Transformers Robots in Disguise was never meant to be anything more than a placeholder in the Transformers line of toys. The toys and animated cartoon for RiD were created by Takara of Japan, and then imported by Hasbro and Saban to the English-speaking world with very few changes. But RiD's cartoon was a closed, one-season storyline which didn't leave much room for growth into the next year. Nor was it meant to.

Instead, Hasbro spent the year they saved developing the concepts for their next big line, Transformers Armada. The new toys became available starting in the summer of 2002, with an animated cartoon beginning on Cartoon Network in August and a new comic book by Dreamwave in July.

The characters and their adventures are set in a parallel universe to the other Transformers continuities, borrowing elements from the Generation One, Beast Wars/Beast Machines and RiD storylines without directly connecting to them. Hasbro describes this as the "Final Fantasy concept", after the popular computer game series which uses the same approach; the idea is to allow kids to jump in without needing to understand the extensive backstory.

The key element that sets Armada apart from previous Transformer lines is the "Mini-Cons"--Micromaster-sized Transformers that connect to the larger Transformers to unlock special weapons and features. Unlike the Headmaster and Powermaster toys from the G1 line, Mini-Cons have robot and vehicle modes all their own in addition to their ability to combine with other Transformers. Certain Mini-Cons can even combine together to form a larger robot or accessory.

The Toys

The new toys are all vehicle Transformers, as opposed to the animals of Beast Wars. However, they are Hasbro creations, not Takara ones, so they lack some of the articulation and proportionality of Takara's RiD toys. This was a willful choice to make the toys easier for young children to use and enjoy.

Some Mini-Cons are packaged with larger Transformers, while others are sold separately in three-packs. The toys that have been released or announced are as follows. Hasbro has never had any qualms about re-using popular names across lines, but with rare exceptions, they are never the same character.

  • Deluxe Figures - each comes with a Mini-Con
    • Autobot Smokescreen (crane) with Mini-Con Liftor (forklift)
    • Autobot/Decepticon Sideways (motorcycle) with Mini-Con s Rook (Autobot head) and Crosswise (Decepticon head)--somewhat larger than other Mini-Cons, Rook and Crosswise change his allegiance to either Autobot or Decepticon

    • Autobot Blurr (rocket car) with Mini-Con Incinerator (dragster)
    • Autobot Optimus Prime (cab) with Mini-Con Over-Run (jet) - Over-Run can transform into a robot or into a weapon for Optimus to hold. This is a smaller version of the Super Optimus Prime (below) and lacks a trailer, but is otherwise practically identical.

    • Autobot Hoist (excavator) with Mini-Con Refute (construction vehicle) - remold of Smokescreen
    • Decepticon Wheeljack (sports car) with Mini-Con Wind Sheer (stealth fighter)

    • Decepticon Powerlinx Thrust (red repaint of Thrust) with Mini-Con Inferno (missile truck)
    • Autobot Powerlinx Hot Shot (red repaint of Hot Shot) with Mini-Con Jolt (helicopter)
    • Decepticon Powerlinx Cyclonus (green repaint of Cyclonus) with Mini-Con Crumplezone (armored car)
    • Decepticon Powerlinx Demolishor (red repaint of Demolishor) with Mini-Con Blackout (car)
  • Mega Figures - larger than Deluxe with added projectiles and electronic lights and sounds

    • Decepticon Skywarp (purple/black jet) with Mini-Con Thunderclash (jet) - slight remold of Starscream
    • Autobot Powerlinx Red Alert (orange and white repaint of Red Alert) with Mini-Con Longarm (crane)
  • Roleplay Figures - priced between Deluxe and Mega, with electronic sounds
    • Autobot Laserbeak (orange/grey camcorder/spy bird/stun weapon) - designed for kid-sized hands
  • Ultra Figures - a bit bigger than a Mega
    • Decepticon Megatron (tank) with Mini-Con Leader-1 (artillery truck) - equipped with electronic lights and sounds and grabbing weapons to "capture" Mini-Cons and can have up to ten Mini-Cons connected to him at once

    • Autobot Jetfire (space shuttle) with Mini-Con Comettor (fuel truck) - Jetfire can combine with (Super) Optimus Prime as the legs of Optimus' larger robot mode, substituting for his trailer and allowing him to "fly".

