Since I’m going back and forth between further going through the Transformers Universe (1.0) figures and other clutter organizing project I’m going to zip through the Micromaster Combiners. This is the last of our Autobots, originally seeing life in Japan as Sixturbo before ending up at KB in America as the Protectobots, an homage to my favorite G1 Combiner team. However, this version really only has three rescue vehicles, the other three being a race car, a sports car, and a cruising motorcycle. It makes for an odd choice for an homage but since the others were homages or namesakes I guess it fits. It’s really just a reason to use names for copyright purposes when you get down to it.

I’m going to be a bit off with the usual renames in the captions. This was the first released set in the Universe line and I only wrote the names on the card back I kept rather than the instructions. Over time the ink has faded a bit. However, some of the names were such odd choices for an homage that they may be the most justified name changes I did for these little guys. Apparently Sears was also carrying them for their Christmas only toy shelves (remember when they did that for Christmas and had barely anything the rest of the year?) while being available in Europe under the Energon banner. So how does this set fare?

Okay, naming the cycle Groove makes sense, but why is the police car Prowl when for the Protectobots he should be Streetwise? I went with Drifter and Streetbeat respectively.

Forming the body are the police car Prowl and the motorcycle Autobot Groove. (For trademark purposes some of the classic character names needed “Autobot” slapped onto their name until the trademark was open but I don’t remember this happening for Decepticons.) Prowl is lacking in details. He has molded headlights, and I’m guessing the car he’s based on has those headlights that fold down when not in use, but outside of the red police lights there isn’t much to him. Groove is a bit better. Though his seat has no detailing there is a radio or possibly speedometer type thing on his…well, on a car it would be the console but I don’t know what it’s called on a motorcycle. It could also be the gas tank for all I know because I’m surprised I know this bike is meant for cruising instead of chasing. The original Groove was a police bike.

I kind of imagine that this team (at the time I went with the more Micromaster style team name “Defense Team”) is split into two groups. Prowl/Streetbeat is in charge of first response along with the two leg units who are charged with aiding the the humans while Groove/Drifter and the non first responders that form the arms do the heavy battling of Decepticons. It’s the only way this set makes sense to me lore-wise.

The uni-legs continue. I think this was the case for the original G1 Micromasters too.

In robot mode Prowl’s predecessor, Road Police, actually looks like a police officer. That’s the neat thing about this team. Even Groove/Glide’s head kind of resembles a motorcycle helmet, although his head is kind of blocked by the motorcycle wheel. You can’t see it in this picture but they do have arms and hands molded on the inside of the vehicle kibble, though Groove’s you can only see if the arms aren’t being blocked by his massive chest. Meanwhile Prowl has his roof hanging off of his lower back by the siren lights, which looks silly from most angles but almost invisible in others. It’s easy to ignore either way.

While it works for a race car, Hot Spot is the name of a fire truck on the G1 team, but not this team. So I call…I think Turbocharge. It’s one of the names that faded. Meanwhile the race car gets called Streetwise. I went with Speedturn.

I usually save the name stuff for the captions, but this is what I mean about the screwed up homage names. The actual police car uses Prowl, who wasn’t on the Protectobots, but the race car is called Streetwise, despite not even being street legal. How many of you see a Formula-1 race car going down your streets? Meanwhile Hot Spot, the fire truck that led the original team, isn’t being used on the actual fire truck. I don’t get it. It’s like they wanted to do an homage to protect (no pun intended) the names but were too lazy to do it right.

Anyway, Hot Spot here is a Lamborghini, with the same molded lights as Prowl and it’s not the only thing they share. There is a bit more detail as the classic design on the trunk (or is that where the engine is on this car?) is still there. You can actually turn Hot Spot’s combiner link around and use it as a sort of booster jet but then the toy won’t roll. Due to the hinge it’s on you can even fool someone into thinking he’s a Mini-Con since it does go over the Powerlink port on Mini-Con-friendly Transformers. Streetwise is a race car but no real detail outside of the racing stripes and the spoiler that can move because it allegedly needs to in order to transform to robot mode and it’s where his combination link is. He can fit on a Powerlink port as well but not as as flat as his fellow arm.

“Come on, lazy Streetwise, you’re embarrassing me.”

