Armada Toy Reviews: Adventure Team

in 2002, Action Figure Review, Armada, Mini-Con


General Information:
Price Point: Mini-con
Retailer: General (K-Mart, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart etc.)
Release Date: November 2002
Transformation Difficulty Level: 2 (Intermediate)

In a line that relies on the Mini-Con gimmick, it is necessary to have as many of the little critters as possible. To do this, Hasbro has focused the basic assortment of Transformers on three packs of Mini-Cons. These Mini-Cons are Transformers in themselves, and each three pack features abilities unique to the team.

The Adventure Team utilizes a gimmick previously seen in the Destruction Team and Cyclonus' Mini-Con partner Crumplezone: a gear that can rotate and activate a feature in the toy. However, although one might assume this is meant to work with Cyclonus, the instructions make no mention of him. It is possible another Transformer may be released down the line that utilizes this feature better than Cyclonus does with these three.

Dune Runner Review

Vehicle Mode:
Dune Runner is a dune buggy in vehicle mode. He is mostly a tan color with grey parts. The seats of the vehicle are green and some brown spray op has been used on the endes and sides of the vehicle. I personally would have liked to have seen a bit more brown to give more color detail to the figure. The cannon mounted on the top of the vehicle can turn, and if you turn the gear on the underside of the vehicle, the cannon itself extends outwards and moves from side to side. It's a very smooth motion and looks great. What's interesting is that the gear is closer to the ground than the tires on the toy, so if you roll him on a flat surface, you'll get the gear to work and move the cannon.

The detailing sculpted into the toy is nice. Behind the cannon appears to be a seat for a gunner. On either side of the vehicle are areas marked by an "X" (which could stand for armored areas) and exhaust pipes run along the robot arms (which are the sides of the vehicle mode) to the rear. The grey brace over the passenger section also has headlights molded into it as well. The Mini-Con symbol is etched into the top of the cannon.

Dune Runner's Powerlinx point is at the rear of the vehicle on the underside. Dune Runner is a very nice vehicle overall, he could have just used a bit more paint.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Rotate the cannon so the cannon faces the right or left side.
  2. Lift the grey brace over the passenger section and flip the passenger chairs forward to form the robot legs.
  3. Stand the robot and swing the arms forward.
  4. Straighten out the cannon on the robot back.
  5. Turn the Powerlinx point around to reveal the robot face.

Robot Mode:
Dune Runner's colors don't improve much in this form since it uses all the same colors as the robot mode. The only addition is blue on the visor eyes of the head. While Dune Runner's vehicle mode is meant to be a smaller, lighter vehicle, his robot mode looks a bit bulky for a Mini-Con, giving him an air of toughness. Dune Runner has seven points of articulation in this mode. Since his knees are on a common hinge however, they cannot articulate separately. Overall, he's still a cool looking Mini-Con. Again, extra paint apps would have made all the difference.

Iceberg Review

Vehicle Mode:
Iceberg's vehicle mode is a high powered Snowcat. The vehicle is mostly an orange/red color with light grey windows. Dark grey appears on the treads and other parts of the vehicle. The treads themselves are black.

What surprised me a bit about this guy is how much detail went into this mode. The front snow plow claws have teeth on the lower edge. The crane arm attached to the right side has small bolts and mechanisms sculpted into it. The thrusters at the rear have a nice high tech look to them while the treads themselves have some sleek looking mechanical devices in them. The Powerlinx point is located on the underside of the vehicle in the middle.

Iceberg offers up a couple nice features in this mode. One, his cockpit opens up (it's where the robot head is stored), making it look like an accessible passenger area. The other is a crane arm attached to the right side of the vehicle mode. It's actually on a ball joint so it can be moved around quite a bit. Push the vehicle along on the gear and the front plow sections will move back and forth, as will the crane arm. Taken in concert with the gear action on this toy, this vehicle mode is fun it a unique way. The vehicle also has two small grey wheels on the underside that it can roll along on. The treads are non-functional.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Flip up the passenger cockpit and flip the robot head out.
  2. Extend the rear of the vehicle to form the robot legs.
  3. Swing the arms up.

Robot Mode:
Iceberg introduces a bit more grey in this mode in the form of his upper legs. His eyes are yellowish green. In terms of color, Iceberg could have used a bit more colors or a black wash to bring out details. Since most of the body is red, it is easy to obscure details such as the face. I did not even realize that Iceberg had a mouth instead of a mouthplate until I stared at him reeeeaaallly closely. Also, the chest has some cool sculpted details and indentations, but they are washed out by the overall color.

Iceberg has five points of articulation, This includes his waist, which was a nice touch since it is not critical to the transformation. Iceberg is a cool looking 'bot, but he could have used a lot more paint detail to help his appearance.

Ransack Review

Ransack is a name that has been with Transformers since Generation One. Originally a deluxe Insecticon, the name now belongs to a Mini-Con!

Vehicle Mode:
Ransack is an off road jeep in vehicle mode. His primary color is green, with silver for the windows and light grey on the floor of the storage area in the back. The floodlights on the top of the jeep and the headlights are colored yellow. The detailing on this vehicle is nice. The Mini-Con symbol graces the hood of the vehicle, the front has a winch sculpted into it (the real mechanism is actually underneath the sculpted winch). On top of the passenger area are the four aforementioned lights and a spare tire is molded into the back. On the sides, details like door handles and the step to climb into the passenger or driver seats are all there.

Ransack's Powerlinx point is in an odd place. It's built into the spare tire mounted on the rear of the vehicle. While it's an interesting place to have it, it creates an odd looking combination when hooked up to a larger Transformer.

The winch mechanism works by turning the gear on the underside of the vehicle. The winch itself is impressive, made up of a string with a small hook at the end. The front tires are actually on some type of spring suspension, which may have been intended to allow the jeep to roll on its four tires and still allow the mechanism to work when hooked up to a larger Transformer. Unfortunately, the tires aren't big enough, so no matter what you do, you wind up rolling the vehicle on the gear, causing the winch to get stuck in most cases. Out of the three members of this team, this is probably the one least likely to work well with Cyclonus, lending credence to the theory that this team may be intended to work with another Transformer (I hope!).

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Flip the rear of the vehicle back to form the robot legs.
  2. Swing out the arms.

Robot Mode:
Ransack's robot mode is a nice combination of colors. A bit more grey shows up on his chest (with designs that look like some sort of storage or weaponry). The robot face is very similar to his Generation 2 counterpart with the same name, although I'm sure this was unintentional, let's classify it as a happy accident. The winch is above his head and the gear mechanism runs right across his abdominal area. Ransack has six points of articulation, and his legs aren't stuck together so they can be posed separately.

Overall, the Adventure Team is a neat little set of vehicles, but without a larger toy to really support their gimmicks properly, it is hard to really evaluate them fully. Considering how badly Cyclonus works with these toys, it seems likely that another toy may come along to connect to them and utilize their gears. For now, I would say this is recommended for the Mini-Con/Micromaster enthusiast only.