The key feature of the Magne Robotman is it's limbs - the shoulders, lower arms and the legs are attached using 11 mm wide metal balls to magnetic ports in the limbs. This gives the limbs a truly superb range of movement but it also allows for customisation of the toy because all the limbs can be removed and replaced with other things. In addition the shoulder pieces each have 2 extra magnetic ports in them - one to the side and one on top, and there's also a pair of extra ports on the figures back. Now what you could do with now is something extra to plug into these ports..... We'll come to that.
The Robotman toys all have the same basic body and limb pieces, but each have a different head, and are each coloured differently. In addition to the magnetic joints already mentioned there's elbows, knees and ankles joints as well as the neck. I went for Ace mainly cos he's a big red robot (see previous essays on the subject of big red robots), I liked his extra weapon the best and (conveniently) there was one in the UK cheap.
Ace comes with 4 weapons - 3 are common to the other 2 Robotman toys, one is specific to his. The extra weapons are colour coded which makes me think they all have an intended user.
There's a red claw arm - with bendable elbow joint and a 3 fingered claw hand - 2 on the side of the metal ball, one opposite. The claws are chromed and open out to 90 degrees from their starting position. I'll assume this is Ace's due to the colour.
The 2nd weapon is a gold and black canon - Baron's I think as the colours match him. No articulation but just a big gun. Think Zoids Gojulas Cannon. The third weapon is a blue - to match Cross - sabre attachment. Again the piece has an elbow joint, and there's an additional joint allowing the sabre to swing out evealing a handle that some larger TFs may be able to hold.
Ace's own specific weapon is a ball and chain missile launcher - the ball has a magnet in it and is attached to a post which form the missile which is fired using the trigger and spring method familiar to many Transformer toys.
Now to the best of my knowledge there's never been a TF toy that's used Magnets in this way - maybe it's worth a try as a method of attaching extra bits ?
So we've got a nice generic posable body with the ability to add bits on. I think you may be able to see where this is going.
Each figure is built around the same basic body with a different head, chest and weapon. They have ball jointed head, shoulders, elbows, waist and knees. The right hand has a small hole in it for the weapon, while the left hand ends in a magnet - there's also one in the right foot. Nowhere near as powerful as those in the larger Robotman figure they're similar to those found in the Microman figures that year. There's a plug hole in the back for storing their weapons.
Each of them transforms into a vehicle weapon mode. Pull the waist away from the back, and fold the chest plate up over the head. Fold the legs and revealed Magnemo-11 mm ball connector back under the toy and lock them in place between the shoulders. Slot the hand weapon onto the robot's coat tails.
006 Drill-Joe (blue) has a drill on his chest and weapon 007 Toma-Hawk (black) has a pointed chest and axe blade weapon 008 Hover-Jack (white) has molded non spinning hover fans. 009 Spin-Lee has (red) bike wheels, and is unique in having a large hand molded into his weapon 010 Bomber-Head (green) has a missile array on his chest and a huge gun.
Not all the colours work - Bomber Head especially.
The resulting vehicle modes are, on the whole, pathetic. They're along the lines of something you perch on like a speeder bike. Spin-Lee's Bike mode sort of works the best as it looks different to the others but the handlebars are too low.
I mention Magnemo-11 ball connector - using this the weapon can be mounted on one of Robotman's connectors. Due to the ball being flush with the change trooper's body I have trouble mounting them directly on the Robotman's body - you need to use one of the sockets on his shoulder pieces or plug them into his back. Spin-Lee makes the best limb - his colours blend in well with Robotman, and the hand helps it look right - the fist size is a 5 mm peg hole which means he can hold a number of TF weapons. Your mileage may vary with the others as weapons, but I quite like Bomber Head because of the missile array ending up at shoulder level.
Not the greatest toys I've ever owned but I can see the intention here.
If at first you don't succeed however ...... Fortunately Takara didn't give up on the add on weapons and undertook a slightly different approach.
Instead of using a standard body like the Beast Wars basics we now have a body based on the Magnemo-11 ball connector at the waist and the hips - meaning the legs can be separated as a unit or individually. The main body of the titan has Magnemo-11 balls on the front and back. The rest varies between the toys and at the moment I only have Gun Body
Side note - someone was selling these at Transforce 2001 aka the Sauna. I nearly bought one then !
