Armada Toy Reviews: Street Action Team

in 2002, Action Figure Review, Armada, Mini-Con

Armada

General Information:
Price Point: Basic
Retailer: General (K-Mart, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart etc.)
Release Date: July 2002
Transformation Difficulty Level: 2 (Intermediate)

In a line that relies on the Mini-Con gimmick, it is necessary to have as many of the little critters as possible. To do this, Hasbro has focused the basic assortment of Transformers on three packs of Mini-Cons. These Mini-Cons are Transformers in themselves, and each three pack features abilities unique to the team.

Heading up the first round of Armada Mini-Con three packs is the Street Action Mini-Con Team. The team is comprised of Grindor, High Wire and Sureshock. This group comprises the first original combiner since Beast Wars created by Hasbro (the RID stuff is Takara work and does not count). Each Mini-Con becomes a vehicle and all three can combine to form the larger robot Perceptor. Early reports seem to indicate that this team will accompany the three
children who are main characters in the Transformers Armada cartoon show coming this August. Each Mini-Con will receive an individual rating since each is an individual toy with Perceptor being reviewed as a stand alone entity. At the end is a recommendation as to whether or not to purchase the set.

Grindor Toy Review
Vehicle Mode  |  Robot Mode

Vehicle Mode:
Grindor has the unlikely vehicle mode of a skateboard. Mind you, not just a regular one but one that has rocket boosters. The sculptors designed this board with the idea of having it just be a regular skateboard as the four wheels indicate, but I think a nicer move may have been to make this a hoverboard, with the wheels underneath to allow play value. However, there's no denying that this is one cute little skateboard. The color is mostly dark blue
with yellow for the foot pads and silver for the boosters. There's not a whole lot of detail one can throw into a skateboard, but the designers gave it a shot. The foot pads have a nice cross hatch pattern while the boosters at the end are fairly ornate.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing out each half of the back to form the robot legs. Rotate the legs around.
  2. Swing out the front halves of the skateboard. This forms the robot arms.
  3. Swing down the black plates covering the robot head to form the shoulder armor.

Robot Mode:
Light blue jumps into the color fray in this mode, along with more smatterings of yellow. The colors work well together and give Grindor a consistant look from mode to mode. Grindor's sculpt is probably the most even and humanoid looking of the three Street Action team members. He really has a fantastic look in robot mode. The halves of the skateboard on his back look like wings and he is kind of bulky up on top, making him look like a tough little guy. A
fair bit of detail went into this form, especially in the face and the black shoulder plates.

Where the toy suffers is its poseability. Because of the way the arms transform, they are stuck only being able to swing out to the sides. A ball joint would have been nice to allow them more movement. Also, although the legs are on ball joints, they can only kick out to the sides unless you twist the waist pieces around.

Grindor looks cool in both modes, and he earns high marks for that. However, a bit more play factor would have helped this toy immensely. B-

High Wire Toy Review
Vehicle Mode (l.)  |  Vehicle Mode (r.)  |  
Robot Mode

Vehicle Mode:
There is nothing wrong with your vision. High Wire is a bicycle in vehicle mode. Yes, a bicycle. Okay, now that the initial shock has worn off, it is interesting to note that there was a time when a Transformer becoming a bicycle was more of a joke among fans than a reality. Now that it is finally a reality, I must admit that it is nowhere near as horrible as it could have been. In this mode, the designers were sure to stick in all the major details of
a real bicycle. The front has a headlight/reflector, the right side has a (non working of course) bicycle chain. The pedals do move (a feature of the transformation) and each is detailed rather than being a flat rectangular piece of plastic. The top sports a triangular bicycle seat and nicely enough, the handlebars actually turn from side to side (independent of the wheels, but still nice). The tires are detailed to look like off road tires. Taken as a whole, this is actually a very nice Transformers rendition of a bicycle.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the rear of the bicycle back. Move the pedals down to form the feet and split the rear parts in half to form the robot legs.
  2. Lift up the front tire from the right arm and move them out to form the robot arms.

