Cliffbee.com: The Minispies Group Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Names: None, officially
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Depends on the rubsign
Alternate Modes: Porsche 929, Mazda RX-7, Dune Buggy, Jeep



Since the fours moulds are very similar, came in various colours and could be either Autobots or Decepticons, I'm going to vary from my regular review format here.

MINISPIES' BACKGROUND
   The Minispies were sold as bonus inserts with some of the Minibots (Cliffjumper etc), without any sort of individual characters, or names. The premise was that you had to rub the rubsign to reveal the allegiance of the Minispy. They were really just an advert for the newly introduced rubsigns. The original Diaclone versions came in red, but the Transformers versions were available in yellow, white or dark blue. Being sold randomly packed as bonuses with no names, they blur the line between Transformers toys and merchandise, but since they transform, I count them as Transformers.

VEHICLE MODES
Height: ~5cm Length: ~2cm Width: ~3cm

   Exact dimensions will depend on the mould, but they're all about the same size. The top of the vehicle modes are one colour, the front tyres are small black ridged plastic affairs, the rear tyres are larger, and rubberised with white hubcaps. The rubsign will be positioned in the centre of the hood, assuming it's there - one of mine has no rubsign. The rubsigns are pretty big in proportion to the toys, but then they were only included to advertise the rubsigns anyway, so that's fitting.

   The reason for the rubber tyres? Pullback motors, of course. The motors aren't all that powerful, they'll roll fairly slowly and go a couple of metres on a flat surface.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Identical for three of the four moulds, and pretty similar for the Jeep as well. Flip the rear over, split it in half to form the legs. pull out the front tyres to form the robot arms and slide them down the body, stand them up. The only variation is the Jeep, whose spare tyre assembly swings up to allow the knees to straighten. You can do this purely by fold the legs out, but you'll have to manually swing it back into place when you reverse the transformation.

ROBOT MODE
Height: ~6cm Width: ~3.5cm

   Again, exact dimensions will depend on the mould. The basic colour scheme is the same for all four, with the black underside of the car forming the torso and thighs (which are a solid block), a silver face at the top of this black section, and the rubber rear tyres sitting just above the knees. The lower legs and arms will be either blue, yellow or white.

   The body shape is fairly crude, since these toys aren't much bigger than the pullback motors they're built around. The poseability is limited to the shoulders rotating, not that I'd expect much more. Unlike some larger pullback Transformers such as the Throttlebots, the pullback motors can't be used now.

COLOURS

   The yellow is a mustard yellow, the blue a dark blue, the white a standard white. The plastic used for these guys isn't all that great, so UV damage is common. The white is most susceptible, with very visible yellowing as a result. The blue tends to darken with UV damage, although if this damage is even it doesn't really matter, although it'll be obvious alongside a blue Minispy with good plastic. The yellow probably suffers UV damage, but it's impossible to tell, so it's probably the best colour of the three, although I prefer the blue, when undamaged.

PORSCHE

   It's a Porsche 929, with distinctive headlights, taillights, doorseams and a spoiler. I like that they've managed to make the car model readily identifiable, which is mainly due to a good job on the moulding. I have this mould in both Yellow (Autobot) and White (Decepticon), the later suffers badly from UV damage.

MAZDA

   While not quite as obvious as the Porsche, you can determine this mould is an RX-7 if you look closely. The letters "FX-1" are moulded between the headlights, it also has taillights and doorseams, but unlike the Porsche there's no spoiler. This is probably the best mould of the four, although they're all about equal.

BUGGY

   An open cockpit left hand drive dune buggy with headlights on the hood between big fenders and a solid rollcage (which is meant to give the impression of being hollow) on the back. This is my least favourite mould, partly because the face isn't well defined, partly because I don't like the look of the buggy that much, but that's just personal preference.

JEEP

   Probably the most interesting concept, the jeep has a winch on the black front bumper, a _hollow_ rollcage, spare tyre and gas can on the back. There's a very short windscreen, two seats and a steering wheel - unlike the buggy this one's right hand drive. On the front there's a moulded grille, headlights and hood seams. If not for the awkward tyre assembly on the knees I'd give this the nod as the best mould of the four.

OVERALL

   Well, they're small and very simple. Counting four moulds, three colours and two factions, there's 24 if you want to be a completist. I only bothered getting one of each colour & mould, the extras I got at token prices. The fact is they're more of a curiosity than anything else - they never appeared in the cartoon or comic - but if you can grab them for a dollar or two, they're interesting enough to grab a couple - 3-5/10, depending on the colour & mould. 5/10 is for the blue Mazda, BTW

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.