Transformers
Armada


Last Updated: 10/26/09 K-Mart Armada Series Universe Mini-Cons 10-pack added.


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    In the distant past, a faction known as Minicons proved to be too powerful, as they could potentially all combine into a massive starship capable of destroying all of Cybertron. So the Minicons were banished to space, and ended up landing on (where else?) Earth. A new Megatron, fourth to take the name, has heard of the old stories and is out to gather the Minicons for his own purposes. Optimus Prime, who remembers what happened last time, races to keep the Minicons out of Megatron's clutches. Check BWTF.com and Altered States Magazine in the Links section for pictures.

   Overview of the early part of the line, focusing on Minicons and "Supercons" as a new evolutionary branch of Transformers.


MINICONS

    Either packed in with the other toys (usually one per set, once in a while there's two) or sold in three-packs, these are Spychanger-sized toys that have vehicle modes, robot modes and added extra features. All of them can hook up to the bigger toys and unlock some feature or other. Some combine, some have weapon or motion gimmicks. The ones sold in three-packs will be the new Basic pricepoint. Note: the official spelling is Mini-Con, with a hyphen, but I REALLY don't feel like going through this whole page and fixing that even if emacs DOES have a search and replace. :)

  • First Wave: Air Defense, Land Military and Street Action teams.
    • Street Action Team: High Wire (bicycle), Grindor (skateboard) and Sureshock (motorscooter) combine to form the robot Perceptor, in addition to becoming robots on their own, of course.
    • Air Defense Team: Runway (Concorde-like SST), Jetstorm (weird SST jet, someone will probably tell me what it is eventually) and Sonar (one stage to orbit lifting body craft) combine to form the Star Sabre sword. It has been suggested that Runway is based on the Firefox MiG-31 from the movie Firefox (a fictional plane), but changed enough to avoid lawsuits.
    • Land Military Team: All three are missile vehicles of some sort that don't combine, but can be used as weapons by larger Transformers. Bonecrusher (8-wheeled missile truck), Knock Out (6-wheeled missile truck) and Wreckage (tracked missile platform, two missiles).
  • Second wave: Race, Destruction. Note: Techspecs added 9/12.
    • Race Team: Downshift (Formula racer like the original Mirage), Dirt Boss (Rally SUV like Super X-Brawn) and Mirage (retooling of Swindle, Indy car). They merge to form Skyboom, a pretty unconvincing jet or a decent shield to counter to Star Saber.
    • Destruction Team: Geared motion gimmicks, and they attach to Cyclonus to be triggered by that Supercon's gears, woot. Buzzsaw (a bucket wheel excavator, not a saw), Drillbit (truck with a big drill on the back) and Dualor (dual-cannoned tank).
  • Third Wave: Adventure, Space and Street Speed Teams
    • Adventure Team: Ransack (offroad jeep), Iceberg (snowcat) and Dune Runner (dunebuggy). These have more Cyclonus gear action, although they're actually designed for later SuperCons.
    • Space Team: Astroscope (space station), Payload (rocket carrier truck) and Sky Blast (multistage rocket). Combine to form the rifle called Requiem Blaster. Astroscope is fragile, Payload is kinda boring, but Sky Blast is good. Note: The tip of Astroscope's missile is patterned after a Soyuz or Spektor module (Spektor is an unmanned supply drone variant of the Soyuz).
    • Street Speed Team: Spiral, Oval and Backtrack, all sportscars. The gimmick for this batch is poseability, they have elbows.
  • Fourth Wave: Night Attack, Air Assault, Sea Teams.
    • Night Attack Team: Blue and light gray recolors of the Land Military Team, renamed as Scattor (Bonecrusher), Broadside (Knock Out) and Fetch (Wreckage). It has been suggested that Fetch is used in the sense of ghost or revenant, but I suspect it's because he throws two sticks....
    • Air Assault Team: Evil Decepticon-controlled versions of the Air Defense Team, in colors to match Galvatron. Names are the same, only the allegiance is changed.
    • Sea Team: Maroon, blue and silver water vehicles. Waterlog (hovercraft), Oceanglide (solar-powered impellor craft) and Stormcloud (speedboat). Each has a missile launcher like Bonecrusher's.
  • Fifth Wave: Emergency Team and Air Military Team. Both share the gimmick of turning into weapons.
    • Emergency Team: Firebot (firetruck/missile rack), Prowl (pursuit car/rifle) and Makeshift (Osprey VTOL/twin tribarrels).
    • Air Military Team: Terradive (SR-71 spyplane/claws), Thunderwing (hybrid of Stealth Bomber and Stealth Fighter/spinning shield), Gunbarrel (cargo jet/sixblaster).
  • Sixth Wave: Recolors of the Race Team in red and white (okay) and of the Destruction Team in olive green and orange (also okay). Neither inspired me to write a review, though. No name changes.
  • Seventh Wave: Recolors of the Sea Team and Emergency Team in G1-evocative colors. No name changes, but I supply suggestions in that regard. You may note that the file is MiniCon6...I just didn't review the actual sxith wave.