Robot Mode:
Considering the alt mode, High Wire needs to be given a bit of consideration when one evaluates the robot mode. His arms and legs are light blue, with main body being black. The robot head is black with red eyes and a white mouth plate. This is different than the prototype which featured an all red face. This detail definitely makes the toy look better. The appearance of the toy is a bit awkward, but it is (for lack of a better term) very cute. Also, High Wire probably features the most ball joints in an Armada Transformer thus far, four altogether allowing his arms a good range of movement and his legs a bit more than one would expect.

High Wire is by no means the coolest Transformer ever made, but he has a cute, quirky quality about him that is quite endearing. B+

Sureshock

Vehicle Mode (r.)
  |  
Vehicle Mode (l.)
  |  
Robot Mode

In an unlikely choice for an alt mode, Sureshock is a moped. Granted this is not as far out of a choice as High Wire's bicycle mode, but it runs pretty close. Orange is the overwhelming color here, with yellow on the headlights, blue green for the seat and silver for mechanical parts such as the tailpipe. The sculpt is nice, with plenty of mechanics sculpted on critical parts such as the front tires and the rear of the vehicle. The handlebars have a headlight
molded in, but it would have been nice to see it colored. The Mini-Con symbol is etched into the left side of the vehicle.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Fold the seat/rear of the vehicle back to form the robot legs.
  2. Divide the front in half and swing the halves down to form the robot arms.

Robot Mode:
Sureshock is one odd looking robot in this mode. More light blue shows through on his arms and upper legs. His robot yes are yellow and his face is blue green. The sculptors seemed to have done their best with the design, but some things stand out glaringly. The robot eyes are yellow but sculpted as orbs, not just simple circles, making them look like they're bulging out of his head. The front halves of the scooter are attached to his arms in such a way that
one wonders how he can function. The legs are just the scooter seat, and you can't really split them up without dividing the entire robot in half (a function of the transformation to Perceptor). The primary joints are ball joints in the arms at the shoulders.

Sureshock sufers primarily since he needs to be a scooter Transformer (already quite a task) and a part of Perceptor as well. C+

Perceptor Toy Review

Perceptor (Front)
  |  
Perceptor (Rear)

Transformation to Perceptor
The following transformation instructions assume that you are starting with each figure in vehicle mode.

Grindor:

  1. Swing out the rear sections with the boosters. Fold them down and to the sides. Twist the booster sections around to form Perceptor's arms.
  2. Move the two halves of the front of the skateboard to the sides a bit, but use the black shoulder panels to cover Grindor's robot face.

High Wire:

  1. Swivel the Perceptor head to the right side of the bicycle.
  2. Swing both wheel sections upward so they are on either side of Perceptor's head.

Sureshock:

  1. Move the front of the scooter forward.
  2. Split the entire figure in half and spread the rear parts apart until it looks like a "C" shape.
  3. On each half, move the front of the vehicle up until the "T" shaped piece of the handle bar can fit into the groove on the rear half of the vehicle.
  4. Straighten out each Perceptor leg.

Combination:
Attach Grindor to Sureshock by sliding the T shaped part on Grindor's head into the groove on Sureshock. Now attach High Wire via the peg he has under Perceptor's head into the peg on the back of Grindor. Perceptor is now complete!

Perceptor Toy Review

Perceptor is one interesting looking 'bot. Like many combiner Transformers, his vehicle bits do look a bit awkward where they stick out. However, he is rather even looking and careful consistant use of the light blue plastic gives an eveness to the color scheme despite the dramatic orange of Sureshock.

The robot head is nicely sculpted. Take a close look and one can see that it is designed to look like a helmet and the eyes are designed to look like goggles. He also has some cool details, mostly thanks to Grindor including the rocket boosters on his arms and grooves and
detailing on his chest.

Perceptor's mobility is limited. His head can be moved from side to side and up and down (although since he is on a ball joint, it can look odd in certain positions). The arms are also on ball joints and a swivel joint, allowing for good movement there. The legs can't really move however. Still, there is an amazing novelty to having a combiner made up of robots this size (and of such unconventional alt modes). B+

Taken as a whole, this team has the ability to really touch the quirkier side of a Transformers fan. While being a bit odd and unconventional, it is these features that truly make this team unique and interesting. Obviously it will not appeal to everyone, but I do recommend it for those who want something a little different. B+