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Episode 9: More nuances of Brawn!, IGA Brawn, Rubiplas Brawn and El Greco Brawn
29 May 2012, 11:56
Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1988!
Posts: 3 645
Joined: 26 February 2006
In the past couple of months I have been very fortunate in being able to get some very exotic toys in through the door - litteraly from all over the world (if 3 select countries count as "all over the world"): Mexico, Venezuela and Greece. As such, I saw it fitting to elaborate a bit an old article of mine on the subject of this original minibot here, Brawn.
Like most of the very early series Transformers toy, Brawn here was produced and released in a lot of different countries, with many of the toys displaying slight differences depending on producer. By the late 1980s though, most (if not all) companies able to produce licensed Transformers toys were gone, reverting all production back to Takara and countries like Japan, Macau and China, and these country specific variations became rather limited from then on. But this only makes the early ones that were that more interesting in my mind.
IGA Plasticos, the Mexican lincese holder for producing licensed Transformers in the mid-1980s, is a complete chapter (or two) all by itself. Interesing color and mold variations abound, these releases are coveted by a lot of collectors. But usually only the interesting variants - rarely is there any interest in IGA toys that don't sport any sort of irregularity as when compared to the "real deal" (i.e. a Hasbro release). However, looks can be decieving (and yes, I appreciate the irony of that statement when talking about Transformers... ) as I pointed out a couple of weeks back.
Another candidate for an easy dismissal as something out of the ordinary is IGA's version of Brawn. Usually collectors are falling head over heels over the IGA repaint of Brawn that they marketed as their version of Outback, but the "regular" Brawn release is quite unique as well.
Vehicle mode shows no real difference from the "baseline" release of a Hasbro pre-rub Brawn. Upon closer inspection, though, the color of the green plastic seems just a smidgen darker, almost blue-ish in hue (hard to see in these pictures, I guess).
However, the real clincher is robot mode. Like Bumblebee, indistinguishable all by his lonesome self, the hue of his robot mode torso is clearly a more yellow tone as when compared with to a regular US pre-rub Brawn's orange (much more clear in person than on these pictures, for some reason). Unlike most of his IGA brethren he retains a full copyright string with a clear mention of JAPAN, but features a pointy-edged Autobot symbol on his stomach - another sure telltale IGA pointer. IGA toys were very prominent in Europe in the late-1980s, so it should be possible to find a toy like Brawn in the odd auction once in a while. Very hard to spot, when the only sure-fire tell is the pointy Autobot symbol on his chest, unless there is a comparison shot with other orange or yellow toys (well, anyone except IGA Bumblebee really... ).
Moving further down into South America, we come to another spanish-speaking country, Venezuela. It was only a few years ago that TF collectors were even made aware that Venezuela had their own Transformers releases, and as such, only a handful are known to exist. This exact specimen shown below here even retains its even rarer original packaging, and was a complete treat to discover for sale on eBay a few months ago.
Comparing the IGA and Rubiplas Brawn we find both a few surprising similarities, but also a few important dissimilarities: Rubiplas Brawn features the same yellow torso color as IGA Brawn - perhaps even a tad brighter in hue. Also, the stamping on both toys are exactly alike, with mention of both Hasbro and Takara and Japan. However, Rubiplas Brawn features a different Autobot symbol than IGA Brawn (see images above). Vastly different, actually, where the print seems too big for the paper and the color is more magenta than red. Also, the green plastics are more of a slightly brighter yellow hue, and - probably most visibly telling - the wheel hubs are smooth without the usual hub cap indentation details.
My biggest surprise, though, was when I took a closer look at the greek Brawn, produced by El Greco.
Carded, it's obvious that the toy looks a bit different, as his head is missing all paint applications. It might appear as though the black on his helmet sides and his faceplate is paint (I assumed so myself untill I got this exact specimen to examine closer), but it is in fact a seperate piece of plastic that is black; looking at a US pre-rub Brawn we can see that this piece is painted silver in all visible areas except for the slit for the eyes.
But loose more strange elements start to appear. Most obvious, and for me most surprising, was the rather large mold alteration in his engine block: The large stylized 'M' has been removed! I find this very strange. Why the trouble of remolding a single piece? Looking at the El Greco Huffer, who shares Brawn's origins in the Microman Micro Change line, the tell-tale 'M' (as in Microman/Change) is still present. No remolding here.
On the back we find that his copyright stamp has been removed as well. Also strange, but not more than Estrela in Brazil did this for their releases of Brawn as well - but they did however add a mention of Estrela on the inside of the legs of their toys. No such thing on El Greco Brawn, which leaves him rather feature-less in pretty much all respects.
Huffer never looked so bad-ass! The redish El Greco Huffer (foreground) and his orange Micro Change predecessor (background).
El Greco Huffer has no copyright stamp at all, but El Greco Seaspray has a full stamp with mention of both Hasbro and Takara (although the country of origin is blocked out) - and looking at the El Greco Devastator giftset, there is a clear mention of Takara. On the other hand, the El Greco Devastator has a 'Trasformer' logo on it, which shows some sort of connection with the italian license held by GiG. On the third hand, GiG never produced the minibots, so while that might explain why the minis El Greco released didn't carry any mention of Takara or Trasformers, it doesn't explain why Brawn had to be changed that much.
El Greco Brawn is not a tough find, BTW, as a large quantity of MOSC greek minibots was found 5 years ago or so and are still easy to locate.
So even though IGA Brawn and Rubiplas Brawn maybe are the tougher pieces to locate, and - although that is a matter of opinion - look rather dashing in their yellow livery, El Greco Brawn is the most curious one and by far held the biggest surprise and mysteries for me.
DISCLAIMER: The images if El Greco Devastator are not mine. I found them online a long time ago and sadly I don't remember where. If you are the owner of these pictures, feel free to contact me so I can give you due credit and/or removed them from this page if you so desire.
Reason for edit: Fixed bad URLs...
|Lo-fi version||Time is now: 23 May 2013 - 14:15|