Welcome to the first of many 'Quickies', extremely short looks at various toys I've had the pleasure of owning over the last few years that are a little different or more interesting than the norm. Few pictures, few words, true to this blog's claim of sticking to non-lengthy non-articles. First up, it's the Japanese Diaclone "No.9 Honda City Turbo" in black - or to Transformers collectors - "Black Skids".
|Black Skids - pic courtesy of Ben Munn|
This was the second of the Diaclone Honda releases, the first one - No.6 Honda City R/S - having the exclusive mouth plate (until reissue Crosscut), but this No.9 City Turbo is the mould that the Transformers Skids hails from. The first release of this toy as a Diaclone was black (hence the black box artwork on the packaging for all No. 9s), was released circa February 1983, came with a black Motocampo scooter and the Diaclone driver, not to mention two chrome guns that attach to his arms, and a missile launcher with a black launching tab. All these black accessories make Diaclone Black Skids one of the absolute hardest Diaclone toys to complete if found missing its bits. That's to say nothing about its general status as one of the top 3 toughest Diaclone car variants to find.
|Complex wheel hubs and Diaclone side stickers|
Other distinguishing features include more complex wheel hubs than Transformers Skids has, and the pre-TF orange and yellow factory stripes down the side, unlike the white and red of TF Skids factory stickers. In the last couple of years I've seen more Black Skids than ever before, and a couple of them even had simple wheel hubs, which was previously thought to only be the domain of the red and blue Honda City Turbo pre-Skids toys.
|The translucent blue really pops|
This version of the toy was never reissued, and it's decisions like that which make me constantly doubt Takara's respect for and even knowledge of their own back catalogue and history. There was a wonderful opportunity for them to reissue the black and red City Turbos alongside TF Collection Skids, but it never happened. Years later we got movie-coloured G1 Skids and Mudflap figures, a nice try, but ultimately pointless.
I found this Black Skids in China for less than $70 shipped and decided to try out a Chinese bidding service, figuring it was worth the risk. I had been away from the hobby for years and suspected that many had surfaced, explaining the low price - it was probably not even worth what I was paying and generally unwanted in such incomplete condition. Well, I was dead wrong, it remains a tremendously sought-after and rare figure from Diaclone, and my purchase stands as one of the best finds I've ever made. I recently sold this item with its box and paperwork but no accessories for four figures. I suspect that's what it will take to separate any collector from a Black City Turbo, it really is that nice.
All the best