Sorry for the washed out images. Sadly I goofed in editing.

Our next set of Transformers Universe figures were sold together so that’s how I’ll be reviewing them, if only to move things along. They share an instruction sheet, which is how I know they came together. And yes, it’s another set including Mini-Cons with figures who can’t use Mini-Cons. As you’ll see it’s worse this time though.

I’m not sure why these four were sold together. There’s no connecting theme. At least Whirl’s Mini-Con pals were some kind of aircraft. Magna Stampede and Stockade are original characters based on molds from the Beast Machines line while Terradive and Prowl weren’t even on the same Mini-Con team, yet share a feature their friends are unable to use. I get the feeling the Mini-Cons of this group are pretending to be Micromasters to not be used as power boosters in the Universe arena, like it’s their chance to just be seen as any other Transformer. At least that’s the canon in my head since Universe is about dragging Transformers from across the multiverse. I’m going to limit photos to robot and alt mode and will give my thoughts individually. Of course we know the Mini-Cons are safe but what about the other two?

In hindsight I should have raised his tail so you can see it. I was in a hurry this week.

Magna Stampede is a reuse of the mold for the Beast Machines Maximal Battle Unicorn, a figure that didn’t end up in the show. Magna Stampede (or even just Stampede) is a good name but Battle Unicorn had the better colors. This is one of the rare alt modes based on a mythical creature so maybe these colors make more sense. despite the spikes on his legs and a mohawk mane that isn’t really connected to the head. I’m not a unicorn enthusiast but I don’t think that matches the legend. The colors aren’t bad mind you. There’s a good use of black and white for the usual horse parts but he has front upper leg armor as well as armor on all four lower legs and his horn. Don’t worry, this is not the same gold plastic that Gold Plastic Syndrome gets its name from.

There is some limited posability in this mode. The tail can go up and down and spin but has this permanent bend in the tail that looks worse in robot mode. Not bad but certainly a bit off. Still I like when longer tails have any articulation. All four feet are articulated but the back feet not as much as the front, and the back legs lack even the articulation of the front legs, which is too bad. As a Battle For The Spark mold the Autobot symbol is on his left leg and turning that piece makes the head bend down as if he’s about to gouge out a Vehicon or Decepticon with his armored horn. A posable neck would have been better. He looks more like he’s feeding.

Note how small the hands are. It will be important later.

In robot mode Magna Stampede looks like a warrior. I know some people treat Transformer heads like they’re wearing a helmet, when it’s just a head that resembles a helmet, but it’s almost a proper description of his head. It looks like a soldier’s helmet, aided by the battle axe cleverly formed from his mane and tail. Battle Unicorn was more like a description than a name but it fit. We get some extra blue in areas that make the gold and white parts look even more like Stampede is wearing battle armor. I dig it.

There’s a lot of decent articulation in this figure. The head looks up and down a little and can look around, although for some reason it struggles looking full left or right going behind him, which is part of what I do in transformation to hide his robot head a bit more. I don’t see any clearance issues between the centurion head design and the shoulder pads so I don’t know what’s up. His arms also have really good articulation so you can have him in good fighting poses and poses with his axe, the bottom of which uses the tail articulation to decent effect. You’d think having the unicorn legs hanging off his elbows would hinder them but they’re easily adjusted to increase his pose range. He doesn’t have a waist but the hips move well enough but he ends up with four lower legs. They can be pushed together to form two legs but you have more range sometimes by splitting them up. Given his technorganic nature it’s not as odd as it would be with most Transformers, a feat only the Transmetal 2 Transformers from Beast Wars can pull off given their own unusual nature compared to the regular Transmetals or other Transformers.

Decision: I picked up Magna Stampede in part because I was one of those who couldn’t find the rare Battle Unicron (he was kind of shorted by Hasbro, coming near the end of the Beast Machines line and not being on the show) as well as his companions. I honestly like the figure and I’m going to keep him around.

In hindsight I took the pictures of both alt modes from the opposite angle I should have.

I know I risk losing casual readers with my lore dumps but I’m trying to make sense of Hasbro’s decisions with the four selected for this set. Stockade is recolored from the Tank Drone Vehicons from Beast Machines, the bad guys of that line. I guess it makes sense that the drones might have been used to house some of the sparks if the spark’s original body was destroyed or used by Megatron as raw material for his lifeless drone army, but seeing one of the bad guys used as an Autobot is interesting. From a lore perspective it’s not the same as an Autobot and Decepticon just happening to share a body type but I’m probably just overthinking it. It is a good tank mode, although you can’t see the robot face clearly visible from the angle of this photo. Look at the group shot above and you’ll see the problem there. It doesn’t work as well for an Autobot as it does a drone, but that’s where my theory comes into play.

The color choices are interesting, some kind of desert camo not quite realized. It’s not ugly but it does look a bit funny. Also being a Battle For The Spark figure it does have an action feature involving the “former” spark crystal. (I never understood why the sparkless drones have a spark crystal but I’m overthinking again.) It’s not so much a button as an easy place to press while moving the tank forward, which in theory causes the cannon to spin and fire the missile, but the gears don’t always align correctly so it only works if you luck out.

With cannon at rest and deployed.

