Mini-Con Assault Team

I love Mini-Cons! For the uninitiated, Mini-Cons debuted in the “Transformers Armada” line, and were the gimmick for that series. The concept was that Mini-Cons could boost the power of a larger Transformer. The Autobots sought to liberate them, but the Decepticons wanted to enslave them. The toys in the Armada line also had pop-up weapons that could be activated by a Mini-Con. Later lines incorporated the pegs but when with different gimmicks. I’m thinking the ports were just part of the molding process that someone saw gimmick potential in, since you can find older Transformers that unintentionally can combine with a Mini-Con but have no gimmick to activate. However, that’s just a theory.

The Mini-Con Assault Team (while occasionally sold separately Mini-Cons are released either with a partner like Armada and Power Core Combiners or as a three-bot team with a unifying gimmick or concept) was available on clearance at a closing K-Mart. While I initially remembered that my funds are low I am sad to report that my love of these things (and the fact that they go higher than the clearance price…ridiculously so for the size) outweighed my common sense. Like I said, I love Mini-Cons. One thing I plan to show is that the gimmick was poorly utilized in the show and comic for Armada.

"I'm getting paid for this, right?

“I’m getting paid for this, right?

To that end we have broken out Overload. What he lacks in posability he makes up for in standard Mini-Con ports that I can use to make my point. So if you’d be so kind as to free the Assault Team, Overload, we can begin.

Mini-Con Assault goodies

Comes with all you see here.

Before we look at the figures let’s talk about what it comes with. The comic (which I haven’t read yet) is just a reprint of a recent issue of IDW’s Transformers comic, issue #4 of the Dark Cybertron storyline. While I have not fully read it for review, I did a deep skim (if that makes sense) and it does not have the Assault Team in it. I’ve heard this is typical of the comics that come with this version of the Generations line. If the toy doesn’t appear in the comics they’ll slap an original cover on there anyway. And as a comic reviewer it’s not that interesting a cover.

It also comes with a toy catalog. I didn’t think they did that anymore. The side I’m showing you is a mini-poster with “Stomp & Chomp Grimlock” from the movie line, with the Dinobots making their debut in the most recent film, Age Of Extinction. The catalog on the back features the new easy to transform figures meant more for the kids than adult collectors and I think that’s a good thing. As a kid I didn’t want to stop long in the middle of my play to switch modes, seeing how fast it was on the show.  There are also adds for the Transformers Kre-O set that’s a Toys R Us exclusive, the “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots” style Battle Masters, some other merchandise, and the Shout Factory releases of Transformers cartoons.

The final “poster” is the instructions for the Assault Team. Here’s a mistake. The toy is packaged in their combined form (yes, they’re combiners, another gimmick I really like), called Centuritron, but the poster doesn’t show how to separate them but to combine them. They had it backwards, but the toy should have packaged in their separate modes in the first place, like other Mini-Con combiner teams. But with that out of the way, let’s get to Centuritron himself.

Later I'm going dancing.

Later I’m going dancing.

With so many different figures and modes to go over I’m going to make this as quick as I can. Centuritron looks pretty good in combined mode. While lacking head and waist articulation as well as ankles, he’s still quite posable. The three individual robots have a unified color scheme that works well. It’s not without some problems, though. The helicopter and plane cockpits seem to fight each other, which was a problem when I accidentally split the two. The helicopter cockpit also popped off but luckily went on when the plane didn’t fight me on it. It’s not a strong connection for rough play. the shoulders also don’t peg into place and easily move out of position during posing. Still, I like it. The gun is made from the weapons of the individual robots, which I seldom see from Mini-Con combiners (partly because it’s rare for Mini-Cons to have their own weapons that aren’t built-in). It looks like a sniper rifle with a machine gun pistol attached. It’s a bit disappointing but not too bad. So how do the individual robots fare?

I still need better lighting.

I still need better lighting.

Do you know how big a pain it is to follow instructions backwards when you’ve never done it forwards? A huge one, I promise you! Luckily the robot to vehicle instructions are done from robot to vehicle. Centuritron’s should have been from combined to individual robots, not the other way around.

