Name: Minelba (AKA Minerva, depending on transliteration)
Series: Japanese Generation 1
Function: First Aid Care
Alternate Mode: Porsche 911
Thanks to heroic decepticon for loaning me Minelba for this review
Height: 5cm Length: 13cm Width: 6cm
A white 1980s Porsche 911 with red crosses on the hood and doors, red running boards and red (stickered) lines on the spoiler, Minelba is a repaint of the more common Nightbeat. Minelba's windows are blue and there's a hinge on the roof clever used as a stroberack. She's meant to be a paramedic's car, hence the lights & crosses (and the choice of a Porsche, no doubt). The tyres are black plastic and the hubcaps are moulded, but are sadly left black - silver stickers would have worked a lot better. While heroic's has only factory stickers applied (and I've used that toy for my photos), the stickers work well and all three crosses incorporate Autobot logos. The stickers are paper, not the difficult foil stickers Nightbeat has. The colours work well, both as a more feminine toy and a medical car, while they're distinct from Nightbeat's. In fact, I'd say this car mode looks better than Nightbeat's thanks to the stroberack & better stickers.
The car is a little higher and shorter than it should be, but it's a fairly well defined Porsche despite relatively low detail. The distinctive headlights of the 911 are a giveaway, and the spoiler is also typical of ther model. As mentioned, the detailing is fairly low - the taillights are moulded and the grille is moulded, but there's no gap underneath the spoiler, for instance.
Aside from the black hubcaps, the other flaw in this mode is the number of breaks in the Porsche body - especially on the roof and hood. There's a socket on the roof for her large gun and two smaller holes on the hood for the smaller guns, both near the hinges. The hinges on her roof allow the lid to open and reveal a cabin in which the Minelba minifigure can ride. The helmet forms a red seat for her, although this seat slides over the her back without attaching to the car as such. The cabin and rolling wheels represent most of the play value here - the three optional weapons rounding things off.
A good repaint of a pretty decent car mode, and Minelba improves on some of Nightbeat's flaws. Granted, the choice of vehicle model is unlikely, but that's nothing new. The hinge on the roof is essentially hidden now, and while colour on her hubcaps would have been nice, this is a well done repaint which is distinctly different.
The play value is about what I'd expect of a Headmaster, making this a good car mode.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Remove the Minelba figure if you have her in the cockpit, fold over the rear to form her boots and flip up the hood to reveal her hands. Pull the arms out from her sides and rotate, lift out her fists. Attach the minifigure as the head, attach the helmet and the small guns as antennae.
Height: 16.5cm Width: 7.5cm
A white robot with red chest, head and thighs, Minelba has an orange face with blue eyes. Her helmet is white with twin black guns on either side as antennae, wile her fists are also black. The boots are the back of the car, and the blue of her rear windows works well on her feet. There are a few stickers here and there (although as mention, heroic hasn't applied them, so they're missing from my photo). The colours are distinctly different from those of Minelba - and are a lot more feminine (even if the bodyshape isn't). It's quite a nice colour scheme in it's own right, too.
I've always had the feeling that this mould was designed more for the robot mode - it's much better than the car mode all over, really. The proportions are good, the car sides work well as her arms, the doors form shoulder stacks and the headlights are on her wrists. The head works well and the facial sculpt is superb, with more detail than on the heads of the more expensive Headmasters of the previous year.
The shoulders rotate on two axes, giving Minelba good arm poseability, although the arms represent all of her movement. The black gun can rest in either hand and the red chestplate can fold down to reveal her tech spec meter. Unlike the previous year's Headmasters, which had three tumblers, Minelba's mechanism is simply a plate that slides down when the head is inserted, although it still gives a reading of (SPD, STR & INT). Incidentally, there's an Autobot logo on the right side of the chestplate.
A very good robot mode for 1988 - which saw some of G1's laziest designs. Minelba was the first female Transformer toy, and while she's co-opting a male character's mould and lacks that distinct feminine look, the white and red make the gender change credible.
A short red figure with black legs and painted yellow face. The yellow isn't applied that well on heroic's, sadly - it bleeds out onto her head. I can't say whether or not this is common, given that this is the only Minelba I've ever seen. She can bend at the hips to sit down, but otherwise this figure is really all about the head mode.
As mentioned, she is a repaint of Nightbeat. I'm not aware of any variants, but given her rarity, they'd be worth a small fortune.
A very rare & pricey toy, so while I'm not going to make a recommendation as such, this is a very good repaint of one of the better Headmaster toys. Minelba actually improves on Nightbeat, so ignoring fiction & cost I'd recommend her first. She's notable as the first female Transformer toy, as well as featuring heavily in Masterforce (with a much stylised bodyshape). Both modes are good, the colours & decorations work well, and while this toy isn't especially feminine, it works well enough as a female. If you have the cash and can actually _find_ her, I wouldn't recommend against this very good repaint - 8.5/10