Originally released by Takara in 1982 as part of their new Microman line entitled Armoured Machine, this vehicle and pilot set was released as Cosmic Fighter.
Fully licensed for Western release, this was “reissued” in 1984 as Deltarian Fighter, as part of the Converters line (a real hodge-podge of robot toys, including many Diaclone vehicles which were never released as part of Transformers.
Featuring the trademark nonsensical Converters storyline and biography, the Converters line failed to really make an impact at the time, and are another great example of how important the Marvel involvement for characters and storyline were to the overall success of the Transformers product.
For those who might not know, the Microman line is considered a fore-father to the GI Joe product line, which shows it’s importance in the great tapestry of toy history, leading as it did to Hasbro’s involvement with Marvel and Larry Hama on the 3 and 3/4 scale Joe line, which opened the door for the Marvel / Budiansky deal on Transformers. Curiously, despite the Diaclone drivers being removed from all of the Converters product line despite their continued inclusion on packaging pictures, the Microman pilot was included with this release. Basically giving the line a figure that was inconistently sized with the rest of the product line. But hey, that’s converters in a nut-shell.
If you want Converters in a HALF-shell, that is also possible, as this playset (as well as a few other Takara vehicles) was licensed out to Playmates for the Turtles toyline in 1995, as the Mini-mutants Cyberjet playset, including two small figures which could sit in the cockpit instead of one massive and claustraphibic Microman pilot. Toylines are mental, you never know where something will end up being reused.
The vehicle itself is great fun, and you can tweak away and come up with a multitude of unofficial modes, as well as the 16 advertised official configurations.
It’s not the best toyset ever, but it is a lot of fun, in that way that makes me wish I had it as a kid. If you ever see it cheap, I advise you pick it up, I got mine complete and boxed for £30, which, adjusting for inflation, is probably cheaper than it was originally sold for back in the day.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the weird and wonderful configurations below.