Dragonball Z Super Guerriers Articule – AB Groupe

Dragonball Z Super Guerriers Articule by AB Groupe

Series: Dragon Ball Z

Company: AB Groupe (Re-released by KidzBiz, Giochi Preziosi and Irwin Toy)

Year: 1989, 1996~2000

Size: 9~13cm

Main distribution: Europe


Known as “Super Guerriers Articule” (Articulated Super Warriors), these Action Figures were made by the AB Groupe. AB Groupe (now Mediawan Thematics) is a French broadcasting group, and the distributor of the Dragon Ball merchandise for European and Canadian markets. They made the English dub for the Dragon Ball Z movies in the Netherlands (based of their French dub), with awkward changes like Piccolo being “Big Green” and the Saiyans “Space Warriors”. As terrible as that dub was, their toys were one of the first you could get in Europe. Here you’ll find the Action Figures of them. They made 25 different ones, which later got re-releases under KidzBiz, Giochi Preziosi and Irwin Toy.

I’ve seen several different packaging for the Action Figures. In the Netherlands and Germany, I mostly saw the “The Legend is here” blister packs from KidzBiz whereas in Belgium and France I found the “Super Guerriers Articule” plastic clam shells. In Italy I found them under Giochi Preziosi in blister packs. Whereas “The Legend is here” and the Italian had a generic blue carton with the lineup on the back, the “Super Guerriers Articule” had more unique carton with various artwork on them.
“The Legend is here” is a 2000 re-release of the “Super Guerriers Articule” with various accessories by KidzBiz. They also have the Italian Giochi Preziosi logo on them, so they might be related.
In Italy Giochi Preziosi re-released these figures in 2000 as well.
These also got re-released in 1999~2000 as well under Irwin Toy under the line “The Saga continues”, bringing the toys to America for the first time as it had started re-airing in 1998 and slowly became popular. Irwin Toy also had blister packs, with generic purple/green and later dark blue cartons. Irwin Toy was also for sale in the Netherlands, mostly seen in comic book stores, possibly due to the American connection.

Interestingly several of the characters were unknown to the Western market at the time, as only up to the Frieza saga had been shown here. A lot of characters are also from the movies, probably due to the licensing AB Groupe had with them. As some of these have very little merchandise, it was cool to see Action Figures from the movies, even though they were odd choices at the time.

A lot of the figures look very similar to the Japanese Bandai release; “Super Battle Collection”. These figures had similar molds and articulation, but came with removable armour. As these AB Groupe figures do have Bandai marking on them, it’s possible AB Groupe re-purposed the Japanese Bandai figures for the West. I’ve been unable to find these exact figures in a Japanese Bandai box though, so they do seem original.
As Irwin Toy started to release these figures in America, they also mixed in the Bandai “Super Battle Collection” figures with the AB groupe Action Figures, possibly due to the figures likeness. Giochi Preziosi did the same.
Interestingly, AB Groupe as well as Irwin Toy never brought over the Dragonball GT figures of Bandai.

Although the figures have 1989 on them, it seems they were released in 1996, when Dragonball was first aired in the West, and later re-released in 2000 with KidzBiz, Giochi Preziosi and Irwin Toy as the show become popular. It is possible it’s referring to the copyright of Dragonball, which released in 1989 in Japan.

25 Action Figures in total were made. Super Saiyan Gohan, Goten, Kid Trunks, Vegeta, Janemba, Super Saiyan 3 Goku, Super Saiyan Gotenks, Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks, Tapion, Minotia, Hildegard, Krillin, Videl as Great Saiyawoman, Evil Buu, Super Saiyan Gogeta, Bardock, Frieza, Broly, Piccolo, Super Saiyan Vegito, Buu, Goku, Kibito Kai, Super Android #13 and Android #15.

I got 17/25.

AB Groupe Super Guerriers Articule

Super Guerriers Articule #1 Super Saiyan Gohan
Barcode: 3521200405411

Super Guerriers Articule #1 Super Saiyan Gohan

Gohan has limited articulation; in the waist, shoulders and neck. He is wearing his trademark blue gi. He has a stern expression on his face. His hands are 2 fists.
He has © 1989 B.S./S, T.A. on his butt. In raised font under his right foot is CHINA and under his left CHINE.
I found this guy in a charity shop.

Super Guerriers Articule #2 Goten

Super Guerriers Articule #2 Goten

Goten has limited articulation; in the waist, shoulders and neck. He is wearing his trademark orange gi with long dark blue sleeves. He has a stern expression on his face. His hands are 2 fists.
He has © 1989 B.S./S, T.A. on his butt.
I got 2 of these. 1 has in raised font under his right foot CHINA and under his left CHINE. The other has in black under this right foot CHINE.
I bought one either in “The Legend is Here” packaging or as an Irwin Toy re-release. I found the other with the black under his foot in a charity shop.

