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

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Milton Bradley G1 Ravage



I'm not exaggerating when I say the Transformers Generation 1 Milton Bradley-badged Ravage from 1985 is one of the rarest packaged regular production Transformers in the history of the line. Ravage itself is a very common G1 toy, released in many countries and in many forms, but this specific packaging from mainland European countries in 1985 stands out as not just the rarest occurrence of this figure, not just of all the known and confirmed MB-badged G1 figures, but almost ALL G1 packaged figures worldwide.


From the 1985 MB dealer's catalogue supplement

For years, the low resolution picture immediately above was the only seen example of a Milton Bradley-packaged G1 Ravage. It is a scan from a dealer's product catalogue from Milton Bradley in 1985. Since then, I know of three others that were seen opened and immediately purchased, two on eBay and off BBTS' website, but maybe there have been more that I am unaware of.

To understand and contextualise its rarity, I am referring to official Transformers releases that were sold in stores, so that rules out Lucky Draw stuff, production sample stuff with interesting errors and variations that never made it to market and rumoured stuff that is yet to appear photographed and confirmed such as Milton Bradley Devastator, Swoop or a GiG Predaking giftset or GiG Star Saber. I guess it sits in the same bracket as some of the wildly rare minibot variations on official Transformers cards from companies such as Rubiplas (Venezuela) and Lynsa (Peru).


One of the reasons for its rarity comes from the nature of the release itself. When Hasbro acquired Milton Bradley and released Transformers toys in territories such as France, Germany, Scandinavia, the Benelux etc, it was under licence from Takara. At the same time, Ceji Joustra were releasing other licensed toys from Takara in the same region, branded as "Diaclone". So, Milton Bradley did not have the rights to release those particular moulds - Optimus Prime (Battle Convoy), Ravage (Jaguar), Jazz (Porsche), Tracks (Corvette) etc - initially in Transformers packaging.


It is known that at some point in 1985, in certain European countries, Milton Bradley Transformers and Ceji Joustra Diaclones were being sold alongside each other on store shelves. When Hasbro Bradley acquired the rights from Ceji Joustra to those specific moulds in 1985, they proceeded to take Ceji Joustra Diaclone stock (sent direct from Takara in Japan to Ceji Joustra in France/Germany) and repackage it in Milton Bradley-badged Transformers packaging. This has been proved through the existence of Diaclone red Corvettes in MB Tracks boxes, and the correlation of virtually every Ceji Joustra Diaclone toy with a TF equivalent showing up as an MB Transformer too.

Ceji Joustra Diaclone Jaguar (1984)

Ceji Joustra Diaclone Jaguar (1984)

The Ceji Joustra Diaclone Jaguar cassette seen above was originally a Takara Micro Change Series toy. You can even see the Japanese version pictured on the back of the Joustra's card, identifiable by the "Takara" text on the cassette, instead of "Japan". Now, an interesting little fact here is that by the time Takara were providing stock for Ceji Joustra's Diaclone line, they were in full production mode for Hasbro's Transformers line. This meant that toys intended for the TF line found their way into Ceji Joustra hands, hence the existence of a factory applied Decepticon sticker on Ceji Joustra Diaclone Jaguars. It is basically the same toy, from the same source, as a G1 pre-rubsign Decepticon Ravage. Ceji Joustra Diaclone Condor is similarly Decepticon-stickered, basically a pre-rub Laserbeak.

Isn't it wonderful that we have a Micro Change toy, in a "Diaclone" package with a Transformers faction sticker? There are of course more examples of this, see the Ceji Joustra Diaclone minicars Cheetah (Brawn), Truck (Huffer), Trans-Am (Windcharger) and Pick Up (Gears), all with Autobot stickers.



So that Ceji Joustra Diaclone Jaguar would have already been on sale for some time on shelves by the time Hasbro Bradley acquired those rights. Since the same toy from the same source and stock was then repackaged into Milton Bradley packaging, assuming stuff was not pulled from shelves and ripped open then repackaged, it is conceivable that not much of that original Takara-sent stock was available in Ceji warehouses to be used by Hasbro Bradley for MB Ravage release. The 1984 range of Ceji Joustra Diaclones is also known to have been a very good seller. This could be the reason why so few have survived to the modern day; it might already have been an extremely rare MB-packaged toy even back in 1985. Few released, few sold, even fewer survived.

But who cares, right? Ravage is not a rare toy by any means, and it takes more than a Milton Bradley logo and multilingual text on a cardback in place of English text and a Hasbro logo to make something desirable.

MB Ravage and Ceji Joustra Jaguar - exact same toy on 2 different cards

There's more to it than that. What do we know about Hasbro Ravage? We know it comes carded with Decepticon Rumble. Not so for the MB Ravage, he is packaged alone with just Ravage's artwork and the sunburst background. A surreal sight for those of us who have the twin-pack absolutely ingrained into our minds. Why packaged alone? The answer to that is right next to him in the picture above. The original Ceji Joustra Diaclone Jaguar - the exact same toy - was single-packed. The bubble/blister on both is absolutely identical, which makes sense as both releases had their packaging produced in France. So, MB Ravage is the only non-Japanese release of Transformers Ravage to ever come packaged alone.

