Vector Sigma

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The “mega-computer” Vector Sigma has been described as device which gave all Transformers life. Vector Sigma resides in a spherical chamber deep within the planet Cybertron. Its origins are disputed between continuities; however, upon being activated it pronounces that before Cybertron existed, it did.

In the Japanese Generations One cartoon, it was explained that Vector Sigma began life as “the Oracle”, an ape-like Primitive robot created by the ancient genius, Primacron. The Oracle possessed the power to bring robotic beings to life, and hence played an important role in Primacron’s experiments. Those experiments, however, eventually resulted in the creation of Unicron, who turned on his creator and destroyed the Oracle’s body in the course of his attack.

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The Covenant of Primus explains that Vector Sigma is an artificial intelligence capable of interfacing completely with the systems of Primus and the structures created above him. He served the original Primes as a repository, and Alpha Trion said that Vector Sigma was so close to being alive that the Thirteen Primes couldn’t say if he actually was or not.

image1-20Vector Sigma was first offered as a toy at the 2007 official Transformers convention in North America known as Botcon. A hollow plastic sphere packaged with a removable Circuit Key and a clear “hovering effect” display stand, Vector Sigma was a special souvenir item created by www.unicron.com and offered as an officially licensed product.

image2-6 Vector Sigmas was featured in Train Wars 2. He was represented as being a golden repaint of Micro Change Meteor Robo Metal Man, transforming from a sphere into a humanoid robot. He may or may not have a keychain attached to his back.

In this incarnation, Vector Sigma was the target of the Fallen, one of the original Thirteen Primes originally named Megatronus. The Fallen was well acquainted with the power of Vector Sigma having utilized it when he was employed by Primus. 

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It is interesting that Takara decided to depict Vector Sigma as being a Micro Change mold. Micro Change was a subline of Takara’s successful New Microman line of the early ’80s, which consisted of 3.75″ action figures that were super-posable and vehicles and robots for use by them. Takara has never made an official Vector Sigma toy, but one can assume that if they do, Takara would create it using the Micro Change Metal Man mold as depicted in their fiction.

This of course wouldn’t be the first time Takara has used the Micro Change Meteor Robo molds a Transformers line. In their robot modes, these figures look comparable to the Soundwave and Blaster’s cassettes, but instead of changing into cassettes, they change into little metallic balls. Takara has re-released them as key chains in brightly colored transparent plastic instead of their original diecast metal as part of the toylines for both Beast Wars II and Kiss Players. One can only hope that a future golden Vector Sigma release of Meteor Robo Metal Man would be constructed of diecast instead of plastic.

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There was also a Vector Sigma released with the exclusive Hasbro Asia re-release of the Masterpiece MP-10 Optimus Prime. It contained a hollow plastic Vector Sigma, a removable Circuit Key and a cardboard stand. 

In an attempt to harness the power of Vector Sigma, the Quintessons constructed a shell program called the Oracle. Using the Oracle to control Vector Sigma, the Quintessons allegedly fed Optimus Primal the visions and information necessary to orchestrate the technorganic reformatting of Cybertron, believing that it would leave the Cybertronians weak and disoriented, opening the planet up to an easy conquest. The Quintessons also used the Oracle as an opportunity to entrap some of the remaining cybertronians roaming on Cybertron. The Predacon villain Cryotek witnessed the Quintessons trapping the Mutants using this technique. 

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Vector Sigma apparently recovered from the damage inflicted by the Quintessons.

In the Beast Wars Neo cartoon thousands of years into the future, long after Cybertron had been restored, Vector Sigma appeared to be in charge of the planet, handing down orders via the Convoy Council. It was under Vector Sigma’s orders that Big Convoy was removed from solo warrior duty and placed in charge of a group of unruly Maximal new recruits.

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Guardian Robots

In most G1 continuities, the Guardian Robots (GR) were powerful giant robots that kept the peace during the Golden Age of Cybertron.

Only one GR has survived into the modern ear, Omega Supreme who was the Guardian robot of the Crystal City.

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Interestingly, we know little about these giants. The GR presented in the G1 cartoon that were not Omega Supreme were always blue and white and devoid of personality.