Super Guerriers Articule #3 Kid Trunks
Barcode: 3521200405435

Super Guerriers Articule #3 Kid Trunks (blue hair)

Trunks has limited articulation; in the waist, shoulders and neck. He is sporting his trademark green gi. He has a stern and confident expression on his face. His hands are 2 fists.
He has © 1989 B.S./S, T.A. on his butt. In black under his right foot is CHINE.
I bought this one either in “The Legend is Here” packaging or as an Irwin Toy re-release.

Irwin Toys re-released the figure in purple hair. His boots also got a slightly different colour.

Super Guerriers Articule #3 Kid Trunks (purple hair), Irwin Toys re-release

It has the same limited articulation and markings. In raised font under his right foot is CHINA and under his left CHINE.
I bought this one as an Irwin Toy re-release.

Super Guerriers Articule #4 Vegeta

Super Guerriers Articule #4 Vegeta

Vegeta has limited articulation; in the waist, shoulders and neck. He is wearing his simple blue outfit. He has a smirk on his face. His hands are 2 fists.
He has © 1989 B.S./S, T.A. on his butt. In raised font under his right foot is CHINA and under his left CHINE.
I bought this one either in “The Legend is Here” packaging or as an Irwin Toy re-release. I played with it so much the paint got completely rubbed off his hair. I later bought a second one second-hand.

Super Guerriers Articule #5 Janemba
Release date: 1996

Super Guerriers Articule #5 Janemba

Janemba has limited articulation; in the waist, shoulders, neck and tail. He is in his final state. He has a stern expression on his face. His hands are 2 fists.
He has © 1989 B.S./S, T.A. on his butt. In raised font under his right foot is CHINA and under his left CHINE.
I got this one in a nice lot of eBay. The tail is often missing, so I’m glad I managed to find him complete.

Super Guerriers Articule #6 Super Saiyan 3 Goku with halo

I do not own this figure.

Super Guerriers Articule #7 Super Saiyan Gotenks
Release date: 1996

Super Guerriers Articule #7 Super Saiyan Gotenks

Gotenks has limited articulation; in the waist, shoulders and neck. He is a Super Saiyan. He has a cocky expression on his face. He is posed to do his Galactic Donut attack, with one finger pointing upwards.
He has © 1989 B.S./S, T.A. on the back of his vest. In raised font under his right foot is CHINE and under his left CHINA.
I got this one of eBay.

Super Guerriers Articule #8 Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks
Release date: 1996

Super Guerriers Articule #8 Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks

Gotenks has limited articulation; in the waist, shoulders and neck. He is a Super Saiyan 3. He has an excited expression on his face. He is slightly squatting down, and looks to be in a powering up pose. His hands are two fists.
He has © 1989 B.S./S, T.A. on the back of his vest, although it’s hard to see due to the long hair. In raised font under his right foot is CHINA and under his left CHINE.
I got this one in a nice lot of eBay.

Super Guerriers Articule #9 Tapion
Barcode: 3521200405497
Release date: 1996

Super Guerriers Articule #9 Tapion

Tapion has limited articulation, in the waist, shoulders and neck. He is wearing his signature outfit. He carries the sword on his back. He has a stern expression on his face. His hands are 2 fists.
He has © 1989 B.S./S, T.A. on the bottom of his clothes. In raised font under his right foot is CHINA and under his left CHINE.
I bought this guy of a friend on a market in Maaseik, Belgium, living in Heerlen, the Netherlands at the time, but have since bought a nicer looking one of eBay.

Super Guerriers Articule #10 Minotia
Release date: 1996

Super Guerriers Articule #10 Minotia

Minotia has limited articulation, in the waist, shoulders and neck. He carries his sword on his back. He is wearing his signature outfit. He has a happy expression on his face. His hands are 2 fists.
He has © 1989 B.S./S, T.A. on the bottom of his clothes. In raised font under his right foot is CHINA and under his left CHINE.
I bought this guy of a friend on a market in Maaseik, Belgium, living in Heerlen, the Netherlands at the time, but it had the sword broken off. I have since been able to replace him with one of eBay.

