Japanese Minicons/Micron Booster case 4

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Japanese Minicons/Micron Booster case 4

Postby Dominic » Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:43 pm

For those who do not know, about 2 months back, I placed a large order with Digital Toys. Among the many wonderful things on offer were Japanese Minicons. I got the package about a week later, and have been promising this review ever since.

I am not going to bother looking for the names on these guys, as reliable translations and context are hard to come by. As with many small toys from Japan, these are blind buy items. The only efficient way to buy them is in a sealed case as I did, or loose. Of course, both of those options present problems.

Even if loose figures are available, it is unlikely that one will be able to get a complete set. Along similar lines, if chase figures are available, they are likely to cost as much as a full case. Sealed cases may or may not have chase figures, but they are not going to have more than 1 such premium item. And, in the case of the 4th wave Micron Boosters, there will be redundant figures in the case. (I was able to absorb that loss, as I have a friend who traded for my two doubles.)

As an aside, with all of the difficulties listed above, one has to wonder why the "blind-buy" gimmick is gaining popularity in the US with lines like DC Direct's "Who's Who" and the god awful "Beantown" toys one sees at supermarkets around Boston.

That said, on with the reviews:

The Wave 4 Minicons/Microns are all based on "Classics" molds, and those are most likely held over from the Unicron Trilogy era ('02-'06). Of course, classifying these gets a bit iffy. As stated, the molds are from the "Unicron Trilogy" era. But, they were first released in the US under the "Classics" line. Japan got them about a year later, long after "Galaxy Force" (Japan's "Cybertron") had ended. I have seen some people list these as Japanese movie toys. But, even putting aside release dates, that is problematic as the movie does not have or imply Minicons. At most, these are "movie" toys as much as those odd store exclusive "Unicron Trilogy" recolors are in the US.

All told, I am going to assume that these are "Unicron Trilogy" toys, just to keep things easy. (These are Minicons, and are most consistent with that aesthetic, and are mechanically compatible with toys from that era.) Aside from the dinosaurs, none of these are sold with complete "teams", as the US Minicons were. Like the US "Classics" Minicons, these lack molded sigils, but they have painted sigils. The Minicons with beast alternate modes add another element to the mix, as they all have Maximal or Predacon sigils, implying a "Beast Wars" in whatever context these are supposed to be from.

-motorcycle: This is a recolor of the yellow motocycle from the "Dirt Digger" team. I see it as orange, but others see it as pink. (Given my eyes, I really cannot pur up a fight here.) As those who have seen/fiddled with this mold befoe would expect, there are serious problems with this toy, most notably the fact the molding on the robot's feet do not allow it to stand. Autobot. Grade: C/D

-dump truck: This is probably the least changed from the US version, being a bit lighter and more evocative of the old Construction heraldry. It has the same good transform as that mold. Decepticon. Grade: A

-steam shovel/bull-dozer combo: Based on the the same piece from the "Destruction" team set, along with the truck above, this is also recolored to evoke to old Constructicons. This is one of the few vehicles at this scale that has actual fiddle value, with two articulated shovel bits. It also appeals to me as I see this sort of truck around on a regular basis. Sadly the robot form is seriously lacking, meaning I cannot rate this too highly, regardless of the vehicle mode's virtues. Decepticon. Grade" B/C

-police car: This is the least changed from the US "Classics" release with the "Night Rescue" team. There are some changes, but not many. It has an odd, move-esque transform. Autobot. Grade: B

-tiger: Recolored from the much maligned tiger from the "Predator Attack" team. The orange plastic is replaced with yellow, and the Decepticon sigil is now a Maximal sigil. The transform on this is terrible. Even discounting the amazing things that have been done with toys this small, it is lacking. The sheer lack of effort with the transform cannot be balanced by the colors or the little touches, such as a nozzle molded into the tiger's mouth. Maximal. Grade: D

-wolf: As with the police car, this is very similar to its US release, (with the "Predator Attack" team). The changes, red highlights and a Maximal sigil replacing the Decepticon sigil, are a bit easier to notice, but it is still beyond me why a recolor of a toy that had black as a base color would again use black as a base color. Considering this is one of the first mammal based beasts (and beast Minicons are new enough to begin with), this is a good mold despite it being a bit stiff. Maximal. Grade: B

-tyrannosaurus rex: Guess what color this guy is? Purple. This is possibly one of the least inspired homages I have seen in a good long while. I do not care how much the alternate mode and transform evoke BW Megatron. This is a really bland homage. It does look a bit better than the US "Dinobots" team version though. This has more to do with the base plastic than anything else. And, the mold has fiddle value. (There is also some nice molding, depicting a gun in the dinosaur's mouth.) Predacon. Grade: B/C

-triceratops: Given that the US "Dinobots" version of this was colored tan, and thus similar to "Beast Wars Neo" Guiledart, that homage was mercifully denied. Instead, this toy is primarily blue. Considering that this color matches the "Seasaur" component of "BW Neo" Magmatron, I suppose there is a case to be made that these Predacons are intended to be a homage to Magmatron, but I think that would be a stretch, if only because a triceratops does not even evoke aquatic life. The robot is oddly proportioned, but fun. Predacon. Grade: A?B

-pterodactyl: Calling this thing a pterodactyl is not strictly correct, as pterodactyl is more a generic term. It is more correct than using the term "brontosaur", but it is not strictly correct. But, the mistake has precedent both in TF and in popular perception, so I am not going to complain much about it. In any case, this flying dino is basically a darker version of the Swoop figure from the "Dinobots" team. The transform is non-conventional, yielding an odd as heck robot. (Some people hate this thing, but I kind of like it.) The beast mode is, likely by accident, one of the more articulated Minicon beast forms. Predacon. Grade: B

Chase figure: This set features 2 chase figures, a clear variant of the police car and a metallized purple tyrannosaur. I am 90% sure these are intended to be different characters than the "common" toys. I would have preferred the police car, but got the dinosaur. it is shiny, and given the type of plastic often used for shiny toys, probably fragile. Grade: C


This sort of set is probably more for hard=core collectors, if only because they are the only ones likely to find it. Given that import fees can vary, as can willingness to pay them, my grades assume that the toys are available. There is more good than bad in the set as a whole. (Note: My doubles were of the pterodactyl and motorcycle. I have no idea if this is standard for all cases, or if the doubles are randomized as the chase figures are.)


