K*Mart Minicons

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K*Mart Minicons

Postby Dominic » Thu Oct 23, 2008 2:21 pm

Transformers Universe"
K*Mart Minicon 12-Pack

Despite not having a single mold from "Armada", the box designates this as being part of the "Armada Series" under the larger "Universe" banner. In fact, the molds were not even released as part of the "Unicron Trilogy" that "Armada" was part of. (To be fair, they were designed for "Cybertron", the third chapter of the Trilogy, but were released in the US as part of "Classics".) Either way, this is a set of a dozen thumb-sized Transformers.

Rather than a standard window box, this set is pacakaged in a sort of candy box (think fancy chocolates) wrapped in a transparent plastic sleeve with the characters names printed on the sleeve over the appropriate toy. The toys are arranged in 4 columns of 3 each. As the "Classics" Minicons lacked any unifying engineering or aesthetics, this set mixes and matches members of old teams, meaning toys that were once packaged together as part of one faction are now in different factions. I really do not feel like listing each toy alonside the toy sit was recolored from. Check www.eyrie.org/~dvandom if you are really curious.

(I am listing them like this in part for my own reference.)

Column 1:
Backstop (weird sort of combined steam-shovel/bull-dozer thing)
Bodyblock (SUV)
Knockdown (dumptruck

Column 2
Heavytread (tank)
Makeshift (car)
Flatfoot (police car)

Column 3
Suppressor (haz-mat truck)
Blight (motorcycle)
Brimstone (dragon)

Column 4
Cloudraker (helicopter)
Boltflash (F14)
Skyhammer (A10)


There are no individual character profiles, but there is a group bio. It is one of the grimmer write-ups I have seen , on a level with the TrU exclusive movie Inferno figure in terms of "they actually said *that*" value.

The Minicons are listed as being akin to power-batteries, as they were presented in "Armada". Here is an excerpt from the bio-note: "Many teams were broken or destroyed utterly by the greed of the Decepticons or the desperation of the Autobots." (The writing is consistent with the "better than recent average" of the the "Universe" line. I have to wonder if Hasbro has a new or different team working on these.)

In other words, the Minicons are an unfortunate neutral faction that suffered greatly. The fact that few of the Minicons in this set appear to share similar engineering and aesthetics only accentuates the idea that these MInicons are more a remnant than a cohesive whole.

While the packaging divides the Minicons into Autobot and Decepticons, the painted faction sigils are all the Minicon sigil. (None of these molds have molded faction sigils, meaning that the choice of sigil was deliberate.) I suppose the implication is that none of the Minicons in this box are entirely happy with where they are, and may well have friends on the other side of the line.)


Okay, here are the individual toy reviews (more or less in order as presented on the instruction sheet):

Bodyblock: It is a bright reddish truck. Given Hasbro's recent tendency to use color schemes evocative of old toys and characters, I have to wonder why they did not add some blue paint to this toy to make it look like Gears. Either way, the transform is one of those that is particularly satisfying for the scale. The legs are very similar to the old Blastcharge figure from the "Beast Machines" line.

Knockdown: Despite being an Autobot according to the packaging, Knockdown is colored very much like a Decepticon, using mostly dark colors. I like the mold, but as this is my third copy, ( after the US "Classics" and Japanese "Micron Booster"), it is hard for me to get too excited about it.

Backstop: This is another of those, "I already have it" molds. In this case, I really like the colors on this variant. Sadly, this iteration of the "weird combined construction vehicle" has all the problems of the previous uses. The robot mode looks cobbled together and the legs are not as sturdy as one might hope and pop off during the transform. Still, it has one of the more fiddle vehicle modes you are likely to find at this scale.

Heavytread: I hated this mold when it was released in "Classics" and painting it red to evoke the old Warpath toy does not help it much. A good enough little tank unfolds into a really top-heavy robot. It is rare for a legitimate, mainline toy to be this unstable. (It is just about impossible to get this toy to stand, and completely impossible to keep it that way unless you are in a foritified room with no air-flow and do not look at it too hard. This is possibly the worst Minicon mold of all time.

Makeshift: When I look at this mold, I think "Animated Lockdown, but smaller". Besides having a vaguely similar muscle car form, the robot form has tool-hands. If I had one or more toys case from this mold to begin with, I would probably not like this one as much. As it is now though, I rather like it.

Flatfoot: Yet another, "seen it, got it" mold. But, in this case, I actually like this one better than the other two. Both of those are more or less monochrome black. Besides looking boring on their own, these are pretty bland when side by side. Flatfoot solves much of this by swapping out monochrome black for blue and white. As with the previous uses of this mold, the transform is interesting at this scale, and might be well elaborated on at a larger scale. Considerin that this is a police car, the name is morbidly funny.

Boltflash: This is my second copy of the F14 mold, and it is the pretty much obvious recolor, being grey like the old "GI Joe" Skystriker. There is some kibble and some "obviously simplified for scale" molding on the arms, but the transform process is fun and fiddly.

SkyHammer: Yay, a new mold....finally. This A-10 is painted the obvious blue, (similar to a Cobra Rattler), in contrast to the (Skystriker) grey of Boltflash. There are pivot all over the place on this toy. Lotsa fun to fiddle with, but the robot's legs are pretty cumbersome. This toy could have benefited from being a deluxe or larger.