At the top of both the instructions and Centuritron is Windshear the helicopter. I don’t expect a lot of articulation at this size so the fact that he has knees and full shoulder and hip range is amazing, even if some of it is due to transformation. The tail rotor may be helping him stand but it also gets in the way of posing. Still, take what you can get. He looks good, even with the huge gun on his arm. Helicopter mode, however, is unimpressive. The huge gun looks worse there and it looks like a kneeling helicopter. The gun plugs into the port used to connect to larger robots, which screws up the Mini-Con’s primary gimmick. Maybe the larger robot can used the weapon as a gun? It does have its own Mini-Con port, and I didn’t see that until I was almost done. I suppose you can attack the gun to the same spot they are on the robot. We’ll find out later.

At this point I started getting fancy with the editing.

At this point I started getting fancy with the editing.

Runway is the jet, and that’s a popular name for Mini-Con jets. He has the same articulation as Windsheer but his fault is the design of the feet, which doesn’t allow for a lot of standing positions, especially in my photo box. There are some flaps that can fold into stand-in heels I guess but that’s not in the instructions and yet they need to be moved to put him in plane mode. I guess they’re there for Centuritron, except they aren’t acknowledged in those instructions, either. (I miss photographs over empty line art with one color to represents what moves next.) The double-barreled arm cannon there has no top, so it really hurts the look. The form half of his jet thrusters and he does have a cool jet mode, with oversized thrusters I admit. They actually end up with a Mini-Con plug so you could plug another Mini-Con on him, while his port is underneath the jet.

He actually has a monocle. You can't see it, but it's there.

He actually has a monocle. You can’t see it, but it’s there.

Finally we come to Heavytread. There’s always a member of a three-robot combiner team who suffers and in robot mode that’s Heavytread. To join with Centuritron his body splits to become the robot’s legs, and that’s what hurts him. He loses some of his comrade’s articulation in the shoulders and hips. He has no neck (and no way to hide it…you can see his head in Centuritron’s butt) and that connector peg to Centuritron looks like a bad hat. He IS the only one who can hold his own sidearm, though, instead of mounting it to his arm. The instructions for his transformation are not very good. I had to do some guessing before finally getting it right and the center piece that holds his head and Centuritron connector peg turns but doesn’t seem useful in any of his three modes. At least he’s a good tank. Where Windsheer suffers in plane mode does quite well. The turret can’t move since it’s his hand holding his rifle but otherwise it works well. He also has a plug on his turret and the port underneath. Let me try something

Make the enemy laugh themselves so hard they're unprepared for your attack!

Make the enemy laugh themselves so hard they’re unprepared for your attack!

Yep. Stupid as it looks they can combine on top of each other. Now, let’s get Overload over here and try something else.

In hindsight not the best model I could have chose.

In hindsight not the best model I could have chose.

While hard to demonstrate on Overload, Runway could make a cool jetpack for a larger Transformer. Alternately, he’s a double-barreled fireball canon. Windsheer could be a arm-mounted cutting blade, but his port doesn’t hold as tight as it should. Heavytread would look better as an arm-mounted weapon but to take the picture that’s the best place I could mount him. Using the Mini-Con as extra armor and weapons has more play value that “powers up the robot somehow” and the media attached to Armada never utilized that and everything since hasn’t had the Mini-Cons “powerlink” to the larger robots, if they show up at all.

Overall I like the little guys. While Windsheer’s plane mode is as unimpressive as Runway’s weapon and Heavytread’s robot mode, Centuritron isn’t bad and the individual robots and vehicles are decent enough that I don’t mind having picked them up, even if my current funds say I shouldn’t have, so I still feel at least somewhat like an idiot. If you want a dissenting opinion in video form check out Optimbotimus’s review. Even though he hated them I still found them interesting enough that I wanted to get them. However, I do NOT recommend these for kids. The helicopter cockpit is loose, the pegs for locking some parts in place are hard to find, and then where to plug them into to harder, and I’m sure he’s be a pain in the tail rotor for younger fans. This is designed for older, possibly adult collectors and on that count he’s not bad.