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

Monday, 5 January 2015

Optimus From Yugoslavia - Part 3

In 1988, The Transformers made it to the former Yugoslavia in the shape of the iconic Optimus Prime G1 toy. In Part 1 and Part 2 of this mini-series we discovered that Yugoslavia, like many European countries, received G1 Transformers from Mexico manufactured by Plasticos Iga. While everything other than Optimus was standard issue variant Iga Mexican TFs in Iga packaging, the Optimus came in a specially made box for the Yugoslavian market that was 99% Iga, but sporting the logo of then-Yugoslavian toy manufacturer Marčanka. In this final part, we'll look at the Mexican Optimus Prime in the Marčanka package.

Being from 1988 and later, the Plasticos Iga manufactured Optimus Prime, imported from Mexico, is actually the safety tested version that can be found distributed in the very late 1980s and early 1990s. This means that, as in many European countries, the Yugoslavian Iga Optimus has had the red and yellow paint considered to contain unsafe levels of lead removed, and a very poor re-paint job carried out instead.

This is most evident in the missing silver cab stickers where the die-cast section has had its original paint stripped (using a cement mixer like how the UK ones are reputed to have been stripped?) and darker red paint applied. Mexican Iga Optimus Primes actually from Mexico tend to still have those silver cab stickers as the safety measures were seemingly not carried out for internally sold specimens. This Marčanka box did not have a safety test sticker attached, though.

Another tell-tale safety-tested feature is the eye paint, and just how catastrophically badly it has been applied. In lieu of lead-lined yellow eye paint, there are now horror-flick red smudges where the original eyes used to be.

The copyright is country-blocked as Iga manufactured Transformers regularly are. This Marčanka Prime is identical to the old Iga Prime I used to own in that the inner trailer parts and Roller were dark blue but the seats inside the cab were a lighter blue plastic. This is not how all Yugoslavian Primes appear though, as the Marčanka Prime found just a few weeks before my own one in Serbia had lighter blue parts throughout the trailer and Roller. Since then I've seen a further loose example of both lighter and darker blue trailer/Roller parts on Primes from Serbia. Both types have Spanish language instructions just like a proper Mexican Optimus Prime release. Martin Lund even goes further to say that there are many variations of blue and purple parts, you know, just to make the life of a completist easier. See his article on it here.

It's very hard to see where the vintage G1 Transformers variant rollercoaster could possibly go after this, 2014 gave us this tremendous Yugoslavian chapter of G1 history as well as the Gisima KO Spanish minibots. We're running out of undiscovered (Transformers) countries, but for now I'm happy to give thanks to the excellent Serbian TF collecting community - especially G1 Aerialbot, Nikola Todorovic and Danilo - for bringing this hidden gem to light.

Part 1 <<< Click to catch up
Part 2 <<< Click to catch up

All the best


  1. There should stil be quite some stuff to discover with Russian G1 and some other eastern european countries ;)

    1. Part of me is happy, part of me wants to know there is nothing else :P

      All the best