Names: Retro, Surge
Series: Generation 1
Function: Long Range Defence
Alt Mode: Crane Truck
Height: 2.5cm Length: 4.5cm Width: 2.5cm
A boxy deep crimson crane, Retro has off white windows, four black tyres and a sky blue crane arm with a black base. The crane arm is a single piece, which can lift up and down on it's rotating base. The hook faces forward, which is unusual for a Transformer crane. On his own, Retro is a fully functional vehicle, although he's quite short for a crane.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Rotate the cabin to form his boots, stand him up and pose his arms, if desired.
Height: 5cm Width: 2.5cm
Again boxy, Retro has crimson arms and boots, a turquoise chest and head, a gold face and black thighs. The crimson is almost red, so it works with the turquoise fairly well. The rear wheels are on his arms, the kneecaps are the off-white windshield.
His face is quite simple and the poseability is limited to his arms swinging up and down, making for a fairly uninteresting robot mode - but he's no worse than a lot of other Micromasters in this respect.
A rather nondescript robot mode and a pretty good crane mode, which is self contained while still being a decent combiner - 6/10
CRANE HALF MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 5cm Width: 2.5cm
Like Retro, Surge is a crimson boxy with a blue crane arm, but he lacks the cabin. He's little more than a box with a crane arm sticking out the back, with a connecting hinge nestled into the box itself, which means it can only lift up and down. Like his partner Surge has four black tyres and a hook that faces outwards. This isn't really a self contained vehicle - Surge is best when combined with Retro (or another front half).
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Fold over the front, connecting part of the box, to form his boots. Stand him up and position his arms. If you like, you have the option of swinging the crane arm down so it's not visible in robot mode.
Height: 6cm Width: 2.5cm
Like Retro, Surge has red arms and boots, as well as black thighs. His chest and head are orange, while his face is silver with a moulded nose and mouth, both of which come out quite well. Additionally, the chest is fairly detailed and this comes out well on the orange plastic. The blue hook sits above his head, and makes for a rather nifty feature in my opinion, but you can get rid of it if you like.
The arms swing at the shoulders and I suppose you could hang stuff from the hook (rings and stuff). That's really it for his play value here. This is a good robot mode for a combiner, even if they combining pegs are on his boots.
So Retro got the better vehicle mode, but Surge has a better robot mode. The vehicle mode really needs to be combined, but the robot mode is nifty all on it's own - 6/10
COMBINED VEHICLE MODE
Length: 26cm Height: 6cm Width: 8cm
A large yellow and black bunch of parts with two long grey missiles sticking out the front, and small crimson cranes at the front and back. It actually looks good for the most part. The only aspect that bothers me visually is the ramps on the side - they're there because there's nowhere else to put them and they look like it. You can remove them, revealing the crimson cannons underneath, if you like.
While cranes don't really make much sense on a missile truck, they're quite small in comparison to the main body of this mode, so it doesn't really matter. If you really want, you can swap out Retro & Surge for other Combiners - the Astro Squad has Moonrock and Missile Master to offer (who are also crimson, curiously). The crimson and yellow work fairly well together even if they don't quite co-ordinate, which is all I really ask.
If you remove the ramps, you can place the magenta cannons on the front of the yellow truck, deploying them on either side of Retro. This won't work with all front-half combiners (Blast Master, again of the Astro Squad, springs to mind).
The central part of the truck has four bogeys with two wheels each. The outer bogeys have connecting pegs and can turn a little, whereas the centre two are fixed and lack connecting pegs. This gives the Missile Launcher a total of sixteen wheels, eight smaller ones on the front and back and eight slightly larger ones in the middle. It has two Autobot symbols, one on to between the missiles and one on the bottom of the left side.
While it's clearly a pile of parts, this mode looks okay for a pile of parts. The launcher itself can tilt upwards which is nice. My main complaint is how easily it can fall apart - the ramps aren't attached all that firmly and the central point tends to split as well.
BATTLE STATION MODE
Length: 29.5cm Height: 10cm Width: 10.5cm
Formed by lifting the launcher itself, attaching the ramps to the front and rear ends, folding out the halves of the front seat and attaching the magenta cannons to the sides - as well as detaching the Micromasters.
This mode was clearly conceptualised before the vehicle mode, because it's a lot more coherent. The yellow platform is now flat with ramps at either end, a raised cockpit for the missile launcher and magenta cannons on either side. This is probably the best combined base mode amongst the Combiner Transports, since there's not really any kibble - which makes sense when you compare it to the all-kibble vehicle mode. You can roll the Micromasters up the rear ramp, along the platform and back down the front ramp. If you like, you can also seat a Micromaster in the cockpit. I'd recommend putting Retro on the platform and Surge in the cockpit so you utilise their stronger modes.
A pretty strong playset for what it is, and while the missiles cannot be fired they do detach. At an impressive 12cm long, they're big even next to most regular Transformers. While I personally prefer the individual attack vehicles, this is a great missile launcher.
Which is what I'm calling it for want of a better name. The instructions simply call both "Battle Emplacements". The crimson cannons sit on the front while the cabin at the back can accommodate either Micromaster standing up, or if you stand them behind it their arms are on the controls. The instructions show Retro manning this one, but you can actually put Surge in a sitting pose in it - Retro's too back heavy to do that. The only play value here is rolling the emplacement along, with a manoeuvrable front bogey. I quite like this emplacement, it looks nice and works as a large cannon trailer for Retro if you want to attach him to the front.
This is simply the back half of the main vehicle sans cannons and ramps (which are set aside for the emplacement modes). But it's quite effective, since it's still able to tilt up and carries missiles that are longer than it is. The instructions picture Surge standing in the cockpit, but either works - I have Retro in there at the moment. The cockpit is quite deep, the standing Micromaster will have his hands on the console, which is nifty. You can tilt the launcher itself to about 80°, which you'll need Retro for, since his longer crane arm can deploy against the table to keep him from falling out of the cockpit. It's possible to leave the magenta cannons on the sides, although the Mobile Gunrack will look awfully bare if you do that. While it's still possible to attach Surge to the rear in crane mode, there's really no point. I suppose you could attach Retro, dragging rear-facing missiles.
None that I'm aware of. Retro & Surge share their moulds with Stone Cruncher & Excavator of the Decepticon Constructor Squad, though.
THE SET OVERALL
A good set that's a lot of fun, and both Micromasters are decent little toys on their own. While the combined vehicle mode is a bit of a mish mash, it still works okay. The combined launcher base is good and the battle emplacements are great, so if you like Micromasters I'd recommend this set - 7.5/10