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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Blackjack's Review: Decepticon Arms Micron 5-pack

Like the Autobot Arms Micron set, I somehow ended up with the Decepticon set without really wanting them. For those who donít know, the TakaraTomy version of the Transformers: Prime line got rid of everybodyís weapons and replaced them with transforming ĎArms Micronsí that you build from a kit, and each weapon can combine with each other through an insane amount of 5mm pegs to form ridiculously large combination weapons. The results are less than spectacular, although in several cases managed to produce some rather interesting results. This being Japan, a huge bunch of them got a lot of redecos, and these five are among them.

Iíve already had several toys from the Takara line, namely Breakdown and the Jet Vehicon, and both came with Arms Microns, so I already have an experience with them. I do consider the two of them pretty good toys, but the Autobots have been mostly disappointments. The Decepticons, thankfully, arenít quite as bad.
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Name: Gora

Now while the Autobots all have humanoid Arms Microns, the designers clearly had a fun time with the Decepticons since they turn into all sorts of animals. Some of the latter waves have rather exotic choices like sawsharks, geckos, fiddler crabs and moles. Anyway, Gora the gorilla was the Arms Micron packaged with Megatron, transforming into the Decepticon leaderís iconic fusion cannon.

There are two versions of him Ė the original Gora had the swing-out blade that Megatron frequently utilizes in the show, and the aptly-dubbed ďGora IIĒ, released with a repaint of Megatron known as ďMegatron DarknessĒ, transforms into a more show-accurate fusion cannon at the cost of losing the blade. This particular Gora is based on the second mould.

Beast Mode:
Gora is a bad-looking gorilla, actually. The massive barrel of the fusion cannon splits apart and becomes Goraís massive monkey-arms, but thatís about what makes him feel like a gorilla instead of just another robot with disproportionately gigantic arms. And they arenít even good arms Ė they donít have any moulding even on the interior side to tell you that itís anything but a cannon barrel split in half. His head is also not particularly monkey-like, being a single beady eye on a featureless robotic face. Goraís tiny gorilla rear legs are likewise just pieces of the fusion cannon. Goraís cast entirely in clear aqua blue plastic, though heís got some silver and blue stickers to liven his arms up as well as a beady red eye. Heís got a purple square crystal thingy on his left arm. Articulation wise, Goraís articulated in the shoulders, elbows and spine though he canít really do much beyond a standard gorilla pose. Heís a pretty bad monkey.

Alternate Mode:
Gora transforms into a fusion cannon. And unlike some of the other Arms Microns I own, the shade of blue they used for the fusion cannon manages to be somewhat opaque enough to not make it look like itís obviously transparent and show all the ugly plastic spruces within. The black detailing on the end of the barrel helps to sell this illusion. It ends up looking like a slightly glowing cannon, actually Ė shame heís cast in aqua blue instead of purple or black. It certainly fits quite well on my Prime RID Megatronís hand, easily replacing the horrible gimmicky monstrosity that passes for a fusion cannon. Granted it clashes pretty badly with Megatronís gray-and-purple paint scheme, but you canít have everything.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 3/10 Goraís a pretty bad gorilla, and the transformation scheme doesnít help either. But he makes a good cannon, so thereís that.
Durability: 7/10 His stickers, despite being long and curved, have not peeled off. I can only surmise that the particular stickers or plastics used for the Autobot set are particularly rubbish.
Aesthetics: 6/10 Gora makes a pretty good-looking fusion cannon that could, admittedly, stand to be a little longer, but his gorilla mode is pretty pathetic.
Articulation: 2/10 Goraís got the joints as part of his transformation, but he canít use any of them.
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Name: Gull

Gullís name is either the last syllable in the Japanese pronounciation of either eagle (iguru) or seagull (shiguru). Since seagull is a bit more hilarious than eagle, Iíve decided to call him ĎGullí instead of ĎGulí or ĎGuruí that other translators prefer. Anyway, Gull is initially packaged with the Voyager class Starscream toy.

Beast Mode:
Gullís main primary mode is a bird which could easily be passed as an eagle or a seagull. Gull is primarily dark purplish-blue, with red markings on his spine and a red eye, plus silver markings on his wings. A purple hexagonal crystal sits on his left wing. Gull has a pair of embarrassing-looking feet, and a tail that can wag aroundÖ itís a shame that the 5mm peg that sticks out of his butt kind of ruin the general shape. The 5mm peg that sticks down from under his chin, while helping him stand up, also kind of make him look kind of bad. He can flap his wings horizontally, wag his tail, rotate and lift up his head, but thatís about what he can do. That said, the idea of robot birds perching on high-ranking Decepticons have been a thing since, well, ever, so in a pinch Gull can become a poor manís (blue) Laserbeak.

