The Big world of the Mini-bots

Min-Cars, Mini-Vehicles, Mini-Bots, Mini-Spies now known as Legends…. many names for one grouping of toys….

Before Hasbro launched their now famous Transformers, Takara (now Takara-Tomy) had a very vast line called Microchange that included a subline called MC-04 Mini Car Robo. (These were smaller almost deformed looking that were meant to be actual robots that turned into toy cars.) This initial 1984 wave of G1 Mini-Cars were made up of:

  • Cliffjumper a red Porsche Turbo 924,
  • Bumper  a red or yellow 02 Familia 1500 XG, (not officially a transformer but a non used MC that found it’s way into the US disguised as either Cliffjumper or Bumblebee due to similar looks and colors. the name comes from the fan mixing of BB and CJ to Bumblejumper then shortened to Bumper.) 
  • Bumblebee a yellow Volkswagen Beetle
  • Gears a red and blue 4WD pick up,
  • Brawn a green Toyota Land Cruiser with a Jeep grill similar Suzuki LJ80
  • Windcharger a red Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
  • Huffer an orange truck similar to a Ford W1000 (In the cartoon, Huffer is seen pulling Optimus Prime’s trailer and is big enough to do so but in other instances he is way too small to do so)

In 1985 Hasbro released a new wave of these little guys along with the older line, (the odd thing here is that they do not appear in the Microchange line as far as I can find, nor can I find their origins except some had a Japanese release, and trust me I have looked and looked.) These are:

  • Beachcomber a blue and gray dune buggy (in several variants, one with “Hasbro” stamped across the left arm)
  • Cosmos a flying saucer (with little wheels for when you just had to roll out! In Japan, he was released only as a mail-away item. He cost 500 yen and 2 robot points.)
  • Powerglide an A-10 Thunderbolt ground-strike plane (notable for being one of the earliest Autobots with an aerial alt-mode)
  • Seaspray a hovercraft (interestingly the mold has the Takara copyright stamp on the bottom of the feet portion.) 
  • Warpath a General Motors M551A1 Sheridan ARAAV tank (In Japan, he was released only as a mail-away item. He cost 500 yen and 2 robot points.)

The above 1985 line came with one of four different randomly inserted “Mini-spy” companions and each was available in blue, white and yellow variations, for a total of 12 different toys known by the unofficial names:

  • 4WD Type a Jeep (I had this one in white way back in the day)
  • Buggy Type (get this a dune buggy)
  • FX-1 Type (based on an old Toyota concept car but commonly called Mazda Type by fans due to mixing up the really small FX-1 as RX-7)
  • Porsche Type (do I really have to say it?)

In 1986 Hasbro released a third wave of figures, these were mostly repaints of the second wave with a couple exceptions:

  • Hubcap (A retooled Cliffjumper with no spoiler, a new head sculpt and in yellow, gets mixed up with Bumper all the time.) **photo inserted all in yellow for effect, L to R: Bumper, Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Hubcap** 


  • Outback (a khaki & brown retool of Brawn. Head, arms, and chest were changed, equipped with a vehicle-mode gun.
  • Pipes (a blue extensive retool of Huffer. a new head, arms and legs his front is Huffer’s back and vice-versa, and he  transforms differently.)


  • Swerve (a retool of Gears, largely maroon & white, with squarer legs and a more elaborate face.)
  • Tailgate (a white-and-blue retool of Windcharger, with a new head sculpt)
  • Wheelie (the only non retool/repaint, he is from the 1986 animated Movie, he turns into Yellow & Orange futuristic car)

In 1993 Hasbro released a fourth wave of now termed “Minibots” as part of the new G2 series:

  • Beachcomber (a version of 1985 toy with some green chrome parts)
  • Bumblebee (gold chrome version of 1984 toy **as stated before in another blog entry, I have this one still in the blister card**)
  • Hubcap (red chrome version of 1986 toy **I almost bought him at the same time as the above BB, I still kick myself today**)
  • Seaspray (a version of 1985 toy with some violet or blue chrome parts)

Minicar Robot Modes

In 2001-2003 Hasbro retooled the bumpers on four of the 1984 G1 line of Mini-Cars in their normal color schemes:

