Superlink Toy Reviews: Micron Expansion Set 1

in 2003, Action Figure Review, Armada, Mini-Con, Superlink

Transformers Superlink

General Information:
Release Year: 2003
Retailer: Japanese exclusive (as of May 2004)
Price: $40 per box (Depending on Import Retailer)
Accessories: Missiles x 3 for "Sea Team"

The concept of a "Micron Booster" pack was a way for Takara to take existing Micron molds, redeco them and sell them individually. This also gave fans a way to bolster their Micron army to obscene proportions (assuming you bought all the US variants, X-Dimension ones etc. etc.). For most people (like me) who love Microns/Mini-Cons, these packs were great news. This review covers the new group of Micron boosters, which are sold under the Superlink banner partially because of the inclusion of an Energon Saber redeco.

The Microns picked for this assortment come from the Adventure Team, Sea Team, The Energon Saber and Corona
Sparkplug who was included with Powerlinx Optimus Prime. Please read those reviews to familiarize yourself with the toys. These reviews will focus on the changes made to the toys.

Packaging:
The Micron Booster packaging is very similar to packaging for other past "small figure" releases such as Sixbuilder or the PVC Acts. There's one box with several small
boxes inside, each identical so you don't know exactly which figure you're going to get until you open them. I purchased one box with came with one of each figure for the full set, and there was no chase figure in the bunch (thank goodness). The big box is made to open up in half at an angle, basically for store
presentation, but you can open it with a flap on top too, preserving the packaging which has photos of the Microns with their individual names on them. For the sake of convenience, the names are as follows (along with who they are redecos of):

  • Chrome - Redeco of Corona Sparkplug
  • Thyristor - Redeco of Corona Sparkplug
  • Synapse - Redeco of Corona Sparkplug
  • Lens - Redeco of Skyboom
  • Quantum - Redeco of Scattor
  • Beacon - Redeco of Wreckage
  • Mile - Redeco of Stormcloud
  • Hover - Redeco of Waterlog
  • Solar - Redeco of Oceanglide
  • Torque - Redeco of Ransack
  • Crunch - Redeco of Dune Runner
  • Spoil - Redeco of Iceberg

And Quantum, Beacon and Lens combine to form the Blizzard Saber.

Each team will be reviewed in groups to keep teams together. Except for the Blizzard Saber, each team will use its original group name. Thanks to fellow fan Doug Dlin for help on the name translations.

Corona Sparkplug Redecos

Images:

Chrome:
Chrome is the only vacuum metallized Corona Sparkplug redeco in the set. In essence, he is the opposite of Corona Sparkplug. Where Sparkplug is gold, Chrome is vacuum metallized silver, and where Sparkplug is dark red, Chrome is dark blue. The windows are painted black and the robot face is gray. It's a rather simple redeco, but it's one that really works. The vacuum metallizes silver doesn't come off as "knock off looking" thanks in part to the fact that it's obvious this guy was meant to offer a visual counterpoint to the original figure he's based on.

Synapse:
Spellings vary on this guy's name (with some calling him "Snaps"), but I will trust my buddy Doug Dlin's translation of it because he rocks. Anyway, Synapse is quite a feiry looking guy. He's a bold orange color, but not quite a neon. His windows are black and in robot mode his upper arms and legs are light blue. His face is painted silver. I find this color combo interesting since it's not one that you would generally put together, yet the sharp contrast works for the figure. I'm glad the designers did not use a neon orange, as many of the sculpted details of this toy could have been lost visually with such
brightness. A cool redeco.

Thyristor:
While different spellings of this guy's name abound, it is indeed "Thyristor", a reference to a semiconductor switch with on and off states. Anyhow, this guy reminds me a lot of the Firebot redeco from Armada. He's mostly light blue and his robot joints are red. This "Protectobot Hot Spot" type combination is a cool one and evokes an emergency vehicle feel. In my imagination I've got the two rectangles on the top of this guy pegged as makeshift sirens now! Either way, this is a cool color scheme that is much more traditional than the other two. Probably my second favorite of the Sparkplug redecos.

Blizzard Saber

Images:

Beacon:
No more translucent yellow, no sir. This bad boy is mostly a translucent light blue plastic. The edge from the front to back is painted dark blue, but the paint itself allows you to still see through the plastic. The wings have silver on them while the engines are green. In a nice touch, the landing gear is painted silver instead of being left to some generic color like black. Oddly, when transforming this toy, you need to push down a bit hard on the chest to get it locked into place, but it's no huge deal. The robot mode shows off a bit more green on the legs, and the lower arms, waist and legs are now molded in silver plastic. This is a very nice and clean look that evokes thoughts of ice and frozen water, appropriate considering the combined group's name.

Lens:
Lens probably has the most solid colored plastic in vehicle mode comapred to his teammates. The only portion that's really translucent on this guy is the mid section, cast in light translucent blue. The wings are blue (bordering on purple) while metallic blue and green details are painted at the center, the wings and the cockpit to give this a really nice look. I'm glad they used metallic paint as it adds a bit of a "sparkle" to the toy that keeps it from looking dull. The robot mode is a bit plain with the upper body mostly consisting of silver plastic with silver details on top. The legs however have the metallic green paint on them, which looks really nice. Probably the weakest of the three Blizzard Saber members.

