Monday, June 15, 2015

HENSHIN CYBORG (1972-1974)


Henshin Cyborgs (Changing Cyborgs) were an extremely badass 12-inch action figure line produced between 1972 and 1974 by the Takara toy company in Japan.  Instead of designing the entire toy from scratch, Takara used their recently acquired licence to sell G.I. Joe figures in Japan and cast a clear version of the 12-inch G.I. Joe, while adding a chrome internal 'chest engine' and cyborg skull.
(GI JOE & HENSHIN CYBORG)
The cyborg's internal parts came in four colors; silver, blue, gold and flat grey.  You could also buy accessories for them, including costumes of popular Japanese TV show characters like Kamen Rider and Ultraman (see video below)... but who would want to cover up these awesome toys with goofy clothes and masks?!  If you want to play with Ultraman, go buy a fucking Ultraman toy, not a Henshin Cyborg.


During the initial release of Henshin Cyborg, their retail value was around $10 (¥1,000) per figure, but now due to the fact that they were only sold in Japan and only for a couple of years - they can go for anywhere between $200 to $600 each, depending on the condition.

Henshin Cyborg also had several villains to face off with, the leader being King Waruda. There were several incarnations of King Waruda that came in different colors and original armored disguises. There was even a miniature version of him that was only sold in the UK called MUTON. Later the miniature version was released in Japan in different color variations. I will go into detail about King Waruda in a later article.

(My mini King Waruda aka King Waruda Jr. with a proton pack that I gave him)
Living in Tokyo and frequenting shops like TOY CATS, I come across these bad boys fairly often.  However, upon discovering them for the first time, I wondered why I had never heard of them before. They were just too cool not to have seen or heard about. You too may be wondering why you've never heard of these guys... but they are just the tip of the cybernetic iceberg...


Stay tuned tuned for more about the Henshin Cyborg action figure line and click here to learn about Henshin Cyborg's little brother, Microman.
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7 comments:

  1. The more you reveal about them, the more I like them. That blue and green cyborg is poppin'.

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    1. Mr. Spradling ;) The one you are referring to is actually completely blue chrome, but after 30+ years, the soft plastic used to make the outer head begins to yellow, causing it to appear green when covering the blue chrome cyborg head inside :) Still awesome!

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  2. Kids in the UK who were already obsessed with sci fi action figures before Star Wars hit were lucky enough to have our own, scaled down British version – Denys Fisher’s Cyborg, Muton and Android. Hence I’ve been hooked on these since 1975. In adulthood the challenge has been to collect all the bigger Japanese versions and display them side by side.

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    1. Ben, the next series of articles are for you :D

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  3. Love these toys! As Ben says, we played with the 8" versions in the UK and knew nothing about the originals until many years later. Still playing with them all to this day but rather more carefully...

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  4. What is a Takara Cyborg Full rider set worth in todays market?. box has some wear but all pieces there including solour catalogue, some small parts like the locking pins broken and some slight discolourisation but its generally in top condition.

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    1. I normally see them sell for between $100-$200 with box, depending on condition. However, they would probably go for a little bit more on the international market, but not much more.

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