Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning)

Transformers News: Catching them all!  Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning)

Monday, May 12th, 2008 1:01PM CDT

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Posted by: Counterpunch   Views: 72,292

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Considering a career in Mini-Con hunting? Here's the low-down:

It started interestingly enough with Armada Starscream. Now, I had just gotten back into collecting and decided that I was in need of a Starscream, any Starscream to fill that gap in my “collection” (read: 3 figures and a KO). Off I went to Wal-Mart at 10PM with my then new girlfriend and out I came with Armada Starscream. Sure, he was different, more red than grey, but I liked the noises it made and the face sculpt was pretty cool too. I knew, like, nothing at the time.

Now, not that night, but the one after that, I was about to throw away the packaging for Starscream (I had decided that I did not feel guilty over the $20 purchase and would keep the toy) and at the last moment noticed the other little figure in the package: Swindle.

Now, I hated Micromasters back in the day. This little robot leftover of a Mini-Con wasn’t winning me over either. I can remember just how close I was to pitching him out with the package right there and then. I didn’t do it though, hell, I might need the little thing if and when I sold Starscream on eBay…

That was about 5 or 6 years ago. I have literally, hundreds of Mini-Cons now. I’m going to give you a small look at a small world where only the bravest (dumbest?) collectors tread: Mini-Con hunting.


That ain’t all…I got tired of putting them out. :P

Mini-Cons have seen three styles of release in the US. You can find them packed in with Armada toys (and a few other select figures from other lines), in team based three packs, and in rival based two packs from the Cybertron Series. If you are looking for entry level Mini-Con collecting, this is the place to start. Prices remain low, there is an abundance of the toys, and there isn’t a whole lot of competing collectors.

I’m not going to cover in depth the Mini-Cons that came packaged with other figures. There is really no mystery there and with the exception of Energon Ultra Magnus, you’ll not have any problems finding them. On to the Armada three packs…

Several varieties of team packs were released over the life of the Armada line. For almost every pack, there was a later recolor (usually an improved or homage based paint scheme). The initial releases saw the Star Saber team, the SkyBoom Shield team, and the Street Action team. All of these were prominently featured in the cartoon. Also, each of these had a combining gimmick forming in order, a sword, a shield, and a gestalt.




Other teams to follow included the Adventure Team (off road based vehicles), Street Speed Team (Super Articulated w/ car alt modes), and the Sea Assault Team (Adorable lil boats that don’t really float). We also saw the Requiem Blaster Team, a set of three space based figures who combine to form a gun:



All of these were neat, sure. The ones that combined were a pretty cool gimmick, no doubt. Then, they went and made TargetMaster Mini-Cons. This was the turning point for me. The damnable Emergency team did me in. They are three emergency rescue type vehicles that have a third weapon mode. Each of the three turned into a kind of cannon or blaster. They were literally too cool. Correspondingly, the Air Assault Team had a similar gimmick of third-mode weaponry; however, they turned to melee weapons. Or in Gunbarrel’s case, a bad-ass machine gun:



Here is Overload stocked up with Mini-Con weaponry:


After these guys I started to buy up any and all Mini-Cons that were being released because I really enjoyed the idea of them acting as weaponry or as something similar to the G1 ‘Master’ process. Happily, all of the Armada releases, even the repaints are in plentiful supply. With the genuinely low prices these fetch, it becomes a very easy goal to collect them all.

Post Armada has seen small and limited releases of further Mini-Cons. Hasbro was actually unprepared for their popularity. Energon saw only two official releases that were not part of a larger figure set. Universe had a few scattered here and there between figures (most of which are actually quite excellent). Then Cybertron and Classics brought the lil guys back around in full force.

Cybertron saw releases in three formats: standard 3 packs, 2 figure battle packs, and standard pack-ins. The standard 3 packs were all new molds, even the street team saw remolds making them new again.