Age restrictions - multilingual

Printed in France but manufactured in Japan

MB Multilingual - German, French, Dutch, Spanish

German price sticker

Being a Milton Bradley release, it is a multilingual package that does not feature English, since that only came with later Hasbro Europe and Ceji packaging in 1986. The packaging was printed in France (most likely by Cajofe) but the toy is Japan manufactured, sent to Ceji Joustra originally to be part of the Ceji Joustra Diaclone releases. The price tag shows it was bought in Germany, and the complete MB Ravage card you see here was a childhood-bought item in Germany purchased directly from the original owner. The wavy techspec you see above is from a different chopped up card originating in France.


There is something else that makes MB Ravage fascinating beyond its paperwork. When these former Ceji Joustra Diaclone toys were being repackaged into Milton Bradley boxes or onto Milton Bradley cards, some of them already had Autobot or Decepticon stickers, like the cassettes and minibots. Others didn't. So, one of the jobs at the factory involved adding Autobot/Decepticon factory stickers to some toys, and rubsigns to all toys. They didn't always have enough rubsigns, which is why you find some MB Autobot cars without them, or even featuring them in the wrong place! They did not originally come from Takara with rubsigns as most of them were pre-rub era meant for non-Transformers release.

Hasbro Transformers rubsign-era Ravage

Look at the above rubsign-era Hasbro G1 Ravage. Perfectly normal and common release seen in the UK, North America, Asia etc. The rubsign for this toy ended up on the jaguar's left shoulder and was completely visible in both cassette mode and cat mode, depending on which side of the figure you were looking at.


What do you notice about the Milton Bradley Ravage? It's originally from the pre-rub Ravage assembly line so it has the factory Decepticon sticker on its left shoulder instead of a rubsign. It then went on a journey across the world to France where it was stuck into a Diaclone package - or - never made it out to a Diaclone package and instead went into an MB Transformers package. They couldn't put the rubsign over the factory Decepticon sticker...so they put it slap bang in the middle of the cassette on the detailed side, over the tape reel sticker.


This is 100% visible in-package and is not the normal location for a rubsign on a G1 Ravage. It doesn't end there, though. As I said, this was not an exact science for Milton Bradley/Ceji or whoever was handling the Transformer-ising of these previous Diaclone toys; there were inconsistencies, evidenced by one of the only other examples of a Milton Bradley Ravage I've seen:



That MB Ravage specimen ended up with the rubsign on the top of his right thigh! So I guess if you see a G1 Ravage from mainland Europe with the rubsign in a bizarre and unfamiliar location, and also the presence of the factory-applied Decepticon sticker, chances are you've found yourself a Milton Bradley Ravage.

Milton Bradley Ravage (left) - Ceji Joustra Diaclone Jaguar (right)

Milton Bradley Ravage (left) - Ceji Joustra Diaclone Jaguar (right)

Like much of what constitutes a mega-rarity from the early European G1 Transformers releases, this tends to be one for the specialists, in this case Milton Bradley, G1 cassette or Ravage-specific collectors. Apart from the odd rubsign placement in addition to a Decepticon factory sticker, the crazy repackaging journey the toy has been on and the single-character Hasbro-style cardback of the Milton Bradley Ravage, there's nothing to grab the attention of a casual G1 Transformers collector. 


I think it's fascinating that this is basically the exact same toy as the Ceji Joustra Diaclone, simply repackaged. That doesn't make it Japanese overstock, it makes it European acquired-and-repackaged stock. I find it fascinating that Milton Bradley ended up with a completely unique layout for Ravage (and Laserbeak) when they released them single-carded for the 1985 equivalent of $2.82. I also find it fascinating that MB Ravage has ended up being one of the absolute rarest MB TFs to find for those that specialise in this niche collecting area, up there with the likes of MB Jazz, "Sunswipe" and "Thunderscream". Finally, I find it fascinating that basically, from one side of the toy it's a prerub Ravage, and from the other side it's a rubsign Ravage - yet all the while a Micro Change toy that was intended to be sold as "Diaclone"!

When you consider the fact that I spotted this particular childhood-owned Ravage being sold loose with its bubble and cut up tech spec, and united it with a solitary MB Ravage cardback from a different childhood owner, then ally it to the MB Ravage's complicated global history, you could say that this cat has been on one hell of a journey. And now, he's back at Square One.


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All the best
Maz






6 comments:

  1. As always a great and informative article. :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Nic! :D

      All the best
      Maz

      Delete
  2. thanks for talk about venezuela friend

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lots of rare minibots from Venezuela :)

      All the best
      Maz

      Delete
  3. Incredible detail as always Maz, fascinating stuff. By the way, might just be me but the site seems to not like a lot of my comments and never publishes them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks dude! It has actually stopped giving me notifications if there are comments awaiting moderation, annoyingly! I also don;t know how it selects what needs moderation and what doesn't..I'll have a look now!

      All the best
      Maz

      Delete