Cliffbee.com: Space Team Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review






Name: Astroscope
Series: Armada
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Satellite

SATELLITE MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 9.5cm Width: 4.5cm

   A mid blue satellite with some red bits and twin solar panels on top, which are grey with a distinct reddish tinge, Astroscope has some flecks of green and yellow paint. While I'm not sure about the red bits, I can buy a blue satellite. There's actually a fair bit of robot kibble here, but since satellites are usually functional with lots of equipment dangling off them, you can't really see most of it - the only thing that really stands out is that one end is a robot hand. If you're keen you'll notice the others is the red tip of a missile, but it's designed to look like an antenna. This missile does fire in satellite mode, there's a red trigger on his underside, but it only shoots a few inches. He has a powerlinx socket on the underside.

   The missile launcher represents all the play value of this satellite mode. It has no wheels, cockpit or any of those things that are common to Transformers that satellites do not have. Satellites pretty much float through their orbit being satellites, so any sort of play value is a bonus here. On that note, the missile launcher is a nice way to make a decent mode into a fun mode. There's also the novelty of this being such an unusual alt mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   The solar panels fold up to form the robot legs. Fold up the ends of the satellite, flip up the blue sensor block on one side of the satellite to form the robot head, and then bring the two halves of the torso up and clip them over the base of the sensor block (which is now the central part of his chest. This is quite a clever transformation, but the chest halves have a tendency to pop off, as does the left forearm.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 7cm Width: 5.5cm

   A mid blue robot with red thighs and a red groin, Astroscope has a red missile tip for his right hand, and the butt of the missile sticks out of his left shoulder. His face consists of three yellow circles and sports large red panel on the right side. It's a very unhuman face, but perfect for a drone, and it means his face becomes a sensor array in satellite mode, which is a really nifty design feature.

   Astroscope's articulation is dictated by the unusual and asymmetrical transformation, His left elbows is hinged, his arms can lift out to the sides and his hips are ball jointed. The effective poseability of this toy is limited by the giant missile launcher that is it's right arm - you have to get his stance right, or he can topple over sideways. He's not impossible to stand, but a lot of poses are out.

   While the poseability is very limited, Astroscope does have a big ass missile launcher he can use. His shoulder isn't swivelled, so he can only shoot the missile out to the side when he lifts his arm up, but it's a _huge_ missile, in proportion to your average Minicon - it's longer than he is tall!

   This is my favourite robot mode of the three Space Minicons, because the colours work, the face is cool and the missile launcher's just plain fun. It has it's flaws, but still has enough going for it to make this a nice robot mode.

VARIATIONS

   Redone in green in Micron Densetsu's X-Dimension series, and revisited in Energon as part of Ultra Magnus' posse of Minicons.

OVERALL

   Astroscope has two good modes, good colours and a giant missile launcher built into him. Add to this the fact he's the first satellite in twenty years of Transformers, and you have a Minicon that's definitely worth getting - 8.5/10
Name: Payload
Series: Armada
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Spacecraft Transport Truck

TRUCK MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 6.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   Payload is one of those giant trucks that transports spacecraft around the Kennedy Space Center, done in black and red. He's got eight sets of non-functional, moulded, tiny wheels and two sets of hidden functional ones underneath. The tiny size of the wheels gives you some idea of the scale of these giant moving platforms, and hints that a Minicon turning into such a large vehicle is a little silly.

   Anyway, he's essentially black, although the middle section is red with some blue, and is largely robot kibble, in colour at least, although it's a case of being unidentifiable as part of the truck than being clearly part of a robot. He has some orange paint applications, yellow windows and some silver paint, most fittingly on the radiator grill. There's a powerlinx socket underneath him, on the front left side.

   This is a decent vehicle mode, although the orange paint is very random, and doesn't work well with the red. In fact, if the red parts were black (or at least dull) I'd call this a _good_ vehicle mode. It's a boring choice of vehicle, but it's also something different, so for me those two facts cancel each other out.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Split the front into the feet, flip out the handle of the Requiem Blaster, rotate the legs 180. Fold down the rear to form his chest, folding the arms right down to his sides, and then swing the handle up onto his back.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm Width: 2.5cm

   Payload has a far more sedate colour scheme now, with the orange paint restricted to his toes. He has black legs with silver shins, red thighs & groin, his chest and arms are black while his head is blue with silver trim and small yellow eyes. The red handle pokes up behind his head, but surprisingly doesn't look that out of place. This colour scheme is a lot better, since now the red makes sense.