Four waves of somewhat unloved 2 figure battle packs were released. Wave 1 and 2 were over-produced and product was everywhere (and in some places still is…). With the exception of a cool recolor of the Land Military team, the first two waves were kind of lack luster. Wave three saw those wonderful little Emergency Team Mini-Cons return in addition to a repaint of the Energon Saber, affectionately known by some as the “Sun Saber”.



Wave 4…is an obstacle to new Mini-Con collectors and a good test of patience and dedication. Wave 4 saw a very limited distribution in the US. Many stores saw either 1 or zero case assortments for Wave 4. These 6 Mini-Cons, 3 for the Energon Street Action Team and 3 for the Decepticon Space Team are perhaps the most difficult to located US release Mini-Cons. I have seen the Blastback and Sureshock 2-pack go for upwards of $60 on eBay and it’s a topic which I have regularly argued with other collectors. Not only do you have to be on the lookout for this set, but you have to be on watch for the right price.




The other set released in Cybertron took me by surprise for its current worth. Wal-Mart released a variation of the SkyBoom Shield Team in inverse colors to the Road Rage team. Each one was packaged with a deluxe sized figure during a holiday season. These damn things were on clearance for months…Now the individual Deluxe + Mini-Cons fetch 25-40 a piece on eBay. So, if you’re dedicated…be ready with your wallet.

All that being said, we’re kind of at the end of US release of Mini-Cons... Sure, there are the Classics Mini-Cons and this and that repaint I did not mention, but you get the general idea. A complete collection of these guys is entirely possible. Hell, you might be able to attach the whole lot of them to the figures you purchase along the way. More power to you.

Of course, that’s the Blue Pill way out. The rabbit hole goes much deeper (read: More expensive :D )

Turn back now, I mean, you’re probably too faint of heart to bother with the following information.

I hope you don’t have an addictive personality if you plan to keep reading…

The awful truth: Japanese Mini-Cons are more expensive than many illegal drugs if measured by the ounce.

We’ll break this info slowly here. I’ll try to make it digestible.

Remember all those ever so neat-o Armada repaints of Mini-Cons? What if there were yet another set of repaints with mostly uniform color schemes and tended towards those dark cohesive color arrangements we love?

Welcome to X-Dimension. For almost every released Mini-Con set, there is a corresponding X-Dimension set. These Japanese only releases were more color coordinated than the US releases and generally did quite attractive things with their designs. For instance, the Air Assault Team is entirely in black with white detailing. The Star Saber has been redone in red, orange, and white creating a “Fire Saber”.


Top Right: Fire Saber

The anime accurate Tidal Wave from Micron Legends saw his appropriately colored Sea Assault Team released in X-Dimension:


Middle: Sea Assault Tidal Wave Type

X-Dimension repaints are not truly difficult to find, nor are they wallet busters. Most of the sets can be found for $15-20 either on BBTS or eBay when they pop up. Some of them command more. The Fire Saber is typically about $30-50 and the Blue Skyboom Shield can hit around $25-35. These are all great additions and are quite interesting variations to add to your collection. Of course,…X-Dimension Street Action Team only comes with the DX Magna Convoy Gift Set. So, I could really say that that one set will cost you about $250 give or take, but hey, you get a free Magna Convoy with it. Score! (and proceed to explain this, only to be subsequently dumped by your significant other…)

X-Dimension repaints are nice…but apparently all the cool kids are into the infamous Micron Booster figures. Micron Booster you say, what’s that? Imagine the joy of opening up a $5 blind packed box to get your random prize Mini-Con. Look, there are only 12 figures per release…How much fun (and anxiety…) will it be to hunt down a set?

Fortunately…it’s not as bad as it sounds.

Micron Booster 1 had all figures distributed equally, one per case. Even the “Chase” figure was made in equal numbers. See it here:



You will likely have to buy a set out of Asia at this point. Expect to pay about $60-100 for a sealed box. Happily though you’ll get the entire set in there in one purchase. Even better, you will receive the Incredible Ice Saber. Don’t fight the Fire Saber without one!

Micron Booster 2 (There are 4 of these…well, technically 5 because there was actually a Booster #0. That’s trivia for ya!) was the first to include a true chase figure.


