Who is Tigertrack? Well if you'd read THIS you'd know, wouldn't you! This isn't a reissue though, you're looking at the very first yellow version of a Countach that made it to The Transformers, the Japanese Takara Diaclone No.15 New Countach LP500S, or "Yellow Sideswipe". The original Diaclone pre-Sideswipe was released in red around August 1983 in Japan, with a planned all black version seemingly making it to production-ready stages before possible being scrapped. This yellow version was the official second release of the mould and debuted in Japan at the end of 1983, and was then released in Italian GiG packaging as well in 1984.
|Diaclone "Yellow Sideswipe"|
|Yellow car, driver and launcher detail|
|Lovely protos on the box back|
Think of the 1980s, what was the most popular supercar pin-up of the decade? That's right, the Lamborghini Countach. Ally that to a striking pair of decos in red and yellow, as well as transforming robots and you've got a hit. This yellow version of the Diaclone Sideswipe has always been rare. It may have sold for $250-ish in 2001, $600+ in 2003 and now for four figures when perfect, but its rarity hasn't changed all that much. In fact I think I've seen more in the last 3 years than ever previous, but many of those have come from Italy and were not exactly shining specimens.
|A few paint chips straight out the factory...|
|...and dodgy factory label application as standard|
A Japanese yellow Diaclone New Countach is up there with Marlboor Wheeljack in rarity, moreso in fact, with only a MIB Black Diaclone Skids and Diaclone Grapple being tougher to find in mint condition. That's been my experience, anyway. The last MIB unused I saw for sale went for a few thousand, but that was the utterly bizarre Dan Morphy auction held when Ed Sandford of Robot Japan was selling his robot collection, where a Diaclone Powered Convoy went for nearly $10,000 - all of those prices were ridiculous and not at all representative of true value or the real market. Interestingly, that Yellow Sideswipe from the Morphy auction was the one I sold him in 2003 for $660 on eBay. I'd bought it for $550 the year before.
|Nope, can't find a bad angle|
|Itty bitty paint chips|
What both Ed and I had in common when selling that same Yellow Sideswipe was that we were both giving up collecting and saying goodbye to our collections and our hobby, because this toy is so unbelievably special that the only way I could conceive of parting with one - and Ed too apparently - was if it was time to give up toy collecting completely. The difference is, I changed my mind and came back. I was lucky to find this Diaclone Yellow Sideswipe, which trumped the one I sold Ed in condition and cost me even less. I got it from a dealer who had bought it from someone who - you guessed it - was giving up the hobby.
|Does this mould even need another colour?|
|So glad they changed the launch tab colour|
So the implication is, when you're tired of "Yellow Sideswipe", you're tired of collecting. Do you remember how it felt when you first laid eyes on the Sideswipe mould in yellow, coming from a Transformers background? I still feel that way every time I look at this toy, or even the Figure Oh Tigertrack reissue exclusive and the MP-12T Masterpiece Tigertrack. Yellow on Sunstreaker is simply magical, but on Sideswipe its profound.
|As if there could have been any other choice for driver colour|
The launcher with the yellow tab means that the job of completing this figure should you pick up just the loose car is immensely difficult, and almost certainly requires the purchasing of a second specimen. The doors lose paint first and then the painted die cast sections chip quite easily, meaning that the appearance of this figure is massively affected by wear, moreso than many Diaclone cars.
|Yellow and Police Diaclone Sideswipes|
|No.15 Yellow and No.19 Police Car Diaclone New Countach LP500S|
All of those features add to the price of this figure when in decent nick. Some details: the headlights are stickers and not tampos like the reissue, they say "Rallye Racing" (sic) instead of the apparently-corrected "Rally Racing" of Tigertrack, the silver paint on the helmet is only visible on the forehead vent opening, not the whole vent and shaft along the top of the head a la reissue, there is no cylindrical peg between the die cast leg halves on the vintage version and the pegs that rise above the chest/hood are different. Copyrights are also worlds apart. In other words, it's very simple to spot a vintage Diaclone Yellow. The Italian version is not remoulded or stamped differently to the Japanese one, it's probably just a repackage job.
Hmm, I seem to be at the end of my pictures and I feel as though I haven't said anywhere near enough about this wonderful toy, but that's what full articles are for. I feel immensely privileged to have owned not one but two perfect versions of this Diaclone, and to still have one today. It was my first holy grail and I like to think I've been its biggest fan since I learnt of its existence, and done it as much justice as anybody could across the many articles I've written about Yellow Sideswipe, be it the Diaclone, the reissue or the Masterpiece Tigertrack. I'm sure had Hasbro's original documents citing yellow as the colour for the Transformers Sideswipe mould (or "Sunstreaker" as this mould was meant to be called) come to pass, many more people would feel as I do about this toy.
If the Diaclone Police Sideswipe is Diaclone perfection, then this figure is toy perfection.
All the best