Quantum:
I love the way the Scattor mold looks, and in translucent blue plastic with metallic silver and green paint apps, its coolness factor shoots up about oh, 50%. I love the way the silver and green paint decos help accentuate the edges of the wings and details like the vents at the ends. And like Beacon, his landing gear is silver, contrasting nicely with the dark blue cockpit section. In robot mode no paint apps are applied, which is kind of sad, but I guess the point was to let the translucent plastic (which makes up most of this form) speak for itself.

Blizzard Saber:
The colors chosen for these three team members all come together beautifully with the Blizzard Saber. It holds together nice and solid like the Energon Saber and I actually prefer these colors over the original Energon Saber's yellow. An awesome job. Buying the set to get these guys is worth it by itself (of course, if you can buy them alone for less than $15, go for it).

"Adventure Team"

Images:

Crunch:
Crunch is an interesting redeco, looking quite bright in his new orange, blue and white color scheme. Somehow, in the cosmic karma of things, Crunch wound up with what I call the "Tony the Tiger" color scheme last seen on Go-Go-Gobots Tigertron. Most of the main body is orange white blue seats and white used for the cage and gun barrel in vehicle mode. The sides have some really nicely done yellow spray ops which enhance the look of the toy without overdoing it. These even wind up on the robot arms for the robot mode, giving it an added detail. In robot mode, Crunch is primarily orange with white upper legs and black arms. The visor eyes have been painted light blue. The machine gun mechanism still works fine as
you roll this guy along or Powerlink him to someone with the proper gears. If there's one thing you can definitely say about Crunch, he's one amusing little toy.

Spoil:
Spoil is a redeco of Iceberg. It may not have been intentional, but I can't look at him without thinking he was an Insecticon in a former life. His primary colors are purple and black. On his rear thrusters he has portions painted yellow. Granted he has white and light blue parts too, but I kind of wonder if the vehicle mode's front portion resembled chompers on an insect so much someone decided to have some fun and make this vehicle mode evoke an insectoid Transformer look. The sides of the treads are painted light gray, which looks nice against the black on the treads themselves.

The robot mode is a bit plain, with the only new paint apps being orange for the eyes. I could have liked to see a bit more done on the main body, but ultimately the orange against the purple works well as the color is a bright enough contrast that it almost looks like it's glowing. An interesting
color choice.

Torque:
Torque's color change is quite simple, yet effective. His primary color is blue with gray windows. The lights over the driver's area are painted yellow (though not very well on mine). The doors have a red orange deco on them and in robot mode his eyes are orange. The hook and line gimmick for this toy is still functional as well with the hook now colored white. I like this color scheme a lot. It's simple and bright, a nice contrast to Ransack's darker colors.

"Sea Team"

Images:

Hover:
The Waterlog mold is my favorite of the three Sea Team members, and this one's no exception. But boy, the color scheme for Hover comes straight out of left field (as it does for Solar and Mile as well). Hover is a bright green, with an aqua green with a yellow missile/missile launcher. Make no mistake, this is one visually loud Transformer. To be fair, the robot mode does use some black on the crest, eyes and shoulders to "offset" the bright green, but it's still interesting to see these colors applied to any Transformer. For any fan who admires a bit of quirkiness in their toys, this guy is near the top ten of the list somewhere.

Mile:
Mile has the same bright green as Hover, but he offers up some additional colors that offer a funky and heavy contrast. His windows are all painted black with silver borders. Silver is also used for the rear of the vehicle which ends in orange and black. This is hardly an unheard of color template, as I've seen everything from watches to cars with this scheme. It's kind of interesting to see it on a Transformer, and it's probably best used on a Mini-Con as the size doesn't assault your eyes with too much green and orange at one time. If the color scheme from the vehicle mode works with you, then you'll really dig the robot mode's colors. The upper body and lower arms are orange with silver details on the chest. The eyes are black and the orange/black/silver combo from the vehicle mode carries over on the lower legs. Funky and cool.

Solar:
The name Solar probably refers to the panels on the top of this guy that look like solar panels. In vehicle mode Solar is probably the brightest of the three team members. He's bright green, gray, silver and yellow. No darker tinged colors (unless you count the gray) to "break" the brightness. This looks a bit dull, but it's made up for in the robot mode where the upper body is painted dark blue with red details and the face is grey with red eyes. The arms are molded in yellow plastic like the missile launcher itself, giving you a nice combination of colors. I must admit dark blue was a bit surprising as a color, but it is a good contrast choice.

Final Thoughts:
What I really like about this assortment is that it has a diverse set of color schemes that can appeal to anyone. Want something a bit off-beat and wacky? Go for the Sea Team redecos. Want something more traditional and cool looking? The Blizzard Saber is for you. They also chose good molds to use. Corona Sparkplug is a nice mold that deserves to be redone, and the Energon Saber was a great choice since the Star Saber has been done to death. Excellent all around and a worthy addition to your Micron army.