Sorry for the poor image…

This is the Booster with reinforcements to the Targetmaster figures. All new Emergency and Air Attack Mini-Cons are introduced along with fantastic recolors of Armada Skywarp’s Mini-Con. The chase figure was approximately 1 per 2 boxes, but you were otherwise guaranteed to get the other 11 figures out of a box. You can routinely find the entire MB2 set minus the chase figure for $35-45. The chase figure holds steady at around $35 alone…

Micron Booster #3 was where the going gets tough. Each box is random. You have little chance of completing a set out of one box. First, the variant figure, Bug General is packed at about 1 per 3 boxes. Now the other problem stems from when this set was released. During Cybertron we got repaints/remolds of older figures: Blurr, Runamuck, Buzzsaw, and Longrack. Now, these toys are all produced on a mold where all of their pieces exist together in harmony. Only problem being that even though all of those toys were produced with Mini-Cons on the sprues (Mini-Cons that match their paint schemes and are totally rad…), they were not released or packaged with the general release of those toys…

So, Takara crammed them all into MB3 and the fans rejoiced…kind of. So, on the upside, we get those long lost Mini-Cons, on the downside, those Mini-Cons are over packed into MB3. I got 3 of the Motorcycle for Runamuck alone in my first box of them. Whatever. Look at them, they are cool…



Oh yea…the Dead End Mini-Con from Unicron was in there too, so ya know…if you feel like finding 27 or so of him…(You’d be the coolest person ever. I would want your autograph.)

Micron Booster 4: Classics the leftovers…



There it is…::Yawn…:: Takara was pretty damn lazy here. Some of the repaints are so minor it is infuriating. Also, there are two chase figures because…ok, I paid $31 for the clear police car down there (shipped!). I warned you this wouldn’t be easy.

At any rate, MB4 is still pretty cheap. $40 -50 will get you a box shipped. Oh, and they’re Maximals and Predacons. Megatron (purple dino) is finally in scale with Classics Prime. Recreate all your favorite face shooting action in vivid detail!

You still with me? I know, some of you are shaking your heads at the stupid Mini-Con repaints and the absurd prices…That’s cool. Let’s make it worse!

Japan has a rich and wonderful tradition of harassing women on trains, high suicide rates, rampant teenage STDs (I’m really messing with some folks idealistic versions of Anime-land ne?) and making collectors do retarded things for toys.

This brings me to store exclusives.

Imagine this. Toys R Us has a special promotion. The first 10 people to buy $X amount of TF toys on a certain date gets one of 10 promotional Mini-Cons.

Say “Hi” to Skyglide!



Or how about this! Let’s have three different stores across Japan each have a different Mini-Con. All released at the same time and part of a special set! (Happens on multiple occasions and sets…) These 3 piece sets usually go for around $100. I’m sure someone with connections to Japan will say, “Ney…I got them for cheaper…Ney!” Whatever. So if you suspect someone might call you gaijin sometime, expect to pay.

Other fun “Run around Japan!” Exclusives include this guy:



In the worst case of obsessive chase madness I present the Space Destruction Team:



Each one of these came blind packed with Armada Optimus Prime (the big one) in Japan. Imagine the fun of opening a minimum of three Primes to find them! Price: $300 minimum.

Let’s go on to the last series of vicious OCD beatings for today: Linkage Microns.

How about this, let’s take 12 very important characters to a series, package them 1 at a time with an overpriced DvD, and release them only to the Japanese Market! Smile, they’re only about $45 a piece this time. Linkage, is a story of the behind the scenes aspects of the Armada story. It is the glue which fixes all the questions or unexplained portions of the show.

Volume 1 of the DvD set is kind enough to provide the 3 main characters:



Each release after that is one Micron per DvD. You can figure it all out from there.

Like I said in the beginning of this, “Catching them all” isn’t as easy as it might sound. There are many varied and odd aspects of collecting in our hobby. Even if you aren’t up for the big dance of finding, buying, and continuing the search for Mini-Cons, hopefully you can appreciate the vast variety and incredible dedication it takes to venture out on this path.