  • Bumblebee
  • Cliffjumper
  • Windcharger
  • Brawn

In 2004 Takara’s Transformers Collection six-pack 

  • Bumblebee (new more show accurate head.)
  • Cosmos (a modified chest sticker that contains an Autobot insignia.)
  • Gears (no notable differences between the original and the reissue versions.)
  • Huffer (no notable differences between the original and the reissue versions.)
  • Warpath (a new factory-applied foil insignia decal on his turret.)
  • Powerglide (a new factory-applied insignia decal, which necessitated the original sticker being moved down & rotated 180 degrees, 

In 2005 Takara’s Transformers Collection Future Cybertrons three-pack (Standard size Cup with his target master buddy Recoil, the only small guy is below)

  • Wheelie (a now grey face replaces his old orange one)

In 2008 Takara’s Encore series released “Bumble & Minibots 5-pack” (I have this one and am very happy with it.)

  • Bumblebee (more show accurate head and different paint applications.)
  • Outback  (few extra paint applications, most notably a new blue visor.)
  • Pipes (In addition to painted headlights, painted his previously decaled Autobot insignia.)
  • Swerve (a more “cartoon modeled” detailed face paint.)
  • Tailgate (extra paint details on his face.)

Since then these older names have been discontinued but the demand for smaller transformers is still huge, a lot cheaper then their bigger brothers, they still get around. Some other classes that are similar in size or have taken their place are:

  • Throttlebots: pullback racers with a simple transformation.
  • Go-Bot: a matchbox or hotwheels compatible racer. (not to be mixed up with the Tonka brand Go-Bots)
  • Mini-Con: these have rod ports and rods so they can become weapons or attach together to make larger weapons.
  • Energon / Scout / Legend / Legion Class: same class, different names depending on line, the last two being used today.
  • Activators similar to the last three classes but had a one-touch, spring-loaded transformation

Some of the Characters have gotten a lot of attention over the years **cough Bumblebee cough** some have fallen into obscurity like poor Bumper who has never seen an official Hasbro release and some have yet to have a third official release like Pipes (it has been leaked that he will see a 2015 release, a repaint / retool of Legends Class Optimus Prime)  Some of these have seen bigger toys like the very big Ultra Class Powerglide while others have seen Legend class toys in various years with new molds

  • Bumblebee 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 (same new mold, different colors), 2013 Hasbro new mold that came with a weapon master partner “Blazemaster” (redeco in gold for Takara 4 pack *Optimus Prime, Roller, Bumblebee, Blazemaster* in 2013)
  • Cliffjumper  2009 redeco of the above Bumblebee (the first mentioned), 2014 Hasbro retool/redeco of 2013 Bumblebee that came with a weapon master partner “Suppressor”
  • Swerve 2014 Hasbro new mold that came with a weapon master partner “FLanker” (got him, keeping him!) 
  • Tailgate 2014 Hasbro new mold that came with a weapon master partner “Groundbuster” (I have him, he is nice!) 
  • Huffer 2014 Hasbro, a retool / repaint of Legends Class Optimus Prime
  • Windcharger 2014 Hasbro, a retool / repaint of the above Tailgate with noweapon master partner
  • Gears 2014 Hasbro, a retool / repaint of the above Swerve with a weapon master partner “Eclipse”
  • Cosmos 2009 Hasbro and Takara released the same molds but in slightly different colors, 2013 Hasbro released a new mold that came with a weapon master partner “payload” (I have him, I like him a lot!) 
  • Warpath 2008 Hasbro  H-shaped, futuristic tank, (2009 Takara version same mold slightly different color scheme)
  • Wheelie 2009 a new mold, same bot, (Hasbro released an Orange version while Takara released a Yellow one)
  • Powerglide 2015 A-10 Thunderbolt II that can turn into a gun for bigger bots (retooled/repainted into Decepticon Viper)
  • Beachcomber 2008 a new mold (Hasbro and 2009 Takara, same mold slightly different paint colors)
  • Brawn 2008 a new mold (Hasbro and 2009 Takara, same mold slightly different paint colors)

Alright so you can see they have been around a lot, and I have not even got into any of the animated show or movie lines or we would be here all day and it is already quite a big update. So here is where I leave you and thanks for tuning in.

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