Last of my posts on Ceji's Transformers variants, not because there aren't any more, I just don't have any more photos. Despite the amazing yellow G1 Devastator and the charming Ceji Seeker jets, I think the Insecticons are my favourites. The thing is, their variation is not at all spectacular, basically the chest flap on all three is translucent orange like the G1 box artwork, instead of the normal yellow of HasTak Insecticons. Thrilling, no?
|Ceji G1 Insecticons - with orange chests|
It would be hard enough to sell someone the excellence of these variant European 1986 Insecticons manufactured in France for Hasbro Europe just on the basis of them having box-art accurate (redundant) chest flaps, but then Takara had to go and reissue the Insecticons as part of the TF Collection line. With orange chest flaps. And they gave Kickback the proper original Diaclone-style pointy wings.
|Multilingual paperwork and techspecs, French first.|
Anyway, in addition to the orange chest flaps where the Diaclone Insecter Robos would have carried their little Waruder pilots, Ceji Kickback, Bombshell and Shrapnel have a more orangey-yellow plastic used for their antennae (Kickback), shoulders (Bombshell) and legs (Shrapnel). This difference is noticeable in the flesh without the use of a microscope.
|Ceji G1 Kickback|
I think what appealed to me the most about the Ceji Insecticons was that they were yet another regional variant that European collectors knew about, but the wider collecting community did not have a clue, exactly like the Ceji G1 jets. Jean-Baptiste Martin is responsible for introducing both of these sets of Ceji variants to me. In addition to that, the Ceji Insects were the first actually nice set of Insecticons - and the first full set - that I have ever owned. It's true, I never a owned a full set of Insecticons before 2011 (I'm not counting the E-Hobby set I reviewed once).
|Orange chest, orangey-yellow antennae|
|Quite fragile chest flap actually|
I must admit, I don't know if had the orange chest Insects been the more common, and the yellow-chest versions the rare Ceji - would I have preferred yellow? As it is, I love the orange of the Ceji variants and also the TFC reissues. That's to say nothing of the wonderful team colours of black, purple and chrome that make the Insecticons such a fabulous trio of Transformers in the first place.
|Ceji G1 Shrapnel|
|Orange chest and orangey-yellow insect legs|
The different dark yellow plastic is most evident on Shrapnel thanks to those front insect legs. The orange canopies feel most delicate on all three Ceji Insecticons and it didn't seem wise to continually open and close them for photography at the time. I somehow doubt the Hasbro Insecticons are quite as fragile in that respect. Seriously, how glorious do Insecticons look with fresh chrome and no paint chips? This all contributed to how enamoured I was with these three (or six, ahem) figures at the time.
|Blocked copyright on Ceji Kickback|
|Blocked copyright on Ceji Shrapnel|
As with all the previous Ceji Transformers I've featured on this blog, the Insecticons also have the raised block over the country of manufacture, indicating that they were not made in Japan, but in France by Ceji. It is also important to re-iterate that the 1985 multlingual package Milton Bradley Insecticons released in mainland Europe were Takara manufactured toys like in the UK and US. Ceji only came on board to help MB/Hasbro in 1986 after the takeover of Ceji Joustra's Diaclone stock/licences by Hasbro Bradley in mid-1985. Ceji of course produced their own factory stickers off provided templates, and I wonder if that is also why a number of Ceji TFs I've had (see insect mode Shrapnel below) have a smaller black insignia patch area on the rubsign than Hasbro Transformers I have owned.
|If only every single TF I owned could be displayed like this|
Yes, the Ceji Insecticons are quite lovely, but anyone with a serious desire to own orange-chested Insecticons can just go the reissue route - although reissue Insecticons are some of the more awkwardly-priced on the second hand market. For vintage variant hunters the Insecticons are intriguing to say the least, and that was proven by just how fast they sold when I made them available to people I knew would be interested. I do see them loose from time to time, but never in the condition of the ones I was lucky enough to source...and I picked them up separately too, they just all seemed to appear for sale one after the other in quick succession, soon after I learned of their existence.
That ties up my little sojourn into the Ceji Transformers releases of 1986, minus the minibots and leaders. They are as interesting and relevant a sub-section of Generation 1 history as Mexican Transformers, South American minibots or other such oddities - and to me they are far more fascinating than any Japanese exclusive Takara Transformer ever was (Greatshot excepted). Funds and circumstances allowing, I'd desperately love to add them all back to my collection one day, starting with the Insects.
|Ceji G1 Transformers|
All the best