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Takara recolored Omega Supreme into one of these GR as an e-HOBBY exclusive that used the same tooling as the Transformers Encore reissue of Omega featuring a retooled head. The Japanese name for the GR is “GADEP” which supposedly comes from the Japanese dub of the Generation 1 cartoon. Currently the only source for what the acronym means is the e-Hobby toy bio. e-Hobby says it means, “Groundling Auto-Destruct Powerbroker”

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Omega Supreme was originally created from the original form “Super Change Robo Mechabot-1” produced by a company called Toybox. Toybox did not actually design Omega Supreme, instead commissioning his design, along with Sky Lynx, from Takara’s then-rival Tomy. image1-16

Consequently, Takara did not sell Omega Supreme in their original run of G1 toys so the toy was originally unavailable in Japan.  When Takara and Tomy merged companies, Takara was finally able to release Omege Supreme and the blue GR under their Transformers franchise.

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Transformers Animated featured Omega Supreme in its continuity. Guardian Robots were called Omega Sentinels in the Animatedverse, with Omega as the first created and last surviving member of his kind. Animated shrewdly used the original Robo Mechabots for inspiration in fleshing out their Omega Sentinel Corps.

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The folks behind Animated used the black and red Mechabot as inspiration for the only known female GR – Kappa Supreme.

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They also used the blue, red, and silver Mechabot as inspiration for Beta Supreme.

Takara’s e-Hobby GR recolor was used as inspiration for Ultra Magnus’ flagship Steelhaven better known as Sigma Supreme.

In the Animatedverse, Omega Supreme was the first of the Omega Sentinels, designed as part of Project Omega. The Sentinels were built to be living weapons to help turn the tide in the Great War.

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Here are Beta Supreme and Kappa Supreme in my personal collection.

 

The Animatedverse isn’t the only continuity to refer to the GR as Omega Sentinels.

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In the Dreamwave G1 continuity, we glimpsed the Omega Sentinels during the War Within storyline. Here, the Omega Sentinels were shown guarding various strategically vital locations in Iacon. During the Decepticon attack on Iacon, they were among the first and last lines of defense standing between the Decepticons and the Decagon.

The original mold used to make the Mechabots and the G1 Omegas is a great mold. I will mention that it is important to be careful with any of the original Toybox versions as they lack a retool implemented by Hasbro, and the lack of this retool makes the arms more likely to break off. This can be easily fixed by taking the chest plate off the original Mechabot figures and reinforcing the mold with putty or super glue. If you remove the chest plates on both the Hasbro mold and the Toybox mold, you can compare the two to see what I’m talking about.

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Traditionally, Omega Supreme’s main nemesis is Devastator. In many continuities, the Constructicons were responsible for destroying Omega’s beloved Crystal City. No matter the continuity, the destruction of Crystal City is something Omega Supreme has never gotten over.

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Of final note, I’d like to point out that not all GR come in a single size class. While many purists treat the Action Master Elite toy of Omega Spreem as an Omega Supreme variant, the Animatedverse made it a completely different (and much smaller) character. image1 (22)

According to the Allspark Almanac, Omega S.P.R.E.E.M. (Strike Prototype; Rapid Engagement & Elimination Module) is a small-scale prototype that preceded the Omega Sentinels.

The actual Omega Spreem toy was only released in Europe and Australia in 1991. He is one of the only Action Master figures that can actually transform, in this case into a tank. The original Omega Supreme figure was never released in Europe, and some use this (what they consider must have been Hasbro Europe’s ignorance about the original Omega Supreme) to explain the odd coloring and name spelling on this “variant.” However, I believe it is much more likely that Hasbro Europe intended for Omega Spreem to be an all together new character all along. After all, two of the other three Action Master Elites evoke, and possibly even homage, preexisting characters (Turbo Master resembles Bruticus and Double Punch resembles Black Zarak); yet, both of those figures are treated as individual characters separate from the previous figures that they resemble.  image1 (33)

I personally really enjoy the characterization that Animated put forward that Omega Spreem is a smaller prototype of a GR. Until other characterization is given for this toy in some sort of official fiction, that is the explanation for Omega Spreem in my personal cannon.

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Metrowars

Hero-X, formerly Million Publishing, is a Japanese publisher which makes Transformers related magazines. Its Generations series of Magazines have come out at least once a year since 2009.

In July 2013, Hero-X published its volume for that year. It included a comic written, drawn, inked, colored and lettered by Yuki Ohshima entitled “Metrowars.”

Here is the comic in full:

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You can visit Hero-X at its website

Mexican Bumblebee

Mexican Transformer minibot variants manufactured by Plasticos IGA are highly sought after by some collectors. Here we’ve got a white Bumblebee with a red face. Interestingly, there was a white Cliffjumper with a red face also produced, though I have never seen the Cliffjumper in person.

