Armada Toy Reviews: Emergency Team

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

Armada

General Information:
Release Year: July 2003
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price Point: Mini-con (Approximately $5.99 depending on retailer)
Accessories: None

One of the most classic "versus" confrontations in Transformers history was between the group of rescue vehicles known as the Protectobots and the team of military vehicles known as the Combaticons. These two represented opposite ends of the spectrum, one dedicated to saving lives, the other dedicated to taking them. With the new Mini-Con Emergency Team, Hasbro has mixed both worlds into one tiny package. The Emergency Team is comprised of: Firebot (Fire Engine), Makeshift (Osprey) and Prowl (Police Car).

Firebot

The name Firebot may ring a bell to some fans, that's because a Playskool Transformers toy of the same name was released last year (of course this one doesn't have a hyphen in the middle of the name).

Vehicle Mode:
Firebot is a fire truck, not the typical ladder bearing variety. This mode has been used in the past for a Transformer, specifically the Generation One European exclusive Autobot, Pyro. The primary color is red (of course), with some white towards the rear and a translucent blue piece for the hose and hose head. A bit of orange paint is used on the front and rear to add some color while silver adorns the top of the vehicle and its windshield.

Firebot has two Powerlinx points on the top of the vehicle. His Mini-Con symbol is sculpted into the back of the vehicle (on the top). The design is boxy but still sleek thanks to the angled front end of the truck. The translucent piece can swing down to the side. Extra culpted detail like doors and other windows add a bit to the toy's appearance, but it would have been nice if all the windows were painted and not just the windshield and the two directly next to it.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the front of the vehicle forward to form the robot legs.
  2. Stand Firebot up and swing down the translucent blue piece.
  3. Swing the red arms forward from the back.

Robot Mode:
Rescue oriented in vehicle mode, battle oriented in robot mode. That's the best way to describe Firebot. In robot mode, he has six missile launchers, three on each side of his chest, and instead of hands, he has two machine gun barrels (one on each arm). No doubt this is not a Mini-Con you want to get upset. Firebot is also rather bulky, owing in part to his already bulky vehicle form. Interestingly enough, his head is in between his two upper body
pieces, giving him one heck of a blind spot. This doesn't really detract from the look of the toy, it just makes you question how effective he'd be in battle!

Firebot's chest pieces are off white and the missile tubes are orange. The translucent blue piece at the center offers a nice contrast against the red that makes up the rest of his body. His robot head is red as well with black visor eyes.

Firebot has four points of articulation in this form.

Transformation to Weapon Mode:

  1. Starting in vehicle mode, wing the translucent blue "fire hose" piece
    to the side.
  2. Swing both robot arms out to the sides and rotate them around so the
    machine gun barrels face forward.
  3. Fold the back of the vehicle forward.
  4. Flip up the blue translucent piece.

Weapon Mode:
Firebot is a missile pod in this form. He has a total of twelve missiles in this form! Coupled with his machine guns, this is one heavy duty piece of Mini-Con artillery. The missiles are painted silver. Having the blue piece up as a targeting reticle is also another great touch. Firebot has Powerlinx points on both sides, allowing you to attach him to pretty much any Armada toy and still be useful. This is an awesome third mode which is great in concept and execution.

Firebot has a very cool vehicle mode (I've always liked this rather futuristic fire engine design) and his robot mode looks nice and powerful for a Mini-Con. The fact that his weapon mode is a missile pod is awesome. It makes him one of the Mini-Cons you can easily use on almost any Armada toy. I wish I had a dozen more Firebots just to arm my Armada forces!

Makeshift Review

Vehicle Mode:
Makeshift is an Osprey helicoptor in vehicle mode, a form previously taken on by Obsidian. Unlike Obsidian, there are less options as to how to manipulate certain parts such as the tail of the vehicle. Still, thanks in part to the transformation scheme, there is quite a bit of movement one can achieve in this form. The wings can be moved up and down and the blades spin. You can even point them forward or back (or down) if you wish.

The sculpt is nicely done, nothing spectacular. There are enough lines and etched in details to give the toy some detail, which is good considering its color scheme. The problem is that the white color drowns out a lot of the detailing. Some of the details will come out better in the robot mode, but from a distance this guy looks pretty plain in this form. You can tell that the helicopter blades become the gun barrels for the other two modes. It's kind of fun to imagine those blades spinning around in this form delivering firepower in all directions at one time.

Makeshift is mostly off white with his wings and helicopter blades molded in translucent blue. His cockpit window is silver, and towards the back of the vehicle is a symbol in gold on either side. The engines glow neon orange here, offering a bright contrast to the rather plain white.

Makeshift has a Powerlinx point on the underside of the cockpit.

