The gumball yellow and blue Spanish KO Beachcomber may have been first discovered by non-Spanish Transformers collectors 7 years previous, but over 10 years ago there was a different minibot bootleg mystery that was not resolved to our satisfaction. Dutch collector Argus had and sold a KO cream and brown (or so it appeared) Seaspray which was significantly remoulded, and at the time - and until recently for those outside Spain - its origin was never traced back to any range of toys or family of bootlegs.
|Spanish KO red and cream Seaspray|
|Single fan (or impeller)|
Thanks to Pablo's message and after just the tiniest amount of investigation, it became abundantly clear that there were indeed three distinct moulds in the Spanish KO minibot range. In addition to Beachcomber and Windcharger, both subtly remoulded, the third was Seaspray and he had the biggest change of all. His double-fan rear arrangement was changed to a much larger single central fan configuration.
|G1 Seaspray with double fan - Pic courtesy of Bryce Rutledge|
Seaspray may not be the most popular of the G1 minibots, but he has his passionate fans! Also, the degree to which the Spanish KO Seaspray has been recoloured and remoulded means that any serious variant lover will find it fascinating and worthy of investigation. I don't know if it was because it surfaced during a period of time where the different possibilities for variants were more limited than now where collectors are aware of a multitude of South American origins for odd minibots, but the KO Seaspray always seemed quite close to home. To discover its origin, and see it be so closely tied to that of another KO minibot mystery of recent times definitely evokes a feeling of connecting the dots.
|Windscreen stickers as opposed to moulded gaps|
|Pyramid sticker on chest is unique|
The Spanish Seaspray has unique stickers, just as the Windcharger and Beachcomber variants do. There are window stickers where the G1 Takara/Hasbro Seaspray has holes moulded into the front of the hovercraft. There is no paint application on the KO Seaspray, just moulded plastic in two colours, so it's very hard to make out facial details at any sort of distance as it's a one-piece sculpt. Also, due to the nature of the huge circular fan, there is a central hinge just below KO Seaspray's neck where the rear section pivots instead of at the shoulders like the G1 toy. This figure is certainly remoulded and recoloured enough to be considered a separate character by those that way inclined.
|Spanish KO minibots in their original packaging|
You might have noticed the KO Seaspray, Windcharger and Beachcomber at the head of this article being displayed in small die cast car-style clear cases, and you can even see there is a small peg in the base for connecting those die cast cars securely. These minibot KOs have no compatibility with that base, but this is how they were originally sold in the kiosks, drug stores and small shops for 100 pesetas approximately in the mid-to-late 80s and early 90s, and then of course repackaged into a gumball in the case of the first yellow and blue Beachcomber. The clear plastic cover is taped to the base on each of the short sides.
|The cream of the crop|
|Slightly awkward fit in their packaging|
These three packaged Spanish KO minibots were also found in Mallorca, interestingly, but clearly sold in a store as opposed to a gumball machine. The company responsible for them had been releasing small die-cast model cars and vehicles for years in the same kind of packaging, so these Transformers bootlegs were shoe-horned into already-existing display cases used by the company for their other products. Speaking of the company responsible, I believe I promised you all a name.
That logo is visible on the bottom of the orange display base and is also moulded into the top of the clear plastic cover. At this point, two very interesting bootleg G1 Transformers minibots that I'd known about for years and had seen only one example of had been united under a single banner, and further variants of those moulds found, together with a third figure discovered. Their origin had been right there under our noses for years, the knowledge very firmly established in Spanish Transformers collecting circles - as was the case with Finnish Diaclones and the infamous Black Diaclone Tracks. It's getting that information out of its native country and spread to the community as a whole that takes time, lucky finds and then contacts within the native fan base to establish the full extent of what was available.
The finish line is in sight.
|End of Part 6|
All the bestMaz