Following on from yesterday's post on the Ceji-manufactured "Yellow Devastator", here's another of the 1986 Transformers made in France by Ceji for Hasbro Bradley in 1986. While the variations on Starscream are not anywhere near as spectacular as a whole Devastator in the wrong colour, there are enough G1 Seeker and Starscream aficionados out there that when I sold both of my specimens, they were gone in an instant with no argument on price. The differences are interesting enough even for a G1 collector with just a passing interest in variants.
|Ceji G1 Starscream from 1986|
|Multilingual packaging and paperwork|
You can see from the pictures that the instructions and tech specs are multilingual. These came out in mainland Europe and parts of Scandinavia after the Milton Bradley-badged 1985 range of G1 Transformers had done the rounds. Hasbro Bradley enlisted Ceji to manufacture certain characters for them possibly in order to beef up the supply for what must have been considerable demand. You can distinguish between Milton Bradley and Ceji instructions as the first language on MB was usually German ("Anleitlung"), but on Ceji it was French ("Livret D'Instructions"). English is also present on Ceji paperwork, but not on MB. There's also the small matter of a number of MB Starscreams actually being Thundercrackers, but that's a different story.
|Hard plastic nosecone|
|Black plastic wheels|
The main differences between the Ceji Starscream and a HasTak Starscream are that the French-born jet has black plastic wheels on the feet and the landing gear instead of the original silver die cast metal, and it has a hard plastic nosecone instead of rubber like the Hasbro Transformer. The grey plastic is ever so slightly different too, in a way that you only notice when the items are side by side. I think the Ceji was a touch darker.
|Slightly darker grey|
|Darker canopy - only just|
The main thing that sets the Ceji Starscream apart from the Plasticos Iga Mexican version - that also has a hard plastic nose and black wheels - is that the grey plastic on the Mexican jet is much darker, gunmetal in fact. Also the Mexican Starscream has sparkly blue plastic, but the Ceji does not. You can spot an Iga Starscream from auction pictures, with the Ceji you'd have to be looking at the wheels to know for sure without asking questions. The factory stickers on a Ceji Starscream are far closer to that of a HasTak Starscream than Plasticos Iga ones, which are usually missing the white lines on the vertical fin "F" stickers.
|Ceji European versus Iga Mexican landing gears|
|Copyright on Ceji jet blocks out "JAPAN"|
|Notice moulding defects|
While the copyright is the same as a Mexican Starscream, the Ceji jet has a different mould for the landing gear despite being virtually identical (see above comparison), and there are distinct moulding lines/defects/swirls in the nosecone section. There is also no odd bobble on the end of the nosecone like a Mexican jet, it's perfectly moulded hard plastic. And awesome. I love it.
There's absolutely no doubt in my mind, though, that this is the kind of variant that only appeals to those who had Ceji or multilingual Euro G1 in their childhood, are Euro-centric G1 collectors, Starscream or Seeker completists, or general variant hunters. There's just not enough there to warrant paying a high price for most people, but to those who get how rare this variant is loose - nevermind boxed - at least they can respect it.
|One for the specialists|
All the best