Please scroll down for the Transmegator Figure Overview and the available Checklist
Naming these Battle Beasts Knock-Offs
The Transmegator line can really be considered part of a chaotic mixture of similar looking Knock-Off Beasts and it wasn´t until a couple of years ago that the name was successfully connected to the correct figures. Because unlike the Transmegator there are also names like Zuetron Defenders and Animal Robot Fighters (different from the Indonesian Bootleg line; Animals Robot Master) around. Strangely enough and even with the knowledge we have today there is still a lot unknown. What is known now though and what´s most likely an important step is that the Zuetron Defenders are ¨another line¨ although most likely the exact same molds have been used or either one of both the Transmegator or Zuetron Defenders is a Bootleg version of the other one. The name Animal Robot Fighters most likely has been the name of the Transmegator line in Asia or at least in Japan as they´re available under that name there. Transmegator and Animal Robot Fighters are exactly the same line while the Zuetron Defenders differentiate themselves mainly color wise having a more Silver colored armor. BUT on top of that there might be even another line created out of these as there are also pictures around of these similar looking figures in completely Silver, Bronze or even Gold looking armor and these don´t belong to either the Transmegator or Zuetron Defenders based on their original pamphlets. After the Transmegator name has been successfully extracted let´s leave the remaining chaos behind and have a better look at them.
Origin and time, W.H. Cornelius LTD
When it comes to most (80´s) toys it´s easy to say they´re made in China because that´ll often be the correct answer and also here the truth isn´t that far off but to be sure it has to be placed in the correct perspective of time. What´s known, from the packaging, is that within the UK the Transmegator line was imported by a company named W.H. Cornelius LTD based in London but they´re made in China under license of that same British company. This is were a couple of important puzzle pieces seem to come together because W.H. Cornelius was a Toy Company that did a lot of business with China via Hong Kong which at that moment was still a British Colony (in 1997 it´s handed over back to China). W.H. Cornelius was founded around 1920 but the name disappeared during the early 90´s of the 20th century. Meaning that the Transmegator line was a late 80´s or very early 90´s line at least when it came to the UK release. What´s not known is whether the ¨left overs¨ have been packed and sold later in Japan (and other parts of Asia?) under the name Animal Robot Fighters but it is very likely. And the fact that W.H. Cornelius dropped the ball during the early 90´s might´ve also opened up the possibility for the Chinese company who produced the Transmegator line under license to offer it to another Toy Company which might´ve resulted in the Zuetron Defenders. At his point it is still unclear and unknown if the Transmegator line was also available in the US, there are no signs of W.H. Cornelius having US connections at that time, or on which other continents or countries, apart from Japan, these might´ve been available. Also here there are still quite a few blanks…
So far the introduction of this colorful and odd Battle Beasts inspired Knock-Off line, hopefully more information can be added and clarified in time.
Why the Battle Beasts connection?
To some collectors the Transmegator line might be a completely alien and cheap looking line without any connection or feel to the Battle Beasts line but in reality there are to many elements that give away that it´s been even less likely that there has not been any influence. Looking into the line there are directly a couple of things that stand out with the Battle Beasts (BB) line in mind, namely;
– The animals in a robot armor…
– The choice of the specific animals, ALL (except 1 or 2) are present in the BB line as well
– The ¨highly¨ detailed armor or at least the attempt
– The concept of dividing the Beasts into teams by giving them colors mimicking the Fire, Wood, Water idea increasing the number of Beasts to collect to 80 instead of 20.
– The most ¨remarkable¨ and unnoticed one is dividing the Beasts into two clans as a reference to the Transformers connection of the BB in Japan. (More about this below)
And although all of the things mentioned are implemented in a poor ¨Knock-Off style¨ way they did beat the BB line on one point namely articulation by having an extra point of rotation in the middle. For the rest there´s no way around the fact that a lot of things would´ve been just be to much of a coincidence comparing the Transmegator to the BB but not accepting their connection.
With the choice for the specific animals there is again a good insight on when these must have been created because with the Cobra, Zebra, Whale and other figures around who´ve been clearly inspired by Series 3 and even the Laser Beasts (LB) series it means those figures were already released before they started designing the Transmegator line.
More than enough reasons to at least assume the possibility of a connection.
And if not let´s have a look at the Transmegator division in two factions.
TRON´s VS MEGA´s
For some of you, who have only seen the figures before, this faction division might completely come out of the blue just as much as that´s the case for the BB line being divided into Autobots vs Decepticons if you´re not familiar with the Japanese part of the line which clearly had a connection to the TF line. And although the Transmegator line clearly has no connection to TF they did try to create that feeling in a certain way.
But this is something that only becomes clear once you have a look at their names shown on the original pamphlet (image left) which was included in the blindbags in which they came in in some countries.
After looking at the names and a closer inspection of the pamphlet it is clear that the 10 figures shown on the left (1-10) are ¨clearly¨ being separated from the 10 figures on the right (11-20). With the figures on the left all holding names with TRON at the end whereas all figures on the right have a naming starting with MEGA. Both sides are separated by a thicker red bar which is there to extra emphasize this division.
Knowing this fun little detail about the TransMEGAtor line it also rises the question why the name as such and not make it TransMEGATRON or something?
