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Jetfire

  • Object:

    Transformer

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (manufactured)

  • Date:

    1985 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Takatoku Toys (designers)
    Bandai (manufacturers)
    Hasbro Industries Ltd (distributors)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Injection-moulded plastic, painted; die-cast metal

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Jermaine Dacas

  • Museum number:

    B.90:1-1994

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Transformers are alien robots hailing from the planet Cybertron. They are divided into two factions: heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons. Autobots and Decepticons have been locked in an apocalyptic civil war for millennia. The line was launched in the United States in 1984 with an accompanying animated television series, it followed in Europe later that same year. Many of the Hasbro-distributed toys were actually rebranded versions of the existing Japanese ‘Microman’ and ‘Diaclone’ toylines made by Takara. The combination of vehicle and robot, and the often complicated series of movements required to change between the two modes, meant Transformers were extremely popular children’s toys during the mid-1980s.

Jetfire is an Autobot who transforms into a VF-1S Super Valkyrie, a fictional military jet aircraft from the Japanese anime series Macross (the English language version of this show was known as Robotech). A near-identical version of this toy was produced for this series, originally made by Japanese toy manufacturer Takatoku Toys. This company was purchased by Bandai in 1984, who then licenced some of their transforming toy moulds to Hasbro, who were at the time looking for additional characters for the original Tranformers toyline. In the animated television series, the character was encountered encased in a block of arctic ice, having crash-landed on earth millions of years previously whilst on a scientific mission of discovery. For legal reasons, the character in the television series did not bear a strong resemblance to the toy, and was instead named ‘Skyfire’.

Physical description

Robot action figure, transforming into the form of a VF-1S military jet aircraft.

1. figure; white; cream; red and black plastic moulded and pieced together to form a large robot which can be made into a jet plane shape. Joints and wheels of die cast metal.
2. wing casing; red plastic with black line. It fits over the small folded wings mounted on the back of the figure
3,4. leg casing which fits over the outer side of each leg and around the wing shape; red plastic with two black squares
5,6. back leg casing; red plastic which slot into the outer side casings 7,8. holding hook; red plastic; which slot into the back leg casing and hook around the inner front of the leg.
9,10. arm casing; red plastic with black 'jets'
11,12. rocket engines; red plastic with black jets; can be added to figure to create a third version
13. weapon; dark grey plastic; fits into hands

Place of Origin

Japan (manufactured)

Date

1985 (made)

Artist/maker

Takatoku Toys (designers)
Bandai (manufacturers)
Hasbro Industries Ltd (distributors)

Materials and Techniques

Injection-moulded plastic, painted; die-cast metal

Marks and inscriptions

BANDAI TOKYO JAPAN

Dimensions

Height: 22.8 cm

Object history note

References: Toy Trader; November 1985; April 1986; August 1986

Bought by the donor between 1985 and 1987. Mr Dacas was born 17/10/73 and saved his pocket money to buy the toys.

Historical context note

Transformers are alien robots hailing from the planet Cybertron, all of them are capable of assuming an alternate form, usually a vehicle, through a series of folding movements. They are typically divided into two factions: Autobots and Decepticons. The Autobots are heroic, peace-loving and curious about humanity, they are led by Optimus Prime, who typically transforms into an articulated truck. The Decepticons are evil, authoritarian and contemptuous of other life-forms, they are led by the maniacal Megatron, who originally transformed into a realistic-looking handgun.

Initially, the franchise was essentially an American rebrand of two toylines already produced by Japanese toy manufacturer Takara Tomy: ‘Diaclone’ and ‘Microman’. Hasbro had purchased the distribution rights to these lines in the early-1980s. Transformers was launched in the United States and Europe in 1984-85. The enormously popular toys inspired many spin-offs, including several animated television series’, a feature-length animated film (1986), multiple comic books series (including by Marvel, who had co-operated with Hasbro to produce GI Joe comics) and, inevitably, subsequent lines of toys. A series of big budget, live-action films have been produced by Warner Brothers since 2007.

Descriptive line

Transformer (Autobot), 'Jetfire/Skyfire; large red and white jet aircraft; Takatoku Toys/Bandai/Hasbro; Japan; 1985

Production Note

Made by: Bandai
Tokyo Japan

Materials

Plastic; Metal

Techniques

Injection moulding; Die casting

Subjects depicted

Jet aircraft; Robots

Categories

Toys & Games; Children & Childhood; Plastic; Toy vehicles; Character merchandise

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Museum of Childhood

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