Gun body is a robot which looks like it's got a gun stuck sideways through it's body - which it has ! The gun is mainly grey with some feature picked out on it. There's a pair of ball jointed arms designed to bend inwards hanging under the body, and the head, waist and other details are picked out in blue - indicating perhaps that Gun Body partners the blue Robotman cross. The legs have a beautiful design with the lower leg being formed from a slanted tube with the top end forming the knee cap and the bottom the heel spur. Just a fabulously different touch. The head is reminiscent off many a TF, resembling Ultra Magnus with a scope over one eye.
Gun Body has a stand alone cannon mode - fold the head so he's facing to his left, and swing both arms up. Rotate at the waist so the gun points forwards. The gun fires. Not big safety conscious missiles. Little ball bearing type missiles. The weapon works by loading the ball bearings in through a hole on the top of the toy - they need to be pushed in as there's something stopping them from popping out again. Rotate the barrel at the other end of the weapon to fire the ball bearings. Range is 2m + ! It's toys like this that make you thank the lord for the Japanese toy industry !
From here you pop the toy apart at the waist putting the legs and waist to one side for now. The Magnemo-11 balls on the front and the back of the toy can pop onto the sockets on Robotman's shoulders - they're not flush with Gun Body so there's enough projection from the toy to allow them to fit directly onto the shoulders. The empty waist socket can then take the Robotman's lower arm - or anything else you choose - leaving your robot with a firing cannon parked through it's shoulder. Beautiful. I could cry. Why don't we have TFs that do this ?
We still have those legs to deal with: Fold the feet flat against the tubes of the lower leg which now look startlingly like revolver barrels. They are in fact missile launchers. Oh yeah. They use ball mounted missiles - I believe the correct term may be marble launchers. These are a bit different to those we've seen on TFs - notably the Cyberjets. Push the missile in from the back of the direction you want to fire - they'll work each way. You'll reach a point of resistance. If you keep pushing the missile will fire forwards. Effective range is approximately 1m.
I just love this toy and feel the TF Line can learn from it. The Magnemo-11 ball connector is a great way of adding bits on and could do with being tried. TF fans would perhaps need to get over their dislike of toys coming to bits to TF them though. Maybe doing some basic or minicon sized toys that have a sole purpose of acting as weapons or accessories for TFs would be a good idea - not just as bolted on third modes.
The enemy of the Microman is the Acroyear. So these are the Acroyear's robot add ons.
I mentioned that the Micro Change troopers were like BW toys. These effectively *are* beast wars toys being beast version of the earlier figures. The chest piece now forms the rear of the beast and the hand weapon becomes their head and in some cases the legs and body. One Magnet per toy in their right foot this time.
Each of them transforms into a beast mode. Pull the waist away from the back, and fold the chest plate up over the head. Fold the legs and revealed Magnemo-11 mm ball connector back under the toy and lock them in place between the shoulders. Slot the hand weapon onto the robot's coat tails.
We've got 3 different types:
019 Cob-Rage - a Snake - black body - which isn't too effective, but we do have an opening snake mouth 020 Hell-Pinch - a Beetle - red body - which works. This just sits there. 021 Chain-Spider - a Spider - dark green body - which is super - the spider legs and armour obscure more of the robot and distract you from the robot's arms lying parallel to the body. But most importantly of all it's got a spider's line built in - terminating in a magnet (of course) which can be wheeled in - no spring or retract on the line - if it's hanging it must be fully extended. Unfortunately the magnet isn't strong enough to take the toy's weight.
As before the metal ball attaches to the sockets on Robotman - or Acroyear. Chain Spider's probably the best due to the built in spider's line.
You'll note that up until now we've not talked about the actual Microman figures. Well for the Magne power series they're at an 8cm scale, with magnets in both feet, chest and their left arm. The 2 toys we're looking at today are vehicles for them.
Each comes with a container - Spy Heli's is a Spicy Noodle, Beat Loader a Beat Soda can. Open the container and find the vehicle inside. Clever.
