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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Reflector's review of: Countdown

Name: Countdown
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Aerospace Commander
Sub-Group: Micromaster
"For a world without evil, you need a universe without evil."

An intergalactic hero and space explorer. A legend to beings throughout the universe and an inspiration to his fellow Autobots. Fought 1000 battles and circled almost a million stars, defending the rights of the innocent. Transforms to lunar rover with com-link disk that enables him to control the entire defense base from up to 30,000,000 miles away. His interstellar rocket ship converts to mobile launch pad armed with two energy-zapping de-kineto cannons that freeze objects in mid-motion. Ship is also designed to use planetary orbits and gravitational pulls to "slingshot" across entire galaxies in seconds. Command base equipped with laser blasters, high-tech repair bay, interstellar communications center, space-tracking radar, and high-speed launch pad.

Okay, before you start laughing and getting your coats, gimme a chance. Q: What's cool about a big box that only has one Micromaster in it? A: Nothin'... unless it's got a huge transforming rocket base too! While underrated for the lifestyle choice of being a Micromaster, Countdown deserves a chance at least for the extras. He was originally released in 1989 as the biggest Micromaster set, and only appeared in one cartoon episode: the Japanese Zone. Just give the kid a shot... Not that kind of shot, put that away!

Rocket Platform Mode:
Yeah, I know that this isn't technically one of Countdown's alt modes, but this review would be pretty short if I didn't discuss it... For a Micromaster accessory, the base is surprisingly large. I didn't even expect it to be 6.5"x12.5"x14" until I measured it just now. The size really helps make it convincing in its proportion with Micromasters. The scheme is dominantly blue and black, with red, gray (two shades), and white highlights. There are plenty of details on the deck and the sides, including non-functional treads and vents and the like. I imagine the stickers would really improve the look, as they appear to have lots of intricate tech detail, but the previous owner slapped most of mine in really inappropriate spots... The two pods on the corners serve to make the entire contraption look both more mobile and better defended. (One can serve as a scout vehicle if detached; this almost works because of the detail on the base where it had sat, and because of the little treads and fins on the bottom of it.) If you like playing with your bases, there's a peg onto which you can impale Countdown's foot and make him stare stupidly at the tower wall or at the carpet rolling by. There's also an elevator that rises to the level of the curved platform, which will take your Micromaster space monkeys around to the door on the rocket. I'm sure this is an awesome feature for us simple-minded folk, but I don't have that platform... Oh yeah, and the tower retracts to facilitate more "realistic" launches. Cool.

Base Mode:
You know, I can't believe I never paid attention to how big this thing is before. Micromaster my tush! Countdown's base appears to measure 21"x18"x9"! A lot of the blue and red from the platform mode are hidden somewhere this time, making the base mostly black, white, and shades of gray. It has a really functional look that works as a mission command center type place. The rocket serves as a warehouse or a lab or something (whatever it is, it has a gun!) in this mode, and looking inside will reveal lots of detail. There's also a helipad nearby, to accomodate your ONE Autobot helicopter Micromaster. Okay, two if you have Sixwing. In the center, there's a little pit with five monitors/computers, right next to a little rectangle packed with so much mechanical detail that I'm almost scared of it. There are two more computers on the platform level of the back wall, which is detailed just so that it morphs from engine room at the bottom to air control tower at the top. The left rear wall is supposed to house a grabber claw, but mine's missing; the right has some more monitors stickered on, but I'm afraid I'll never know if they're supposed to be there. The bottom level of each has three storage compartments for Micromasters, I guess. I think it's neat that the catwalk of each side is unique - the left appears to have a moving walkway with accompanying turntable, while the right looks like that fancy metal with the diamonds sticking out. You know what I'm talking about.

Vehicle Mode:
Countdown is interesting in being one of the few Micromasters that had a space-oriented alternate mode. Moreover, he is the only Micromaster (and, I think, the only Transformer) with a moon rover mode. This mode is almost entirely a bright red, with the exceptions being the gray seats and the black tires. For a toy just under two inches in length, he sure has a load of details. There's some sort of engine thing visible on the right side of the front end, and a box of some kind on the left. The radar dish on the back even has a whole bunch of little lines and concentric circles inside to make it look like it does something. Each wheel sports a red and white sticker showing some vague line detailing. I dunno. The wheels are huge for a Micromaster, giving him some decent push-and-go mobility. Thankfully, the figure's small enough that it's kind of hard to tell those are his arms flanking the dish. The designer sure fit as much as he could on such a small vehicle, but I kinda wish he came with dehydrated ice cream...

Robot Mode:
After a disappointingly typical Micromaster transformation, you have yourself a cheerfully atypical robot! This time around, the red is restricted to Countdown's arms and lower legs, while the rest is white, gray, silver, and baby blue for the face. It's a nicely executed color scheme. The head is big enough to allow for a really interesting design, although the face is rather run-of-the-mill. Still, most of the figure practices asymmetry in a way that doesn't distract or confuse. It's really neat, and it makes him look a lot more interesting than most Micromasters. He has six highly restricted points of articulation, like a lot of Micromasters. My favorite part is that the standard Micromaster chest screw has been replaced by an Autobot symbol that looks pretty huge on him. Very nice.

Transformation: 2 - If you can't get the figure switched in under a second, consult your physician.
Durability: 5 - Lots of little and big parts to lose, 1989 quality plastic, and a Micromaster as the centerpiece. Good luck.
Fun: 8 - Save up $50 for a sack of Micromasters and you'll love it forever.
Price: 8 - $20 for one like mine, $75 complete with box. For a toy with such detail, it's a steal.
Summary: 7 - Not the first Transformer I'd want to buy, but definitely up there.

 
 
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