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Plasticos IGA was a Mexican company that held the license to manufacture and sell Transformers toys in Mexico and Central America in the early 1980s.

There is a theory that this particular Mexican minibot variant was a Mexican store exclusive; though, I am unsure where this theory originated.

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The thing that attracted me most to this figure was how majestic his red face looked against the white body. It simply pops!

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Being an IGA release, the quality of this figure is not as good as the ones released in the United States by Hasbro. The plastic feels thinner, and the whole figure has an air of fragility.

However, it is an amazing figure even with these drawbacks.

The markings on Mexican minibots are always marked as Hasbro despite the fact that they were designed and produced by IGA.

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I personally love the collection of minibots produced by IGA. It is thought that out of all of the versions produced, some still haven’t been revealed on social media.

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You would be excused if you confused this white Bumblebee with the eHobby GoBot Bug Bite. Both are white, but the shades of white are different and one is an Autobot while the other wears the Decepticon sigil.

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I personally like to call this Bumblebee version “Mex.”

For an unknown reason, Mexican minibots were also sold in Europe. So it is not uncommon for this figure to occasionally turns up for sale-especially in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Sonic Assault Team

The Sonic Assault Team is a triumvirate of mini-cons who specialize in guerrilla warfare. The team consists of Combusta (leader), Falcia, and Twirl.

SonicAssault Interestingly, the Sonic Assault Team is an all fembot unit.

Their fiction takes place in the Armada universe, though they were never featured on the television series or in the comic books.

image2 (1)Combusta is the leader of the team, and she keeps the quick tempered Falcia constrained and defends the flighty Twirl from touble.

Their decos consist mainly of pink, purple, and white with smatterings of blue here and there. The translucent plastic on Twirl and Falcia give those figures a unique and somewhat feminine aesthetic.

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Combusta, Falcia, and Twirl were all sold separately. They were only available for sale with the first printing of the Micron Densetsu DVDs.

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These exclusive mini-cons were part of the “Linkage” campaign and story line. The Linkage is a dimension formed from the minds and souls of all “free” mini-cons. It is similar to the Allspark but not the same. In the Armada universe mini-cons do not have sparks.

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Linkage was depicted by a comic book series that usually consisted of three pages each and came with the individual mini-cons in their corresponding DVDs. The series featured three teams of heroic mini-cons including the Sonic Assault Team fighting for freedom from Decepticon enslavement while two teams of evil mini-cons look to do Unicron’s bidding.

The entire series was written, drawn, inked, colored and lettered by long-time Japanese fan-turned-pro Hirofumi Ichikawa. The stories were eventually translated to English by American fan Doug Dlin.

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As you can see from “Part 7” of the Linkage saga, Twirl is sometimes referred to as Falcia’s baby… something that royally pisses Falcia off. Ah, family.

These mini-cons are extremely rare and can go for a robust amount of money each. If you’re in the market for these, it can be a painfully long process waiting for some to come up for sale. Since these figures were only sold with the first printing of the Micron Densetsu DVDs, only a very limited number were ever made of each. I spent the whole year of 2004 trying to collect the entire run of Linkage which consists of 15 figures. I didn’t complete my quest until 2011. I bothered Andrew Hall at every Botcon for years looking for a Combusta. I’ve been lucky enough to pick up extras along the way for most of the figures to keep a second in box.

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Twirl has been featured in Western media via the Transformers Legends mobile game for Apple and Android devices. Interestingly, she was depicted as being a Decepticon in this continuity though she retained the flighty, fun loving and carefree demeanor that she had in Linkage. It’s possible that this version of Twirl’s boss (Flamewar) forcibly reprogrammed Twirl from an Autobot to a Decepticon.

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I realize that collecting mini-cons is not for everyone. There are too damn many of them, and exclusives like these can burn a huge hole in your wallet. However, if you have the desire, the money and the patience, I highly recommend these figures.

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TransTech and Immorticon

Around the year 2000, Hasbro was trying to devise a successor for their Beast Machines toyline to hit stores toward the end of 2001. They started the process of developing a new franchise called TransTech. The concept featured cybertron-like vehicles that in many cases had animal-like sculpts and deco. TransScream

Hasbro used a company based in Toronto, Canada called Draxhall Jump to develope the premise and basic designs for the toy line. Hasbro had experienced prior success with this model when Draxhall Jump created the aforementioned Beast Machines.

