I can't speak for what kids are collecting these days, but adult collectors of Japanese robot toys must be having the time of their lives. The higher-end Transformers collectibles of recent years have not only spawned successful lines of third party items but they also inspired revivals of other Japanese robot toy lines from the '80s, lines such as Machine Robo and Voltron. The latest reboot is Takara Tomy's Diaclone toy line, the line that produced many of the toys that Hasbro would later re-brand as Transformers toys in the United States. Click below for more information and pictures of the cool new releases from this long-dormant line of robot toys.
The original Diaclone toys consisted of a selection of different robot types. Some robots would transform into vehicles (those would later become Transformers toys), while other robots were modular in build and would separate and recombine into a selection of vehicles. Each of these robots came with smaller humanoid figures called "Dianauts" that were the pilots of the robots. Even though the Dianauts were left out of the toys that Hasbro picked up for the Transformers line in the '80s, many of the first generation Transformers toys (particularly the car, jet, dinosaur and insect robots) still had the compartments that were designed to accommodate the Dianaut figures.
Above: A selection of Dianaut figures, both past and present.
Below: Dianaut figures posed alongside scale-accurate Transformers toys.
Based on the pictures I've seen so far, the new Diaclone line looks like it is dropping the transforming robots but keeping the modular robot/vehicle toys with Dianaut figures. The new line includes Dia-Battles V2 sets, which consist of vehicles that can be combined into a large robot or a variety of different battle machines. These sets include Dianaut figures and the Dianauts' battle motorcycles, which fit into the vehicles' extra compartments. Other toys in the line are Dianauts that come with power armor suits and storage/deployment containers. Such a selection of combining robots, armors and vehicles reminds me of the Alpha, Beta and Cyclone mecha from the Invid War segment of Robotech (a.k.a. Genesis Climber MOSPEADA), although I'm betting that Takara Tomy's new Diaclone releases are better made than the Invid War-themed items in Toynami's Robotech line.
Below are some pictures of the new Diaclone line, including its promotional materials and toy convention displays.