Cliffbee.com: Emergency Team Toy Review

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Individual Review








Name: Firebot
Series: Armada
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Fire Engine

FIRE ENGINE MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 5.5cm Width: 2cm

   As with almost every other fire truck Transformer, Firebot is a red fire truck. He's got a silver front windscreen, A transparent blue hose-gun on top of his left door, a couple of randomly orange panels on the roof and white rear fenders. He has six wheels, all are black plastic and all roll. It's a fairly average fire truck mode, really. Nothing special, nothing awful. He doesn't have a roof mounted ladder, which is unusual for TF fire trucks. He has two connectors on his roof in this mode, to activate the gimmicks on bigger Armada toys.

TRANSFORMATION TO WEAPON MODE

   Fold the sides of the roof down to the sides and rotate 180. Open the waist up, there's a giant hinge which reveals two missile racks. Stand him alone or attach him to a connector on a larger Armada toy.

WEAPON MODE
   With a total of 12 missile tips, all painted grey, he certainly looks imposing. From the front, this mode is all firepower. It does look kind of odd as a standalone, but makes a nice arm mounted weapon for a bigger toy.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold down the sides of the roof and rotate 180 to form the arms. Fold over the front section to form the legs, fold the hose-gun out to the side. Stand him up and fold down the transparent blue chest panel covering his face.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm Width: 4cm

   Easily the weakest mode, Firebot's robot mode has shoulderpads so big you can barely see his head. They're 1cm tall blocks on top of his shoulders, which hurts on such a small toy. They're white with three orange spots each. I'm not convinced of the merit of this random orange they've used on Firebot - it's really bright. The central transparent blue panel is cool, although I can't really see why it needs to fold down, it only serves to cover his face from the underside of his truck mode - and there's heaps of robot kibble under there anyway.

   He's got red arms and feet, black thighs. His legs transform like 90% of Micromasters, so he has huge feet and small thighs. And one of the orange panels from truck mode is on his left knee. Firebot doesn't have hands, not even moulded ones traced on the insides of his arms. It's like they took the worst aspects of Micromasters for this guy. The shoulders are swivel joints, but that's really it for poseability. The transformation joints in his knees can move, but if you try position him he's likely to topple over.

VARIATIONS

   There's a limited "X Dimension" version in Japan in blue and orange with smoky transparent parts. There's also a recolour in light blue, blue and solid red - for which I've written a Hot Spot spec.

OVERALL

   Terrible name. Vehicle mode is okay, if uninspiring. The weapon mode is actually pretty cool, it's almost worth getting him just so he can attach to Thundercracker's wrist. The robot mode is a bit of a write-off, I'm afraid. There are worse Minicons than Firebot, but there's also a lot of better ones - with better names - 4/10, most of that for his weapon mode.
Name: Prowl
Series: Armada
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Police Car

POLICE CAR MODE
Height: 1.5cm Length: 5.5cm Width: 3cm

   Primarily a transparent blue police car, with white sides and a white rear section. he has silver painted windows - the windows aren't transparent but everything around them is! The headlights are painted orange (a duller orange than that used on Firebot), and his strobes are red. The wheels are all black plastic, with the rear wheels almost twice the size of the front ones. Combine that with his rear spoiler, this is what a cop would drag race in.

   Despite the misplaced use of transparent plastic, this mode works OK. It's clearly not a real car mode, but looks decent anyway. The connector is behind the cockpit on top and the blue plastic is dark enough to allow it to look like a giant hole and ruin the overall look. He has a black front bumper, which is rounded.

TRANSFORMATION TO WEAPON MODE

   Basically you unfold him, with one rear tyre becoming the barrel of the gun, and one arm becoming the handle. It's asymmetrical and difficult to describe, so I'm not going to try.

WEAPON MODE
   Unlike his two buddies, Prowl's weapon mode only works as an attachment. He can be handheld by some bigger toys but can also attach. By himself he looks like a gun someone put down. It's an okay mode, I suppose, but I wouldn't have cared had the left it out of this toy. In fact, since it puts some design limitations on the robot mode, I'd have preferred they did leave it out.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold out the halves of the front bumper and fold over the front half to form the legs. Stand him up lift the arms out from his sides. Done. It's a pretty simple transformation - more engineering has gone into the gun mode.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6.5cm Width: 3cm

   Still largely transparent blue, Prowl has black thighs, white arms and a white head. The head is itself moulded onto a large white block sitting on top of the shoulders, formed from the rear section, complete with rear wheels on either side. While the block itself doesn't look that bad, his face is almost flat and does look bad. The fact that it's white on a white background doesn't help, but at least he has a red eyeslit and black mouthparts (which look like a gas mask for some reason).