Alternate Mode:
Gull transforms intoÖ what the hell does Gull transform into? I have no idea. Itís a thing that looks like the sword-with-a-cannon-between-the-blades thing that Mark Wahlberg uses in the Age of Extinction movie, breaking the trend of Arms Microns looking like something their wielders use in the show. If you are inebriated and squint maybe, maybe it looks like Starscreamís seldom-seen cannon arm, but even then itís a far stretch. You can wield Gull like a stumpy sword, or wield him either horizontally or vertically (his Ďhiltí can rotate) depends on whether you want to hold him a la Mark Wahlberg or like a crossbow. His wings can even expand to look like a facsimile of a crossbow. Overall itís a strange entry into the series, but not necessarily a bad one.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 3/10 Itís extremely simplistic, basically just holding gull in different directions and folding up wings and legs. It does what it needs to do, though.
Durability: 7/10 The plastic is pretty durable and his stickers do stick well.
Aesthetics: 7/10 While the weapon mode is a bit of a WTF moment, I do generally like how Gull looks and the minimal amount of stickers actually help to make Gull look pretty nice without using any more stickers than the others.
Articulation: 3/10 Gull can waggle his wings and stuff. Itís nothing stellar, but what can a bird do?
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Name: Noji

Noji initially comes packed in with the car Vehicon, and his name is derived from the Japanese word for wild boar. I actually own the Jet Vehicon from Takara, and while the two guns are more or less identical, the Jet Vehicon comes with Igu, who transforms into an iguana. Noji transforms into a boar, and I personally find it interesting how an identical-looking weapon can transform in two radically different ways.

Beast Mode:
Noji is a boar. Well, heís supposed to be one, anyway. See, unlike his doppelganger Igu, who blatantly has an lizard face, Noji only has a pair of moulded tusks on the sides of his cannon barrel to inform us what animal heís supposed to be instead of, oh, a cannon with legs. Itís generally idiotic-looking and doesnít look like a boar at all. Noji is mainly a lighter shade of blue, with silver stickers and dark blue designs. I like a lot of the stickers that comes for the Decepticon Arms Microns, which brightens their otherwise monotonic looks significantly. Thereís a single red eye (like all the Decepticon Microns) hidden within the armour plate things. Nojiís got a neon green circular crystal that rather clashes with the rest of him. He can waggle his legs. Overall? Probably the worst one of the bunch thanks to his rather abstract beast mode.

Alternate Mode:
Noji transforms into a larger version of the triangular-barreled blaster that the Vehicons can transform their hands into. In a nice little internal continuity thing, Noji and Igu look nearly identical in gun mode, barring the obvious presence of Nojiís (barely noticeable) tusks and Iguís hidden iguana head. Itís a pretty show-accurate blaster. Nothing much to say about it.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 1/10 He transforms from a gun into a gun with legs that people pretend looks like a boar.
Durability: 4/10 The tip of the cannon can easily pop off, and the sticker surrounding that piece is also a likely candidate to peel off.
Aesthetics: 3/10 Heís a nice cannon, but a horrible Pumbaa.
Articulation: 1/10 He can waggle his legs, but nothing else.
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Name:Zori

Zori, based on the Japanese word for scorpion (sasori), was initially packaged with Soundwave. Takara wisely did not decide to replace Laserbeak with an Arms Micron (imagine how ungainly that origami bird would look with 5mm ports pockmarking every corner) and instead created a brand-new one, based onÖ Soundwaveís tentacles? OkayÖ?

Beast Mode:
Zori transforms into a scorpion. I think out of all the beast robot modes I like Zori the best. He actually looks like a proper robotic scorpion instead of just some random weapon thatís splayed out to look like an animal. Zori, tragically, is cast in clear gray plastic and itís the ugly type thatís almost see-through and generally makes Zori one ugly scorpion. Thanks to having a base light gray colour, the silver stickers kind of disappear into the background, leaving only the blue markings really apparent. Zori has a single red beady eye and a purple circular crystal in the middle of his abdomen. Zori looks like a scorpion, though, and looking at him even more closely heís got the pincers, those little fangs and three pairs of legs. Shame about the inaccuracy, since scorpions are supposed to have four pairs of legs. His tail is arched upwards and ends in a four-clawed pincer thing based on the combat tentacles Soundwave has in the show. Again, despite Zori really looking like an animal, 5mm pegs kind of ruin the illusion by sticking out of the base of his tail and the sides of his pincer. The peg that sticks out of his tail also makes it impossible to pose his tail in any way but jutting in a 90 degrees angle from Zoriís body as opposed to curling backwards a little. His tail is jointed in two different places (other than the nonfunctional base) and his claws are jointed in two. They donít open and close, though. Overall, despite all his problems I think Zoriís still my favourite in beast mode, in no small part thanks to my love towards robotic scorpion. I do unironically enjoy Zori the robot scorpion.

