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

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Ceji G1 Bombshell

I'm re-treading the past again here on Square One. I first featured the Ceji-manufactured 1986 G1 Insecticon variants from Europe a few years ago as a set. The article on the Ceji G1 "Orange Chested" Insecticons was basically what the title suggested, a look at the French-made Insecticons produced by Ceji on behalf of Hasbro Bradley for the 1986 wave of Transformers in mainland Europe. The deeper and richer orange plastic on the chest canopies was always the draw of these variants, making the toys more closely resemble their box artwork compared to Hasbro's vintage Insecticons with a much more yellow translucent plastic. So why revisit the Ceji Bombshell?

Unlike the very recent Joustra G1 Starscream article, there are no shockers on the packaging. This is as you'd expect for a Ceji-produced G1 Euro variant; the place of manufacture and printing is France. These Ceji figures may have immediately followed the Milton Bradley-boxed G1 figures of 1985, but those MB figures were Takara-manufactured and sent direct from Japan. These, however, are the product of Ceji (and Joustra) factories, so there are variations on packaging and toy. Multilingual text is evident in various spots, and completely missing from others (box front, top left corner above window). The tech specs are larger and multilingual, languages are standard French-English-Dutch-Spanish for Ceji stuff.

Also in evidence is the Cajofe logo on the inner box flap, referencing the company in France responsible for producing the packaging for Ceji and Joustra Transformers. The copyright text under the tech spec graph clearly states "Ceji" as the responsible party for making the toys. 

As I have mentioned above, the toy itself has been amply covered in the Ceji Insecticon article, but this is the first time I have owned Ceji Insecticon packaging, so it was worth another whirl in front of the lens, especially as I can feature Bombshell solo this time. Have you noticed anything about the paperwork baggie that's included with this Ceji Bombshell? This multilingual, European market Bombshell? No? Let's have a quick look back at some of my previous set(s) of Ceji Insecticons and their paperwork:

Orange chests - check. Multilingual larger tech specs - check. Multilingual European-style G1 instructions - CHECK. Well, check for Shrapnel and Kickback, anyway. With the three previous Ceji Bombshells I owned, I never got a multilingual set of instructions, or any at all. The Ceji one is quite specific too in that the language order is French-English-Dutch-Spanish, just like the packaging. The order for Milton Bradley instructions is not the same, it starts with German and does not feature English.

This unused, mint, stickers-unapplied Ceji Bombshell with box comes with a sealed Hasbro US baggie of stickers, American catalogue and English language only Instructions. Basically, it's the paperwork from a US Bombshell. Did the seller just pick up a missing paperwork baggie for an otherwise perfect Bombshell and Frankenstein the set? I actually do not believe this is the case, bear with me!

The price tag on this Ceji Bombshell is from the exact same location as the Joustra G1 Starscream and other European-packaged Transformers that the seller had. The seller also was not selling these toys as variants. I believe they were either his own childhood collection of TFs, or he had picked them up en masse from the original childhood owner. Considering the fact that everything else had its paperwork, and this Bombshell was otherwise unused and stickers unapplied - and allied to the fact that none of the four Ceji Bombshells I have ever owned had the multilingual instructions (and I've bought a full childhood Ceji Insecticon set before where the others did have them) - I think this may be indicative of more than just my Ceji Bombshell.

I'd like to speculate that if the seller bought this Bombshell around the same time as his Joustra Starscream, then it was at the very early stages of Ceji manufacturing Transformers for Hasbro Bradley in Europe. Starscream didn't have Ceji-style instructions, he just had a re-packed (or very slightly altered) Milton Bradley set of instructions. Is it possible that the first batch of Ceji Bombshells did not have the paperwork ready, and so they either got no instructions or Hasbro US paperwork? There has now been evidence of Ceji multilingual Bombshell instructions from others and even my own experience, so if anything it was just a mistake or an early run issue that was corrected.

Moving onto the toy, it may have been covered in the aforementioned Ceji Insecticon article, but nothing wrong with a refresher if new pics are to hand! Ceji-made Transformers have quality that's probably similar to that of the Plasticos IGA figures made in Mexico. This Bombshell's arms are a little nerve-wracking to rotate as I felt like I could snap them off if I was not careful. You might be able to tell that his chest flap - once used by the Diaclone predecessor to house a Dia-naut - is a rich deep orange.

I've always loved displaying Bombshell with his antenna pointing directly over his head, reminiscent of the cartoon, but it's equally displayable facing straight up. Another quality issue I noticed with the Ceji version was that the flap which closes over his robot head does not sit anywhere near as snug or flush as the regular or reissue Hasbro/Takara Bombshell mould.

Further to that, for a mint and unused specimen like this, it is easy to spot quality and moulding issues that are not down to wear. I found that his insect legs didn't quite exhibit the soft clicking into place when pushed all the way down against the torso for beetle mode. As a result, when in bug mode, often all four wheels on his appendages would not be sitting flat against the surface.

Ceji Bombshell - Takara reissue TFCollection Bombshell

Ceji Bombshell - Takara reissue TFCollection Bombshell

Here you see Ceji Bombshell against the toy that made him less unique, the first TFCollection reissue Bombshell from Takara. These reissues had a more orange tint to the chest flap than vintage Bombshell's yellow tinted one. The reason the Ceji ones were so fun was because of the boxart-resembling orange chests! Having said that, you can see that the Ceji one is still a slightly darker and richer shade of orange, but only just. You can also see the yellow plastic at the shoulders is darker on the Ceji. The purple paint used on the die-cast metal chest is also different from the reissue (and vintage HasTak).

Ceji Bombshell - Takara reissue TFCollection Bombshell
With the canopies side by side, you may notice the difference in colour more easily. Notice also the less rounded moulding on the Ceji Bombshell's wheels, as well as a slight lack of definition in the face sculpt compared to Takara's Bombshell. The difference in purple paint should be very evident here also.

The copyright stamping on the Ceji Bombshell is as it should be; standard Hasbro and Takara stamps with dates, but a raised block over the country of manufacture, since it was no longer made in Japan.

As I said in the Ceji Insecticons article originally, only hardcore variant collectors, completist Insecticon collectors or nostalgic European collectors need apply here. I love the European history of Generation 1, and the Ceji stuff has a lovely connection to the Joustra Diaclone toys that I love and collect. There seems to always be something to discover with this little corner of G1 Transformers, especially when you are fortunate enough to have the whole package of box and paperwork in hand. This time around - like with Starscream - I thought I'd just be doing a short post with an improved gallery to include the elusive packaging, but I feel I may have stumbled onto another little tidbit of Ceji weirdness with the missing multilingual instructions for Bombshell. May it never end!

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All the best

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