do have). However, that was why I was in a panic - I thought that since Cyclonus and Scourge had cards and they were in the same year, then the Stuntrons should have cards too! Flew into a panic I tell you....

    2. G1 Galvatron does not have its bio card, not until it was re-issued, but it was numbered D-62-S ("S" for special due to color change). So literally, no bio card came with G1 D-62 Galvatron. Neither does C-69 Ultra Magnus have G1 bio card, though both were main characters in the movie.

  6. I just relived "Masquerade" (G1 Season 2 EP 48) with my son a few hours ago and lo... how ironic it is to stumble upon this write up when I popped in your site.

    The last time I saw a boxed D-50 was way back from my childhood days many moons ago. Seeing those photos of your D-50 brings back many memories. Indeed, the box truly stands up in comparison to the U.S. release.

    Likewise I am stumped about those bio cards and I have been pondering about it for a while now. I attempted a tad of research to no avail. I wanted to know when did Takara started issuing it, the different format and variations (similar to what they did to their tech specs) throughout the years. In the past I had assumed that Takara had commenced issuing those cards when they began releasing toys with the C and or D prefix (e.g. C-50), but it is now apparent that I stand corrected.

    Just the same, and akin to the others, congratulations on that stunning acquisition. Two thumbs up!

    1. Masquerade is an excellent episode, it was one of my favourites when I was 10? 11? Probably the same age you son might be now, heh.

      I've never personally seen a D-50 during my childhood, although I've seen many other Japanese only exclusives since Asia had BOTH the USA releases and Japanese releases in the same store. It's bizarre - I recalled this conversation I had with my brother about whether we should pick up a US boxed Cyclonus or the Japanese boxed one from the next aisle. It's... odd.

      The bio cards thingy is weird. I'm just worried because I know my Jap Roddy Prime and other toys of that era had bio cards but none of my Stuntrons have bio cards. Good that its cleared up now.

  7. I saw a D-50 on my trip to japan at Madarake Nakano (awesome store!) They had it marked at around 60000 yen!

    -the shape

    1. hey buddy, I think we may have spoke before?
      Man, that price for just a Motormaster is insane (but I've seen more insane prices...)


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

Last 30 days' TOP TEN Popular Posts