Alternate Mode:
Zoriís alternate mode is certainly abstract. Itís best described as a rectangle with a jointed tentacle thing sticking out of it. Iím not quite sure how a robot is supposed to wield him. Do they hold Zori by the peg that sticks out of his butt? Or the pegs from the side of his claws? How is even effective in battle? Is it used like a whip, or a spear? Itís a ridiculously weird looking design. Granted Zoriís legs and claws do fold up nicely to form a rather kibble-free rectangle, but itís still an unsightly rectangle that destroys any illusion of this being a combat tentacle attached to someone.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 2/10 He kind of transforms from a scorpion into nothing.
Durability: 7/10 Again, plastic quality is still good and surprisingly enough the stickers still hold despite them being relatively smaller than the other Microns I own.
Aesthetics: 3/10 As much as I adore Zoriís scorpion sculpt, being cast in clear gray plastic and turning into a something makes him suffer quite badly in this regard.
Articulation: 6/10 Heís a pretty articulated little scorpion, other than the problem with the base of his tail.

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Name: Ida

Rounding up the last of the Decepticon Arm Microns is Ida, whose name stems from the Japanese pronunciation of the English word Ďspiderí (supaida). Unsurprisingly, Ida was initially partnered with Airachnid. Since Airachnid doesnít actually transform her hands into any kind of weapons in the series as far as I know (she shoots energy blasts and webs from her palms) the designers are free to think up whatever they want.

Beast Mode:
Ida transforms into a black widow spiderÖ in theory. She kind of looks more like a tick. Instead of long, jointed legs that spiders have, Idaís legs are stubby little affairs. Sheís cast in dark blue, with more silver and blue stickers sprucing her up, including one in the center of her abdomen shaped like a red hourglass. Watch out for the silver stickers that enclose her fangs Ė those are extremely keen to just peel off. Ida has eight legs. The two front pairs are somewhat articulated and can kind of waggle around a bit, the third pair are stunted things just barely visible peeking out from under two 5mm pegs, and the rearmost pair of legs are these massive bladelike things that obviously form her blades in weapon mode. Idaís got a pretty decent amount of articulation. Her two front pair of legs are hinged, the massive rear legs can rotate and her abdomen is also on a hinge. Like Zori, I find her quite cute despite being rather malformed.

Alternate Mode:
Ida transforms intoÖ well, a thing. Her abdomen folds up against her head and her front legs also fold up, and the rear blades are rotated to formÖ well, some kind of curved two-bladed Wolverine claws, I guess, the kind that Beast Wars Prowl has. Itís a pretty cool-looking and exotic weapon in my opinion, especially attached to a larger robot like MegatronÖ certainly will look ridiculously oversized attached to Airachnid, but she sucks and I donít want to bother to dig her up. In addition the legs can be rotated to simulate some kind of pincer weapon, and the abdomen (which has an ugly neon green crystal in the center of it from this side) can kind of flick up to be some kind of weak arm-shield thing. Sheís cool. I like her.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 7/10 I do like Idaís spider and arm-blade modes, so I suppose the transformation design delivers well.
Durability: 6/10 The stickers on her pedipalps aside, Ida is a sturdy little bugger.
Aesthetics: 8/10 Probably my favourite out of the five Iím reviewing this time, Ida manages to look pretty nice in both modes. Again, maybe itís my own love of creepy-crawlies, but I do like them. Being cast in a nice shade of blue canít hurt either.
Articulation: 4/10 Sheís got joints, but she canít really use them in her beast mode thanks to her front legs being so small and her rear legs helping to support her.
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Gravity Planet Bowgun:
Of course, the Arms Microns can be combined to form ridiculously ginormous clunky looking weapons. This particular set forms the ĎGravity Planet Bowguní, which is basically Ida, Noji and Gora plugged onto Gullís back while heís in a crossbow configuration, with Zori acting asÖ the arrow? Whatever. Itís stupid looking.

Fun: (as a set) 7/10 I actually did manage to have fun with this five, moreso than the Autobots! Noji is extremely weak, and Gora isnít the most stellar of toys, but Ida, Zori and Gull are such charming little buggers that I canít help not to have them muck around on my desk.
Price/Value: (as a set) 3/10 Considering how much Takara charges their toys for, wellÖ granted I didnít personally pay too much for these, but with only three that are anywhere good the asking price youíll see in stores that import Takara toys would definitely not be worth it.
Overall: (as a set) 6/10 I do like them a lot more than the Autobot Arms Microns, and surprisingly when reviewing them I found out that I really, really like Ida and Gull, both as accessories and as little beast transformers. Zori isnít quite bad either in his scorpion mode, and Gora makes a nice replacement for my Megatronís fusion cannon. And while overall the Arms Micron concept general is quite weak, I do believe that some of those contained here are some of the better ones to be made by TakaraÖ itís just a shame about Noji. I wished they had included Knock Outís fiddler crab Micron instead, which looks all kinds of crazy, but you canít have everything. Anyway, yeah, I'm surprised that I like these five more than I did before making this review. It's nothing stellar or necessary, but they are a nice bunch of accessories.
 
 
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