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

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Plasticos IGA G1 Yellow "Tailgate"

The card says "Tailgate." The toy says "Windcharger." So which is it? As is the case so regularly with the Transformers manufactured by Mexican company Plasticos IGA, the answer is of course "both!" 

What you see there is the Mexican 1987 release of "Tailgate", the yellow variant, which was just a repaint of Windcharger instead of a full retool. The card has Spanish on it, although this particular specimen hails from the Netherlands, and you can see the price tag for the now-defunct Dutch supermarket chain Konmar on the card!

The G1 Transformers that were manufactured by Plasticos IGA and released in Mexico, not to mention widely imported into European countries, almost all exhibit some form of variation from their Hasbro/Takara counterparts. The minibots were especially interesting as many well-known G1 minis show significant colour variations. It was very common for the series 3 minibots to just be repaints of series 1 minis instead of the correct retools released by Hasbro.

This "Tailgate" is a fine example. Plasticos IGA released a white and sparkly-blue Windcharger toy, calling it "Tailgate" on his card. In addition to that, they also did a yellow and sparkly-blue variant which you see here. His packaging, shown towards the top of this article, clearly identifies him as "Tailgate."

Courtesy of Ras

From 1986 Toy Fair paperwork

Why yellow? Well, the 1986 Transformers preview in Toy Fair of the same year contains many prototypes and mock-ups, including the famous pink Hot Rod. It also contains mock-ups for a yellow Tailgate and a white Hubcap (or "Hub Cap") shown in the picture above. While Hasbro never released Tailgate and Hubcap in those colours, Plasticos IGA certainly got as close as their cost-cutting measures were going to allow in Tailgate's case! It's interesting to note that Plasticos IGA - while they never released a Hubcap toy - put out a white version of G1 Bumblebee and also Cliffjumper, both with red faces. It's quite a strong case for the above imagery/protos being an inspiration for their releases, right?

While we're on the subject, how about a closer look at that particular yellow Tailgate prototype...

Courtesy of Ras

Courtesy of Ras

Just wow. The fact that it can be enjoyed by the community with proper photography existing, and to know that this precise and important prototype is in the collection of a fan is really something that never gets old when it comes to the history of G1 Transformers.

The Plasticos IGA Tailgate doesn't have the red face or the Tailgate issue factory stickers, but it's more in line with a Windcharger, with a standard IGA-printed Autobot sticker of slightly lower quality on the chest. The blue plastic is sparkly, as well.

Looking resplendent in yellow and sparkly blue, this IGA Tailgate has no rubsign, which was  a standard omission for Mexican TFs. Chances are the release date for this figure, assuming most IGA stuff hit the stores a year after the Hasbro equivalents, was 1987. It would have been imported into Europe the same year and subsequent years too, having been found in the Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Scandinavia etc. Most of the ones I've seen have been from the Netherlands, and as mentioned at the top of this article, this one has a Dutch price tag of 2.99 Guilders (just over 1 Euro approx) on the card.

The copyright stamping is nothing too surprising, although it does not follow the rule of thumb for IGA TFs where the country of manufacture would be covered with a raised block. You can just about make out the "JAPAN" in the above picture.

This is still quite a desirable variant, and despite there being a much more widely available yellow Antex Camaro for those who need their yellow Windcharger fix, this remains the more beautiful of the two. Not only is it actually just a gorgeous toy in its own right, but the fact that it has an Autobot logo on it really appeals to me now. It's the same reason I'm so keen to add more IGA minibots to my current collection as opposed to Estrela or Antex variants. 

In addition to all of that, there's the historical significance of the colour scheme. The fact that Tailgate was originally meant to be yellow makes this the closest any of us will ever get to owning a piece of that history, short of buying the prototype itself! Something about the idea that Plasticos IGA based the colour scheme off that original Toy Fair sample makes it a touch more magical than simply being a random colour variant.

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All the best

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