Once you get the order down Stockade have a pretty smooth transformation. The result is a powerful looking robot, in line with his predecessor’s back story. (I’ll get into that more when I review the Beast Machines Vehicon. I’ve done enough lore stuff here.) His drone origins are also apparent here but that’s where my little backstory kicks in. No new colors for him but he does have the molded chest missiles or guns or whatever those are. Instead of hands he has two claws, which works for him.

Articulation isn’t too bad. The head’s range is similar to Magna Stampede’s, his elbows only bend, not rotate, but his shoulders work fine. Leg articulation is a bit odd given his transformation and you have to disconnnect and reconnect them to move the “knees” (for lack of a better term) and alter their positioning. It’s limiting by necessity and I’d rather not see it again but give his origins I can overlook it. The back plate that holds his cannon can be positioned so the cannon is over his shoulder or just lying against his back but the auto-fire gimmick doesn’t work at all since you can’t connect it to the opposite gear. You can spin this gear to make it fire and it works better that way. Too bad you can’t do that in tank mode. It’s also molded to go over the shoulder pad so it doesn’t limit articulation nearly as much as it could.

Decision: I kind of like him. The colors are a bit off but I do really like the design of the tank drones. And with the backstory I gave him I find him acceptable and an interesting choice to team with Magna Stampede. I think I’ll keep him.

You wish your car was this cool.

Then we get to the Mini-Cons. I know I joke about “Prowl” being the Cybertronian version of “Bob” at this point since Hasbro was just trying to hold the trademark until they could bring G1 Prowl back in an updated form but this is the second Prowl in the original Universe line. And there’s one more available in two different colors, repurposed from the Spychanger of the first Robots In Disguise line. That’s not trademark protecting, that’s being lazy. At least Prowl is the name of this mold’s original character, a Mini-Con from the Armada line and a member of the Emergency Min-Con Team. It also followed the tradition of Prowls as race cars.

Not that you can tell from the repaint. He looks more like a Cybertronian race car with a gas tank on the spoiler. The police lights aren’t colored in, he’s not blue, and he’s got an emblem on his hood more resembling a car the police would probably chase. He seems to have borrowed a few colors from Stockade. He’s a cool little race car and I do enjoy this mold.

When he gets a headache, he really gets a headache!

There’s not a lot to say about his robot mode. The face is okay and they tried to mold in a head. He doesn’t have a uni-leg despite how he looks. The legs are both independent and he ends up with working knees and his hips go back and forth. He can’t hold a running pose without holding it but he can make it. He has good shoulder range and that’s it. He’s a Mini-Con. You aren’t getting them for articulation.

It may surprise you that Top Gun is not one of his favorite movies. That’s your stereotyping, pal!

Finally there’s Terradive, who seems to follow Magna Stampede’s colors. He’s also a recolor of an Armada Mini-Con with the same name, a member of the Air Military Mini-Con team. Interestingly both his and Prowl’s comrades show up with Whirl, whose review I linked to earlier, and with Fireflight, which I don’t think I own. Terradive is a fighter jet and a pretty neat one. Like I said, he has Magna Stampede’s colors, though part of his jet thrusters are orange. It’s an odd color for a plane that’s usually used for stealth (maybe he can hide in a cloud?) but it isn’t bad looking aesthetically, just practically. His landing gear folds up for flight, which is always nice. I’m not expecting the wheels to actually work after all, but I like landing gears that extend and contract.

Being a Mini-Con he doesn’t have to worry about doors being too short.

You can just barely make out his robot face. Prowl’s is practically painted on and his face is easier to make out from a normal distance. I’m in close here and you can just make out the eyes. Terradive has the same articulation as Prowl. So let’s talk about why these two are an odd inclusion outside of trying to boost up the price point. The Emergency and Air Military teams are spread out among three Transformers who cannot utilize them. I don’t just mean the lack of Mini-Con hardpoints either intentional or through the molding process (my theory since they’re compatible with some earlier figures). I mean both teams, as you may recall from the Prowl review, have a shared gimmick of turning into mounted weapons.

I’ve brought Overload out to demonstrate again.

In most cases these are mounted weapons. In the case of our team Terradive turns into an arm-mounted blade and Prowl into a gun. However, Prowl isn’t just a mounted weapon like his friends. You can flip out the handle and stock and he turns into a hand gun that can be held by figures who don’t have Mini-Con ports…if their hand has a big enough hole for it. The Micromaster Combiners can hold him, though it’s a tight fit. None of the Universe figures I’ve reviewed thus far (though I haven’t checked Night Slash Cheetor) are capable of using this feature, including the two in this set. Magna’s Stampede’s hole is just large enough for his axe while Stockade doesn’t have the ability to grab anything that doesn’t fit into his claws, and even then it’s tricky. I still do not understand why these two Mini-Con teams, or any Mini-Cons, come with sets who can’t use them in some fashion. It’s like they were hoping to transition away from the Powerlinking gimmick, for which there is circumstantial evidence today with the Mini-Cons from the second Robots In Disguise line.

Overall I like the figures but it’s a shame to see Mini-Cons not using the gimmick that separates them from Micromasters in a line that has Micromasters. Still, I do love Mini-Cons so I’ll be holding on to these. We still have a few more figures to go and given the current review/project schedule I’ll probably be reviewing them until January.