Super Guerriers Articule #11 Hildegard
Barcode: 3521200405510
Release date: 1996

Super Guerriers Articule #11 Hildegard

Hildegard has limited articulation, in the waist, shoulders and neck. He has white wings, brown elytra and a tail that can be removed / come off. Mine is missing the white wings and tail. He is in his final form. He has a scary expression on his face. His hands are both open.
He has © 1989 B.S./S, T.A. on his butt. In raised font under his right foot is CHINA and under his left CHINE.
I found him for cheap on eBay so I threw a bid on it, not expecting to win it. Halfway through the auction I realised his wings, elytra and tail were missing, but no one bid on him so I got him super cheap. I later found another with elytra for a decent price, and excitedly I bid on it, only to realise later the wings are still missing, as well as the tail. I figured someone would overbid me, but no one did. I do hope to get him complete one day, but the fact I got him for cheap makes up for it. I think he’s one of the rarer figures as he didn’t get rereleased like some others.

Super Guerriers Articule #12 Krillin

Super Guerriers Articule #12 Krillin

Krillin has limited articulation; in the waist, shoulders and neck. He has his black hair, and is wearing casual sport clothes. He has a happy expression on his face. His hands are 2 fists.
He has © 1989 B.S./S, T.A. on the back of his shirt. In raised font under his right foot is CHINE and under his left CHINA.
I bought this one either in “The Legend is Here” packaging or as an Irwin Toy re-release.

Super Guerriers Articule #13 Videl as Great Saiyawoman / Saiyaman II
Release date: 1996

Super Guerriers Articule #13 Videl as Great Saiyawoman / Saiyaman II

The figure has limited articulation, in the waist, shoulders and neck. She is suppose to have a cape on her back, but mine is missing. She is wearing her signature Saiyawoman outfit. She has a stern and confident expression on her face. Her hands are 2 fists.
She doesn’t have any marking on her, but perhaps this was on the cape?
Under her left right foot is in black CHINE.
I bought this one of a friend on a market in Maaseik, Belgium, living in Heerlen, the Netherlands at the time.

KidzBiz re-released the figure with different colouring; most noticeable on her shoulders and watch. The chest also can have a discolouring to it, which often these figures get.

Super Guerriers Articule #14 Evil Buu
Release date: 1996

Super Guerriers Articule #14 Evil Buu (pink coloured), KidzBiz re-release

The figure has limited articulation, in the waist, shoulders and neck. He is wearing his signature outfit of white pants and purple cape. He has a stern and angry expression on his face. His hands are 2 fists.
He has © 1989 B.S./S, T.A. on the left of his cape. In raised font under his right foot is CHINA and under his left CHINE.
I got this one in a nice lot of eBay.

KidzBiz re-released the figure with different colouring; making his skin more pink / tan than dark grey. This is the figure I have. The chest also seems to have a discolouring to it, which often these figures get.

I do hope to get AB Groupe’s darker skinned one at some point.

Super Guerriers Articule #15 Super Saiyan Gogeta
Release date: 1996

I do not own this figure.

Super Guerriers Articule #16 Bardock
Release date: 1996

Super Guerriers Articule #16 Bardock

The figure has limited articulation, in the waist, shoulders and neck. He is wearing his signature outfit of Saiyan armour, in his vintage blue colouring. He has a stern but happy expression on his face. His hands are 2 fists.
He has © 1989 B.S./S, T.A. on his butt. In raised font under his right foot is CHINA and under his left CHINE.
I got this one in a nice lot of eBay.

Super Guerriers Articule #17 Frieza (Final Form)
Release date: 1996

Super Guerriers Articule #17 Frieza (Final Form)

Frieza has limited articulation, in the waist, shoulders, neck and tail. He has a smile on his face. His hands are open.
He has © 1989 B.S./S, T.A. on the back of his upper right leg. In raised font under his right foot is CHIИE and under his left CHINA.
I bought this one as an Irwin Toy re-release.

Super Guerriers Articule #18 Broly
Release date: 1996

My younger brother has this one and is trading it with me, so I will update this blog as soon as I got him. 🙂

Super Guerriers Articule #19 Piccolo
Release date: 1996

I do not own this figure.

Super Guerriers Articule #20 Super Saiyan Vegito
Release date: 1996

I do not own this figure.

Super Guerriers Articule #21 Buu
Release date: 1996

Super Guerriers Articule #21 Buu

Buu has articulation in the waist, shoulders and neck. Surprisingly he has ball joints in his shoulders unlike the other figures of this line, making his arms more poseable than the others. He has a neutral to angry expression on his face. His hands seem to point.
He has © 1989 B.S./S, T.A. on the left of his butt. In raised font under his right foot is CHINA and under his left CHINE.
I got this one in a nice lot of eBay.

