COUNTDOWN: Sorting through the BS – just what colour is Bluestreak anyway?

A little while back, I put together an article detailing the origins of the fabled Transformers ‘blue Bluestreak’, a concept which continues to cause untold confusion even today, some forty years after it all began. The idea popped up thanks to a fanmade ‘digibash’, but such a thing has now come to pass.

Yes, a genuine Generations blue Bluestreak, in the plastic! Except, wait, it’s not quite that simple. If you look closely, you’ll note this toy isn’t named Bluestreak at all, but rather his oft-used alternate moniker, Silverstreak!

Hang on; he’s a blue Silverstreak? Does that even make sense? Well, no, but then it doesn’t really matter! Besides, I’ve heard numerous theories on the naming so far, with my personal favourite being that it’s an intentional decision as a nod to the streak of silver sported on the toy’s car bonnet (as opposed to the blue tint found in the headlights of the grey Bluestreak version of the mould!).

In reality, the character has never enjoyed a simple identification process, with all kinds of bewilderment ever since the first days of Generation 1 back in 1984. It perhaps doesn’t help that Hasbro and Takara have historically used *three* names for him: Bluestreak, Silverstreak and, quite simply, Streak. That’s to say nothing of the various colour schemes, too!

So today, let’s have one more stab at putting this matter to bed and separate our Bluestreaks from our Silverstreaks (and our regular Streaks!) as we look back at all the incarnations from over the years and present 15 interesting facts about this character’s history.

 

#15: There have been thirty-two separate releases of the character

First up, here’s a roster of all the various releases under the three separate names from either Hasbro or TakaraTomy over the years, including several bits of non-transformable merch, presented in date order. The only bits not accounted for are the small soft rubber ‘Decoy’ figures from the mid-80s (which some collectors may recall as pack-in items with carded releases such as the Throttlebots), only because their red colouration would have confused matters even more! Of the thirty-two toys featured, you’ll note the distinct mix of colours, including blue, silver and grey, without any absolute consistency.

Where you see two versions of the same toy, this just denotes the different Hasbro and Takara releases of that mould.

 

#14: There was no G1 blue Bluestreak toy…

Image credit: Transformerland

The first thing to clarify is that although Hasbro indeed named the 1984 toy ‘Bluestreak’ (whilst Takara opted for just ‘Streak’), there was never a release of it in a blue colour scheme, despite the packaging artwork on the front of the box showcasing a blue version of the character!

Image credit: Transformerland

As if that wasn’t strange enough, the packaging and instructions all feature photography of what is very clearly a blue toy.

Image credit: Unicron.com

It’s perhaps not hard to see why (particularly in the days of pre-Internet collecting) such confusion would have led to persistent rumours that a blue release might exist out there. However, as there has never been a shred of evidence to support such an idea, I think we can conclusively state it didn’t happen and that the only 1984 Transformers release was the one in silver.

It’s worth noting that the finished toy looked very different to the subsequent Sunbow cartoon animation model, which was predominantly dark grey across much of the car’s body instead of entirely silver, thus introducing yet another potential colour scheme for the character! This look was based on the toy’s pre-Transformers Diaclone roots, indicating that perhaps the animators had access to such a figure during the design phase.

So, why was the toy named ‘Bluestreak’ then?

Well, the common understanding is that the name refers to the character trait of ‘talking like a blue streak’, which means to speak quickly without stopping. The toy’s accompanying tech spec bio hints at this, where it mentions that Bluestreak “often talks incessantly and inanely“.

Panel from Marvel The Transformers #1, artwork credit: Springer / Yomtov

There was even a reference to the name’s origins in his first appearance in the Marvel comic, as shown above, all indicating why Hasbro chose the name. But is that the full story?

 

#13: …BUT Hasbro did create the name as a nod to the toy’s original colour!

As it turns out, no, the idea of ‘talking a blue streak’ was likely not the only reason for such a designation. Although Hasbro and Takara released the 1984 Transformers toy in silver instead of the Diaclone version’s more cartoon-accurate palette, there was a second pre-Transformers release in stunning blue!

It would be easy to imagine this Diaclone figure featured in the Transformers instructions and packaging photography, especially as Hasbro reused the blue artwork adorning the box from the Diaclone line. However, it seems there may be more to it.

Bob Budiansky is famously the man responsible for naming all of the original Transformers (as well as writing their tech spec bios and a significant portion of the Marvel comics US run). He suggests the toy would have been planned initially as blue, only for Hasbro to switch it out for a silver colour scheme before release. It certainly makes more sense in terms of the naming (the ‘talking a blue streak’ pun works considerably better if the toy it references is that colour, after all!) and explains why so much of the accompanying material continued to portray the blue colour scheme too. We may never know if this was conclusively the case, but it looks pretty likely.

 

#12: There was an official piece of G1 blue Bluestreak merch though

Further compounding the idea of a blue Bluestreak having been the initial plan is this official piece of vintage Transformers merch, a 3D ‘transformable jigsaw puzzle from 1984! As well as a traditional jigsaw on one side (which just so happens to feature the Autobot in question in his blue colour scheme), the reverse sports printed pieces which can combine into a facsimile of either Bluestreak’s robot or car forms. Again, you’ll note those elusive blue hues.

I remember owning this curio myself back in the ’80s, and it caused a lot of confusion even then! Nowadays, it stands up as the first-ever blue Bluestreak release of any kind, even if it’s not technically a Transformers toy!

 

#11: There have been thirteen Bluestreak releases…

In the years since 1984, it’s fair to say ‘Bluestreak’ is the name that has stuck for the character most of all, with thirteen separate releases using it from both Hasbro and Takara down the line, although only four of these were Japanese. That includes other merchandise tie-ins such as the Diamond Select bust from 2009, the ‘Loyal Subjects’ figure from 2014 or the two separate Kre-O releases. It’s also been the version of the name most recently used in the WFC trilogy, cropping up in Siege and Earthrise.

