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

Thursday 24 April 2014

Diaclone "Prowl" Quickie

The original Takara Diaclone Car Robot No.13 Police Car Fairlady Z was released in Japan around June 1983, commonly referred to as "Diaclone Prowl" thanks to this toy's eventual use in the 1984 Hasbro Transformers line as the Autobot Strategist. The image above, as ridiculous as it seems, is not the Japanese toy but the Italian GiG release of this figure sporting its outrageously and inappropriately large orange and black safety boppers. For this post, we'll be looking at the Italian version of this release.

GiG Trasformer Auto Robot "Diaclone prowl"

Quite a group shot, eh?

The differences between the Japanese original and the later Italian release are not particularly huge. The packaging is obviously very different with all Japanese text replaced with Italian and English, a Trasformer, Auto Robot and GiG logo added here and there and the car's release number changed from 13 in Japan to 6 in Italy. Isn't it interesting that in Japan, the last Fairlady to be released in Diaclone was the police version, after even the Diaclone Smokescreen? The artwork for this release was almost directly copied for the Transformers Prowl with Autobot symbols being added. The TF artwork even retained the "Diaclone" lettering on Prowl's police badges.

GiG Police Fairlady insert

A lack of Diaclone driver is typical for GiG released cars (or Auto Robots), and the space in the styro for the thin missile sprue has been manually adjusted (read: broken) to accommodate the much larger rubber safety missiles, commonly called "boppers" by collectors. The space for the sirens has not always existed in the Fairlady Diaclone styro, when the first No.7 pre-Bluestreaks came out, their styro did not have space for sirens, so Diaclone Prowl may not have been on the horizon at that stage. It is after all the last re-tool of the Fairlady mould for Diaclone.

What's interesting here is that this particular Italian Diaclone Prowl is precisely the same mould as the Japanese ones, with a circle Takara Japan stamp on the bottom. The previous owner, Roeland, was quite the expert in Fairlady variations and referred to it as "zero mould", as many of the parts were not at all stamped with a number, a practice that Takara began with the next mould iteration, stamped "2" here and there. That latter "2" iteration is more commonly found in GiG Diaclone Prowl boxes and of course, most pre rub Transformers Prowl boxes. "3" iteration parts can be found in Ceji Joustra Diaclone packaging, pre-rub Transformers and MB Transformers packaging as well. Too much information? Back to the pictures, then.

Note, no "Diaclone" on factory stickers

Quite white and un-yellowed for a change

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the "Diaclone" lettering on different versions of this release globally. The Japanese original had "Diaclone" on all the stickersheet badge stickers but also on the factory police badge stickers found on Diaclone Prowl's hood and doors. The Japanese version also had a red "R" inside the yellow star on all the police badges, both factory- applied and stickersheet-based.

The GiG and Ceji Joustra Diaclone versions of Police Fairlady have the same stickersheet as the Japanese release, so both of these European pre-Prowls would have the red mark inside the police star on the robot shoulders and the "Diaclone" lettering as those stickers came off the stickersheet. Neither would have had the red mark or "Diaclone" lettering on the factory labels applied to the hood and doors of the car. Annoyingly, I think some of the very very earliest GiG Diaclone Prowls did actually have the same factory stickers as the Japanese one, but I've never found one like that myself, I'm taking Roeland's word for it. As a general rule though, you can distinguish using the above.

See the red mark and "Diaclone" on shoulder stickers

As a side note, you can find early pre rub 1984 Transformers Prowls with the "Diaclone" lettering still on the hood badge, but without the red marks in the star. 1989 Euro gold-boxed Classic Heroes Prowl also has "Diaclone" lettering on hood and door factory stickers, but not on the stickersheet labels. Not at all confusing, I'm sure you'll agree.

Great visibility for aim, certainly.

Did they really, REALLY, imagine that children and eventually collectors would ever display Diaclone Prowl (or Streak or Smokescreen) in this fashion? The robot head is completely obscured, the whole thing is proportionally skewed and the robot looks comical. I do love these images though, because you just don't see collectors pose their GiG Diaclones this way, ever.

That's an "R", right?

Hilarity aside, you can see on his shoulders that the police badge stickers have the little red mark inside the star and the "Diaclone" lettering as those are off the Diaclone stickersheet packaged with the GiG Auto Robot Police Car Fairlady Z. Those barmy missiles are immensely well-propelled by what appear to be strengthened launcher springs. My experience has always been that Italian launchers are the most lethal.

GiG, Japanese and Ceji Joustra Diaclone Police Car Robots

"Police Sunstreaker", "Prowl" and "Police Sideswipe" box sides

Diaclone's tradition of police car versions of popular moulds (or at least from a Transformers perspective) is one of the most memorable, signature and appealing features of the pre-Transformers universe. So much so that many customisers have taken the step to create Police Jazz, Police Tracks and other such kitbashes.

I've always wanted a Japanese Diaclone Prowl because of the special stickers, the fabulous night-time cityscape packaging theme and because I always felt the black and white colours on the Fairlady mould were terribly sophisticated. Unfairly, the GiG version of this release is not particularly highly sought-after, and I sold the item for less than I paid, which was $300. If the Japanese one is worth the $800 that it sells for now (and it isn't), then more respect is due to the Italian version, especially the bone white specimen I had with the "zero mould" features. But then you could count the number of collectors who care about that type of thing on one hand.

Fair Ladies.

All the best


  1. He looks like Mantenna from He-Man with those safety missles....

    1. Had to look that up and it gave me a proper laugh! :D

      All the best

  2. Iain/CyberShadow24 April 2014 at 12:19

    The Anna Nicole Smith of the Diaclone universe!