Streetwise can not stand on his own well in robot mode and not at all on my uneven photo stage. (I need to work on that.) The problem is the front end of his car mode makes him very back heavy. I had to use my digital pen holder to have him stand for the photo. I wish there was another hinge to help it lie flat, but there isn’t. Instead his spoiler has a hinge that isn’t necessary. Hot Spot has the same engineering as Prowl, but due to where his hole is he can’t take Prowl’s place in the Combined form. He also doesn’t have a ring in his foot like Prowl does since he’s supposed to be an arm. With no head gear tied to his alt mode they just gave him a cool head crest. He also gets more red while Streetwise gets more yellow with black straps standing in for his seat belts. Prowl and Hot Spot are my favorites of the set, though the Lamborghini’s arms don’t have as much transformation clearance as the police car.

More naming shenanigans. The ambulance should be First Aid and…actually is! Amazing! I still went with First Alert, which I sort of hate myself for now. Meanwhile, the one that should be Hot Spot? Red Alert. That’s just not right. I still went with Firestorm.

Forming the legs, and Prowl’s team in this group, are Red Alert and First Aid. I reversed them from their usual combination position (although you can swap the legs around and the arms, but you can’t swap arms and legs with each other) to show off where their Autobot symbols are. It’s a good way to know how to position them, to show off their faction symbol. These guys are Autobot and proud! First Aid continues the tradition of one member of each body part having virtually no detailing, though he actually had headlights and a grill, plus his sirens, just not much else. Red Alert on the other hand has painted hoses and storage panels plus a rotating ladder that doesn’t rise up or extend. (It’s still more features than I’d expect from a G1 Micromaster.) However, for the guy called Red Alert I can’t find the sirens. He also stands out as the only member of the team whose plastic wheels have treads molded into them. The rest all have smooth wheels.

Someone got the short end of the kibble stick.

I have to ask what Japan was thinking with Sireen’s head thing. (That was his Sixturbo counterpart’s Japanese name.) I swear there’s a head somewhere under that but you can’t see it. Instead he has that extending…I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a gun battery or something to help with the patients he can’t see. I know someone always loses out on a Combiner team but this is the worst I’ve seen from the Universe Micromasters. Compare it to Red Alert. There’s a convenient gap for his ladder to safely poke through, his arms may be way down on the doors but are still there, he’s the most stable standing of the team, and he has that cool fireman’s helmet type head. Red Alert has a bit of an “automorph” where bringing the parts down to form his legs also makes the arms come up, but that’s all he really has going on for him.

Unlike the Aerialbots, this team can only benefit from having a jet.

As with everyone with this body design (in other words everyone except the Railbots) the body pieces also combine into a jet fighter the team can use. In theory. They still don’t sit in very well. Prowl can stand on it with his combiner connection since that’s where he connects anyway.

In the insert that looks like it was taped on you see an alternate position for Groove that makes him fit better. I found it while messing with a later photo.

Defensor (I can barely make out my rename for him–maybe Protector or something) is their combined form and he’s a bit of a mixed bag. ON the one hand the colors work well. I don’t expect a combiner to have a unified color scheme since he’s made of a bunch of smaller robots with their own color, but I do want them to compliment each other and they do here. Red Alert and First Aid made great lower legs and feet and Prowl is a good chest. I like the addition of the scanner/missile launcher on his arm. In the inset’s position Groove lies flat but still feels unnecessary.

“My gun sights are way off. Trying to compensate is a challenge.”

However, the head has this tendency to want to turn slightly to the left or right, the hands connect weirdly on these really short pegs and not only fall off easily while manipulating it he also has to hold his gun at an odd angle. I cannot understand why they thought this was a good idea. It’s really annoying and he has less arm clearance than any of the other Autobot Micromaster Combiners. Why did they do this?

Part of an exchange program that didn’t go well.

Since the Aerialbots have the same body/jet that the Protectobots do it’s no surprise that they can trade arms and legs with each other, though Defensor’s limbs are slightly longer than Superion’s. Meanwhile, the Railbots’ legs and chest each have a different connection system from the others and can only swap arms. It’s not worth the bother really.

Overall it is a mixed bag. They’re my favorite robot designs but Streetwise can’t stand and you can’t see First Aid’s head. The leg and body combinations are great but the arms are the worst thus far. I like it overall but it has the biggest design flaws of the whole group. It’s kind of shame. Like I said, the original Protectobots were my favorite G1 Combiner (although I only owned two plus two later knockoffs) so it’s disappointing that it doesn’t transfer over to their Micromaster homage. Then again, it wasn’t originally designed to be an homage, was it?