Super Guerriers Articule #22 Goku (Kamehameha)

Super Guerriers Articule #22 Goku (Kamehameha)

Goku has limited articulation in his legs, waist, shoulders and neck. Due to his pose though, there’s not many other poses if any he can adopt. He has a smirk on his face. His hands are in the final Kamehameha position.
He has © 1989 B.S./S, T.A. on his right shoulder. In black font under his left foot is CHINE.
I got this one of eBay.

Super Guerriers Articule #23 Kibito Kai
Release date: 1996

I do not own this figure.

Super Guerriers Articule #24 Super Android #13
Release date: 1996

I do not own this figure.

Super Guerriers Articule #25 Android #15
Release date: 1996
Barcode: 3521200405695

I do not own this figure.

KidzBiz The Legend is Here

Dragonball Z KidzBiz The Legend is Here Series 1-3

The Legend is Here line had figures in blister packs, with the back showing the rest of the line. Above is one from Series 3, showing Series 1-3. I have another of Series 2, that shows Series 1-2, which is exactly the same minus the bottom row.

The Legend is Here – Series 1
Release date: 2000

The Legend is Here Series 1 consists out of Goten (re-release of #2), Vegeta (re-release of #4), Trunks (re-release of #3), Goku (re-release of #22), Piccolo (re-release of #19) and Frieza (re-release of #17).
I got 5/6; Goten, Vegeta, Trunks, Goku and Frieza.
For some reason the Frieza on the packaging looks awful.

The Legend is Here – Series 2
Barcode: 8005163008421
Release date: 2000

The Legend is Here Series 2 consists out of Super Saiyan 3 Goku (re-release of #6), Krillin (re-release of #12), Super Saiyan Gotenks (re-release of #7), Super Saiyan Gohan (re-release of #1), Buu (re-release of #21) and Super Saiyan Gogeta (re-release of #15). I got 4/6; Krillin, Super Saiyan Gotenks, Super Saiyan Gohan and Buu.
For some reason Krillin came with a gun, and Gohan’s image seems mirrored on the packaging.

The Legend is Here – Series 3
Barcode: 8005163086931
Release date: 2000

The Legend is Here Series 3 consists out Goku (re-release of #22 / Series 1), Super Saiyan 3 Goku (re-release of #6 / Series 2), Vegeta (re-release of #4 / Series 1), Broly (re-release of #18), Super Saiyan Vegito (re-release of #20) and Kibito Kai (re-release of #23). I have 2/6; Goku and Vegeta. I will soon have Broly too.

Giochi Preziosi
Release date: 2000

Dragonball Z Giochi Preziosi

Giochi Preziosi re-released these figures in Italy. This lineup included Super Saiyan 3 Goku (re-release of #6), Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks (re-release of #8) and re-releases from Bandai’s Super Battle Collection.
I have 1/2; Gotenks Super Saiyan 3.

Irwin Toy The Saga Continues

The Saga Continues
Release date: 2000

Dragonball Z Irwin The Saga Continues

The Saga continues line had figures in blister packs, with the back showing the rest of the line, up to 3 series. The above one has no number and seems to be a later set.

This set consists out Krillin (re-release of #12), Piccolo (re-release of #19), Super Saiyan Goku 3 (re-release of #6), Vegeta (re-release of #4), Trunks (re-colour of #3), Frieza (re-release of #17) and re-releases from Bandai’s Super Battle Collection.
I got 4/6; Krillin, Vegeta, Trunks and Frieza.

The Saga Continues – Series 1

The Saga continues Series 1 consists out of re-releases from Bandai’s Super Battle Collection.

The Saga Continues – Series 2

The Saga continues Series 2 consists out of re-releases from Bandai’s Super Battle Collection.

The Saga Continues – Series 3

The Saga continues Series 3 consists out of re-releases from Bandai’s Super Battle Collection, and Videl as Great Saiyawoman / Saiyaman II (re-release #13).
I got 1/1.

The Saga Continues – Series 4

The Saga continues Series 4 consists out of re-releases from Bandai’s Super Battle Collection.

The Saga Continues – Series 5

The Saga continues Series 5 consists out of Tapion (re-release of #9), Super Saiyan Gohan (re-release of #1), Super Saiyan Vegito (re-release of #20), Vegeta (re-release of #4) and Trunks (re-release of #3) and re-releases from Bandai’s Super Battle Collection.
I got 4/5; Tapion, Super Saiyan Gohan, Vegeta and Trunks.

