Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Transformers Tiny Turbo Changers

Guys, let’s get real for a minute.  Why are they called “Decepticons?”  Do they really think that’s gonna help their case?  Like, every time I see an episode where Megatron successfully convinces the world that the Autobots are the bad guys… I dunno.


Anyway, we’ve got new Transformers mini figures!  Tiny Turbo Changers are movie-themed, released in the lead-up to The Last Knight.  They’re blind-bagged, with twelve figures, each blind bag costs between $2 and $4, and… you know what?  You can totally cheat and tell which figure is in which bag.  Here’s how.


This is the back of a blind bag. Now, do you see the four embossed numbers near the bottom? Ignore them. There is a tiny square near them, though – that’s a transparent window into the bag. It is very tiny, and hard to position a figure to look through, but you can get a glimpse on occasion. However, there is an even better cheat.


See where the arrow is pointing? Each Tiny Turbo Changers blind bag has a single embossed letter right there, next to the window. And that letter tells you which figure is inside:

A – Grimlock
B – Shadow Armor Grimlock
C – Lockdown
D – Hound
E – Bumblebee
F – Crosshairs
G – Blackout
H – Soundwave
I – Optimus Prime
J – Starscream
K – Sideswipe
L – Knight Strike Bumblebee

There you go. Enjoy.

Anyway, the presence of two repaints is odd, as it throws the Autobot-Decepticon balance out of wack, and considering tht there is no Megatron in this series, it’s even weirder.
Anyway, these figures have very simple transformations, only a few paint apps per toy, and make great fidget toys. Seriously, they’re durable (they pop apart rather than break), and fun to mess around with while you’re doing other things.


Grimlock maintains his pseudo-samurai look from the films, but his alt mode is also pretty obvious, with no way of hiding things like his tiny dino arms.


He looks a little beter in person than in this photo, but even as a dinosaur Grimlock does have visible feet on his chin.


Shadow Armor Grimlock is a decent repaint, though this does mean that neither version looks like he does in the movies.


His dino mode is a little more sinister in black, but that’s about it. Now, the figure transforms with sort of a scissors hinge, and you can take it apart.


Mixing and matching Grimlock parts is actually kinda fun!


Bumblebee’s yellowness makes him strangely fun to play with. He has tremendous kibble on his back and around his legs, but those pieces do pop off. Thi is a pretty basic design for this line – yeah, it’s not a super convincing transformation, but it is fun in-hand.


His li’l Camaro has a tiny bit of paint, and that’s about it. Once again, it’s fun to twist around and transform, but understand that this toy is like half the size of a Hot Wheel, max.


Knight Strike Bumblebee, while less garish, just sorta exists. Still fun, though.


Admittedly, the black Camaro looks cool.


Chibi Optimus Prime stands hilariously, but he’s got a ton of arm movement, and his transformation sequence is creative for this line.


Optimus Prime is a cute li’l truck, and one of the more complex transformations. It’s nice to see how they can make something so insanely simple come together, and the hood has a cool little two-part hinge.


Hound is completely surrounded by kibble, but he’s one of the best looking figures here. His face has an amazing amount of personality.


And as a military vehicle, Hound looks tough. Not pictured – you can swivel the front out to turn him into a pseudo-bulldozer.


Sideswipe’s kibble is dealt with differently than the others, with the car’s hood flipping back to form sort of a cape. It actually gives him a better appearance in robo-form than most of the others. It’s almost odd that Bumblebee doesn’t use the same transforming technique.


Sideswipe’s alt mode is pretty smooth – though you’ll note that whenever there is a hinge on the windshield, that windshield goes unpainted.


Crosshairs transforms almost identically to Sideswipe, and a “cape” effect is actually part of his movie design. Surprisingly, he also feels a little heftier than the other car-bots, and has a better paint job than most of them.


Crosshair is also the greenest figure, and one of the ones you can figure out from the blind bag window if needed. Not gonna work so well with the silver ones.


Since Starscream’s body was already shaped like a jet turned on its side, his figure is probably the most movie-accurate of the whole line. Although both his legs operate on one hinge, his ball-jointed arms have a great amount of freedom.


And yes, he’s a convincing jet… so long as you don’t look underneath. Still, Starscream makes for a great addition to the line, and a welcome change from the multiple cars.


I shone a black light on him for no reason.


Blackout is a helicopter… really obviously. His body does not match anything from the movie, but his face is accurate. He’s also got a nicely complex transformation sequence, and looks a little cool even with obvious chopper parts.


Blackout’s rotor blades do not move. Or maybe they do, and mine is stuck, but I don’t think they move. Just FYI.


Lockdown is weird. His limbs are positioned oddly, and his trnasformation is awkward (you have to pull his legs down to reposition the arms, otherwise they are too high). His proportions keep hi from looking th way he does in the movie, even with his distinctive mask. I like the whole cyclops robot appearance bit, though.


Lockdown’s car is distinct from the other silver ones, but this is why you can’t really rely on the window. use the blind bag codes.


And finally, we have Soundwave, who transforms in exactly the same way as Bumblebee. He’s got a surprising amount of detail,too, even including those speakers all over his arms.


Oh look, it’s Carly’s car! That was acually a cool scene.


Well, there you go. They’re tiny and cheap, but buckets of fun – and “cheap” also means inexpensive, as it’s perfectly easy to get a full set for only $24-$36. Sure, they aren’t masterpieces of transformation, but I think they’re great.


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