Some folks collect Primes, some like Starscream, others feel the need to press races of smaller robots into servitude to wage intergalactic war.

Whatever floats your boat, ya know?
Credit(s): Counterpunch
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Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (698941)
Posted by omega666 on May 12th, 2008 @ 1:07pm CDT
Nice collection! But I would rather have Gobots.
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (698947)
Posted by Counterpunch on May 12th, 2008 @ 1:15pm CDT
Almost 100 hits in 10 minutes...wow. :grin:
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (698948)
Posted by 1337W422102 on May 12th, 2008 @ 1:16pm CDT
omega666 wrote:Nice collection! But I would rather have Gobots.

:shock: Ban him.
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (698951)
Posted by First Gen on May 12th, 2008 @ 1:18pm CDT
Thanks to you, CP. I now find myself digging through boxes for all the accessories I can find for my limited amount of TF's.

And now, you're trying to suck me into minconnage. Damm u CP. DAMMM UUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!! :P
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (698952)
Posted by Archanubis on May 12th, 2008 @ 1:20pm CDT
I can almost hear Metroplex (or is that Fortress Maximus?) making gurgling noises as he drowns in that sizable collection of Mini-Cons.
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (698957)
Posted by NuclearConvoy on May 12th, 2008 @ 1:26pm CDT
Man, I started off wanting every MiniCon and such, but the Japanese just kept on cranking out too many exclusives for me to think about keeping up with. Now I'll likely be happy with one of each mold and a select few "favouritres", like the pink jets from Linkage (i still own them not...:()
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (698962)
Posted by waaaaghlord on May 12th, 2008 @ 1:37pm CDT
Damn you Counterpunch! I'd never seen that Decepticon Requiem Blaster before and suddenly I have a burning desire to purchase one for my Club Astrotrain. As if this year isn't going to be expensive enough!
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (698967)
Posted by Prime Evil on May 12th, 2008 @ 1:47pm CDT
I definitely blame CP for my recent surge of minicons. Hell, I juuuust bought the Energon Magnus Requim Blaster on ebay last Thursday...Bastard!! Now I find myself going to TFU hunting down variants.
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (698968)
Posted by Counterpunch on May 12th, 2008 @ 1:48pm CDT
waaaaghlord wrote:Damn you Counterpunch! I'd never seen that Decepticon Requiem Blaster before and suddenly I have a burning desire to purchase one for my Club Astrotrain. As if this year isn't going to be expensive enough!


Life is hard hunh? :P

Took me nearly a year to hunt down the last 2 pack to finish it off. And then it was only with Skowl's help that I could do it...
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (698972)
Posted by Thunderboom on May 12th, 2008 @ 1:51pm CDT
Curses! I must now go to eBay and buy multitudes of Mini-Cons!!
I just love the little things. I knew there were lots, but this is ridiculous!!

Of course, I have no idea where I'm going to put them all... I only have one Armada (Deluxe-Class Prime)... and Primus....

I know!
I'll buy Armada Unicron! He has plenty of space for Mini-Cons!
-Thunderboom
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (698987)
Posted by waaaaghlord on May 12th, 2008 @ 2:14pm CDT
Counterpunch wrote:
waaaaghlord wrote:Damn you Counterpunch! I'd never seen that Decepticon Requiem Blaster before and suddenly I have a burning desire to purchase one for my Club Astrotrain. As if this year isn't going to be expensive enough!


Life is hard hunh? :P

Took me nearly a year to hunt down the last 2 pack to finish it off. And then it was only with Skowl's help that I could do it...


Add in the fact that I'm in the UK and that if we saw any of the 2 packs over here it was only the earlier waves...