The Saga Continues – Series 6
Release date: 1999

Dragonball Z Irwin The Saga Continues Series 6-8

The Saga continues Series 6 consists out Trunks (re-release of #3), Super Saiyan 3 Goku (re-release of #6), Piccolo (re-release of #19), Frieza (re-release of #17) and Krillin (re-release of #12).
I got 3/5; Trunks, Frieza and Krillin.

The Saga Continues – Series 7
Release date: 1999

The Saga continues Series 7 consists out Goten (re-release of #2), Trunks (re-release of #3 / series 6), Broly (re-release of #18), Super Saiyan Gotenks (re-release of #7) and Vegeta (re-release of #4).
I got 4/5; and soon will have them all.

The Saga Continues – Series 8
Release date: 1999

Dragonball Z Irwin The Saga Continues Series 8-10

The Saga continues Series 8 consists out Super Saiyan Vegito (re-release of #20) and re-releases from Bandai’s Super Battle Collection.
I got 0/1.

The Saga Continues – Series 9
Release date: 1999

The Saga continues Series 9 consists out Minotia (re-release of #10), Bardock (re-release of #16), Super Saiyan Gogeta (re-release of #15), Buu (re-release of #21) and Goku (re-release of #22).
I got 4/5; Minotia, Bardock, Buu and Goku.

The Saga Continues – Series 10
Release date: 1999

The Saga continues Series 10 consists out Trunks (re-release of #3 / series 6 + 7), Bardock (re-release of #16 / series 9), Super Saiyan 3 Goku (re-release of #6 / series 6), Vegeta (re-release of #4 / series 7), Buu (re-release of #21 / series 9) and Krillin (re-release of #12 / series 6).
I got 5/6; Trunks, Bardock, Vegeta, Buu and Krillin.

Accessories

Dragonball Z KidzBiz The Legend is here / Irwin The Saga Continues Accessories

These figures came with accessories like weapons and Dragonballs. The weapons didn’t make much sense as they don’t really use them in the show. I guess they felt the need for Action Figures to have accessories though. The ones that sort of made sense was that Trunks came with a sword (that looks nothing like his) and Goku came with a power pole (that only vague looks like his). The rest were standard looking guns. I’m not sure which came with KidzBiz figures and which with the Irwin Toy figures, if not both.

Dragonball Z KidzBiz The Legend is here / Irwin The Saga Continues Dragonballs

The Dragonballs made more sense, although they didn’t look like the Dragonballs from the show as they came in yellow and red instead of orange. As many as I bought though, I always ended up with the same ones. I couldn’t tell whether they were inserted random, or the same ones came with the same figures, but I never managed to get them all. I was unable to trade for the missing ones and sold off my doubles. I still wonder if they even made all seven. I’m not sure which came with KidzBiz and which with the Irwin Toy figures, if not both. I managed to get one additional one, the yellow 5 star Dragonball, in a lot on eBay.


I was a massive Dragonball fan at the time, and one of the first series I truly collected besides the Lion King. I spent all my pocket money on these, and harassed my family to go out to the bigger cities so I could buy these once I had saved up some.
My aunt would regularly drive me to Aachen just over the border in Germany where I would buy several of these. I found Germany had lots of the KidzBiz figures. I also travelled almost weekly by train to Sittard to the Atomic comic bookshop to buy cards and figures, mostly from Irwin Toy. I’d also traded with other people on markets in Belgium and friends in school in the Netherlands for merchandise we had scored somewhere that was unavailable to the other. On a schooltrip to Italy, I bought some Giochi Preziosi.
This was a time before internet, and we hunted for these figures in all the shops. Trading and selling on was a huge part of collecting, especially then, and it created some cool friendships.

I bought so many of these from the AB Groupe, as well as some imported ones from Bandai and the Irwin Toy and KidzBiz re-releases. I never realised as a kid how many different companies dipped into these, they were all the same to me. But it’s interesting to catalogue them! The toy industry is a cool beast, especially back then when franchises were being established and licensing was all over the place.

Most of these figures we didn’t even know who they were! For years we thought Goten was a young Goku, and we figured the blue haired kid would be related to Bulma due to the similar hair, but that was it. Krillin had hair?! It didn’t matter. It was Dragonball, and it was cool.

I also played lots with these! I had to get another Vegeta (my favourite) as my old one had lost its paint job from all the play. Dragonball was also a huge influence in my understanding of English. I played with these figures in English!, as they spoke English on tv. Kid logic?

As simple as they are, these mean so much to me and are so nostalgic! I also like how they are somewhat in scale. I hope to one day get all 25.


Got any more details / information you think I should add? Or did I get something wrong? Do you own any of these figures? Which one is your fav? Do you agree or disagree with my findings? Let me know in the comments below!

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