  • K-Mart Universe Mini-Con 12-Pack: Redecos of twelve of the Classics Mini-Cons in a nifty shadow box.
  • K-Mart Universe Mini-Con 10-Pack: The other six Classics Mini-Cons, plus more versions of four of the ones in the 12-pack, in another shadow box.

DELUXES (SuperCons)

    Still at the $10 price point, these will come with a Minicon to activate pop-out weapons or other features.

  • First set: Hot Shot, Cyclonus, Demolishor. Updated 7/30 with Demolishor's official techspec.
    • Hot Shot with Jolt: Sportscar with helicopter Minicon that splits in two to provide a rear propellor and a hood-mounted gun.
    • Cyclonus with Crumplezone: Helicopter with tank Minicon, becomes more of a gunship when the front is replaced with Crumplezone.
    • Demolishor with Blackout: Tank with combat car Minicon. Blackout can either sit in the control chair of Demolishor's tank mode, or integrate into the front of it. Demolishor has a good potential for fan-modes, and several have already been devised.
  • Second set: Sideways and Smokescreen.
    • Smokescreen with Liftor: Utility crane with forklift Mini-Con. TIP: The peg on the end of Smokescreen's hook can fit snugly into one of the gaps in his underbody just under the winch for storage. This does not seem to be a true "undocumented feature," but it's nifty.
    • Sideways with Crosswise and Rook: Motorcycle with two Mini-Cons. Each can turn into a helmet (Headmasters!) that determines Sideways's allegiance when worn (Crosswise makes him an Autobot, Rook makes him a Decepticon). The two can combine into a rider two different ways, with each forming the legs of one version and the body of the other.
  • Third Set: Blurr and Optimus Prime.
    • Blurr with Incinerator: Futuristic car and dragster Mini-Con.
    • Optimus Prime with Over-run: Cab only, lacking Matrix. Mini-Con is a fighter jet and turns into a handgun for Prime. Modified Over-run I customized a bit.
  • Fourth Set: Sideswipe and Thrust
    • Sideswipe with Nightbeat: Street racer car (late 80s Thunderbird mixed wtih Nissan Skyline R-33 and R-34, plus some other influences) and motorcycle. Nightbeat has a couple of plausible unofficial modes.
    • Thrust with Inferno: F-35 Advanced Tactical Fighter with missile truck. Hampered a bit by a safety modification to the missile launchers. My fix to the safety problem.
  • Transmetal Set One: Rhinox and Terrorsaur. Recolored and slightly remolded Transmetals with recolored Mini-Cons included. Can also be considered Supercon Wave 4.5.
  • Fifth Set: Airazor, Wheeljack and Hoist
    • Airazor with Nightscream: Recolored and slightly remolded Transmetal Airazor with a dark purple version of Street Speed Team member Oval, taking the name of Beast Machines' version of Wheelie. :)
    • Wheeljack with Wind Sheer: Former Autobot sportscar now turned bitter Decepticon, with F-117 stealth fighter Mini-Con.
    • Hoist with Refute: Power shovel with ugly orange mining machine thingy. NOTE: the taupe block on Hoist's right shoulder covers what would have been a gear attachment spot! There's no inner workings, but someone on AllSpark.com (DanHibiki) is looking into transplanting gears from Cyclonus.
  • Powerlinx Set 1 (Wave 6): Cyclonus, Thrust, Hot Shot and Cheetor. Cyclonus not reviewed.
  • Powerlinx Set 2 (Wave 7): Powerlinx Demolishor, Nemesis Prime. Running change recolors of Wheeljack and PX Thrust will probably be melded into this wave.

ROLEPLAY

    Replacing Mega at the $15 price point is a "roleplay" accessory size, with a "real size" Minicon or other character.

  • Laserbeak - Transforms from a life-sized videocamera to a blaster to a sort of Laserbeak vulture. Click here for a picture of my touched up version, using the package art as partial reference.
  • Dark Saber - Little dagger-sized version of the dark Star Saber. I didn't get the Star Saber one, no point in getting two.

