The History of Diaclone
      Microman (1974-1983)
Early Diaclone
Mid Diaclone
Later Diaclone
How Diaclone Became The Transformers
List of Diaclone Toys (with reviews)
Spin-Offs and Knock-Offs
List of Transformers Toys (and what series they came from)
Additional Diaclone Articles


The History of Diaclone

Microman (1974-1983)

In the early 1970s, Takara was making its mark on Japan with "Hensin Cyborg", a toy series featuring 12" tall cyborg figures based upon Hasbro's GI Joe mold. After three years (1971-1973), Takara had taken the line about as far as they could. It was time for a change.

In an ambitious move, Takara shrunk the Hensin Cyborg figures down to 3 1/2", allowing the company to produce exciting sci-fi accessories and playsets that were economic to produce and purchase, and were small enough to store comfortably in a child's room. "Microman", as the series was named, became an overwhelming success in Japan, and paved the way for such toy lines as Star Wars.

However, by 1979, a new fascination with giant robots was sweeping Japan, and eclipsing Microman, in the process. Toy series such as Popy's Chogokin and Jumbo Machinder, and popular television shows like Mobile Suit Gundam, and Battle Fever J (an early Power Rangers series), were getting kids excited about giant robots. Microman, which was based on a scale world in which the humanoids were 3 1/2" tall, could never hope to incorperate such giant robots into their series without producing enormous, overly expensive toys.

Microman's 1980 toy line, "Blizzard-Man & Punch", centered around Intersteller Death King, Punch Robo, and Robotman God-Fighter: three robot toys that were roughly 8 to 10 inches tall. In the scale universe of Microman, these robots were roughly the size of two to three humanoids standing on top of one another. They weren't giant robots, and they didn't really incorperate the Microman figures. The giant robots of Chogokin, Jumbo Machinder, Mobile Suit Gundam, and Battle Fever J were piloted by humans from within. These Microman robots were too small for their 3 1/2" tall humanoids to pilot them. In both scale and compatibility, these new robots were not living up to the Microman standard.

Presumably later in 1980, as a last minute attempt to properly join the giant robot bandwagon, Takara tried shrinking down their figures once again. The basic Microman figure, which had already been shrunken down from 12" to 3 1/2", was again shrunken to a mere 1 1/4" so that it could finally fit inside a scale robot toy. The new series was named "Diaclone".

In 1981, Microman switched to "New Microman". In keeping with the 3 1/2" scale, Takara realized that it would need a different approach to robots; one which didn't require them to be enormous, and would allow the Microman humanoids to interact with them. At around this time, Chogokin's GB series was introducing combiner toys, in which several vehicles could combine to create a robot (Daltanius, Godsigma, Combattler, etc.). Taking this as their cue, Takara devoted New Microman to Microman vehicles (capable of being piloted by the 3 1/2" humanoids) that combined into robots.

As the robot craze continued, the emphasis on humanoid figures gradually faded from the series. By 1983, New Microman was featuring robots that transformed into life-size objects. The 3 1/2" figures were still present in the series (and a catalogue story explained that they were 3 1/2" alien visitors living amongst life size Earthlings), the humanoid figures no longer had any physical relationship with the robot toys.

Microman/New Microman ended in 1983, though it has been reincarnated several times since.



All information contained within this page is copyright 2004 Jeff Heller. Please ask before quoting or "borrowing".