At least the exchange rate is in my favour.
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (698995)
Posted by rikkomba on May 12th, 2008 @ 2:21pm CDT
I'll admit it, I feel ignored :-D And don't tell me I didn't give you a chance to shine ;-)

Oh... I have a wave 4 MOSC set to trade, anyway. For a Dragoyell :grin:
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (699004)
Posted by Counterpunch on May 12th, 2008 @ 2:32pm CDT
rikkomba wrote:I'll admit it, I feel ignored :-D And don't tell me I didn't give you a chance to shine ;-)

Oh... I have a wave 4 MOSC set to trade, anyway. For a Dragoyell :grin:


Don't think I didn't appreciate it! :grin:

(I've got a wedding to save up for right now...All things in good time.)

I saw 1 Dragoyell at BotCon and it was being handled like expensive jewelry...I think it went for $80.
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (699013)
Posted by Energon on May 12th, 2008 @ 2:46pm CDT
Counterpunch wrote:
rikkomba wrote:I'll admit it, I feel ignored :-D And don't tell me I didn't give you a chance to shine ;-)

Oh... I have a wave 4 MOSC set to trade, anyway. For a Dragoyell :grin:


Don't think I didn't appreciate it! :grin:

(I've got a wedding to save up for right now...All things in good time.)

I saw 1 Dragoyell at BotCon and it was being handled like expensive jewelry...I think it went for $80.


Definately put some minicons on top of the wedding cake for the bride and groom?

Aw CP you didn't tell me you saw a dragoyell.

You know what is funny is two of the little guys you posted pics of just arrived at my house today. I just love the little guys.
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (699016)
Posted by Talous on May 12th, 2008 @ 2:49pm CDT
Sweet mercifull jebus, that is an impressive collection. Or rather part of it.
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (699019)
Posted by Counterpunch on May 12th, 2008 @ 2:51pm CDT
Energon wrote:
Counterpunch wrote:
rikkomba wrote:I'll admit it, I feel ignored :-D And don't tell me I didn't give you a chance to shine ;-)

Oh... I have a wave 4 MOSC set to trade, anyway. For a Dragoyell :grin:


Don't think I didn't appreciate it! :grin:

(I've got a wedding to save up for right now...All things in good time.)

I saw 1 Dragoyell at BotCon and it was being handled like expensive jewelry...I think it went for $80.


Definately put some minicons on top of the wedding cake for the bride and groom?

Aw CP you didn't tell me you saw a dragoyell.


He was in the process of being bought.

Seriously, the guy took him out of a padded envelope and it looked like the craziest lil backroom deal I've ever seen at BotCon.

The buyer was like, "Yea yea, that's fine. It's fine." Like he was afraid someone was going to snatch it up.
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (699027)
Posted by Geekee1 on May 12th, 2008 @ 3:04pm CDT
You're world is very scary man.

Somehow I have managed to stay away from CP's wiles when it comes to mini-con collecting. I do however own the Japanese Skyglide exclusive. That's an awesome little dude.
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (699033)
Posted by Energon on May 12th, 2008 @ 3:10pm CDT
rikkomba wrote:

Oh... I have a wave 4 MOSC set to trade, anyway. For a Dragoyell :grin:


Counterpunch wrote:
He was in the process of being bought.




Too bad it was being sold, rikkomba, I didn't forget you.
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (699043)
Posted by Autobot Jazz on May 12th, 2008 @ 3:23pm CDT
I agree, Mini-Cons are awesome(In fact there's a certian one I'm looking for now, Armada Jetfrie's Mini-con Commetor.)
Re: Catching them all! Mini-Cons are go! (Guide, rant, warning) (699073)
Posted by rikkomba on May 12th, 2008 @ 3:50pm CDT
Energon wrote:
rikkomba wrote:

Oh... I have a wave 4 MOSC set to trade, anyway. For a Dragoyell :grin:


Counterpunch wrote:
He was in the process of being bought.




Too bad it was being sold, rikkomba, I didn't forget you.


Heh, thanks a lot!!
It's getting frustrating, especially considering how hard the SGD team was to find... and that there are 2000 Dragoyell, it's not a Lucky Draw at all! But it's the last one, so... I'll keep hunting!