MEGA (MaxCons)

    Now bumped up to $20, hopefully the Megas will be as good as the old Ultras. Contain electronic gimmicks.

  • First wave: Red Alert and Starscream. 8/5: Late note added to Starscream review. I missed a sound effect.
    • Red Alert with Longarm - A repair SUV with lots of gimmicks and kibble. Longarm is a crane truck.
    • Starscream with Swindle - He's wearing a Minicon on his head. Um. Starscream is a futuristic jet, Swindle is a racecar.
  • Second wave: Scavenger with Rollbar alone. Like the Transmetal Scavenger, this guy's solo in his wave. Set 2.5 has Scav shipping with Thundercracker, a recolor (and possibly slight remold) of Starscream. I am not buying or reviewing Thundercracker, but did include his techspec note in the review of Scavenger.
  • Third Wave/First PowerLinx Wave: Skywarp with Thunderclash, Overload with Roll-Out, Predacon with Skid-Z and Side Burn, PowerLinx Red Alert with Lonarm.
    • Skywarp with Thunderclash - Minor remold of Starscream with an entirely new space fighter Mini-Con.
    • Overload with Roll-Out - Trailer that combines with his Mini-Con to form a robot, also forms a lot of other stuff.
    • Predacon with Skid-Z and Side Burn - Recolor/remold of Transmetal Megatron (generally better than the original) with recolors of two of the Street Speed Team Mini-Cons. Ships with PowerLinx Red Alert.
    • PowerLinx Red Alert with Longarm - Red Alert recolored in beach rescue orange and white. Did not buy this one.

ULTRA (GigaCon)

    Bumped up to $25.

  • Megatron with Leader-1 - Another tank, another different character calling himself Megatron. Leader-1 is a combat car sort of thing. King of the Gimmicks, but almost unposeable.
  • Second Batch - Galvatron (recolor of Megatron) with Clench (Leader-1), Jetfire with Comettor.
    • Galvatron - MUCH better colors, and a slight mold change that lets you turn off the sounds. Later note: The weapon sounds may be a little different, subtle changes in pitch and repeat speed.
    • Jetfire - A bulked up space shuttle that also forms "Space Pants" for Super Optimus Prime. Later note: You can transform Jetfire with Comettor attached as landing gear, there's enough empty space inside for him to fit.
  • Third Batch - Tidal Wave. He's a fleet, he's a robot, he's a SuperDimensionalFortress, he's a Battleshirt for Galvatron. Woot.

SUPER

    Bumped up to $40, more like the old Supreme class.

  • Optimus Prime with Sparkplug - Continues the "God Armor" style of Powermaster Prime and RiD Prime, and the gimmicked up base trailer of Laser Prime. And electronic gimmicks, including an IR link that autotransforms the trailer/base when you transform the cab. Sparkplug looks like he should have been named Bumblebee. NOTE: A second wave of retooled toys has become available, with shoulders that are more poseable in Battlepants mode, and a few minor improvements. No news yet whether there's a packaging variation or a code number difference to indicate which ones are improved.

SUPREME

    $50 price point, only one figure in this slot (unless they decide to do a PowerLinx repaint), Unicron with Dead End. Big, poseable and ratchety.
  • Later note: There's a slot above the hardpoint on Unicron's back. If you insert the handle of the Star Saber into this slot, it will also trigger the chest missile. Red Alert's tools might do the trick as well.
  • Some pictures I took of Unicron: 1, 2, 3, 4.


BUILT TO RULE

    Lego-like sets that build either vehicle mode or robot mode, but do not actually transform in any meaningful sense. Robot modes pretty uniformly bite.

  • Demolishor, Jetfire and Optimus Prime - Two Basics and one Ultra. Red Alert and Hot Shot coming out in this wave, but weren't in the store. I'm not sure I'll be getting any more, though.
  • Smokescreen - Picked this up. It's not too bad, although it has a pretty weak robot mode to compare with. Won't be doing a review, confirms to most of what I said in the review above, except it's orange and you can put all the vehicle bits on the robot mode.
  • Red Alert - Also got this. Best robot mode so far, but that's not saying a whole lot. It's possible, if difficult, to hide the face and feet inside the vehicle mode.
  • Hot Shot - Looks more like Bumblebee in car mode, and the rear bumper chunk falls off easily. You can fix this by attaching his feet (which have to be removed in car mode anyway) to the back as spoiler bits. The robot mode is so-so, a bit hollow-chested and leaving a LOT of vehicle kibble left over.

   Pssst!