The vehicle mode is nice, but certainly not the best part of the toy.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Fold the helicopter blades up.
  2. Swing the vehicle tail up.
  3. The underside of the vehicle mode becomes the robot legs, just swing
    them out to the side, then down.
  4. Swing down the cockpit.
  5. Flip up the cockpit window piece to reveal the robot head.
  6. Swing the tranclucen blue wing sections forward, then swing the engines
    back to form the robot arms.

Robot Mode:In robot form, Makeshift is like Firebot in that his robot mode is heavily armed while his vehicle mode looks more rescue oriented. Makeshift doesn't really have hands per se. Rather, like Firebot, he has two arms with weapons at the ends. In this caes, those weapons are three gun barrels on each arm! The ability of the rotors to spin has a secondary function here: spinning weapons. This, to me, makes Makeshift one of the coolest Mini-Cons. His arms just spell doom for those messing with him, and in such a little package, there's an ironic bit of fun there.

Makeshift is still mostly white in this form, but a bit more black shows on his shoulder joints and upper legs. His head is white with orange for the mouthplate and visor eyes. Since the translucent blue is a bit more concentrated here in the form of his hands, he looks much less plain in this form. His hands/gun barrels go down to about his ankles, giving him an overpowered, brutish appearance.

Transformation to Weapon Mode:

  1. Starting in vehicle mode, point the rotor blades up.
  2. Flip the tail up.
  3. Point the weapon barrels back.
  4. Angle the wings downward.

Weapon Mode:
In weapon mode, Makeshift is one dangerous looking piece of equipment. Six barrels of weaponry are made to look even more powerful by the bright orange paint used on details at the front of the weapon, almost as if it was glowing with intense energy, ready to fire. The Powerlinx point is on the underside of the cockpit. Since Makeshift's arms/rotors can be moved around in a circle, that allows a variety of Armada figures to wield this weapon. You can attach him to say, Hot Shot's shoulder as he is, or you can attach it to Hoist's left hand and point the guns up. This diversity is crucial to making a good Mini-Con as it is quite frustrating when you have a Mini-Con that's difficult to use with all but a hand full of Armada toys in any meaningful way, and Makeshift is a great example of how to make a Mini-Con properly.

Prowl Review

Prowl is a name that has come up time and time again in the various incarnations of the Transformers line. He was one of the original crew in Generation One, and he would pop up again later in Beast Wars. More recently we saw Prowl as a Car Robot brother in Robots in Disguise. Now Prowl is a Mini-Con, who, appropriately is a police car in vehicle mode.

Vehicle Mode:
While he is a police car like his G1 and RiD predecessors, Prowl is a very futuristic looking police car. His design is very sleek and thin in the main body. His sides angle upwards at a steep slope and towards the back are large wheels with covers on top and something that looks like "Mr. Fusion" in the middle (go watch "Back to the Future" if you don't know what "Mr. Fusion" is, it'll be worth your time). Police lights are mounted on the top of the car, sweeping backwards at an angle. This is definitely one awesome looking car.

True to his "police" origins, Prowl is mostly blue and off white. The middle section is translucent dark blue plastic with paint details. The windows are silver, the police lights red and the headlights orange. His Powerlinx point is behind the police lights.

Sleek, yet powerful is the way to describe this vehicle mode, and Prowl's vehicle mode is easily my favorite out of the entire team.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing out the front black bumper pieces to the sides.
  2. Flip the front of the car forward to form the robot legs.
  3. Stand the figure up and swing the arms forward.

Robot Mode:
Prowl's robot mode offers few surprises. We do get to see more detail from the underside of the car of course, and even the translucent blue plastic has some detailing etched into it. The robot head has red visor eyes and black "mouth" pieces. On either side of his head are details that look like either exhaust holes or missile launchers. His arms are actually built onto ball joints, so they do move up and down (I had feared from early pictures that they would only swing out to the sides like Mirage or Swindle). His legs can of course bend at the knees thanks to the transformation scheme.

Transformation to Weapon Mode:

  1. Starting in vehicle mode, swing out the front black peg pieces to the
    side.
  2. Swing the left side of the car out and back.
  3. Tild the robot head section to the right side of the car.
  4. Swing the right robot arm down.

Weapon Mode:
Prowl's weapon mode is a gun, which seems quite appropriate for a police car/robot. This is of course, sort of a "half way" mode between the vehicle and the robot, but it still looks awesome. The idea of having the rear tires act as the curves of the gun barrel is an awesome idea, which I don't think has been done before in the Transformers line. Having one robot arm hang down as a clip is even cooler. I must confess that having Prowl as a Mini-Con "Targetmaster" was one of the huge draws for me when it came to this team. While the gun may look a bit small in the hands of someone as big as, say, Final Battle Optimus Prime, it looks almost like a large assault weapon in the hands of Supercons like Hot Shot.

The simplistic irony of having a rescue team become weapons of destruction is amusement factor enough, but with some slick designs and three modes for each team member, this is one Mini-Con team any Armada fan should have in their collection. Highly recommended.


Hot Shot loves the toy, highly recommended!