We’re back for the second part of our walk-through of every version of the Spychanger moulds that ever existed! If you missed part 1, be sure to check that out first for information on the Generation 2 Go-Bots before continuing with Car Robots below.
#15: Car Robots Spychangers (2000)
L-R: Wars, Counter Arrow, Artfire, Eagle Killer, X-Car, Ox
Takara’s 2000 Car Robots line was a return to the franchise’s vehicle-based roots after the Beast era of the late nineties. Whilst there were many new moulds in the line, they were mingled with plenty of previous designs, including a dusting off of those familiar core six Go-Bots toys from Generation 2. They were all given a significant makeover with fresh colour schemes and identities that, thanks to the corresponding cartoon, would become the names and appearances now most associated with these moulds moving forward. Just as in Generation 2, each of these toys was released individually on cards.
One nifty feature that some people don’t always realise about these releases is they boast heat-sensitive hidden Autobot decals that can only be revealed by repeatedly rubbing the special paint in the correct area on each toy. That is assuming you believe such a thing exists, of course… (it does, I promise!).
#14: Car Robots Spychanger Giftset (2000)
As well as the individual carded releases, the six Spychangers could also be found in a boxed giftset release. The toys themselves were identical to the card versions and still included the heat-sensitive rubsigns.
#13: Car Robots JUSCO Spychangers (2000)
L-R: Eagle Killer, Counter Arrow, Artfire, Ox, Wars, X-Car
Here’s where things get really interesting, as Takara (and later Hasbro) began releasing the core six designs in all manner of weird and wonderful colour schemes besides their regular releases. One of the most notable examples was the clear plastic versions found exclusively in JUSCO (short for Japan United Stores Company), a series of Japanese retail stores. To obtain them, you had to be twelve years old or less and a member of Genki-Kids, an outlet found within JUSCO stores which sold children’s clothing and goods. Additionally, each toy was only made available in blind bags, meaning there is no visual way to identify which mould is inside (although it is possible to tell with a good old-fashioned feel of the bags…).
Due to the manner of their release, obtaining a full set of JUSCO Spychangers can be a bit of a challenge today (especially with the lottery of the blind bags), but it’s definitely worth it to see the marvel of all six lined up. Just look at those for some extremely eye-catching toys!
#12: Car Robots Super Spychangers (2003)
L-R: X-Car, Wars, Counter Arrow, Artfire, Eagle Killer, Ox
In addition to the regular Spychangers, the core six were released again in new colour schemes (but the same identities) in 2003, after Car Robots had ended. Now known as the Super Spychangers, These versions came in small blind boxes packed in retail display cases of twelve. Every case contained at least one version of each Super Spychanger design, although, as with the JUSCO versions, there was simply no way to know which you were getting in any given box!
So, that’s the full set of Car Robots Spychangers (left) and the Super versions (right)! The Super lads come blind-boxed in a set of 12. I’ve had the box for ages but it made for a fun time going through them, especially as… pic.twitter.com/z4IwQBULMn
— Sixo (@SixoTF) June 22, 2021
As far as today’s market goes, it is still possible to find the full cases of twelve, which would give you the complete set of six Super Spychangers, plus a few spares (and a bit of a surprise to boot, but more on that below).
Though not as well known as the classic releases, there’s little doubt the Super Spychangers make for a handsome set all in their own right, especially in how some of the line-up invert the typical colour schemes. They also eschew the heat-sensitive rubsigns of the original Car Robots releases, instead opting for standard Autobot tampos (similar to the Robots in Disguise versions, as we’ll see).
#11: Car Robots Super Spychangers – clear chase versions (2003)
L-R: Wars, Artfire, Eagle Killer, Ox, Counter Arrow, X-Car
As if the blind-boxed nature of the Super Spychangers wasn’t enough, now we come to what is undoubtedly the most elusive of any of the various sets of the core six. These clear toys were chase versions also found in the Super Spychanger cases, though you would only ever get two of them for every twelve boxes. Again, given the blind nature of the packaging, there is absolutely no way to know which moulds you will be receiving, even if you do manage to get an entire case. Considering all that, to say the whole endeavour is a bit of a lottery is an understatement! If you do ever consider completing this line-up, expect to end up with at least a few multiples along the way…
While they may be hard to track down in their entirety, I would argue it’s gratifying when you do complete them, especially given how well they work as a team. Takara may not have made it easy to complete a Car Robots Spychanger collection, but the results speak for themselves.
Be sure to stay for part 3, as we’re off to the Robots in Disguise line next!