Draxhall Jump decided to reuse some character that had been used in Beast Machines including Cheetor, Silverbolt, Blackarachnia, Rattrap, and Nightscream.

Interestingly, TransTech would have also featured returning G1 characters Optimus Prime, Starscream, and Shockwave.

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At least one new character would have been created for TransTech… the indomitable villian known as Immorticon!

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I’ve included Draxhall Jump’s original artwork/design for Immorticon for convenience.

Immorticon would have transformed into a blue or green tank with an orange or yellow head.

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Unfortunately for many fans, Hasbro decided to abandon the TransTech line while it was still in the design stage. Hasbro simply went another direction and imported Takara’s Car Robots toy line that was renamed for the American Market as Robots in Disguise. This was undoubtedly a most cost effective decision on Hasbro’s part as Takara had already developed the toys and the media for Car Robots on their own.

All was not lost however, because Immorticon’s design was reused by Draxhall Jump in the ToyBiz line of MegaMorphs for the Incredible Hulk.

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Now sporting a darker green and purple with a head design that more resembles the Hulk, you can still see how the original Immorticon design heavily influenced the MegaMorphs final product.

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For those of us excited by the TransTech designs, happily the Official Transformers Collectors Club brought the designs back with their Transtech (the second T is not an uppercase in Club fiction) storyline. In this story, Immorticon finally officially becomes a Transformer as as a Predacon on an alternate Cybertron where the aging Decepticons constructed them as a new army to fight the endless Great War.

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Immorticon became a disciple of Shattered Glass Alpha Trion, a sage and evil mastermind who promised to help Immorticon and his comrades to get back to their home dimension.

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Hopefully we’ll eventually get a figure of Immorticon. Until then, many of us (including myself) have had to make due with ToyBiz’s MegaMorph Hulk who is based on Draxhall Jump’s original Immorticon design.

Beet-Gugal AKA Beet-Chop

In 1985, Hasbro licensed insect molds from the Japanese company Bandai that would become the deluxe insecticons.

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These molds were originally made by the defunct toy company Takatoku Toys. The original versions of the deluxe insecticon molds came from a line called Beetras and were named Beet-Gadol, Beet-Zeguna, Beet-Vadam and Beet-Gugal. A fifth fembot figure named Beet-Papil was planned, but she never got beyond the design stage.

 

 

As the deluxe insecticons, these molds rarely appeared in any Transformers fiction… probably due to copyright concerns as Bandai moved into the North American toy market. What we do know of the deluxe insecticons is encapsulated in this description from a Hasbro advertisement.

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The Transformers
Deluxe Insecticon Assortment

These evil Insecticons descend upon unsuspecting humans to confront the Autobot defenders and wreak havok on earth. Swing out the wings, pull back the legs, fold down the head…each provides a challenging transformation from insect to robot and back. The Deluxe Insecticons are packaged with attachable weapons, character bio, Tech Specs chart and decoder. The special liquid crystal logo assures their proof of authenticity. Assortment includes three each of the four Deluxe Insecticons.

The deluxe insecticons were briefly featured in IDW’s continuation of the Marvel G1 comic book. They were used like a secret swat team to take out internal disorder within the Decepticon ranks.

All four of the deluxe insecticons came from the Takatoku molds that Bandai bought the rights to when Takatoku folded.

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The figure Beet-Gugal would be recolored by Hasbro into Chop Shop.

 

 

Chop Shop

Because Bandai owns the molds used to make the original deluxe insecticons including Chop Shop, it is doubtful that Bandai will ever allow their rivals Hasbro or Takara to ever reissue Chop Shop or Beet-Gugal.

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However, Both Hasbro and Takara have used new molds for both of those characters.

Hasbro has released two new versions of Chop Shop in recent years. CW-Legends-Chop-Shop-01

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Takara has released both versions of Chop Shop and Beet-Gugal in new molds. To avoid copyright issues, Takara calls its Beet-Gugal figure “Beet-Chop.”

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It’s interesting that Takara would chose to release a version of Beet-Gugal since Takara never released the original toy.

I’ve included a picture of Beet-Gugal and Beet-Chop side by side.

Whether you call him Beet-Gugal or Beet-Chop, this is a great character to add to your Decepticon ranks. Since no media was ever made for any of the Takatoku Toys, we don’t have an idea of what Beet-Gugal’s character would be like; however, since Takara has retroactively made him an insecticon, we can assume he’s as evil and greedy as the rest of the insecticons as it seems to be inherent in their nature.

