Railbots/Railracer - Universe - Figures

Transformers Universe Railbots


Awhile ago the Micromaster Trainbots were announced to be released in both the US and Europe. In the US as part of the Universe but in Europe where Universe is not released these are part of the Cybertron line. They are marked series 3, meaing that there were 2 previous series, in Europe released as part of the Energon line. I never saw series one but did see series 2 (which can still be found in Dutch stores). I was able to get those via JRStoyworld.

Anywhoo, Cyberton has already been made available to The Netherlands and this week I saw that one of the two toystores in my town had two of these railbots (Railspike and Overload). I wanted to collect these even though I already own the red chase variants. But the stores here are stocked badly, they still have not restocked on larger Cyberton figures.

But I could not restrain myself and bought them figuring when I bought the whole set, I could always leave these two closed. However when I did my "round" visited the stores again I noticed that the other (who had not stocked Cyberton at all untill now) had them. And quite a few as well but you know how that goes, a whole lot but all doubles. ;-)

However as luck would have it, they had the 4 I still needed so I picked them up as fast as I could and walked over to the cash register. This was a real lucky day for me as I never thought I would be able to collect all 6, let alone so soon. And seeing how I really like these, I thought I should review them.


The group

An odd heading perhaps but I have no way what to call it. This is the 3rd release in the Micromaster sets in Universe (all of which are rereleases of Japanese releases). The first 2 being the Protectobots/Defensor and the Constructicons/Constructicon Devastator. The first group was a group of rescue vehicles so the Protectobots hommage was a very appropriate one. Sadly the two race cars dragged down the set as a hommage somewhat. Incorrect names added to that (the fire engine should have been called Hot Shot and the policecar Streetwise.)

The vehicle modes were cool but especially Red Alert had a poor robot mode and Groove was the smallest (and probably the weakest) Micromaster ever. The combined mode was decent but nothing more than that. Due to the parts of the middle section sticking out, the arms could not rotate which was a bit of a downer.

The second series, the Constructicons were a bit better. Their vehicle modes were all tributes allthough some of the names were not. The name Quickmix however is interesting as the G1 Quickmix (an Autobot) was also a cement truck. The colors were also spot on. Just like for Defensor, Constructicon Devastator was formed by connecting the Micromasters to each other using connector parts. Only the head and fists were different, the rest of the parts were repainted from Defensor. However due to his shoulders being wider, he could turn his arms. So he was a bit better. How do these six Micromasters stand up to those two? Let's find out.

The first thing fans will note is that these are not a tribute to a G1 Combiner Group unlike the other 3 (the last, the yet to be released Aerialbots). They could have been given names to tribute the Japanese trainbots but that did not happen, probably due to copyrights. So these were given the names of the Robots In Disguise Trainbots. Since there were only 3 members, 3 more names were picked, not all that appropriate.

As one would expect all these bots have a train as their alternate mode which one has to be into. If you do not like trains then you will not like these. Then again, if you do not like Micromasters, you will not like these at all. All of these have a hitch at the back with either a post or hole so one can connect two to eachother.

Since the trains have their backs turned to eachother I do not see why these hitches are there. They only come into play for Midnight Express and Swindle who form the legs. Speaking of transformations, 5 of these have a very similar Transformation so the instructions are pretty useless but then again Micromasters never have very difficult transformations. Well, enough group info. On to the individual reviews.



The leader of the group as he forms the chest. Seeing G1 Combiner group leaders generally formed the chest (Scrapper aside), I will assume he is the leader. The name is taken from the R.I.D. Railspike where he was the leader as well so that makes it extra cool. The train mode is a modern train but I have no idea what train he resembles. I am no expert on trains but at least it looks cool so I am happy. There is an Autobot symbol on the front of the train which looks really good.

He has a fair bit of detail. On the nose it looks like he had a door and there are windows and doors sculpted on the side. The stripes on the side are also sculpted in. In my opinino very impressive for a Micromaster.

There is plenty of color on him, more than one would expect from a Micromaster. The headlights are yellow, the windows black and the front window even has grey borders. Blue stripes adorn the sides. There is a hole in the roof and the back of the robot head can be seen clearly. But given that he forms the chest, that is no big deal for me. As with his team mates (Overhaul aside) the robot feet can be seen on the roof but seeing how that was probably unavoidable so I do not mind.

Due to him forming the chest he is also the only one with a different transformation. This means that the nose of the train is on his back making him the only one with a "free" head. His only real articulation are the arms. The legs move but in one piece and he cannot kneel so that is not really worth anything. He can sit though but his arms get in the way. You can fold them down but then you have his train mode.

Colorwise, not much new. The arms and legs are white while the chest and upper legs are blue. The face and part of the chest are silver. The colors are taken from the original versions so they are not a tribute to the R.I.D. Raibots. But they are close enough (in train mode) to his namesake. And they work very will in both modes so I like them.