   The colours aren't the only cool aspect of Payload's robot mode. The facial sculpt is cool, he has a drone like face that still conveys a sense of strength, perfect for a Minicon that turns into heavy moving equipment. He's also got a well proportioned, stocky, shape, which I really like. His knees bend, the hips are ball jointed and the waist swivels. His shoulders rotate and his head turns, so his articulation is good for a Minicon.

VARIATIONS

   Redone in brown in Micron Densetsu's X-Dimension series, and revisited in Energon as part of Ultra Magnus' posse of Minicons.

OVERALL

   He has an unusual and unique alt mode that would be a lot better if the brighter colours were dropped, but Payload's robot mode is pretty cool - in fact it's the best of this set. He's not all that interesting, but he's a solid toy overall - 6.5/10
Name: Skyblast
Series: Armada
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Rocket

ROCKET MODE
Height: 8.5cm Length: 3cm Width: 3cm

   A white rocket with four separate gold thrusters on the bottom and lot of red robot mode junk attaching the thrusters to the cylindrical top half, Skyblast also has a blue powerlinx port in the centre of the thrusters, on which he actually stands. For some reason he has black spray on two sides, but not on two others (the thrusters effectively form a box). He has five small pegs used to attach him to Payload either for transport or for the Requiem Blaster mode, as well as his own powerlinx peg.

   I'm not a huge fan of this mode. There's just too much kibble. The red plastic really ruins the illusion, and the pegs and ports and such don't help either. It's a shame, since a Transformers rocket is a great idea. To be fair, he needs his pegs for combining, which is the gimmick of the set, but Skyblast himself would have been better, and better as a rocket Transformer, if he didn't have to try do so much for such a small toy.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   The thrusters swing up to one side to become the legs, collapsing into two legs with front and back cylinders. The nose rotates and folds down to become one arm, while the blue powerlinx shaft becomes the other. The head flips out from next to the blue shaft. This is a clever and novel transformation, with lots of asymmetry.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm Width: 4cm

   A white robot with a blue right arm, cubic blue head with a silver face, gold feet, red thighs and groin and a pointy left hand. The right hand is a powerlinx socket, which is a departure from most Minicons. This is easily the better of the two modes, since the robot kibble now has a reason for being there. He's gone from being a rocket with lots of robot bits to being a robot with a rocket tip arm and thrusters for feet, and the later works far better.

   The shoulders both swivel and the arms lift out to the sides, the hips are restricted ball joints. The poseability isn't great, but considering how much is asked of Skyblast, I'm not going to hold the poseability against him too much.

VARIATIONS

   Redone in green in Micron Densetsu's X-Dimension series, and revisited in Energon as part of Ultra Magnus' posse of Minicons.

OVERALL

   The weakest of this set, but the fact that he's a rocket scores points - even if he has a _poor_ rocket mode. The robot mode is interesting, and the transformation innovative - 5.5/10
THE REQUIEM BLASTER
Height: 5.5cm Length: 17cm Width: 5cm

   Something of a mishmash of colours, this gun has a blue barrel, white chamber and black hilt. The legs of Astroscope stick down near the front, and simulate a front handle, although I'm not sure any Armada toys could really grip them. The red handle is the handle of Payload.

   I don't like this gun mainly because it looks like three separate Minicons stuck together. The shape is about right, even if the tip of Skyblast's rocket mode sticks out to one side, but the blue, red, white and black just fail to mesh. The unified colour scheme of the X-Dimension Requiem Blaster looks a _lot_ better, despite it being green, brown and bronze. The Requiem Blaster that comes with Energon Ultra Magnus also looks better than the original.

   This gun does look pretty good in the hand of a larger Armada toy, and Astroscope's missile launcher is now the barrel, so it can actually fire. It's not really a great focal point for a Minicon set, but it's not a bad one either.


TEAM OVERALL

   Astroscope is good in both modes, Skyblast's disappointing overall, and Payload has a nice robot mode, although he's a little boring. The Requiem Blaster is a good idea, and while it doesn't make the set worthwhile, the simple fact that all three vehicle modes are novel makes this set worth getting in one form or another - 7/10

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