There's obscure Diaclone, known-about but rarely-seen Diaclone, hyper-rare Diaclone, unjustifiably hyped and expensive Diaclone, and then there's the "Police Sunstreaker". Among Transformers collectors, unlike a number of Diaclone Car Robot variants that tend to evoke resentment due to inaccessibility, rarity, cost or just plain odd colours, the No.3 Car Robot Countach LP500S Patrol Car Type is famous. Famous for all the right reasons: It's beautiful, character-laden, can be had with just a little bit of an extra financial outlay than your standard Transformers rarity, pops up multiple times per year and is far enough removed from its Transformers successor that it ticks the exotic box. Quite frankly, it's one of the best Takara pre-Transformers ever released.
|Diaclone "Police Sunstreaker"|
|White stickers are off-white, sometimes making toy look discoloured|
This figure is from the very earliest part of the Japanese Diaclone Car Robot line, No.3 out of a long line of luminaries. Released in Summer 1982 as a repaint of the very first Diaclone Car Robot ("Red Sunstreaker"), it pre-dates box artwork and has never had a Transformers equivalent shoe-horned into the ongoing eternal Generation 1 universe. It was not officially available in Italy as part of GiG's run of "Auto Robots", but I have seen more than one Police Sunstreaker in Italy, packaged in a Red Sunstreaker box and missing all Japanese factory stickers. Once, a custom or a collector's efforts, twice - slightly more than a coincidence methinks.
|Asahikage logo on hood|
|Sometimes red plastic underneath, sometimes white|
There are two main Japanese variants of this toy, one has the complex wheel-hub moulding you see above, and one has a very simple 'pin-wheel' hub design commonly seen on Transformers Sunstreaker wheels. Also, due to the practicalities of parts bins and assembly lines in factories, you see some Police Sunstreakers with red plastic under the chrome, and some with white. I always found it interesting that the factory stickers had Japanese writing on them, but the stickersheet had "POLIS COUNTACH" (sic). I have always felt this was a toy whose presentation and appearance were incredibly affected by any sort of sticker, chrome or paint wear. Let's not even get started on discolouration.
|The loveliness of Diaclone|
|Just makes me miss my mint one from 10 years ago so much more|
This has to be seen in the flesh to be appreciated fully, to see just how alien a Sunstreaker mould in black and white as a police car truly is. It is a spellbinding variant and G1 collectors generally rate it amongst the best that pre-G1 has to offer in terms of intrigue, novelty, allure and - because of how different it is - the feeling that it is a completely undiscovered separate character.
|Is robot mode even more impressive than vehicle mode?|
|Best Car Robot head sculpt ever?|
How about that robot mode? White, black and red, a subtle but successful contrast. Put this figure among any group of assorted G1 or Diaclone cars and it will steal the show. He has the height, the excellent head-sculpt, the perfect amount of chrome and unobtrusive stickers (in this mode anyway). Transformers Sunstreaker is one of my favourites already, and in yellow he's a show-stopper, so this version of the mould has taken root in my heart ever since I laid eyes on it for the first time.
Unlike some of the later Diaclone Car Robots, the colour scheme for the LP500S Patrol Type's Diaclone driver matches his own perfectly. There's no random colour allocation going on here, it's a police car with what appears to be a tiny police pilot! The figure itself has a very tightly fitting undertray which snaps back into place without difficulty, and arms that fold away under the rear neatly. Later Transformers Sunstreakers began to show some degree of degradation to the mould and could not always boast the same level of quality. I've said for years that Hasbro improved the quality of Diaclone products, and that much of Diaclone was of a lesser finishing standard than Transformers, but in the case of Police Sunstreaker I think it trumps the later examples of this mould's use.
|Diaclone Police Lambo Squadron|
|Note the smaller Police Sunstreaker box dimensions|
If you want to collect Car Robot police variants, you do have some terrific pieces to enjoy, should you be able to find them. From G1 Prowl (and Mexican variant) to Japanese and Italian Diaclone versions of the police Fairlady and New Countach, all go very well with Police Sunstreaker. However, my favourite addition to the Police Squad has to be the Takara/Nitto Diaclone model kit that features the only known artwork for the Police Sunstreaker. Police Sunstreaker artwork!! And what glorious artwork it is. That model kit is about two thirds the size of the Diaclone Car Robot when assembled in vehicle mode. It was a kit that was planned for Transformers, but would have sported Red Alert's Fire Chief deco. That concept can be seen here in a 1985 US Ceji Revell catalogue:
|Ceji Revell Red Alert and Sunstreaker model kit concepts|
|Takara Nitto Police Sunstreaker kit sticker sheet and springs|
That could be the greatest appeal of this Police Sunstreaker for collectors, the addition of another official Takara police Car Robot, the expansion of the G1 universe. For me, certainly, it helped and even inspired me to create a Police Jazz custom. It was my request for a custom police Jazz label set from Reprolabels over a decade ago that initially led to that set being offered by them to other collectors. The inspiration for that custom was, of course, Police Sunstreaker. My love for Diaclone is inextricably linked to this figure, and since my current specimen was a gift from a very good friend, I hope that means it will never leave me, because selling my first Police Sunstreaker is one of the biggest collecting regrets I have.
|Black and white|
All the best