Detail is again not spared on though it is not as much as on the train. He has a triangle sculpted in on his chest and his face looks cool with a crest and anntena's on the sides (though I think his nose is losing his paint already). A very cool robot mode indeed.

In all a very nice Micromaster with no real downsides other than the visible head in vehicle mode. But that I can forgive.


Rapid Run

The second name taken from the R.I.D. train team. This time he shares his colors with his leader. His train mode is a slightly different train. From the back of the packaging it looks like the front is a whole black window but when you actually have him you can see on the windows are black and that the rest is gray. There are blue stipes on the side and blue around the windows. The arms are of a different blue than the rest of the blue found on the train. There is an Autobot symbol on the roof which is a bit oddly placed but that is no exception.

Detailwise he fairs very well: doors on the side, scuplted windows and wheels. All pretty decent considering his small size.

The robot mode is red, white and blue with a little grey for the face and chest. The arms and upper legs are blue. Like on Railspike these colors work well. The arms rotate and the legs bend at the knees and waist. Pretty standard for a Micromaster but at least he is not a complete brick. His face is not completely grey, the visor is red. Again a very nice head sculpt and I like the chest with what I can best described as v-shape molded in.

He has one major flaw, that five of the six Micromaster Trainbots have. The nose of the train does not fold down as some of the hoods of the Micromaster cars do. So this makes it look as if these bots are wearing a hood. Given their alternate modes and the limitations that came with these I can accept them. It gives them something distinct in my opinion. The other thing he shares with the rest (Railspike aside) is that the train wheels are on the shoulders and knees. But they are well integrated so one hardly notices those.

Rapid Run is a very nice Micromaster indeed.



The first Micromaster Trainbot with a name not taken from another Trainbot: Tankor. The name is also a bit inappropriate as this is clearly not a tank. (Tankor was a tanklike Vehicon in Beast Machines and was later rereleased in Universe.) The only reason I can think of for this name is that Hasbro wanted to keep the copyright. I can relate to that but why use it for this Transformer?

That aside, Tankor is another neat micro. Based on the TGV he is grey with blue. The back of the roof if blue which looks odd. There is an Autobot symbol on the roof as well though I would have preferred it to be on the chest. The sides sections at the back (with the TGV text sculpted in) are silver. The colors work very well together despite being so different. I think on a large Transformer they would not work. The windows, by the way, are black.

Again the stripes are sculpted in which makes them look so much better than if they were just paited. The abbrevation TGV is also sculpted in on both sides. And of course wheels. An intersting train mode indeed though not much more special than Railspike, Rapid Run or Midnight Express. I do not really prefer any of them actually. It does help that Tankor was made grey instead of white.

The robot mode reveal one new color: red which is used for the wheels. Mind you, it does not look bad at all. One other thing does however, the nose of the train is a bit thicker than on the others and because his head is dark blue with a grey face and black visor it gets losts a bit. The horns/anntena on his head can be tricky to see. I checked the red chase version and that one does not really suffer from this.

Still, it is a decent bot mode. The chest and legs are blue as well as the arms (though the outer sides are grey). The "belt" is black. His face has a good sculpt with two horns and a central crest. Nothing spectacular but nothing dissapointing either. Articulation is the same as Rapid Run, ok for a Micromaster.

Tankor has one weakness but that is a minor one. So I would rate him just below Railspike or Rapid Run but not by much.



Another Recycled name, this time from Armada where Overload was a robot who could combine with Optimus Prime. It was one of the cooler robots from that line in my opinion. And this time he had gotten one of the better molds as well. Personally I do not think the name Overload does not sound that bad. A name like Powertrain would have been better but it is not as Overload is a bad name by any means.

Overload's train mode is in sharp contrast to Railspike, Rapid Run, Midnight Express and Tankor: he is an old steam engine. Generally those are black but for some reason Overload is gold. Combined with silver colored detaling this is one awesome train mode. The only real downer to this mode is the red hole where Overload connects to the waist piece of Rail Racer. There is an Autobot symbol on the right side of the fender.

There is a lot of detail on him. The front has a light and other details sculpted in. There is a chimney and boiler room and the wheels are nicely detailed. There are black windows and a door at the end. Incidentally his front wheels are the only ones that are visible in vehicle mode as they on the outside.

My favorite train mode ever since I got the red version and the colors make him even better. The only downside is the aforementioned red hole but I can probably find a weapon to plug in there so I do not mind it that much.

The robot mode is very nice as well but dragged down a bit. First the good stuff, I really like the headsculpt. It gives off a Samurai vibe and that is really cool. Sadly it is completely grey while I really wanted the face and eyes to be a different color. The waist is grey and the upper legs are yellow.

Again the designers made an odd color choice: the chest is yellow. It is a sandy yellow so it does not look so bad but again, I would have preferred a different color. Fortunately the wheels are gold so they blend in perfectly. Articulcation is again arms and legs. Overload too suffers from the hood problem but since his train mode is blocky, it obviously is blocky on robot mode too.