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-still has PVC figures to review.
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Re: Japanese Minicons/Micron Booster case 4

Postby CrossRook » Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:06 pm

Lucky punk. ;) I could never afford those. :cry:
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Re: Japanese Minicons/Micron Booster case 4

Postby onslaught86 » Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:12 pm

I was really fond of the Classics Mini-Cons, and would thoroughly have enjoyed that set. How much did it run you in the end?

Sad as it is, I like the BW Megatron homage. T-Wrecks would've been better, but that vac-metal chase is neat. Bah!
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Re: Japanese Minicons/Micron Booster case 4

Postby Dominic » Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:57 am

It ran $60 at Digital Toys.


http://www.digital-toys.com/MICRONB07.gif


I am just sick of fan-wanking, especially to the Beast era. If nothing else, the Beast era should have shown the fandom how annoying fan-wanking to the past is.


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Re: Japanese Minicons/Micron Booster case 4

Postby Gomess » Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:05 am

BW GAVE us fanwank. Star Convoy was one thing, but never had there been such a wave of shallow fanservice until that which BW begat. Furman's old prose has NOTHING on the way fans and The Pros have written since BW came about. Multiverses! Transwarp!

More on-topic, is this ZA ENDO for Minicons? I mean, I thought they were over when Armada finished, and I was wrong. But are they being phased out, or is it just me?

I kinda hope so. Small TFs are awesome, but they should be just that. Not some tack-on for a secondary line that hardly appears in stores and doesn't directly affect the official fiction.

*Crosses fingers for more roleplay-size or generally mini TFs coming out of the new movie, and maybe even Animated S3*
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Re: Japanese Minicons/Micron Booster case 4

Postby CrossRook » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:36 pm

Gomess wrote:BW GAVE us fanwank. Star Convoy was one thing, but never had there been such a wave of shallow fanservice until that which BW begat. Furman's old prose has NOTHING on the way fans and The Pros have written since BW came about. Multiverses! Transwarp!

More on-topic, is this ZA ENDO for Minicons? I mean, I thought they were over when Armada finished, and I was wrong. But are they being phased out, or is it just me?

I kinda hope so. Small TFs are awesome, but they should be just that. Not some tack-on for a secondary line that hardly appears in stores and doesn't directly affect the official fiction.

*Crosses fingers for more roleplay-size or generally mini TFs coming out of the new movie, and maybe even Animated S3*

Universe 2.0 is going to include a metric ass-load of them as store exclusive repaints. Including a 15-pack at KMart.
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Re: Japanese Minicons/Micron Booster case 4

Postby Gomess » Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:05 pm

CrossRook wrote:Universe 2.0 is going to include a metric ass-load of them as store exclusive repaints. Including a 15-pack at KMart.


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Re: Japanese Minicons/Micron Booster case 4

Postby 138 Scourge » Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:12 pm

CrossRook wrote:
Gomess wrote:BW GAVE us fanwank. Star Convoy was one thing, but never had there been such a wave of shallow fanservice until that which BW begat. Furman's old prose has NOTHING on the way fans and The Pros have written since BW came about. Multiverses! Transwarp!

More on-topic, is this ZA ENDO for Minicons? I mean, I thought they were over when Armada finished, and I was wrong. But are they being phased out, or is it just me?

I kinda hope so. Small TFs are awesome, but they should be just that. Not some tack-on for a secondary line that hardly appears in stores and doesn't directly affect the official fiction.

*Crosses fingers for more roleplay-size or generally mini TFs coming out of the new movie, and maybe even Animated S3*

Universe 2.0 is going to include a metric ass-load of them as store exclusive repaints. Including a 15-pack at KMart.


Good lord. A 15-pack? Fifteen friggin' mini-cons in one pack? That is amazing.

Fifteen.
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Re: Japanese Minicons/Micron Booster case 4

Postby Dominic » Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:43 pm

In fairness, "transwarp" was just supposed to be "faster than light" in context. Time-travel was initially supposed to be haphazard and dangerous. (Of course, that point was lost as the series went on.) Multiverses have their uses, but have never been used well in TF. (They should be used to explore 2 exclusive but worth-while ideas at the same time, or to reboot a long-running series. Not as a way to bring in endless iterations of the same character and cosmic gibber-fuck.)

As for Minicons, i am happy to see them stick around, though I would like more new molds. "Armada" was the primary line at the time. Minicons were a viable third faction and/or sub-species. (Some people still argue that Autobots and Decepticons are different species.) Minicons have featured in a good deal of official TF fiction, being the focus of the conflict in "Armada". "Balancing Act", execrable as it was, featured a Minicon civil war as a main plot-point. One of the few readable club prose stories featured the "Classic" Minicons. And, they were supposed to be the precursor species for Omnicons and Terrorcons in "Energon".

I agree that the toys are badly distributed though.

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