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Interestingly, Botcon (the official Transformers convention) also created a version of Beet-Gugal that it named “Beet-Chit.”

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I’ve personally added all three versions of “Beet” to my collection.

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A missing Constructicon?

This green and purple Gears (Pick-Up) is from Brazil’s Optimus v. Malignus line manufactured by Estrela. Estrela held the license for Transformers in Brazil, and it manufactured and released many recolors of the Transformers minibots from the first G1 series. The releases of these mini-bots were split into two series, Robocar and the Optimus v. Malignus lines.

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Constructicon-colored Gears

Optimus v. Malignus had good and evil factions, but Robocar did not. The members of Optimus were the equivalent of the Autobots while Malignus was comensurate with the Decepticons. Depending on what faction a particular minibot was part of, they had a distinct faction symbol. You can see the Malignus faction symbol being displayed prominently on the Pick-Up above.

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It is believed that the toys from this line were available from 1984 to 1986. Interestingly, the figures from the second series have bright and unique color schemes and new card art.image1 (1)

In his robot mode, Constructicon Pick-Up has a lot more prominent purple on him than green; yet, his vehicle mode is almost entirely green.

It is possible that Estrela chose the green and purple color scheme for the evil Pick-Up character due to the Constructicons being very recognizable and symbolic of the evil Decepticons.

If you want to identify a Brazilian minibot, the “MADE IN BRAZIL” and “Estrela” stamping makes it easy to distinguish.

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Beyond the color differences, a noticeable change to Pick-Up’s mold is visible in his faceplate. With Constructicon Pick-Up, his faceplate is made up of only one separate piece. Compare that to the original G1 Gears release whose faceplate is made up of three seperate pieces.

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The original Gears is a unique minibot himself in part because he is one of the smallest.

 

 

 

 

Minibots

For an idea of how many versions of Gears there are, the mold was released in unique recolors in Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and Peru. Each of these countries produced a recolor of the mold that is exclusive to only that country.

All of these unique recolors command high prices on the secondary market, so collecting them is not feasible for everyone. If you have the money and the desire, finding Mexican and South American minibots for sale can be a daunting task. The most sought after recolors are extremely rare, and only occasionally show up for sale if ever. To compound the problem, new versions of the minibots from these countries are still being discovered… or should I say rediscovered as they were known about in their home countries during the early eighties.

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Here is a selection of Gears repaints from my personal collection.

 

Magnificus

Magnificus is a Decepticon who may or may not be a clone of Perceptor. The box includes two figures, and it celebrates the shared history of Takara’s Transformers and Microman lines.

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An e-HOBBY exclusive deco of the Perceptor mold, Magnificus transforms into a working microscope as well as a tank that Microman figures can ride. This toy was originally designed to work with the Microman figures. Magnificus’ coloration is based on the mold’s original pre-Transformers Microman colors.

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His character was a military strategist who was framed by other Decepticons in a bid to get rid of him.

He came with his partner Ga’mede.

Ga’mede was saved by Magnificus just as he was going to be executed in a family power struggle. Apparently he’s from a subatomic kingdom which Ga’mede’s family party ruled.

His mold uses a Microman body, and Ga’mede is described as being extremely loyal to Magnificus for saving his life as he has sworn to help Magnificus get revenge against the Decepticons who framed him.

Magnificus’ most powerful piece of technology is  his matter-enlarging scope which is capable of actually pulling microscopic objects through it and increasing their size.

Interestingly, a version of Magnificus exists in the Animated universe. He was revealed in the Animated Allspark Almanac II. MagnificusAnimated

Magnificus and Ga’mede were sold together exclusively through the e-Hobby website in Asia.

Moon

Moon is a character from the Best Wars II series. He is characterized as an observer of the war between the Maximals and the Predacons in Earth’s distant future.

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Much like G1 Mirage, Moon has the ability is to become invisible.

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According to IDW’s Beast Wars comics, Moon along with Artemis was charged by the Celestials to observe the events transpiring on the planet Gaea.

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Moon’s figure was available only in Asia in 1998. His IDW Beast Wars profile is at the time of my writing this his only depiction in Western media.

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Moon transforms into a rabbit. His robot-mode chest has a “View-Master” gimmick that shows various art from Beast Wars II when you look through it. image1 (14)