Spy Heli is a helicopter with chin gun - quite like the FANG in GI Joe/Action Force. As well as the Microman (Kirk, Purple) an extra radar dish is supplied - peg holes on the side of the vehicle or on Microman's back will take the 5mm peg - or any other TF Armada etc weapon. It's got a Gun Turret Mode - fold the helicopter's tail under the seat and use the blades as a base, and fold the tail out to reveal cannons. Nice touch. From here fold the blades so they're all facing one direction to get it into the pot. A clip supports the rear of the helicopter and it can be used to attach the helicopter to the cup as a base. The helicopter can be pulled in 2 down the middle and the chin gun removed and split in 2 as Microman hand weapons. We'll be back to the decapitated helicopter.....
Beat Loader is a tank of some description - in raw form it resembles Insecticon Bombshell - with the digging attachment out front.. It comes with an extra hand gun which can be plugged in - same 5mm peg - and an orange Microman Keith. The back of the tank folds open to take the figure and the horns on the front of the tank fold back to become driving handles. The wheels under the tank fold out from under the back of the vehicle to form a flat bed for carrying the soda can. The back of the tank pulls back allowing you to flip up molded missile pods from the folded down sides. If the tank is pulled in 2 down the middle, then the grey panels at the front of the tank can be pulled out and turned round to reveal drills. Yes it's a drill tank, and we know how the Japanese love them. These drills are removable as Microman hand weapons. The tank can be reassembled from here but if you leave it in 2....... Both vehicles are add ons for Magne Robotman !
Spy-Heli when separated allows you to fold down the tail down revealing the cannons. The helicopter blades remove - the base of the rotor has a Magnemo ball on it hidden within the helicopter's body which turns the rotor into a plug in weapon. The helicopter halves have Magnemo balls on the base of where the rotor goes - plug these into Robotman's back with the guns pointing up, the tail halves out to the sides and the nose pointing down as a jet/weapons pack. It's not the most stable of attachments though - would be better if both halves were still linked together somehow.
Beat Loader meanwhile has 2 x 5mm pegs in the drivers compartment - these plus into Robotman's feet and can be used as roller skates (!). The digger attachment separates and can be combined with the driving handles. The digger attachment has a Magnemo ball for attaching as a weapon onto Robotman.
Sadly I can find no pictures of these combined modes on the internet. Which is a shame as they're rather fun.
Like Gun Body, we now have a body based on the Magnemo-11 ball connector at the waist and the hips - meaning the legs can be separated as a unit or individually. The main body of the titan has Magnemo-11 balls on the front and back.
Jet-Mogler is as the name will imply to Gojira fans, Drill related. Specifically there's a huge chromed drill parked through his shoulders and pointing out of his right side. There's a crank on his right shoulder that turns the drill when you press it. A single piece arm hangs under the drill ball jointed where it connects to the body, where as the other arm has a universal shoulder and ball jointed elbow, ending in a drill attachment with 4 chromed claws spaced round it. The legs are covered in tank tread detail, and indeed you can sit this guy down, turn the legs round 90 degrees and have him become our old stable the drill tank. His additional colour is green which doesn't really match any of the Robotmen. However since the other 2 do he's sort of aired with Baron. As with Gun-Body the upper body pins onto a Robotman at the shoulder, this time forming a drill weapon. The legs this time form sort of a grasping claw - nowhere near as effective as Gun-Body's legs.
Razor-Master is all about blades and cutting. He's got a chromed circular saw on his right shoulder which is like Jet-Mogler crank activated. This is connected by a ball joint to the main body while the other huge shoulder is fixed in place and shaped like a chain saw. There's a gold chromed arms hanging under each shoulder - his right arm ends in a claw, the left in another circular saw which can fold up forming the end of the chain saw. His legs have spikes and blades molded into them, and his additional colour is red partnering him with Robotman Ace. The head on this toy is a work of art - tall, pointed and vaguely triangular with a gap running down the middle of the 2 points - very Omega in the Three Doctors. The weapon mode for the main body is reasonably obvious and the legs can form either a claw or some sort of spinning attack weapon. The gold chrome used here makes it look a bit tacky, and it clashes with the silver chrome on the spinning saw blade.
Neither of these is as good as Gun-Body !
I got the Korean versions of these which included 2 different Korean Catalogues and a whole pile of Microman Trading Cards. So..... what was in the auction I mentioned above?
Got the big red lad with Gunboy at AA2010 on your sayso and not dissapointed - what I am annoyed at is that you have so many in that lot you got...grrr you got me addicted mate and wallet is still hurting from AA201 Come payday to ebay I will go
"Remember..wherever you go, there you are" - Buckaroo Banzai