Though their numbers have certainly dropped since their Transformers: Armada heyday, Mini-Cons seem to be here to stay. Lots of TFs have hidden Mini-Con ports these days, and even the Classics line has a few Mini-Con sets. And just one more time, because the phrase hasn't been used enough in this intro, Mini-Con. Seriously. This reads like we're getting a nickel every time I say Mini-Con. Anyway, one of the final Cybertron sets released was... eh, you can guess.
One of the only Mini-Con teams operating on the Giant Planet without partnership of a larger robot, these three have made a long habit of bitterness. Uninterested in construction projects – or simply without the patience to work on a building crew in the case of Longarm - the Giant Planet Mini-Con Team roam abandoned sections of the world-city engaging their destructive impulses, and occasionally raiding work sites to steal supplies.
The robots of Gigantion, the Giant Planet, are - understandably - giant. Hundreds of feet tall. They'd dwarf even Omega Supreme. Unfortunately, their increased size meant a trade-off in other areas: namely, the inability to do fine detail work. And thus were born the Mini-Cons, robots that seem to be about the size of a 12-year-old. They serve as the big bots' helper monkeys, more or less, doing all the stuff that's too miniscule for their big chunky fingers. Like a fat guy who hires a midget to tie his shoes.
The standout member of this set is Longarm,
a green and purple construction vehicle. That's going to move a lot of these sets on its own. Ever since G1's Constructicons, Transfans have had a soft spot for that particular combination. His green's a bit too neon and his purple's a bit too magenta, but the intent is there.
Longarm is a dual-purpose vehicle, with a crane arm and some sort of digger/claw. It's 2½" long, and features six free-rolling wheels. The windshield, grill and bumper are silver. There are a few black panels,
and a single red box on both sides. The technological detailall over the figure is truly impressive, especially considering how small he is.
Transformation is a bit more complex than you might expect. The front of the cab lifts up, then the whole thing flips over and turns 90º. The back half folds over itself to reveal the robot's head and his little red face - he kinda looks like Megatron, honestly. His arms are uneven, since they're different kinds of equipment - but then, his name is Longarm. He moves at the knees, hips, waist and shoulders.
So that was the ground contingient. The team's air support comes in the form of Overcast, a dark blue military cargo plane. You can't really pin down a specific model, mainly because no planes actually have the engines on top of the wings and so close to the body.
So we'll just say it looks like a C-5. Sort of. The giant purple missile launchers probably aren't standard issue, but hey, there's always kibble, right?
The plane is 3" long and has a 2½" wingspan. The body is dark blue, though some purple shows through on the underside. The cockpit, wingtips and flaps are silver, and the very tip of the tail is grey. Overcast isn't detailed quite as intricately as Longarm, but that's because they're a different scale -
a plane like this would be three or four times the size of a crane.
Changing Overcast to a robot is much more straightforward.The back half of the plane folds down, and the tail splits to form legs and feet. His arms are the launchers under the wings, and the plane's nosecone drops down against Overcast's chest. The missiles he launches aren't spring-loaded, but are of the "pincher" type that's more popular these days, and they're about 2¾" long.
The final member of this trio is Deepdive, a grey submarine. Judging by the shape and proportions, this is probably a nuclear sub. Rather than just a tube with a tower, the sub has a pointed, upturned bow and a flat deck. There are some red-orange segments on the top of the ship, and metallic blue "waves" painted on the sides. If that's supposed to be camoflauge,
it's not really going to work too well, because there are only waves on the surface, not below the water.
The sub is 3½" long, and really detailed nicely. There are lots of small, riveted panels all over, as well as torpedo tubes, turbines on the back and a caterpillar drive. Okay, not really on that last one. You can see the ballast tanks on the sides, though.
There's a pair of diving planes on the front and on the back, and the conning tower sports a surprise Mini-Con port on top.
Deepdive transforms easily. The sub pretty much splits down the middle, with the feet in the front and the arms in the back. Once transformed, his arms actually stick up about an inch above his head, which gives him a unique look. The colors are divided well, with just enough flash against the grey to keep him from looking dull. He's a little hollow from the back, but that's not a major problem.
The Giant Planet Mini-Con Team's packaging shows them as Decepticons, but the toys only mave the Mini-Con faction symbol molded on. You can't even judge them by the cartoon, because they never appeared there - these were only released by Hasbro, not Takara. It seems more likely that the team is just general troublemakers, not necessarily evil.
In Japan, these guys are known, respectively, as Hook, Line and Sinker - which is actually a cute name for the trio. Though they didn't appear on the cartoon, that's no reason not to get them. The price breaks down to about $2 per figure, and they're really cool little toys. Besides, above all else, you get a green and purple construction vehicle. Don't pass it up.
Is anyone out there willing to give us a nickel every time we say Mini-Con? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.