French Releases

A System

 

Each A system set included one Blockman robot, and as per Force 20, Force 22, and Force 21, A1, A2, and A3 included both armour upgrade accessories and vehicle transformation parts. Hence, A1, A2, and A3 correspond to the Japanese A-01 and A-11, A-03 and A-13, and A-02 and A-12, respectively. Note the number swap for the latter two sets, as this is a consistent theme across Robotech Changers releases.

The only armour/vehicle colour variants I have sighted so far is grey/red, although my opinion is that blu/grey was probably available as well. The Blockman robot colours appear to be consistent: a blue robot for A1, a yellow robot for A2, and a red robot for A3, each robot a heavy type.

Unlike the other sets, the A System releases came with fewer sprued parts. I believe that this increased the likelihood of packaging errors, as I own an A2 with contents that appear unused (and appropriate parts on still on sprue), but that includes the breastplate armour from A3 rather than the shoulder-mounted missile launcher pod that should be packaged with A2.

 

B System

 

When you see that France received a B System, it’s tempting to get excited that the planned Basic series in Japan was actually realised as a foreign release, just like how the Drive series appeared in the USA. Right? Unfortunately, this assumption would be wrong.

 

The B System sets each contain three Blockman robots with an assortment of parts drawn (seemingly at random) from  A series (A System) and C series (C System) releases. B1 has parts from Force 21, Force 30, and Force 32. B2 has parts from Force 22 and Force 32, nonsensically including the wheel pegs from Force 22 without the actual wheels (I believe the idea is that they will function like missiles). B3 has parts from Force 20 and Force 31.

Unlike the other sets, the A System releases came with fewer sprued parts. I believe that this increased the likelihood of packaging errors, as I own an A2 with contents that appear unused (and appropriate parts on still on sprue), but that includes the breastplate armour from A3 rather than the shoulder-mounted missile launcher pod that should be packaged with A2.

 

B System

 

When you see that France received a B System, it’s tempting to get excited that the planned Basic series in Japan was actually realised as a foreign release, just like how the Drive series appeared in the USA. Right? Unfortunately, this assumption would be wrong.

 

The B System sets each contain three Blockman robots with an assortment of parts drawn (seemingly at random) from  A series (A System) and C series (C System) releases. B1 has parts from Force 21, Force 30, and Force 32. B2 has parts from Force 22 and Force 32, nonsensically including the wheel pegs from Force 22 without the actual wheels (I believe the idea is that they will function like missiles). B3 has parts from Force 20 and Force 31.

I would list the intended vehicle modes for each B System set, but it’s difficult to infer that they had any (okay, I’ll concede that the B1 spaceship mode actually looks pretty cool, but after looking at the other stock photography I’m attributing that to chance).

 

It would appear that all of the Force 2X parts included in the French B series were red, in order to contrast with the grey of the Force 3X parts (it is unknown whether all French A System vehicle parts were also red, although that could be the case).

 

The haphazard accessories included with the Robotech Changers B System, as well as the fact that each set is simply an amalgamation of already existing parts, suggests that this was not the planned Japanese Basic series.

 

The Japanese releases would have likely have included new parts, with more thought put into the modes that could be formed with them. Looking at the parts included in the French B System, I struggle to see how any attention was paid to creating marketable play value.

This leaves one question though: Why would Ceji-Revell just make up new sets? My theory is that their sales team was concerned about consumer reaction to the small size of the Blockman products. This was an issue known to Revell in the USA through (i) the fact that the Force 1X products were entirely superseded by the Force 2X products save for the fact that Force 2X was at a higher price point but still only included one Blockman robot; and (ii) they had been required by advertising standards to label the larger sets as being a smaller product than their packaging made them appear. My theory is that they saw the single-Blockman sets, saw the five-Blockman sets, and thought that they needed to pitch a product at a price point somewhere between these two, with the perception of value being scaled to the number of Blockman robots. Hence, some makeshift three-Blockman sets.

 

If you have any additional evidence supporting or contradicting the origin of the B System though, of course please get in touch via email or through the Blockman Link Facebook group. The B System sets pictured are from Parisian toyshop Tom Jouets.

 

C System

 

The C System corresponds to the Japanese C-0X releases, with each set containing five Blockman robots. C1, C2, and C3 correspond to the original 1984 Japanese releases of C-01, C-03, and C-02 (note the number swap). C1, C2, and C3 were collected in the large C10 giftset. The C System sets pictured are from Parisian toyshop Tom Jouets.

C2 and C3 are identical in colour to the Japanese releases, however C1 replaces the four dark blue Blockman robots of the Japanese C-01 release with multi-coloured Blockman robots that have dark blue torsos with regular blue arms. 

 

D System

 

The D System corresponds to the Japanese C-1X releases, with each set containing six Blockman robots. D1, D2, and D3 correspond to the original 1984 Japanese releases of C-11, C-13, and C-12 (note the number swap). D1, D2, and D3 were collected in the large D10 giftset. The D System sets pictured are from Parisian toyshop Tom Jouets.

D1 and D2 are identical in colour to the Japanese releases, however D3 replaces the four dark blue Blockman robots of the Japanese C-12 release with multi-coloured Blockman robots that have dark blue torsos with regular blue arms, the same colour-switch applied between C1 and C-01. Strangely, this colour switch does not appear to have carried over to the D10 giftset, which just has the four dark blue Blockman robots expected based on C-12. 

As an aside, I'd just like to point out that I find the robot mode pictured on the D1 box the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen...

 

Giftsets

 

An advantage of the Robotech Changers line is that they received both the C-0X and C-1X giftsets, in the guise of C10 and D10 respectively. C10 and D10 do not command a market value anywhere near that of their corresponding Japanese giftsets, making them more accessible and a great way to purchase a lot of Blockman robots at once. In fact, they actually seem to be the most common sets in the line. However, compared to the science-fiction charm of the Japanese giftsets, the C10 and D10 packaging design leaves a lot to be desired.

 

There was no French “A10” equivalent to the Japanese A series giftset. This is probably understandable given that there were only three A System releases, and with six Blockman robots an A series giftset would be placed in the same perceived value demographic as D System, making it a somewhat redundant release for a price point that was already catered for.