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Non-affiliated, Non-lengthy, Non-articles about Transformers

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Ceji G1 "Yellow Devastator"


This is not Generation 2, and these are not Classic-era yellow and grey non-combining European Constructicons, which can be seen clearly in the above picture of the combined "G1 Yellow Devastator". That's right, "G1", look at the rubsigns. In 1986 before they folded, French toy company Ceji (by then Ceji Revell) agreed as part of the deal for Hasbro Bradley to take over their stock of Diaclone and licences for the mainland European region, to manufacture certain Transformers figures for release under "The Transformers" in countries such as France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Austria and parts of Scandinavia. The Constructicons were part of that arrangement, except the memo about the colour was lost.


Carded G1 yellow Ceji Constructicons

This image ought to put any doubts about the Generation 1 origin of these yellow Constructicons beyond doubt, and the eagle-eyed among you will notice the multilingual text on the packaging. Those even more familiar with European G1 packaging variants will notice that one of the languages on the card is English, meaning these are Hasbro Europe issue from 1986. The 1985 Milton Bradley multilingual Transformers did not feature English. Were you to look at the rear of the packaging you would see the Ceji Made in France text which puts paid to any chance of these being Chinese 90s figures. They were made in France in 1986, and European collectors recall seeing them in stores in the 80s and even receiving yellow ones as replacements for faulty/broken green ones sent back to Hasbro Bradley/Hasbro Europe. 

Ceji yellow G1 Constructicons

Rubsigns, launch tabs, combining parts, dark purple

Ceji's other variants include the blue and white Huffer that was meant to act as Pipes, the red-footed G1 Optimus Prime, the G1 Coneheads and Starscream with hard plastic nosecones and black wheels, the G1 Insecticons with orange chests, and then others like Megatron, Soundwave, Cosmos and Seaspray that were less obviously different. 

Ceji yellow G1 Hook

Available in 1986 in mainland Europe and Scandinavia


So how can you tell the Ceji G1 yellow Constructicons apart from the later European releases and G2 Constructicons? While I accept that it would be easy to fake nowadays, the Ceji Constructicons have rubsigns because they were released in the appropriate era for those to still be in use. Sometimes - sometimes - Ceji rubsigns have a smaller black insignia area and as a result the surrounding silver area of the rubsign seems bigger than normal.

Ceji G1 yellow Long Haul

Fully combine-able

Next, there are no grey parts on these, so that immediately rules out the latter European Classics-era Constructicons. Also, these yellow Ceji Constructicons from 1986 can combine and have the parts to do it, so really there should be no excuse for confusing the two once in hand.

Ceji G1 yellow Scavenger

Darker purple windows than G2

The real official competitor here is the Generation 2 Devastator set, which also combines. The main difference between the Ceji and the Hasbro G2 set is that the Ceji G1 set can still fire missiles and fists etc, they still have launching tabs on the Devastator parts (and yellow tabs on the Devastator forearms) and the purple used in the vehicle windows and combiner parts is darker than that used on the G2 Devastator bots. There are moulding differences too, but most categorisation can be done at a glance.

Ceji G1 yellow Bonecrusher

Slightly darker yellow than G2 as well

I guess the real problem would be distinguishing them from the bootleg yellow G1 sets, but again the Ceji Constructicons should have unique copyrights where only the country of manufacture is blocked. Unless that's what the counterfeit set have too, in which case just buy from trusted sellers!

Ceji G1 yellow Mixmaster

Launch tab on Mixmaster will be a giveaway

Is it inconceivable that the Generation 2 colour scheme used in the 1990s for Hasbro's Constructicons was based on the Ceji Devastator from Europe over 5 years previous? Why did Ceji even go for yellow? Just one more of those things I would only be able to speculate on. It probably wasn't a design choice because that's a very major departure from the signature colour of the G1 Constructicons and it's hard to believe that Hasbro Bradley would have wanted sales in any way affected by wrong colours after the red MB Tracks and MB Sunswipe cases.

Ceji G1 yellow Scrapper

A genuine lack of green plastic?

I don't believe that Ceji deliberately set out to create variants, I think the whole thing - Huffer as Pipes, red feet Prime, lack of die cast or rubber on jets - is more indicative of the cost-cutting that a company on the way out would have had to commit to, not to mention a fair amount of mis-communication and possibly the kind of source material that wasn't as up to date as the production toys being churned out by HasTak globally.

