During the wonderful 1980’s action figure era, one of the most cherished collectible toy lines was created. The Transformers Dinobots team is still one of the top toy sets out there. The Grimlock Tyrannosaurus Rex Robot started a whole dinosaur robot trend, spawning variations of each dinobot. Authentic releases, similar toy lines, bootlegs, and knock offs can be found all over the world. There are so many different ones they are fun to collect, display, and trade.
Grimlock and the Dinobot concept originated in the Diaclone toy line made by Takara in Japan. The 5 Dinobot toys were released as Diaclone Adventure World in Japan in their original forms. They were quite similar to the Transformers G1 release except there were small differences. The most apparent difference is that the Red Metal parts of the Dinobots in Transformers were originally Blue Metal parts with Dino Robo in Diaclone.
The Diaclone Toys in the photo above are Dino Robo Tyranosaurus Rex and Triceratops Robo and Machine Dragon the villain.
Here is Original Diaclone Swoop in typical condition for how fragile the toy is. Diaclone Swoop had a pointy beak and wing tips that were rounded when they made the Transformers version.
People like this toy so much that there are new unlicensed KO versions available to buy. The original Diaclone is only from Japan the other 4 Diaclone Dino Robo were also released in Italy.
Machine Dragon is a very cool toy, he was not released in Transformers. There is another color of him called Machine Saurer which was released in the Magnemo toy line also by Takara. So Machine Dragon only saw 2 Japanese releases. The back of the Diaclone box shows many Machine Dragons up against the Dino Robos.
It is really a shame that Machine Dragon is so rare because he really works so well with the Dinobots. He has lots of accessories and many different ‘Transformation” options. So similar to the Dino Robo toys, he still is unlike any other toy in the Diaclone series.
You can pull forward his nose to reveal a gold Diaclone Driver seat. You can see it there between his eyes. Well the Diaclone Drivers don’t actually fit very well. I think the seat is meant for the small chrome figures from Robolinks or Blockman, I don’t have any to try though.
See how the technique to use the clear plastic over the gold chrome electronic parts is an idea used with all of the Dino Robo toys.
So eventually Takara reaches out to over seas toy companies to sell their Diaclone toys in other parts of the world. They had tried to do their own marketing releasing some Car Robots as Diakron in North America but it didn’t work out.
Hasbro made an agreement with Takara to release Diaclone in North America as Transformers including the Dino Robo toys. The Dinobots come to be. Here are 3 of the original U.S.A. Transformers G1 Dinobots in their boxes with custom foam inserts. The Transformers toy boxes released in Canada looked pretty much the same just with English and French text.
At around the same time in Italy, Gig, a toy company, re-branded Takara’s Diaclone toys as Trasformers. Similar to Diaclone in Japan and Transformers North American I think Gig tried to appeal to both collectors without any licensing problems. Later Gig released Transformers toys with the Trasformer logo on the box anyways just to solidfy the brandings togetherness. So there are different variations of the toys from different parts of the world.
Here is the Tyrannosaurus Trasformer by Gig and Takara
Transformers becomes so popular in North America that Takara then also releases Transformers in Japan, including G1 Dinobots.
Transformers G1 Dinobots chromed set of 5.
This set is just amazing. It is a custom chrome Dinobot set. I seem to recall a Transformers G1 episode where the Decepticons found some sort of invulnerable plateing to use as armor. Also another episode where Megatron turns the Dinobots to his Decepticon side for a little while. I bought these from a guy in China who must have worked in toy chrome manufacturing. He took apart each figure and chromed the pieces individually. He painted the red sections new, and reassembled everything. The figures all have authentic stamps.
Ill add more photos should the day come that I want to Transform them to their robot modes.
The soft red plastic of the Horns on Slag seem to be a problem area for the chrome. Other than that they are wonderful.
Beautiful Chrome Swoop.
The wonderful series Prehistory Animal.
These guys are so much fun. They are pretty delicate though. The Triceratops in particular is made of the vintage gold plastic that breaks. There are few around that are fully intact. This set is missing the T-Rex version. Which is colored like the Protosaurus (the winged Brontosaurus).
Here are some of the boxes for the Prehistory Animals.
Here the Prehistory Animal Dinosaur Robots with their Transformers G1 counterparts.
Vintage 1980 Gold Plastic breaks when you move it. So don’t touch it. Like this Prehistory Animal Triceratops…. currently not broken.
The Les Robots Dinosaures series is more similar to the Prehistory Animal series than the Diaclone or Transformers toys. Except with even more crazy colors.
Here is the Transformers Grimlock G1 Les Robots Dinosaures robot transformable.
Transformers G1 Slag Triceratops Collection
left to right.
Chromed Custom G1 Slag, Diaclone Dino Robo Triceratops, G1 original Slag, Canadian G1 Slag, Prehistory Animal Triceratops.
So that’s Black Red Yellow and Blue
Transformers G1 Snarl Stegosaurus
Silver (white) chrome G1 Snarl, Chromed Custom G1 Snarl, G1 original Snarl, Prehistory Animal Stegosaurus
Here is Phoenix Bot by Leader Shine, an original figure mold Transformers. This robot is from the same series as the Dalung Master robot similar to Grimlock.
The Phoenix Bot seems like a mix between a G1 Swoop and a G1 Sludge just the same as the Prehistory Animal Protosaurus does.
However, when I opened the box and Transformed Phoenix Bot I realized it was also more similar to G1 Divebomb the Predacon who forms part of Predaking. Particularly they are similar in size and weight. The sword the removable wings and the bird feet for example.
The sword attaches to and extends the tail feathers in Phoenix mode.
The bird head folds back revealing the robot head. Classic move from Grimlock.
So Poenix Bot is bigger than G1 Swoop.
Diaclone Grimlock and Phoenix Bot
Deathsaurus was a Transformers figure that was made later on that had some resemblance to Dino Robo and the Dinobots. He was the big bad guy in the Japanese Tranformers G1 series Transformers Victory. He has a Grimlock style transformation and turns into a huge Dragon.
Here Deathsaurus is with Chromed Grimlock.
Check out the Box Art
Deathsaaurus Robot Mode
Deathsaurus and Phoenix Bot look so good together I think that they are made for each other.
I’m pretty sure Deathsaurus is supposed to have a girlfriend anyways.
Later on in Transformers G2 in early 1990’s Hasro would release 3 of the Dinobots again in new colors.
Blue G2 Grimlock arrived to the party late…
Well one more thing. The Diaclone Grimlock shown in all of the photos with the blue waste is actually the Ancient Animal version. It is what you would call a vintage K.O. There he is hiding among the real Diaclone in the photo at the beginning, a robot in disguise. It has no Takara or Hasbro markings and weighs slighty less than the regular Transformers Grimlock.
That’s it for now.
LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY INTERESTING ONES I MISSED THAT I CAN ADD TO THE COLLECTION.
All photos by Gotham Collectibles