Smoke...Streak? Surely that's a mistake. Well, yes, it was a mistake, one that was repeated, repeated again, repeated to a slightly lesser degree and then finally corrected. It's actually a great shame that Plasticos Iga in Mexico ever bothered to correct their release of the Autobot Smokescreen because their 'mistakes' were sublime. The reason for the collector-given nickname "Smokestreak" is that while the toy is clearly presented in Smokescreen colours, three of the four versions of the Mexican toy actually had a large number of Bluestreak's moulding features, including one release that was 100% Bluestreak - just painted up in red, white and blue.
|Mexican "Smokestreak" - 100% Blustreak mould version|
The above Mexican Smokescreen, belonging to that fine gentleman Mr Bannerjee, is one of a handful discovered by collectors. It's special because it is one of the few that are 100% Bluestreak, but in Smokescreen colours. If you look carefully you will see that the front bumper is not a racing splitter but a road car bumper (Bluestreak bumper), the roof has the 'T-Bar' configuration (Bluestreak roof) whereas a proper Smokescreen has a flat roof with no detailing. Furthermore, there should be a rear wing/spoiler on a Smokescreen as it's a racing Fairlady 280Z Turbo, but the one above has regular flat rear windows (Bluestreak rear windows). So, yes, it's basically Bluestreak painted as Smokescreen - hence "Smokestreak". Why? Because Plasticos Iga were looking to cut manufacturing/production costs where possible, so repurposing existing moulds with new paint jobs was their modus operandi for most of the line (see series 3 minibots for example).
|Mexican Smokestreak hybrid #1 - Bluestreak front and middle|
|But a proper Smokescreen rear|
Now, what we have here is a hybrid, a halfway-house release where Plasticos Iga had started making inroads into releasing a proper representative Smokescreen that wasn't just a Bluestreak repainted. While the above hybrid (let's call it Mex Smokescreen v2 because we love to name stuff) has the Bluestreak bumper and T-bar roof, the back end is proper Smokescreen, complete with rear wing/spoiler. This is the only one I've seen like this so far in my own collecting experience and it was found in Europe where a lot of Mex TFs were exported to.
|Mexican Smokestreak hybrid #2 - Smokescreen front...|
|...Bluestreak middle and rear. Oh, and a Mex prowl.|
This was the first hybrid version I found, also in Europe, and I think I can name three examples of this that have shown up while I've been aware of Mexican Transformers variants. This hybrid Smokestreak has a normal Smokescreen front racing bumper/splitter, but it still features a Bluestreak-style 'T-Bar' roof and normal road car rear windows, flat with no spoiler/wing. Are we happy to call this Mexican Smokescreen v3? I have no evidence that this came after the hybrid above, because while they fixed the front of the car, the rear would seem to be another step back. Most likely the two hybrids were produced and available concurrently.
|Both Smokestreak hybrids together|
|The best case of "Something's not quite right" in G1 ever|
Are there further hybrid variants with a Smokescreen front end and Bluestreak rear? A Bluestreak front but Smokescreen middle and rear? A pair of sandwich versions which are Smokescreen - Bluestreak - Smokescreen and its inverse? I have no idea, it's completely conceivable but until they show up, I'm not going to start labelling anything v4, v5, v6 etc...
I did very much consider taking these two hybrids apart in order to make one 100% Bluestreak-mould Smokestreak and one 100% corrected Smokescreen, but then I'd have one interesting figure and one that wasn't really special at all, relatively. I'd also be messing with the integrity of the variants and that's a complete no-no for me. This way, I maintained their history and nature, proving that they existed in this configuration, and I had TWO interesting toys as a result. Credit to Heroic_Decepticon for reminding me of those facts when I wanted to take them apart. These two variants were sold this year for a healthy combined sum that allowed me to accept their leaving my collection. Common theme, huh?
|Spot the difference|
These are Mexican toys, so even apart from the Bluestreak mix-ins, even the 100% corrected release of the Iga Smokescreen was different from the Hasbro release. For a start, the robot head used a much duller silver paint for the face with weaker moulded features, and matte yellow horns instead of glossy gold. Most surprisingly, the red hood sticker on Mexican Smokescreens has a foil-like/chrome appearance, not matte like the normal HasTak Smokescreen. The factory "38" stickers are cheaper and use a different font style too. The packaging is as you'd expect, slightly cheaper production quality and with the Iga logo in the bottom left corner, covered throughout in Spanish text instead of English.
If you love G1 Smokescreen, as I do so very much, then even the 100% corrected (and most common) version of Mexican Smokescreen is a treasure. But should you find yourself in possession of the full Smokestreak or one of its hybrid cousins, then consider yourself massively privileged. It's one of the gems of the G1 variant universe, and not as well known as its brethren.
|Bluescreen and Smokestreak?|
More on Mexican Smokescreen HERE
All the best