Monday, January 17, 2011

Transformers Decoys


Name of Toy Line: Transformers Decoys
Production Company: Takara
Distributor: Takara & Hasbro
Years of Production: 1987
Countries/Regions Available: USA and Japan
Size/Scale: 1.5"
Figure Trade Markings: Unknown
Approximate # of Figures: 52+



Decoys are small, soft rubber versions of popular Transformers characters. The hugely successful Transformers toy line originated in Japan, and so did the Decoys. According to the Transformers wiki, Decoys were first created and released as game pieces for Japanese Transformers board games. They were also released separately in box sets (see image below). They stand about 1.5" tall (although there were several characters released in slightly larger scale as well) and consist of several colors including red, light purple, peach, yellow, blue, and green. In other words, they are Transformers characters in keshigomu form.

Keshigomu is the Japanese term for small, mono-colored, rubber or plastic figurines. Keshi toy lines originated - and are particularly popular - in Japan. There are literally dozens of them.

Transformer Keshi!

Mini-figure connoisseur nanoFatota has been kind enough to allow Toypedia to use images of his great collection. Below we have examples of yellow and red Japanese Decoys. Last is an example of a Japanese box set containing peach Decoys via eBay seller jgallo. Let's take a look!

Credit nanoFatato - Click to enlarge

Credit nanoFatato - Click to enlarge

Credit jgallo - Click to enlarge

And finally, one of the larger scale figures!

Defensor - Credit nanoFatato

I know, beautiful, right?

Japanese Keshigomu have been brought to the West in various forms on a few occasions. One notable example is the M.U.S.C.L.E. toy line, brought to the USA and Europe in 1985 via a partnership between Bandai and Mattel.

Another notable example is... Transformers Decoys! Perhaps because of the relative success of M.U.S.C.L.E., Takara and Hasbro decided to partner and bring Decoys to the West in 1987.

Fifty-two of the smaller-scale Decoys sculpts were brought to the West as companion figures. (Check the resources linked below for a list of the 52 sculpts available.) They were randomly blind-packaged on cards with several sets of smaller Transformers. They were made of the same material and shared the same size as their Japanese counterparts. However, they were unfortunately only released in two colors: light purple and red.

In the first release of the Western figures, the Autobots were released in red, while the Decepticons were released in both red and light purple. This was apparently an error as later releases only included light purple Decepticons.

One other notable difference between Japanese and Western Decoys is the numbering on their backs: Western Decoys are simply numbered between 1 and fifty-two. Let's have a look some of the Western Decoys, again courtesy of nanoFatato.

Credit nanoFatato - Click to enlarge

Credit nanoFatato

Credit nanoFatato - Click to enlarge

Credit nanoFatato

As one can see, the sculpt poses are pretty tame, perhaps owing to their origin as game pieces. Even so, this toy line is oozing with cool and significance. Not only are Decoys members of the uber popular and highly collectible Transformers range, but they are one of the first and most successful keshigomu lines to be brought to the West. Furthermore, though the poses are fairly muted, each sculpt is unique and well-crafted with plenty of detail. Their likeness to the original Transformers characters is essentially spot-on as well.

We're extremely pleased to finally have them documented here at Toypedia! Be sure to check the resources below for more great pictures and information.

Related Websites:

The Transformers Decoys Collectors Archive

Transformers Decoys @ The Transformers Wiki

Transformers Decoys @ Rubber Fever

Transformers Decoys @ Cheap Toy Land


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