   The only real poseability Prowl has is ball joints in his arms, which is more than Firebot has, and he has hands! His hip and knee hinges allow some posing but he's hard to stand in any position but upright. There's no gap between his legs, combine this with the arms right at the sides and the simple face, he almost reminds me of a very early Go-bot.

VARIATIONS

   There's a limited "X Dimension" version in Japan in orange and smoky transparent black. There's also a recolour in red, and blue - for which I've written a Smokescreen spec.

OVERALL

   Again far from the best Minicon, but he's got a much better robot mode than Firebot, although is weapon mode is almost not worth it. While I'm not keen on name reuse, he's not an insult to the name. The car mode is pretty cool, despite the transparency, and this guy does have an overall charm - 6/10
Name: Makeshift
Series: Armada
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Helicopter

CHOPPER MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 6cm Width: 8cm

   I'm still trying to work out if Makeshift is helicopter or a plane. He looks like a plane that wants to be a helicopter, to be honest. He's not a bad toy, but it's a bit confusing as to what he's meant to be. Anyway, he looks like a bomber with giant rotors on top of the wingtips. Oh and his wings actually sweep forwards slightly. James Austin actually informs me that makeshift is loosely based on the V-22 Osprey, which can function as both a helicopter and a propellor plane.

   Makeshift's fuselage is white, his wings and rotor blades are transparent blue. The bases of the rotors are black, and his wingtips are white cylinders, which point up and support the rotors. These rotors are quite thick and the cylinders also bulky - I'm not so sure if this vehicle was real that it'd ever get off the ground. But it looks impressive. He has a silver painted cockpit, it's quite small so this'd be a large plane.

   Play value is limited to spinning the rotors. He has no wheels on his underside, just some white bumps. The colour scheme is reasonable, a little boring but better than it being garish. It looks pretty cool, and I like the fact that Makeshift represents a vehicle we've not seen before - even if he does have questionable aerodynamics.

TRANSFORMATION TO WEAPON MODE

   Fold the tail up onto the fuselage, swing the cylinders back and fold up the rotor blades.

WEAPON MODE
   Like Firebot, you can sit this one loose or attach it. The rotor blades' thickness is deliberate - now they form gatling gun style barrels. You can spin the twin guns, too. He looks pretty decent as a gun, too, having six barrels. Not really a handheld weapon, but he works as a shoulder attachment, and can sit by himself quite nicely.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the rotor blades up. Fold the tail up on top of the fuselage, you can then swing the legs out and back. Fold down the nose and lift out the head. Fold the wings into the chest and swing back the cylinders to form the arms, position the arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm Width: 4cm

   Quite stout & stocky, Makeshift's a tough looking robot. His chest, head, upper arms and shins are white, elbows & thighs are black and his shoulders and claws are transparent blue. Yes, he has claws, not hands. They're formed from the rotor blades.

   The orange that seems to be a recurring theme is back, on his face. Luckily for Makeshift, he scored the subdued orange Prowl uses not the Day-Glo Firebot has. It's better placed than on either of the other two.

   The big claws combined with giant elbows mean this guy has long arms. He also has a short torso and a head that's a little bit forward. He almost looks like a hunchback. It's not that bad, but it's there. This is probably his main flaw in this mode. His poseability is fair, there are two sets of swivels on the shoulders and his claws can open and close.

VARIATIONS

   There's a limited "X Dimension" version in Japan in orange and smoky transparent black. There's also a recolour in blue, black and solid red - for which I've written an Override spec.

OVERALL

   In my opinion, Makeshift is the best of this group. He's by no means fantastic, but all three modes work. He's solid if unspectacular. The vehicle mode is a little ambiguous and the robot mode has some proportion problems, but he still comes off okay - 6.5/10
TEAM OVERALL

   Overall this set suffers from trying to do too much with such simple, small toys. The weapon modes put a lot of restraints on the designs of this set, and the set probably would have been better overall had they focused more on the robot & vehicle modes. All have their good points, but Firebot and Prowl have significant bad points. Interesting, certainly, Firebot and Makeshift make great attachments, but as a standalone team they're not that great - 5/10

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