Ceji G1 yellow Devastator

Money shot

The yellow colour, then, a result of a lack of appropriate green plastic resources at the Ceji manufacturing facilities? A different interpretation of what Hasbro wanted for the figures? A colour scheme based more heavily on the Diaclone origins of the Construction Robo vehicles using pre-Transformers or early Transformers literature and imagery? No concrete evidence either way, but I'm so glad it exists. I don't collect G2, but I've always liked the yellow and orange G2 Devastators, so to have a vintage variant that retains all the best features of the Generation 1 release makes this a lovely set indeed.

Ceji G1 yellow Constructicons

Finding these individual yellow G1 Constructicons on Ceji cards is really very hard indeed. I've never seen a whole 6-piece sealed set, but I would wager they are out there in Europe or even very high end US collections. There was never a yellow Devastator Ceji giftset, so the individually carded members are as premium as this set will get. Loose ones can be found without much difficulty, and there's even a set of six available from a very reputable UK seller HERE, The naysayers will claim that collectors like me will automatically prefer the rarer version or obscure colours on a well-known mould, but as nice as the normal Constructicons are in green, I flat out prefer this set. It's not a vintage only thing though, should I ever get a 3rd Party Devastator, it would be the yellow set.

Yellow Giant indeed

All the best
Maz































13 comments:

  1. Nice as ever Maz. Are these recent photos, or is the complete set you sold me a year or two ago featured hee?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's yours mate, I think I even sent these photos to you at the time to help you part with your money :)

      The second set in the pics I returned to the seller as they were covered in "custom" paint. The guy who got them instead of me said it was felt tip pen and removed it immediately. Just one of my many famous collecting blunders...

      All the best
      Maz

      Delete
  2. Love this post Maz. I never knew that much about this particular Ceji figure. Really interesting stuff to think about in regards to all the small variations probably due to supply issues.

    I had never seen the yellow figures with the green cardboard artwork. Really stands out and is stunning.

    I'm a big G2 fan (of only the principle characters). I have the complete G2 grey version and orange set but only three of the G2 yellow Devy figures. They were three of the first figures I bought when I was getting back into collecting years ago and I paid a premium price for them unfortunately due to lack of knowledge. I'm really trying to get the other figures at a lower price so it's taking some time.

    Keep up the excellent reads!

    Cheers,
    Joe

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    Replies
    1. They are incredible on the card, aren't they? There's just something about the toy inside a package or blister not being the same as all the promotional imagery on the box that appeals to me. Cheers for the kind words, Joe.

      All the best
      Maz

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  3. Replies
    1. Oi, Mr Wrong Waist Piece, what are YOU smiling at? ;)

      All the best
      Maz

      Delete
  4. There was one episode in the g1 cartoon that the Constucticons were yellow too, maybe not the reason these are yellow, but I remember it always seemed odd as a kid and it is quite nice to have a yellow G1 set out there with the combining parts. A set I would love to own one day.

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    Replies
    1. Colin's got one for sale here:
      http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Transformers-G1-Ceji-Yellow-Constructicons-Devastator-/370739576367?pt=UK_ToysGames_ActionFigures_ActionFigures_JN&hash=item5651ccfe2f

      All the best
      Maz

      Delete
  5. I'm sure I'm not the first to tell you this sort of thing, but your many articles on Ceji Devastator (including this one, as well as your informative PM to me on TFW) was the push I needed to bite the bullet on this. Thanks again for that, it's much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh great news, I'm glad you bought it! It's quite striking in person isn't it? Now all I have to worry about is finding one for myself again one day :)

      All the best
      Maz

      Delete
  6. Hello, I'm French and I'm glad I finally found some information about these. I bought 2 of these when I was a kid : Longhaul and Bonecrusher. Back in the time, we were surprised to see green Constructicons in the transformers catalogues. I didn't remember that the cards showed green , until I saw your pictures.

    I didn't know that Ceji also made Transformers, as I own some MB Autobots (Wheeljack and "Sunswipe").

    I know someone who also owns a redheaded Snarl. I don't know if you know this version though. I'd be glad to share some pics of European Transformers of needed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would loooove to know more about the red headed Snarl if it is genuine! Please feel free to contact me via the published email address on my profile/dales page :)

      All the best
      Maz

      Delete