Cloudraker: Woohoo. Another new mold. Truth be told, this mold was largely responsible for me avoiding the "Rescue Team" it was originally sold with. I could deal with the police car and the fire-truck (repainted as Flatfoot and Suppressor in this set), but the copter just did not work. Somehow, a heavily armed copter just did not work as part of a rescue team. But, in a pack like this, alongside 2 other military aircraft, it works. (I wonder if the two planes above and this copter are intended to be an intact team?) Like most of the Minicons in this set, Cloudraker is fun to fiddle with, and suffers for some poor design choices. Even alloweing for the limits of the scale, if one joint on each arm had been re-positioned 90-degrees, the robot form would be so much better.

Brimstone: The name and colors are a reference to the Animatros native pteranadon from the "Cybertron" series. This toy is much better than I expected it to be, having articulation at the base of the neck, base of the tail and on the wings. The robot form is a bit idiosyncratic than some might like. I am dubious that this one would work better as a larger toy, given what a nightmare a similarly designed Megatron (from "Beast Wars" in 1999) was. Honeslty, just having a beast-form Minicon is enough to make me giddy.

Blight: This is the 4th or 5th use of the speed-cycle mold. It is my 3rd copy, after the one included with the Minicon sampler with Primus a few years back and a Japanese "Micron Booster" recolor. This mold is awful, but it is one of the few uses of the mold that has not been gratuitously feminized. The motorcycle is good, but the robot form is terrible, with badly molded feet. If this was a larger toy, it would be so bad as to be fantastic. As a Minicon, it is just a waste.

Suppressor: When I first saw this one, I cringed. I could see expanding the "corrupt authority" theme begun by Barricade in the movie. And, I knew Hasbro was doing that with the "Universe" Onslaught figure. But, an evil fire-truck, named Suppressor of all things, gave me reason to pause. (I had to wonder if TF really needed a "Bull Connor" reference.) As it turns out, Suppressor is intended to be a haz-mat truck, as evidenced by the logos on the side fo the truck.

Grade: (for the set) B There is more good than bad in this set. It is worth picking up on its own, especially if you lack a significant number of the toys this set shares mold with.
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Re: K*Mart Minicons

Postby Mirage » Thu Oct 23, 2008 6:49 pm

Saw it today at my local K-mart. I'll probably go back to pick it up when I have the money...
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Re: K*Mart Minicons

Postby 138 Scourge » Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:38 pm

I'm torn on this set. On one hand, I loves me some mini-cons. On the other...cripes, all I'm missing out of those guys are the "Deconstruction Team" molds.

Still, I actually haven't seen one yet. K-Marts around here are horrible.
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Re: K*Mart Minicons

Postby onslaught86 » Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:25 am

In fact, the molds were not even released as part of the "Unicron Trilogy" that "Armada" was part of


Tsk, Dom, you own the Primus that came with a handful of those moulds.

This is possibly the worst Minicon mold of all time.


And somehow it's my favourite. I've never had an issue getting it to stand, love the tank mode and oddball transformation, the GoBots homage is gravy, and the chaingun hand sells me so very much. Chaingun haaand. I would very very much like to see the basic design used on a larger figure, as I will agree it's a wee bit too ambitious for the scale. Nowhere near the extent that the police car fails at being a good toy, though. 'That' I would consider among the worst Mini-Cons of all time.

Really want this set, but it's not coming out here, and will be pricey to import. Sigh.
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Re: K*Mart Minicons

Postby BWprowl » Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:49 am

Meh, I maintain that Sledge (Backstop) is the worst Mini-Con mold of all time. I actually really like Broadside, mostly for all the reasons '86 mentioned. Dammit man, quit stealing my arguments!
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Re: K*Mart Minicons

Postby Dominic » Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:02 am

I can try to check the local K*Mart, but no promises. Unless you are looking for more than half the molds in the box, I woudl not spend the money to import it.

Flatfoot is not bad. The toy has a satisfying transform. I could never get that tank-bot to stand. Homages and gun hands do not balance out a robot that does not stand for more than a short while. (Close a door in the buiding, and watch that tank-bot fall.)

And, I did mention the "Minicon sampler" with Primus, but that toy came out after the "Unicron Trilogy" itself had ended, as some kind of weird exclusive.

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Re: K*Mart Minicons

Postby Onslaught Six » Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:29 am

Dominic wrote:And, I did mention the "Minicon sampler" with Primus, but that toy came out after the "Unicron Trilogy" itself had ended, as some kind of weird exclusive.


He was apparently 2006's Black Friday toy for Wal-Mart, but he lingered around endlessly. And it wasn't after Cybertron ended, that's for sure.
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People spend so much time worrying about whether a figure is "mint" or not that they never stop to consider other flavours.
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Re: K*Mart Minicons

Postby Dominic » Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:06 pm

"Cybertron" was over by August of '06, and replaced by "Classics", meaning those Minicons were released post-AEC.

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Re: K*Mart Minicons

Postby Onslaught Six » Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:23 pm

Ehh. Are you sure? Oh well.

Regardless, however, they 'were' in Cybertron packaging. Release date is less important than actual packaging. RID Jhiaxus and all.
BWprowl wrote:The internet having this many different words to describe nerdy folks is akin to the whole eskimos/ice situation, I would presume.


People spend so much time worrying about whether a figure is "mint" or not that they never stop to consider other flavours.
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Re: K*Mart Minicons

Postby Mirage » Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:19 pm

Okay, snagged my K-Mart's last set today (whew). All in all, I still like the molds I liked, and hate the ones I hated, but Makeshift is the winner as an Autobot-aligned Mini-con who's not afraid to shiv you. (Or is that "shank"? "To shank". It's a verb.)
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