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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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numbat's review of: the Decepticon Battle Squad

Name: Decepticon Battle Squad
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Aerial Counterattack
Sub-Group: Micromaster Combiner Squad
"The higher they fly, the faster they'll fall!"

Utilizing the Micromaster Combiner feature, each micro robot of the Decepticon Battle Squad has the ability to connect with other Micromaster Combiners to form powerful, devastating vehicles of destruction! The nucleus of the Decepticon's off-radar defense system. Banded together by a cybernetic compressor to ignite the stratosphere with a magnitude of firepower! Equipped with sophisticated, visual tracking devices for high-definition, target-lock capabilities! Usually to blame when Autobot space crafts suddenly disappear from radar. Able to annihilate anything within a three mile radius. When separated, take pop-shots at each other for sport. Combine to form an armored assault vehicle, blast cannon transport, and high-spy jet.

Micromasters. Either you like them, or you hate them. I doubt many people love them. I have to admit there are a good few I do love, but overall, I can’t say I’m overly enamoured of the line. It was a dark time in Transformers history when all you could get were Micromasters and Action Masters… (1990) Still, the Decepticon Battle Squad is one of the gems of the time, and I still enjoy them. I remember very well the relative who took me shopping for a birthday present who was shocked when I chose them, but, I turned out all right anyway. The review is divided into pairs.

DIRECT-HIT & POWER PUNCH
"Strike hard and fear no one!”

Alternate Mode:
These guys combine to form a heavy-duty mobile artillery cannon. The whole set-up looks pretty cool, with detail overload (especially for a Micromaster). The purple-pink cannon looks good on the top, with the pistons molded nicely in grey. It can be moved up and down, to blast Autobots at long range. The only snag is the lack of a hole or indication of one.

The blue-grey looks great, though, as do the white windows. A very nice ensemble, and not at all awkward like a lot of the Micromaster Combiners.

Robot Mode:
The transformation, like most Micromaster Combiners, follows a simple formula. You separate the two halves (front, Direct-Hit; rear, Power Punch), and flip or pull legs out, and swivel arms forward. Each is differs from the others slightly in the squad, and, in this case, we have to pull out Direct-Hit’s head, which can be very awkward!

The pair look good in robot mode, with nice detailing. I do prefer Direct-Hit, with his purple torso, and extended head, and he is definitely the strongest robot mode in the squad. They both suffer a slight snag, in that their shoulders are jointed oddly, and swing above their heads at an odd elevation when rotated forward.

MELTDOWN & HALF-TRACK
"Ramming speed is the only way to travel!"

Alternate Mode:
Here we have a purple half-track, with a nifty turret with twin anti-aircraft cannons. This can be rotated and the guns elevated (linked). The red sets off nicely against the grey turret, and the whole affair looks suitably evil with the dark purple and red windows. Alas, detail is not in abundance. The cab does look a little odd – like it’s just a car tacked on the front of a tank – and this is the weakest of the three alternate modes, but that’s only because the others are so damned good! Interestingly, Meltdown (front) makes a perfectly passable armoured car on his own as well.

Robot Mode:
Following the same formula as before, we get Meltdown and Half-Track. Really, no prizes for guessing who’s who, even without my previous slip. Each looks not bad in robot mode, and I do really like Half-Track. Meltdown looks alright from front, but he has ridiculously massively protruding lower legs (like a lot of Micromasters), which just ruins him fairly.

FIRESHOT & VANQUISH
"It's my duty to know the unknown!"

Alternate Mode:
Now we have the real gem. The alternate mode is a really beautiful Blackbird spy plane, with great detailing, and very few aesthetic flaws considering it’s a Micromaster. From the top it’s great, with the exception of the bulky hinge up front, the purple square, and a grey tab. It sounds a lot, but it really isn’t, as I’m sure you’d agree from the photos. Underneath, alas, we have bits of body all over the shop, but it’s still not nearly as bad as most Micromasters. This looks excellent on display, and is great fun to play with.

Robot Mode:
These two break the mold of standard Micromaster transformations. Pulling them apart you get Fireshot up front, and Vanquish at the back.

Vanquish has a dead simple transformation. Simply fold his legs down, and the wings back, and whalla! You have him! Still, he’s a nice little bot, and very well proportioned. In some ways – I think it’s the arms – he reminds me of a Headmaster in this mode.

Fireshot is very nice. His legs concertina out, the cockpit flips back to allow him to stand on his feet, his arms fold down at the elbows, and his head flips up. It’s a good transformation for a Micromaster! Unfortunately, the little fellow is very oddly proportioned, with his arms looking particularly odd.

Overall, though, this is a nifty Micromaster set, and well worth picking up if you’re a fan of small Transformers (I am!)

Transformation: 3 – They’re Micromasters! But Fireshot does have a nice transformation.
Durability: 10 – Very solid little things.
Fun: 5 – I’m gonna play the ‘Micromaster’ card again. They can be fun, but they aren’t amazing or life reforming.
Price: ? – I have no idea, but I would imagine you could pick one or two up – if not the whole set – in some cheap lot somewhere on E-Bay.
Overall: 5 – They’re great if you like small Transformers, but they won’t revolutionise your collection.
 
 
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