Cliffbee.com: Astro Squad Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Astro Squad
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobots
Function: Interstellar Defence
Components: Phaser, Blast Master, Moonrock, Missile Master, Barrage, Heave



Phaser

SHUTTLE HALF MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 4.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   Phaser is the front half of a space shuttle in more or less accurate colours, with blue windows and a giant wheel on the front that prevents him from standing alone - basically this is a mode meant for combining only.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Swing down the back of the shuttle half to form the legs, flip up the nosetip and stand him up, position arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 2cm

   Small for a Micromaster, Phaser's a compact little guy, with a crimson torso and head, a white painted face, white lower legs and sky blue thighs. His arms are black, his hands are white, which is the base colour of the plastic - these arms are black since they're the black painted heat-resistant surface underneath the shuttle. Being the front of the shuttle, his arms slope up and in, which looks kind of strange.

   The facial detail is quite low, but his poseability is about what you'd expect - the shoulders swing 90 degrees, and position fairly well. His hips swing as one, and he can lean back, it works quite well, too. The knees swing independently, but only forward, which doesn't really help.

OVERALL

   While there's not really anything that stands out about Phaser, he's not awful. The robot mode has it's good points - the poseability and colour scheme, but the vehicle mode isn't really much on it's own. The main point of his existence is to mix and match, and he is clearly half a shuttle, which is a plus - 5/10

Blast Master

SHUTTLE HALF MODE
Height: 3.5cm Length: 3.5cm Width: 6cm

   Like Phaser, he's half a shuttle, with a realistic mainly white colour scheme with black fringes. He's the back half, there are no boosters, instead the rear end is a white block with his red robot head folded in, but quite obvious. He has two large wheels, one under each wing, which basically ruin any chance of this vehicle mode being much on it's own.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Swing out the cargo bay to form his legs, fold up the wings, lift out the head and position the arms. You're meant to fold the tail (now on his back) down to either the left or right side, but there's no need. I recommend against it, since it'll only weaken the hinge over time, and if the tail starts to slump the alt mode suffers.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   With a grey chest, white arms and lower legs and baby blue thighs, Blast Master's quite light in colour. His head however, is crimson with a dark blue face for some reason. While I don't mind the look, the dark blue paint hides the facial sculpt, which is actually really good, but you can only see it if you _really_ look - his face should have been white.

   Other than the less than ideal head colours, this is actually a pretty good robot mode for a Micromaster Combiner. The shoulders are hefty and broad, he has a solid bulky torso, complete with narrow waist and a groin, and he has visible moulded fingers, not just hands tucked away out of view. He doesn't have proper feet, but there are grooves on his shins for his thighs to slot into, and the protrusions at the bottom _look_ feet like, although they're actually sunken into the shins.

   The arms swing at the shoulders, his hips swing forward as one and his knees swing independently, but only in the somewhat useless forward position. He can sit down, with outstretched legs, which is a bonus compared to a lot of Micromasters.

OVERALL

   Despite being nothing more than half a shuttle a vehicle, I like Blast Master, he has a good robot mode and the potential for combining him with others is good - 6.5/10

PHASER & BLAST MASTER COMBINED
Length: 8cm Height: 3.5cm Width: 3.5cm

   A white and black shuttle, the colours are pretty realistic, except for patches of baby blue thighs visible on top of the cargo bay. This shuttle has better proportions and shape than some larger Transformers shuttles (It puts Blast Off to shame). The wheels that ruin the two components' individual vehicle modes form a solid tripod now. Definitely good for mixing and matching, and it's a great shuttle for the size.

Moonrock

TRUCK MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 4cm Width: 2.5cm

   A fairly generic looking crimson truck half, Moonrock has ridged black rubber tyres, light grey painted windows and a baby blue patch on the front. I say generic since by itself, this truck could be a lot of things, there's nothing especially "spacey" about it. It's the front half of a missile carrier, the only real hint to this is the flat latticed groove on the back of this truck.

   The play value of this vehicle is limited to rolling him along on wheels, but I don't really expect that much. My main complaint is that he's bland to look at. While it's not a _bad_ mode, it's just boring on it's own.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the front section over to form the legs, stand him up and position the arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 2.5cm

   Moonrock has a white torso and head piece, with the same blue face paint as Blast Master has (again hiding good facial detail). His lower legs and arms are crimson and his thighs are baby blue. It's a pretty average colour scheme, and I'm not really a fan of this much crimson, it's not awful.

   He has big boots and a tiny head, and his shoulder joints are on either side of his head, so swinging his arms makes him look weird. His hips swing as one, his knees bend independently, but there's not really any poseability aside from the badly done shoulders. Moonrock's robot mode is not a good one.

OVERALL

   The generic vehicle mode is okay, but doesn't really make for cool combinations (except when he's attached to Missile Master). The robot mode isn't really very good, and the vehicle mode isn't enough to save him from being the worst of this set - 3.5/10

Missile Master

MISSILE PLATFORM MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 6.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A four wheels crimson platform with a big missile launcher on it, his name fits rather well. The top of the platform itself is flat with grip patterns, towards the front of the platform sits the missile launcher, which is not a working launcher - instead it's the missile resting on an arm that most mobile missile launchers actually use - ie this missile is propelled by it's own rocket, not by a giant spring or anything.

