Sabrina's Transformers Armada Reviews

Super Base assortment Wave 1: Optimus Prime with Sparkplug

Price: Approx $40
Overall impressions: Looks very nice, with innovative electronic gimmicks. It would be nice if the gimmicks were better distributed over all parts of the toy. Far from perfect, but still an incredibly cool toy.
Sparkplug (Minicon, Yellow Lamborghini-style sprtscar)

Features: Other than the things all Minicons do, nothing special

Pros: Looks very nice and has a surprisingly complicated transformation for such a small toy. Seems like a tiny version of one of the original G1 car toys, looking quite a bit like a cross between the original Bumblebee and Sunstreaker.

Cons: While the robot arms are quite posable, the legs aren't at all. It takes a little effort to get all parts lined up properly for each mode sometimes. The bright yellow color obscures many of the nice details sculpted into the plastic.

Optimus Prime (Autobot, semi truck with trailer)

Features (cab): Transforms from truck cab to robot. As you do this, the cab sends an infrared signal to the trailer to automatically convert to base mode. Changing the cab to super robot torso sends the signal to convert the trailer into the legs of the super robot, and to trailer again when going back to truck mode. In robot mode, a button on top of his head causes the mouthplate to move, giving the impression that he's talking (or chewing). The clear smokestacks on his arms can detach, and combine into a pistol to hold. Finally, the robot chestplate opens to reveal a representation of the Autobot matrix of leadership sculpted into the panel underneath.

Features (trailer base): Motorized, to convert automatically from trailer to base to the lower half of the super robot mode, back to trailer (but not from base directly to trailer it seems), upon getting the proper signal from the cab. Transformation is followed by a crashing sound effect. Trailer mode can carry several minicons, either on top or in the side storage compartments. Base mode has a lot of areas for minicons to attach or just stand, including a three-tier platform and a spot for Optimus himself. One of the storage compartments has a sliding lever to launch minicons out of the box. A small cannon can be activated by a minicon, and two other gun emplacements can pull or spring out, one being a spring-loaded missile launcher. Three different sound effects can be activated, the crashing noise and a firing noise are activated by buttons. and a minicon peg activates a different weapon sound. All these actions also cause a clear screen to light up. Finally, while not exactly a feature now, there are unused pegs and a hole at the back of the trailer, which seem to imply a future toy will make use of them, possibly similar to God Ginrai's second trailer.

Features: (super robot): Very large, shares many of the features of base mode, such as the pop-out weaponry. the Autobot-symbol-button on the robot's chest activates sound effects (by pressing the base buttons) a small button on the robot's shoulder lights up any weapon in the right hand, such as his large gun, the small one formed from the smokestacks, or part of the Star Saber sword formed from the air defense Minicon team.

Pros (cab): Compact and powerful-looking in both truck cab and robot forms. Very evocative of the original Optimus Prime design as well, especially with the color scheme and matrix. Transformation is not complex, but satisfying. Robot mode is articulated as well or better than most other Armada toys, though that's not much to write home about. Cab Robot form is my favorite of all his forms, and definitely in the top five of all Optimus Prime toys ever produced.

Cons (cab): While the robot fists showing in truck mode aren't as obvious as they seemed in the prototype, the super-robot fists are very obvious when the cab is detached from the trailer. IT would be nice if the robot chestplate locked in place, but it's not really a problem. There are very few gimmicks or minicon features on the cab. Even with all the electronics, the cab is little more than a remote control for the trailer. It takes a little practice to make sure the IR emitter and sensor are facing each other to get the feature to work, but this is forgiveable since it's a new idea for a transformer toy. Some more lights or sounds in the cab might have been nice, given the electronics already in place.

Pros (trailer base): works very well as a base or playset for minicons. Gimmicks seem to work well and reliably. Motorised auto-transformation is impressive, innovative, and fun to watch.

Cons (trailer base): Doesn't always hold together well in trailer mode. It would be nice if the missile cannon had a matching one on the other side. Looks kind of clunky as a trailer. You have to be careful the sides are not pegged down when you activate the transformation, or it will strain and misalign itself. The reliance on the gimmick to transform the trailer means you're out of luck if something stops working or the batteries go dead.

Pros (super robot): Very tall and imposing. Looks much better in person than the early pictures first made it seem. Undeniably impressive.

Cons (super robot): Not well articulated at all, due to the way the gimmicks are designed. the legs are totally immobile, and the arms would be much improved without the limitations in the joints (done that way to protect the wires for the light, I'm guessing). The legs don't always hold together well, making the super robot occasionally unstable. The connection between the upper and lower halves seems a bit flaky, often activating the base sound effects unintentionally. There are some gaps in the shoulders and back, so it looks best from the front, and not so great from the sides or top.

Score: (out of 10) Optimus Prime 9, Trailer Base 8.5, Super Optimus 7, Sparkplug 9.5, Overall 8.5

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