You´d almost believe something has gone wrong along the way trying to implement as much BB references as possible. Maybe the name and design of the logo was already there before the names… It´s just a bit weird and inconsistent but what´d you expect with a Knock-Off line. And as we´ll find out later once looking at the figures in more detail the consistency of inconsistency among this line is pretty impressive.
Having the pamphlet on the side let´s look into some of the names given to the Transmegator figures. Where the BB received some pretty odd and wild names in English the Transmegator line didn´t go that extreme although there are a few that are remarkable. Although they all seem to refer to a specific animal name, sound, character or behavior enough to connect it to a certain animal there are two that raise some doubts. Because the Megarox is not completely clear, is it a fox is it a wolf or something else (anyone able to tell?) and than there´s the figure which might be the most weird; Megafin. This little weirdo will be discussed on its own below. And finally Megabyte which can be considered as quite an advanced name for that period of time even though it´s already in use as computer jargon but a fun name to come across in this digital era we live in today.
A few other weird things is that some fish are really specific like Hammertron while at the same time a Panda is a representative for the Bears. And the fact that the Mule looks more like a Zebra is just a little detail as well probably.
Is it a Chicken or is it a Fish?
That´s the question once you look at this figure for the first time, or actually the Fish option only becomes realistic once you know the name; Megafin…
A lot of people will think it´s a chicken because of the red hairdo in combination with the red around the mouth but it clearly ain´t a beak. Luckily the name and having the figure in hand brought more clarity since fin is obviously not chicken related. Which means that apart from the two sharks there´s a third fish among the Transmegator namely Megafin. With that in mind the fish lips become more obvious and the fin on the backside of its head which is often not shown on pictures gives it away. And the hairdo on it´s head is probably a reference to the bubble-like hood (brain looking mass) on the head of a so called ¨Oranda¨ breed goldfish. Definitely an interesting weirdo to have around.
Time for a better look at the figures, starting with an overview and the Checklist;
Transmegator Figure overview
Checklist FREE to Download
In order to prevent you from having to check out on the Beastformers Blog (every day) for the Transmegator overview the Beastformers Team composed a checklist so you can print or download it for yourself to work with.
By clicking on the Checklist image on the right you´ll be forwarded to the .pdf file (11.8 MB) that can be easily downloaded.
Each of the 20 different Transmegator figures is shown in the checklist and the small color squares (Blue, Green, Yellow, Pink) can be used to check which color of that specific figure you already have or still need.
Hopefully this will make it a bit easier if you´re a (future) collector of this line and/or it might even be a nice piece of wall-art since the file should be large enough to print in a good quality.
Variants or Inconsistency
As mentioned earlier the Transmegator is consistent in inconsistencies and that becomes clear one you start looking into the details of each specific figure. Because where you´d expect two Yellow Gators to be identical in style that´s clearly not (always) the case.
Looking at the image on the left you can clearly see some smaller and bigger differences in paint. Among the BB line details like these would either be considered a Variant or a Factory Error but that´s not very likely here. The chance is much bigger that colors were more randomly applied resulting in pretty (huge) differences among two figures which you´d expect to be identical.
IF these would be variants, not very likely as mentioned above, that´d also mean that there would be even more than 80 figures to collect.
But due to this complete color randomness some figures have really become a colorful feast with 4 different color while others are more dull and have almost no painted details.
Inconsistencies like these are probably inherent to a Knock-Off line at least in this case.
Obviously the inconsistency also goes on on the back where maybe an even more extreme mixture of odd details is found. That said also here they beat the BB line knowing they didn´t have any painted details on the backside. (See image below)
All in all an interesting Knock-Off line so far and it becomes even more fun with a word that´s found on the blindbag wrapper; Interchangeable
Mix and match
Where it is possible to change arms with the Battle Beasts this was definitely not a feature that´s advertised as such and many of us know why because the ¨Arms Swap¨ isn´t an easy operation as explained in: A possible risky (costly) operation
With the Transmegator line this operation is a whole lot less complicated and risky mainly due to the fact that the chosen material, some kind or hard plastic, is much stronger and more durable on this level. This allows you to swap not only arms very easily, although it might be a bit tough in the beginning, but also the lower body and legs part can be swapped around creating endlessly fun color possibilities and combinations.
On the left the blindbag is shown in which the Transmegator were sold in the UK and most likely various other countries outside Asia. But just like this page started it ends with questions since it is unclear how these blind bags were distributed, most likely in a box containing a number of blindbags, and whether this would hold one complete set as in at least the 20 different figures or whether there was more… Inconsistency.
In Japan it was a bit easier to select the figures you wanted because there they came with 20 bags in a cube like box with name Animal Robot Fighters on it and the wrappers were transparent. (See image right)
After many years this Transmegator line is the first actual BB Knock-Off line that got its own page here on the Beastformers Blog and even though there are still a lot of blanks that remain, which will hopefully be added in time, it is good to see them out here. It might not be the most obvious line to collect alongside your BB collection but it is clear where the Transmegator line was inspired upon.
With having an actual set of the 20 different figures in hand it was possible to finally compose this page and the checklist in such a way it´d be a nice addition out here.
A special thanks goes to Zachary (countzackula51) for allowing the Beastformers Team to use his images of the Blindbag and the original Checklist pamphlet, without those this page would not have been created because they´re crucial pieces of information that had to be added.
For now this is it but in time this page might get updated.
Enjoy the Transmegator!
The Beastformers Team