As you can see, this is the name Hasbro and Takara have most randomly applied, with five blue toys, six grey toys (after the cartoon) and one silver toy (the original 1984 release).

 

#10: …nine Streak releases…

By comparison, there have been nine Streak toys over the years, all hailing from Takara. Again, this was the name they gave to the character right from the first release in 1984, which was arguably a smart move considering it avoided all of the ‘blue’ confusion! No ‘Streak’ releases have been blue ever since, all sporting either the classic silver seen on the G1 toy or the darker grey colouration more synonymous with the cartoon animation model (and original Diaclone toy), first seen on the 2002 Collector’s Edition Anime reissue and later the 2008 Henkei figure and the two main Masterpiece releases from 2013 and 2019 respectively.

 

#9: …and just seven Silverstreak releases

So wait, if ‘Bluestreak’ is the character’s traditional Hasbro name and ‘Streak’ his Takara name, where does ‘Silverstreak’ come in then? It all starts with Hasbro’s 2003 Commemorative series reissue of the original toy, which brought back the 1984 silver colour scheme (compared to Takara’s ‘Anime’ release from the year prior). Hasbro was unable to secure the trademark for the name ‘Bluestreak’ and, instead of opting for the simplified Takara option, went with ‘Silverstreak’ as a nod to the figure’s colours. I’m sure that seemed like a harmless decision at the time, but it would go on to have ramifications later.

There have been seven Silverstreak releases overall, although only one of these is from Takara (more on that later). Like ‘Bluestreak’, it’s been relatively randomly applied in terms of colours, although at least four of the seven are predominantly silver in colour!

 

#8: The first real blue Bluestreak toy was Binaltech

As concluded in my previous article, the first ‘real’ blue Bluestreak toy was Takara’s 2008 Binaltech release in that it was both blue (tick one) and called ‘Bluestreak’ (tick two). Many people get this figure confused with BT-01 (or BT-07) Smokescreen, given the overall appearance of the mould and the colouration, often thinking of it as simply a de-sponsored take on the same character. There are some moulding differences too, meaning this is a straight-up repaint of BT-02 Streak (the silver one!) but now in the new colour and with the new name. At last!

 

#7: Takara is much more consistent with the naming than Hasbro…

OK, it’s only fair to point out that a lot of this confusion does mainly stem from the Hasbro side of things, especially as Takara’s line-up is relatively straightforward by comparison. Of their fourteen releases, eleven are grey or silver, and nine of those are named ‘Streak’, so aside from the odd example here or there, it’s not too hard to follow.

Once you throw the Hasbro releases into the mix, things get a lot more perplexing, with eighteen toys featuring grey, silver and blue colour schemes rather at random! It tallies at seven blue toys, seven grey toys and four silver toys overall, although to Hasbro’s credit, at least they only use two names for them all, where Takara have three!

 

#6: …although of their 4 Bluestreak toys, only three are blue!

Takara has also broken the rules on occasion, with their first non-blue Bluestreak hitting shelves just two years ago when the Earthrise figure was released. They were doing so well, too!

 

#5: The only Takara Silverstreak is the Masterpiece

There may now be a non-blue Takara Bluestreak, but they can still say they still have exclusively silver Silverstreaks, especially as there has only ever been one figure released under that name in Japan! That was the 2014 Tokyo Toy Show exclusive silver repaint of the Masterpiece toy, so-called as a way to differentiate it from 2013’s cartoon-inspired Streak.

 

#4: Masterpiece was the only line to arguably get it ‘right’

Speaking of Takara’s Masterpiece series, the naming for MP-18S and MP-18B Bluestreak means it’s now the only line in forty years where the names were arguably ‘done right’. You have three separate versions of the character, with the colours all matching their descriptors. Streak is the grey cartoon-inspired figure, Bluestreak is blue and Silverstreak is silver. Perfection. I doubt we’ll ever have it so good again!

 

#3: The ONLY time Hasbro & Takara agreed on the name was in WFC

Whilst we may never see such giddy heights as the Masterpiece example again, there was an attempt at uniformity with the Earthrise toy mentioned above. It was the one-and-only time both companies used the same name for the same colour scheme! In Japan, the TakaraTomy Mall release is also the only time the naming convention has been broken, with all prior ‘Bluestreaks’ having been blue!

 

#2: Buzzworthy is NOT the first blue Silverstreak…

All of that history brings us back up-to-date with the new ‘Buzzworthy Bumblebee’ Silverstreak figure, although it still stands out a fair bit for being a blue take on the character with the ‘silver’ version of the name! However, it’s technically not the first time this has happened. The Universe Spychanger toy from 2003 also went by the same designation and featured a notably blue-ish shade adorning much of its body (even with a silver bonnet). Whether you consider this the same character or not is up for debate, but the fact remains, these are now the two blue Silverstreaks!

 

#1: …but it is the only time the colours and names have been switched in one line!


However, Buzzworthy Silverstreak still takes the cake only because Hasbro has released it alongside another WFC interpretation of the character in cartoon grey colour but called Bluestreak! It’s hilarious to me how, after almost forty years, we’ve ended up in a place where the names of these toys are so perplexing, all as a result of Hasbro switching the colour of the 1984 toy just before release, and now we’re faced with a blue Silverstreak and a grey/silver Bluestreak. One has to assume that a whole new generation of collectors will live on to tell their own tales of confusion due to these two, meaning the wonderfully ridiculous nature of Transformers continues for years to come. Praise be!

 
 
So, that’s our list! All up to speed now?

TTFN

About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at twitter.com/SixoTF or on YouTube at youtube.com/SixoTF

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