    • Decepticon Galvatron (tank) with Mini-Con Clench (artillery truck) - repaints of Megatron and Leader-1

    • Autobot Overload (weapons trailer) with Mini-Con Rollout (truck) - designed to carry Jetfire and/or be towed by Optimus Prime in vehicle mode, or combine with Optimus Prime's robot mode as battle armor - Mini-Con forms Overload's head in robot mode
    • Decepticon Tidal Wave (purple/green aircraft carrier Flattop, Gunboat (warship) and Seawing (hovercraft) (the "Dark Fleet")) with Mini-Con Ramjet (fighter jet) - the Dark Fleet combine to form large assault ship or large robot, or can combine with Megatron or Galvatron as armor

  • Super Figures - you get the idea
    • Autobot Optimus Prime (trailer truck) with Mini-Con Sparkplug (sports car) - his trailer automatically transforms into a Mini-Con base when the cab is transformed to robot mode, using remote electronics, and can have up to ten Mini-Cons connected to it at once. When the cab is transformed into the upper half of Optimus' larger combined form, the trailer automatically transforms into the lower half.

    • Unicron (orange/grey planet) with Mini-Con Dead-End (moon) - almost identical to his incarnation in Transformers: The Movie, Unicron is a large cyber-styled planet which can carry a dozen Mini-Cons at once and which transforms into an enormous robot with light-up eyes and firing missiles in his legs and chest
    • Autobot Powerlinx Optimus Prime (red/black repaint of Optimus Prime) with Mini-Con Corona (gold repaint of Sparkplug)

The Cartoon

The cartoon sports an American/Japanese style of animation more like the G1 cartoons, instead of the fully anime style of RiD or the fully computer-generated animation of Beast Wars. The stories are a little more "grown up" than the original cartoons--a little darker, a little more death. This isn't a big surprise, since probably half of their fan base has grown up as well.

The premise is that a ship composed entirely of Mini-Cons reaches Earth and the Mini-Cons are scattered across the planet. Autobots and Decepticons begin a race for the Mini-Cons and the power they offer (think Pokemon--"gotta catch 'em all!"). After landing on Earth, three human kids locate and befriend the first Mini-Cons and ally themselves with the Autobots to ease their adjustment to a new planet.

  1. First Encounter - originally aired Aug 23, 2002
  2. Metamorphosis - Aug 23, 2002
  3. Base - Aug 23, 2002
  4. Comrade - Sep 21, 2002
  5. Solider - Sep 27, 2002
  6. Jungle - Oct 04, 2002
  7. Carnival - Oct 11, 2002
  8. Palace - Oct 18, 2002
  9. Confrontation - Oct 25, 2002
  10. Underground - Nov 01, 2002
  11. Ruin - Nov 15, 2002
  12. Prehistory - Nov 22, 2002
  13. Swoop - Nov 29, 2002

  14. Overmatch - Dec 13, 2002
  15. Gale - Dec 20, 2002
  16. Credulous - Dec 27, 2002
  17. Conspiracy - Jan 10, 2003
  18. Trust - Jan 17, 2003
  19. Vacation - Jan 22, 2003
  20. Reinforcement - Jan 23, 2003
  21. Decisive Battle - Jan 24, 2003
  22. Vow - Jan 27, 2003
  23. Rebellion - Jan 28, 2003
  24. Chase - Jan 29, 2003
  25. Tactician - Jan 30, 2003
  26. Link Up - Jan 31, 2003

  27. Detection - Mar 01, 2003
  28. Awakening - Mar 08, 2003
  29. Desperate - Mar 15, 2003
  30. Runaway - Mar 22, 2003
  31. Past, Part 1 - Mar 29, 2003
  32. Past, Part 2 - Apr 05, 2003
  33. Sacrifice - Apr 12, 2003
  34. Regeneration - Apr 19, 2003
  35. Rescue - Apr 26, 2003
  36. Mars - May 03, 2003
  37. Crack - May 10, 2003
  38. Threaten - Oct 03, 2003
  39. Crisis - Oct 10, 2003

  40. Remorse - Oct 17, 2003
  41. Depart - Oct 24, 2003
  42. Miracle - Oct 31, 2003
  43. Puppet - Nov 07, 2003
  44. Uprising - Nov 14, 2003
  45. Dash - Nov 21, 2003
  46. Drift - Nov 28, 2003
  47. Portent - Dec 05, 2003
  48. Cramp - Dec 08, 2003
  49. Alliance - Dec 09, 2003
  50. Union - Dec 10, 2003
  51. Origin - Dec 11, 2003
  52. Mortal Combat - Dec 12, 2003

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.