Tranformer Terms: Gold Plastic Syndrome

Welcome back, I thought I would take a break from top ten lists and bring to light a term used in transformer fandom, this time it is GPS or Gold Plastic Syndrome. This is a serious problem for collectors since it basically destroys certain toys, leaving full unbroken versions extremely rare in some cases and non-existent in others.

So here is the short explanation: In 1988 Hasbro and Takara using plastic with metal flakes, most notably is the Gold and Bronze plastics and these usually snap, fracture, crack or crumble if played with, transformed, taken out of or even just sitting in the box as well. This problem was named by fans in 2002 and later became an actual Hasbro used term by one of their designers in 2015 (when defending a newer toy based on an older GPS sufferer but I will get to that later)

Some examples of these syndrome sufferers are:

  • 1989 – Hasbro – G1  Skyhammer (pictured) an ultra pretender that suffers from GPS

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  • 1992 – Hasbro – G1 Skyquake:  He has two toned Bronze with the lighter version being more likely to break.

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  • 1994 – Hasbro – G2 Electro: He is so easy to break right out of the package, the poor guy never stood a chance, most of him is Gold except for his head, upper arms, pelvis and upper legs.

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  • 1997 – Hasbro Grimlock: as shown his ball joints in his legs are gold and break off.

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  • 1998 – Hasbro – Beast Wars Transmetal Megatron: He will snap at the waist.

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  • 1999 – Takara – Beast Wars Neo Randy: poor, poor Randy, the most heartbreaking of them all. his body was not meant to transform and if he does, he dies a horrible death… (yes this is his real name, he is a warhog and the jokes can go on far longer then he can)

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  • 2000 – Hasbro – Beast Machines Snarl : This one has been reported to get worse the longer he is left in his package and will come apart right away.

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  • 2006 – Hasbro – Transformer crossover Millennium Falcon: The Chewbacca section is prone to GPS in his arms and legs (I have this one on a star wars shelf that I found at a thrift shop.  I keep it in ship mode behind other figures to hide the missing limb that had snapped off prior to me buying it.)

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Here is a list of other transformers that are reported to get GPS but I have not seen photo evidence to confirm them.

  • BlackZarak: Feet and shield tend to shatter, so this expensive rare toy is almost never intact.
  • Roadblock: An ultra pretender with his inner robot’s torso, arms and head all made of gold plastic and can break under minimal stress.
  • Bristleback: When combining with other Monster Pretenders to create Monstructor and you put the fist in place it can make a large crack through his legs or even splitting them entirely.
  • Slog: his gimmick requires Birdbrain to connect to his gold sections which are thin and will crumble if you are not careful.
  • Killbison: Is also a combiner to make G1 Liokaiser but when you combine them he will shatter.
  • Pyro: If transformed he will crack in half at the waist.
  • G2 Slingshot: Again another combiner who will break apart if combined or even right out of the package. (I almost bought this set that was missing Slingshot due to GPS, I kick myself since I own G1 Slingshot and he could have replaced the G2 version)
  • Optimal Optimus:  His battery cover can break off
  • Magnaboss Silverbolt: His head can break apart (I saw this at the shop when I was sorting a bin lot of transformers, took me a few minutes to locate the part that had broken off and then luckily it was an easy glued fix and the combiner sold quickly)
  • Soundwave: His whole body is gold, so anything can break on him especially his hinges.
  • Torca: His legs, tail and sides suffer from GPS
  • Beast Wars tenth anniversary Dinobot:  Two kinds of plastic and he is highly fragile.
  • Megabolt: His limbs are cast primarily in gold plastic that fracture.
  • Micromaster Superion: Another combiner that will die if combined.
  • Repugnus: Some parts break off due to moving and others do not due to staying in place.
  • Protoform Starscream: His wing hinges tend to crumble.

Well that is it, the sad trail of broken glittery remains of a “good on paper” concept proven bad by time and reality. It is strange that it took 19 years for Hasbro to realize it was a bad idea, but in all fairness they are out to make money and if toys break they need to be replaced and that means more money for them and Transformers is at such a state that the product will not stop due to the odd bad choice like the Action Master disaster way back in 1990

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