Less article, more pictorial. This is the mainland European G1 Predacon "Divebomb" in bilingual packaging. I had absolutely no idea this existed, I knew there were US Predacons, Canadian bilingual Predacons and even GiG Italian Predacons, but to have had the Predacons in the 1980s - and therefore Predaking - in Europe outside of Italy is completely news to me. The giftset is out of the question (right?), but these 1987 releases would have been available in Holland, France and presumably spots in Germany, Belgium and maybe even Scandinavia. Euro collectors knew of course, but that's never been an obstacle to my ignorance.
|Hasbro Europe 1987 Divebomb|
|French and DUTCH bilingual, so Euro not Canadian|
The large bilingual techspec synonymous with mainland European packaging can be seen on the back, and all over the box the writing is in French and Dutch. 1986 box back artwork belies the fact that the item is 1987, as in 1986 Hasbro Europe Transformers were still quadlingual. It still spins me out to see what was available in mainland European, things like Targetmaster Scourge, Targetmaster Hot Rod...things that were thought to have been solely the domain of the US and the UK for decades.
|1987 mainland bilingual Euro Targetmaster Scourge techspec|
|Easily mistaken for a US Divebomb without the box|
On the inside it might as well be a US Divebomb because the instructions are English, not at all bilingual without any evidence of "Milton Bradley International" whose name can be found on much of the era's European paperwork, even after "MB" disappeared from the boxes. According to Mijo, to whom this Divebomb is going via my grubby mitts "The instructions are English. I've confirmed they came like that. Tell you more soon".
Until that time, here are a crapload of Divebomb pictures!
So much is said about the quality of toy technology now compared to the bricks of Generation 1. I know this, I enjoy 3rd party Predacons and Masterpiece Transformers as much as any collector. There is something about having a boxed, complete, good condition G1 toy in hand that reminds you where your love came from in the first place. Divebomb is awesome anyway, vintage Predaking is magic.
I've never been entirely on board with using the lower half of the beak as a robot chin-strap for Divebomb, I preferred the un-obscured robot head. Another very nice feature of Divebomb is the totem pole-style wings, an effect that transfers perfectly onto Predaking. And as far as these things go, the articulation isn't too bad at all:
|Robot mode is open to freestyling|
It also served to remind me that there's not a lot wrong with vintage G1 with some wear and tear, not everything has to be a reissue, and then a sealed reissue, and then the RIGHT sealed reissue with die cast not plastic, or gold stickers not yellow. A lot of choice can sometimes be as strangling as no choice at all. Generation 1 vintage Transformers were more than good enough to spawn a collecting community once, no reason why they are suddenly not good enough.
The copyright is as you'd expect, the same as a US Divebomb. The box of course is covered in European addresses, subsidiary information and appropriate copyrights and different assortment details.
|Dutch importer/subsidiary info|
|Hasbro Europe assortment code|
|Gold sword - painted hardcopy proto Divebomb|
|Belgian importer info|
Now this was purchased from a UK collector, and Mijo asked me to investigate its history a little. Here's Nicnbomber's (the seller) response:
"I did purchase it myself in 1986-87, Divebomb was bought in France when I was on a day ferry trip to Le Havre along with 1st cartoon movie Gnaw Sharkticon and the Decepticon base Trypticon, at the time Hasbro only ever released a certain amount of the full range in the UK which used to drive me to insanity as every so often in a UK box you would find a rare American TF brochure with loads of characters that I had no access to in UK shops, so in the days of no internet the only way me and friends could get our hands on these forbidden fruit TF's was by heading to French stores hoping to get lucky, how obsessed is that?! At the time it was more than worth it to me as I ended up with quite a few TFs that had never been seen by other UK collectors at the time."
|Nope, no changes here...ahem...|
About that address in Ter Apel, Holland, and the other importer information. I am now going to show you why I worship Mijo of 20thcenturytoycollector and his research so much, take a deep breath:
"MB International BV is one of the first (or perhaps THE first) mainland European MB subsidiary, opened up in the 1960s iirc in Ter Apel, Netherlands. That is also why the Dutch MB branch is not named "MB Netherlands" like most other MB subsidiaries like MB France, MB Belgium, etc. It was probably the ONLY MB daughter in Europe at that time, so the name was suitable for its purpose back then. A lot of European MB subsidiaries were, in turn, daughter subsidiaries of MB International BV, like MB Belgium and MB España.
In 1984 Hasbro acquired MB and also became the owner of all European MB subsidiaries. MB International BV was thus responsible for distributing Transformers in Holland in 1985 (and maybe also indirectly to its subsidiaries MB Belgium NV and MB España SA).
In 1986 Transformers were rebranded from MB to Hasbro products, but distribution was still done by all the MB subsidiaries. Even the SKU/catalog numbers of the toys remained unchanged. This explains the MB International BV notice on European TF packaging in 1986 and 1987.
MB remained responsible for distribution of Hasbro products (like TF, GI Joe, Jem etc) in most of mainland Europe until 1991 or so, when Hasbro rebranded or replaced most of the old MB subsidiaries to Hasbro. MB is now virtually nothing more than a brand (ironically in the same way that Hasbro was initially nothing more than a brand in 1986 in continental Europe! :-)
Whereas most MB's were replaced or rebranded, MB International BV remains to exist as a company to this day, although it is not active in distribution anymore. Funny enough, the current Dutch Hasbro subsidiary (Hasbro BV) is a daughter of MB International BV. It has been so since 1986! This also explains why on some 1986 Euro TF packaging you can see the notice "© 1986 Hasbro, a division of MB" in Dutch."
|Hasbro US assortment code on inner flap|
The assortment code on the inner flap is the same as the US one (well...US one is 5962.08/5775). Man, I miss collecting bread and butter G1 Transformers. So...anyone got pictures of the other 4 European Predacons?
All the best