Cliffbee.com: Race Team Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review






Name: Dirt Boss
Series: Armada
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Rally SUV

SUV MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 5.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A light grey SUV with midnight blue windows, white circles on the doors and some red, yellow and black racing stripes here and there. There are moulded head and taillights, with a grey paint actually applied to the headlights. Dirt Boss also has doorhandles and seams, but all the detailing only helps so much when he has yellow hinges clearly visible on his roof. There's a Minicon symbol on the left side of the cabin while the play value is limited to rolling black plastic wheels.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Pull the front forward to form his legs, flip out his yellow feet. Flip the head out from underneath the SUV, pull up the sides of the cabin to form his arms. There are a _lot_ of unused joints here - most notably the hinges on his chest (which is the roof of the car).

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6.5cm Width: 3.5cm

   A gimpy sort of grey robot with yellow feet, upper arms and head, Dirt Boss has bug-like black eyes on his round head (which doubles as the handle of the Skyboom Shield. It's immediately obvious that more has gone into Dirt Boss becoming the central piece of that shield, since this robot mode is a stretch SUV with dodgy appendages. The legs are simply the front of the car, the arms are hollow from the front and the feet are little more than yellow tabs. It's a shame that the only new name in this trio is given to the crappiest figure. Not much in the way of poseability, which is too be expected I suppose. The elbows swing and that's really it.

OVERALL

   Dirt Boss is the meat in the sandwich, and while the rally SUV is ok, the robot mode is the leftovers after he does what needs to be done to make the Skyboom Shield work. Considering how weak the shield is, I don't think the sacrifices he made are worth it - especially since the rally mode could have given way to a nifty robot mode - 3/10.
Name: Downshift
Series: Armada
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Le-Mans Racer

RACER MODE
Height: 1.5cm Length: 6.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A dark grey Le-Mans racer (think Backstreet) with a yellow spoiler on the back and a light grey stripe running from the open cockpit to the nose. he has the number 3 on the sides and nose and black plastic tyres. There is a seat moulded inside the cockpit, a Minicon symbol on the left side and silver headlights.

   The wheels spin while the two halves of the spoiler (which look a lot like yellow wingtips) can lift up for a batmobile soft of effect, Ok, that second bit is unintentional, but it's still possible.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Split the rear, swing the halves down to the sides. Swing the cabin down to form the legs, split the legs. Lift up the head.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm Width: 7cm

   Again mainly dark grey, although Downshift has a blue face and blue shins. The front of the car is his chest, and protrudes forward. The arms are too long, being the rear fenders, but at least they have moulded fists. The proportions are actually worse than those of Dirt Boss, but Downshift gets away with it better since the transformation isn't as lazy.

   Thanks to ball joints on the shoulders, Downshift's poseability is okay. The arms don't really look good in any pose, mind you, but Downshift still looks better than Dirt Boss simply more effort has gone into his robot mode.

OVERALL

   A nice racer mode with good colours gives way to a rather limited robot mode that really deserves better arms. Downshift doesn't contribute as heavily to the Skyboom shield, which means his robot mode doesn't have a good excuse for it's flaws, but it still comes out slightly ahead of Dirt Boss's - 4/10
Name: Mirage
Series: Armada
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Indy Racer

RACER MODE
Height: 3.5cm Length: 7.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A grey and yellow racer with a rather yellow pointy airdam, yellow spoiler and fenders and a grey cabin. There's a silver seat in the cockpit and silver hubcaps. The wheels roll, although the rear wheels are actually really narrow with false wheels inside them (these are the robot shoulders). Other than the vehicle style, there's no real link to the G1 toy of te same name, although the colours roughly line up to those of Gobot Mirage.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Split the front section and fold the air dam back to form the feet, rotate the waist. Slide the spoiler forward to become his chestplate and reveal the robot head. The side fenders lift out to become the arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm Width: 4.5cm

   Still sporting the same basic shape as his car mode, Mirage has a yellow chest, yellow forearms and feet, while his legs are gre. the head and shoulders are black and his face red. The shoulders are big and chunky, his arms powerful and long, meaning Mirage looks like an evil thug - even if Minicons are meant to be the faction

   His poseability is minimal - the shoulders and elbows hinge sideways as part of the transformation, but that's it. The feet have built in heelspurs, being the air dam, but he tends to list to one side.

OVERALL

   The best toy in this set, although Mirage is far from perfect. He shares his design with Swindle (who comes with Starscream), but is actually a different mould - and Swindle's waist does not turn. Swindle is a stronger toy, but both of Mirage's modes are okay - if not fantastic - 6/10
SKYBOOM SHIELD
Height: 16cm Width: 8cm

   Much ado about nothing, really. Open Dirt Boss like a book, plug Mirage's car mode into the front, splay Downshift and clip him on top. It is roughly shield shaped, but this thing _looks_ like three cars plugged into each other more than it does a shield - this isn't helped by the fact that Mirage's car mode is hanging quite obviously off the bottom. Dirt Boss's head, underneath, works well as a handle (much better than it does as a head, sadly). Considering how much Dirt Boss has to sacrifice to make this work, the Skyboom shield is terrible.

VARIATIONS

   There's a limited "X Dimension" version in Japan in a blue, while a later Armada repaint saw the set done in red and white.

TEAM OVERALL

   This set is a good example of what happens when you take real vehicles and turn them into weapons - you get a chick of vehicle mashed up. The Skyboom Shield isn't at all satisfying for me, despite the fact that so much of Dirt Boss goes into it. Downshift is also seriously flawed, while Mirage is actually reasonably good. Of course, Mirage is very similar to Swindle (and Zapmaster), so if you really want that design, grab the larger toy instead of this set. The Race Team is really for the completists only - 3.5/10

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