We've looked at the yellow G1 Ceji Devastator and the variant G1 Ceji Starscream, now it's the turn of the 1986 Ceji G1 Decepticon jet Ramjet, made in France and sold in mainland Europe and Scandinavia. We'll briefly check out Thrust and Dirge too. Like Devastator and Starscream, Ceji's Ramjet is quite different to the Hasbro and Takara Generation 1 Transformers Ramjets that most of us will have grown used to in our childhoods and adult collecting. Here comes the breakdown.
|Ceji G1 Ramjet in package|
|Back of box, note multilingual techspec|
The packaging for the Ceji Ramjet is multilingual with a Hasbro logo on the front, because it is primarily a Hasbro Europe release from 1986, after the Milton Bradley era. Ramjet, along with Megatron, Optimus, Soundwave, Cosmos, Seaspray, Pipes, Starscream, Dirge, Thrust, Constructicons and Insecticons were produced by Ceji to help augment the Hasbro Europe supply. It's important to remember the aforementioned Ceji manufactured TFs were not the only supply in Europe, there were Takara ones too, so 1986 Ramjets in mainland Europe in multilingual packaging are not exclusively Ceji-made. This one is though, and the packaging will say that the box was printed in Strasbourg and the toy's copyright will reflect its origin.
|Hard plastic nose, black plastic wheels|
|No factory stickers on vertical fins|
Mercifully, the packaging and toy copyrights are far from the only tell-tale indications on whether one has a Ceji Ramjet. Like Starscream, the Ceji Ramjet has a solid plastic nosecone instead of HasTak rubber, and black plastic wheels instead of the more common silver die cast metal wheels. So how does one tell it apart from the Plasticos Iga Mexican Ramjet that also has those features?
|Ceji Ramjet versus Plasticos Iga Ramjet|
|Ceji France vs Iga Mexico|
|Ceji wing moulding different to Iga as well|
In the above photos we have the Ceji Ramjet on the left and the Mexican one on the right. You can see the Ceji one does not have the moulded bubble defect on the end of the nosecone, but it does sport a rubsign. The Mexican Ramjet on the right has very sparkly maroon wings, but Ceji Ramjet's wings are a more standard Ramjet colour. The white plastic on the Mexican Ramjet is a typical Plasticos Iga off-white cream shade, not so on the Ceji. The moulding for the wings is also different on the Ceji jet, as is the landing gear (covered in Starscream post). Finally, the Ceji Ramjet has no factory stripe stickers on the black vertical fins and it has a lighter canopy than the Mexican jet and the HasTak versions. All in all, quite recogniseable.
|Ceji Ramjet copyright|
|Ceji Ramjet and Ceji Starscream|
Again, just as with the Constructicons and Starscream, the country of manufacture is blocked out on Ramjet is at will no longer have originated in Japan, but France. Similar copyright exists on the Mexican Ramjet, so it's a good thing there are so many other distinguishing features.
|Ceji Ramjets - second one used to verify the variations|
|Multilingual instructions, French first and English too|
Finding a second Ceji Ramjet helped me confirm the variations on the first such as the lighter canopy colour, lack of vertical fin stickers etc. Because it is a 1986 Hasbro Europe/Ceji release, the packaging contains English as one of the languages, but the first is French as seen on the instructions. So, now, a very brief look at Ceji Thrust and Dirge.
|Ceji G1 Dirge|
|How annoying is that Decep sticker placement?|
Dirge has all the same features as Starscream and Ramjet - plastic nosecone and wheels, multilingual paperwork with French first and English also. I didn't notice anything massively different about the colour, although the brown on the wings seemed ever so slightly unusual. The Ceji Dirge could not properly hold its bombs under the wings in jet mode, they fall off every time, and I have had this fact confirmed by another collector.
|Ceji Dirge - see connection between nosecone and fuselage|
|Same Ceji copyright|
Those Ceji Dirge bombs stay attached much better in robot mode, and it's interesting to look at the connection between the nosecone and the rest of the fuselage (Dirge's conehead) as I think that can be another way of spotting Ceji jets in robot mode. Dirge's copyright is precisely the same as Starscream and Ramjet's, blocked over "JAPAN".
|Ceji G1 Thrust|
|No copyright surprises here|
Looking at the rarest of the three, Thrust, the condition and lack of accessories tells you much about how hard it is to find a good one. Copyright is the same as the other Ceji Decepticon seekers, and the maroon colour seems quite normal. Certainly nothing struck me as odd about Thrust on first inspection beyond the hard plastic nose and the black plastic wheels I expected. Eventually I'll get around to comparing it to my childhood Hasbro version.
|Ceji G1 Ramjet - robot mode|
|Ceji Ramjet's lighter canopy|
What surprised me was that Ramjet was the only one of the three series 2 Ceji jets to have a lighter canopy. Dirge and Thrust seemed to have the normal dark smoky canopy associated with their more widely-distributed HasTak cousins.
|Ceji Ramjet contents|
|Mexican Iga Ramjet, Ceji France Ramjet and Hasbro production sample Ramjet|
Another interesting thing about Ramjet is that there exists a confirmed Mexican Plasticos Iga version, and thus far I have not come across any evidence of a Thrust and Dirge coming out in Mexico beyond the "They must exist" kind of philosophy. Should they exist, you'd expect the Iga Mexican Thrust to have a very sparkly maroon-coloured plastic, much like the Mexican Ramjet's wings, so it should be immediately distinguishable from the Ceji Thrust. By the same logic, one can expect a possible Iga Dirge to have sparkly brown wings. The above image of the global G1 Ramjet variants show how the Ceji packaging (bottom left) has a much bigger Hasbro logo than the Hasbro US packaging, with the colour of the print on the Plasticos Iga (top) version being different to both.
There is - in my mind - a strong connection between the French-manufactured Ceji Transformers and the Mexican Plasticos Iga variants, first hinted at by the "Made In France" stamping on the Mexican Megatron toys, suggesting moulds were sent from Ceji to Iga after Ceji's collapse in 1986. The Mexican Megatron was a 1986/1987 release too, so it is somewhat supported by that. Seeing both Ceji and Iga produce a Huffer in blue/white as "Pipes" adds a little weight to that, or maybe it just shows that both companies were cost-cutting.
The Seekers provide a final convincing piece of evidence that there was communication, or at least concept-sharing between the two companies continents apart. The concrete clarification required is the chronology and order of events. Since the Mexican series 1 G1 jets came out in 1985 and the Ceji Starscream + coneheads debuted in 1986, it seems that Iga were first to the plastic nosecone/wheel table. However, Ceji could have repaid the favour through the Megatron mould-sharing. For now, anyone who wants a full set of plastic-featured Seeker jets will have to source Dirge and Thrust from Europe (Ceji), and Skywarp and Thundercracker from Mexico (Iga). WIth Starscream and Ramjet, depends which you find first, if at all.
|Ceji Ramjet, Starscream and Dirge|
All the best