Non-affiliated, Non-lengthy, Non-articles about Transformers

Sunday, 18 January 2015

For The Love Of Arms Micron

I'll be the first to admit I don't know anywhere near as much about modern day Transformers as I should, historically being more interested in vintage stuff. I make discoveries these days that are approximately 3 to 10 years behind everyone else! I have been told that Arms Micron toys from Takara Tomy were not met with as much positivity as someone such as myself, walking into it years after launch, are feeling towards it upon discovery and experience. The Japanese TF Prime figures were not more show accurate than the Hasbro versions, and did not feature extra or accurate paint application. In fact, they went completely the other way, and that is the crux of what I find attractive and special about them.

For these deluxe class TF Prime figures, there's a lot to talk about. For a start there's a proper box instead of a backing card and blister, and of course there are exclusives like the re-moulded Wheeljack into Stunt Wildrider, or the Knockout mould re-done as Smokescreen,  with the addition of extra attachment points in some cases for the accompanying Micron, a small figure that transforms into the main figure's weapon. A targetmaster, basically.

The Microns come unassembled on sprues, much like vintage Transformers and pre-TF model kits. The figures also come with stickersheets to adorn the otherwise completely plain basic toy. That's three vintage-style Transformers characteristics which appeal to me with my collecting history: stickersheets I don't intend or need to use, sprued accessories and targetmasters. This is all on top of what, so far, for me have been exceptionally top quality deluxe class moulds like TF Prime Wheeljack and Knockout. I really love those toys as Hasbro TFP figures since being introduced to them last year.

To quote from TFWiki:
"In an interview in Dengeki Hobby magazine, TakaraTomy designers Takashi Nakase and Hironori Kobayashi explained the reasons Microns played so heavily into the Japanese Prime line when it wasn't designed that way from the start:

  • Takashi Nakase: The biggest reason is that we wanted to raise the target age group. In past series, the target ages were small children and their fathers, but the age group which is actually able to enjoy transforming toys is 7 ~ 9 years old. We went back to the beginning and considered appropriate products for that age group, and came up with the concept of "customising". That is why Arms Microns need to be assembled from parts, and stickers are included to be put on the main figure - to give the feeling of "completing" the toy as one's own.

  • Hironori Kobayashi: We conducted a play session with children where they played freely with Movie series Transformers, mixed with various items such as Minicons, and found that they mostly enjoyed combining Minicons to make larger weapons or to customise the Transformers. We thought it might have some potential."

It's not the first time I've missed the significance of a Transformers concept and just seen what I wanted to see in it, the whole Micron combination scene being a fine example of my continued ignorance. For me, what Arms Micron has brought to my collecting is the re-emergence of the unused Transformer. A completely unadorned central figure with sprued accessories and unused stickersheet. They're also so different in some cases, especially Wheeljack, without the paint apps or applied stickers that in my twisted brain, it counts as a legitimate foreign variant in addition to being a reincarnation of unused G1/Diaclone cars!

Can you spot the unused Arms Micron version? Of course you can!

It is for those reasons that I recently purchased the sealed Arms Micron Wildrider despite having a complete, loose specimen with lovely sticker application in great condition. It's amazing what can appeal to a collector about a toy or concept, things that can act as a hook which are mired in nostalgia but disguise themselves as open-mindedness, embracing a new thing. I always liked the fact that MP Sideswipe showed different shades of red from panel to panel, it reminded me so much of the original Diaclone Lamborghinis which had different thin painted plastic windows compared to the adjacent moulded plastic panels. I tolerated and appreciated it on $1000+ vintage figures, so why not on a modern $50 figure? I also love how AM Smokescreen is a different character and toy's mould (Knockout) simply painted up as Smokescreen, a reincarnation of Mexican G1 Smokescreen "Smokestreak"!  On top of that, they added the right head for AM Smokescreen, and it doesn't have the goofy smile of the Beast Hunters/Go! sculpt. 

So here, then, is my MIB unused Diaclone Targetmaster Wildrider, complete with all unused paperwork and accessories.

Yes, I'll be opening it.

All the best


  1. I have the wildrider and its sooo nice figures in many levels. The headsculpt its unike and really capures the character.
    Also its the first time i saw the clean white Wheeljack. I feels look like Downshift G1, dont you think?

    1. Hi Andres!

      Honestly, I think the clean white AM Wheeljack reminds me enormously of the clean un-stickered G1 Wheeljack more than anything!

      All the best