   The missile itself is white, and is detachable. The underside has a groove which slots over a rail on the arm. While the detachable missile means he has a piece that's able to be lost, it does add to the play value, so it's a plus overall. He's able to roll along on his wheels, and the launching arm can swing p and down and swivels right around. I actually recommend turning it around 180 when he's separate, so it sits above the platform, not sticking out the front. Either way, this is a fun mode, and the possible combinations have great appeal (combine him with Phaser and you get a Space Shuttle that fires a giant missile!).

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Swing down the back half of the platform to form the robot legs, swing the missile arm to point down, stand him up and position the arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 2.5cm

   Like Moonrock, his arms and lower legs are crimson, but this is offset with light grey, which works better than the white of Moonrock, so he's not as bright. The face is painted that dark blue, although it's not hiding great detail, and his thighs are of course baby blue.

   Not only does he have better colours than his partner, his proportions are better. The big boots are gone, and while his arms still attach a little high, they're longer than Moonrock's and aren't attached quite as high.

   The poseability is limited to swinging his arms. Leg movement is ruined by the missile on his back, which I can live with. The missile does not deploy in this mode, which would have been nice, but is probably expecting too much of a Micromaster (heck, that'd be a stretch for a MiniCon).

OVERALL

   The robot mode is OK, the colours are ok, although neither are anything special. But the giant missile on the back really makes Missile Master worthwhile - 6.5/10

MOONROCK & MISSILE MASTER COMBINED
Length: 8cm Height: 3cm Width: 2.5cm

   A long crimson mobile missile platform, this is one combiner truck where the length is perfectly justified. The missile arm is in the middle of the length, with the rotating base at the rear, and the front of the arm able to rest on the back of the cabin. It's a good vehicle, and is the reason for Moonrock, really.

Barrage

LUNAR BUGGY HALF MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 4cm Width: 3cm

   A light grey all-terrain buggy with bug black plastic ridged tyres sticking out the sides, Barrage really looks like he belongs on the moon - and like he _should_ have been called Moonrock - who would suit the name Barrage better, being a missile platform. Anyway, Barrage is a boxy affair, with a sloped front and blue windows on the cabin. The overall look is one of a rather functional, rugged vehicle - perfect for space exploration. He has small moulded headlights on the front, for the dark side of the moon, I suppose.

   As you might have guessed, I don't mind this mode at all. It's fairly generic, but he fits the space theme, the colours work and the sculpting has that functional look that most spacecraft actually have. The only play value he has is the ability to roll on his wheels - but he's a box on wheels so I don't expect any more.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold out the rear of the vehicle, stand him up and position the arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 3cm

   With a white chest & head, grey arms and lower legs and baby blue thighs, Barrage has a very light and somewhat boring colour scheme, but it suits the space theme (bad, unintended pun, since the colours are close to what you get on a spacesuit..). His face is unfortunately painted in that silly dark blue, hiding the facial detail, which includes a mouth, nose and eyes.

   His poseability is limited to swinging arms. The hips and knees do move, but the legs are joined together and the movement is only as part of the transformation. It's a rather bland robot mode, I'm afraid, although it's not horrible.

OVERALL

   The vehicle mode is kinda cool, the robot mode is ok if dull. Worthwhile as part of the set, though - 5/10

Heave

COMMUNICATIONS ARRAY MODE
Height: 3.5cm Length: 4cm Width: 3cm

   A grey block with big black plastic ridged tyres sticking out the sides, Heave's vehicle mode's major feature is the giant radar dish on top. The dish itself, which has a central collector, can swing back and forth, since it's connected with a hinge to it's crimson base, which in turn can rotate 360. While it looks more like a trailer than a self propelling vehicle, I can buy this as a separate unit.

   The play value is in the movable radar dish, as well as the combinations this guy can make. The colours work fine and he works well as a space vehicle, so it's a good mode. I'm not sure what he's supposed to heave, incidentally.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the front down to form the legs, stand him up and position the arms. It makes no difference what position the radar dish is in, since it's just hanging off his back anyway.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 3cm

   Heave has a crimson chest & head piece, grey arms and lower legs and baby blue thighs. His head is painted white, which would highlight the facial detail, if he had any (oh the irony!).

   As with some of the others in this set, his shoulders attach higher than they should, on his case just above where they should connect. They also provide the only real poseability, the hips and knees do move, but his knees and lower legs are stuck together so there's not really any leg poseability.

   The colours are ok, the poseability is a little lacking, but if only he had a decent facial sculpt. This robot mode is okay, but nothing special.

OVERALL

   The cool vehicle mode makes Heave worthwhile, but the robot mode is generic, and nothing special. He makes for an interesting mixed back half, which a plus - 6/10

BARRAGE & HEAVE COMBINED
Length: 8cm Height: 3.5cm Width: 3cm

   A long grey vehicle with eight big black tyres and a radar dish on the back, this is clearly a planetary (or lunar) exploration vehicle. Barrage's half is higher than Heave's, which means it's made up of two distinct sections - and a vehicle that separates into an explorer half and comms half is pretty much the sort of thing NASA would do, so this works. The colours are cool and the potential for mixing and matching is also good.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

THE SQUAD OVERALL

   I suppose the biggest shortcoming of this set is that a lot of it is generic. There are some really cool elements - Missile Master is cool and the shuttle rocks, but it's not the best of the Micromaster Combiner sets. Still, if you like Micromasters, I recommend the set since the combinations you can make are nifty - although some of the components themselves are lacking - 6/10

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