Cybertron Toy Reviews: Race Team

in 2005, Action Figure Review, Armada, Cybertron, Mini-Con

General Information:
Release Year: November 2005
Retailer: Wal-Mart Exclusive
Price: $12.99 (Per Two Pack)
Accessories: None

Dirt Boss Two Pack (with Downshift) Tech Specs:
Delivered to the Speed Planet by the same space-time anomaly that transported and nearly destroyed his friend Mirage, Downshift was almost immediately captured by Dirt Boss and his gang of harriers and outlaws. Using information given to him by Megatron, Dirt Boss was able to force Downshift to link with him, granting him unheard of power and speed. Lacking the imagination for a true power play Dirt Boss used his newfound might to pillage his way through the Speed Planet's equatorial cities until Override and Mirage appeared to challenge him as a final showdown in an attempt to rescue his Mini-Con slave.

Hot Shot Two Pack (with Mirage) Tech Specs:
Hot Shot always thought he was the fastest, most skilled racer in the Universe, until he got to the Speed Planet. But he never even suspected the blistering speed of which he was capable of until Optimus Prime teamed him up with Mirage. Brought to the Speed Planet under the protection of Hot Shot, Mirage was originally badly homesick for his compatriots Downshift and Dirt Boss, until he saw the perfect raceways of this new planet. Now, the two have formed a fast friendship and a nearly unbeatable racing team.

Landmine Two Pack (with Dirt Boss) Tech Specs:
Dirt Boss crash-landed on Earth at the same time as his Race Team teammates landed on the Speed Planet. Lost in an alien dimension and separated from his friends by thousands of light years, Dirt Boss wandered Earth in search of help. Luckily, Landmine detected his Mini-Con distress beacon before the Decepticons. Recognizing the importance of one more Mini-Con that could be used by Megatron to create the dangerous Skyboom Shield, Landmine took Dirt Boss under his protection. he will stop at nothing to protect his Mini-Con friend, help him find his lost comrades, and return him to his own dimension.

Override Two Pack (with Mirage) Tech Specs:
Mirage, leader of the Mini-Con Race Team, was blasted during a battle into a rip in space-time in his own dimension created by the long-range effects of the anomaly black hole near Cybertron. He was found by Override some time later, injured and close to stasis lock. Recognizing the potential of the diminutive speedster, the Speed Planet leader took him in and repaired him. Mirage soon became a willing partner to Override, helping her win race after race. Now, the pair has discovered that Downshift, a teammate of Mirage, has been captured and enslaved by Dirt Boss. They will stop at nothing to bring the cruel outlaw down and rescue Downshift.

Red Alert Two Pack (with Dirt Boss) tech Specs:
The first duty of Red Alert has always been to defend and heal the sick and injured. It is for this reason that Optimus Prime sent Dirt Boss to the Speed Planet under his protection (though the way Dirt Boss sees it, he's the one doing the protecting). Dirt Boss has been separated from the other members of the Road Assault Team - Downshift and Mirage - to prevent Megatron from once again capturing all three of them and acquiring the powerful Skyboom Shield. His distance from his counterparts, however, does not diminish his desire to protect the weak, and he happily works side by side with Red Alert to ensure that all those who need protection are made safe.

Thundercracker Two Pack (with Downshift) Tech Specs:
A speciality of Thundercracker is creating fear among the enemy and the chance to snatch Downshift from the Autobots offered him a rare opportunity. Kidnapping the Mini-Con was a piece of cake, but he never counted on the speed of the tiny robot, or his willingness to help Thundercracker create chaos. The two have formed an uneasy partnership, dedicated to causing as much havoc as they can among the Autobot forces on Earth.


All Three Mini-Cons shared the same tech spec number ratings

Strength: 6 Intelligence: 6 Speed: 10 Endurance: 7 Rank: 5 Courage: 6 Firepower: 4 Skill: 7

As part of a marketing plan to promote the Cybertron toy line, six deluxe class sized figures were released as Wal-Mart exclusives in new packaging. Each figure was packaged with one of three members of the Armada Race Team with a new deco. The deluxe figures were not given new decos however. Each Mini-Con was packaged with a Tiny Tin similar to those released last year with a new graphic pattern.

Each two pack includes new tech specs that were written to (somewhat awkwardly) to explain how the team appeared in the Cybertron universe. Depending on which tech spec you read, Downshift is either a victim or a willing bad guy. Also, depending on which tech spec you look at, the team was referred to as either the Race Team or the Road Assault Team. Following the strict deco patterns however, the Race Team would fit better.

This team has been reviewed a few times before. Check out the Armada Race Team review, the Road Assault Team review and the Japanese X-Dimension set review for previous looks at the team. This will focus on the changes made to the figures for this release.

Dirt Boss

The deco pattern on Dirt Boss is the same as his Armada Race Team version. He uses the same stripe pattern with the number "7" on the doors. Even the metallic dark green color of the windshield is the same. The only differences are the colors of the plastic he is cast in. His primary color is now white (as opposed to grey on the original). In robot form, the yellow that made up parts like his feet, head and upper arms is now dark red instead of yellow. No mold degradation seems to have occurred.

Downshift

Downshift's deco pattern has not changed at all. On the front of the vehicle is an oval with the number 3 inside. The sides also have the number 3 inside rectangles. The colors of these "3" symbols match those on the original Downshift. Many of the paint decos match as well. His headlights are angled, metallic silver and behind the "3" oval is a bit of blue. The only paint deco difference is found on the front where the triangular section is painted white rather than light grey. The primary color the figure has been cast in is now dark blue as opposed to the original grey. The spoiler on the back is cast in dark red rather than the yellow of the original. In robot form all the blue decos (including the head and rectangles on the legs) are the same. The section that makes up his chest is white instead of grey.

Mirage

Of the three figures in this set, Mirage is probably the easiest color swap. All his yellow parts are now dark red and the grey parts from the original are now dark blue. The seat is still painted metallic silver in vehicle mode and in robot mode his head is still painted red.

Skyboom Shield

The combined form of the Race/Road Assault Team looks much darker than the original Skyboom shield. The color palette is much closer to the Road Assault Team's version of the shield, primarily because of the red. However, the red here is much darker, and Downshift and Dirt Boss winding switching their light/dark appearances for this form. The shield holds together well and looks great.

Final Thoughts:
As promotional tools go, you don't get much lazier than this. When this team was given a new deco in Armada, the second color scheme was dynamic and very different than the original. However, for this release it's like the designers barely wanted to try. In addition, this set was released long after the deluxes had already been on the market for a while, so most likely you would already own the figures packaged with the Mini-Cons. Add to that contradictory tech specs and laziness in not even giving each Mini-Con individual stat numbers and you just have one set I cannot recommend.