As I mentioned before my favorite bot in train mode and the minor flaws do not drag it down too much for me. A definete winner. It is just a sad thing that he does not really play a (visible) role in the formation of Rail Racer. He is my favorite of the team along with Swindle.


Midnight Express

The third name taken from the R.I.D. team. Like his R.I.D namesake he suffers from a flaw but this time him being so small the flaw is (in my opinion) not that big a deal. Besides I do not like picking on little guys. ;-)

Midnight Express is the fourth modern train but with trains there is not all that much choice in different models. It would have been nice to see more varied modes but I am happy with the team as it is. The figure for Midnight Express' is nicely chosen as it is dark grey. Makes me think of the night. Sounds funny perhaps but I like the mold choice.

Dark grey is the primary color and the nose is silver. There is dark brown around the front windows and a (metallic?) green around side window frames. The windows are, you guess it: black. The colors work well though I would have preferred the side window frames to be silver as well. It would have looked better though the green is not a bad choice. Works better than one would think, mostly because it is just the frames that are green.

Midnight Express has no sculpted in stripes like the other three but he does have doors windoes and wheels sculpted in so it works for me. Not that stipes would have looked good on him.  Green stripes on grey, not my first color choice. There is an Autobot symbol on the side. Again an odd place but the chest does not have any place for it. Sadly.

One flaw does peek up in this mode that will also play a part in the robot mode. Since Midnight Express has to form the leg of Rail Racer, the nose of the train can be folded up to reveal the hole that the waist piece uses connect to Midnight Express. So the hinge is on the front of the train which is a bit of a downer considering none of his team mates have this flaw. But given the result (Rail Racer), an acceptible sacrifice. In this mode at least.

When you convert him to robot mode the flaw becomes a whole lot more apparant and annoying. He has a huge cone head. It is about a finger thick and seeing he is only a Micromaster that is really dragging this mode down even whilst keeping in mind, it is a nessecity for the combining feature. I think this is the weakest robot mode of this set.

Of course, good colors would do much to make this a better mode. Sadly Midnight Express fails in that department as well. His main color is *shudder* orange. Of all the colors chosen it has to be orange. Ok, neon green would have been even worse but still. I am just not fond of the orange given his train mode is so darkly colored. The designer may have wanted the robot mode to be a contrast to the train mode and in that aspect it works

The wheels again are red and the hitch is blue. The hitch is not really visible in robot mode but the wheels are which makes me feel that it is a good thing that red and organge work well here. The headsculpt is very intresting and I cannot really describe it. There is silver on the face and chest (almost forgot to mention it with all that orange). As for articulation: his arms move and legs bend at the hips and legs.

Sadly the most dissapointing one of the set. The train mode is decent but the robot mode is just below average. Fortunately he is the only one making huge sacrifices for the team (as it were) so I can live with it. They could have picked better colors for the robot mode though.



The last member of the team. Swindle is an odd choice for him as it is not a name one would give to an Autobot. It actually belonged to one of the most despicable Decepticons ever, the Combaticon Swindle who was willing to do almost anything to make a profit. So of all names to choose this has to be the oddest yet. It even beats Tankor in my opinion. The things one does to keep a copyright.

Swindle is also the odd one out along with Overload, he appears to be a freight locomotive instead of a high speed train. He certainly has an old style color: green. Again this makes him help stand out more. It is not a dull green mind you but a beautfiul metallic green. I liked his mode in the red colors because it was different but this makes him look really nice.

Green is his main color but that does not mean he has other colors. The windows are black and there is a white stripe running on the side of the locomotive. On the front there is a blue part (which can be opened to reveal the connector for the Rail Race combination) with headlights alongside it. The headlights are yellow bordered by white which is a really nice tough. An Autobot symbol graces the side.

I think the colors are the only thing linking this guy to the name Swindle. Green afterall is a military color and the original Swindle was a military vehicle. But that just just coincidence.

Detailwise this guy is also a-ok. The front hatch has a circle scupted in which is probably the magnetic connector to connect the locomotive to the carriages. But given my limited knowledge of trains I could be wrong. The roof has a hatch of some sort sculpted in. The sides have the windows sculpted in and below them vents. There is also detaling that I cannot really place along the bottom on the locomotive.

One would almost forget he has a robot mode but naturally he does. There he is mainly blue which works really well with the green. Red is used for the wheels which makes him look better. His legs are grey which looks ok but I might have preferred more red there. Then my favorite touch, his belt is silver and his chestpiece is gold. This really makes him stand out especially since his face is silver with a golden visor.

The sculpt in robot mode is nicely done. The golden chest plate has 3 lines grooved in. I also like the head which is pretty standard with a visor and mouthplate but the colors make it look so much better. His articulation is similar to his colleagues, no surprises there.

My second favorite train mode (mostly due to the colors) and favorite bot mode (again due to the colors and the somewhat dissapointing colors on Overload) so he shares first place with Overload. Swindle has the better bot mode but Overload has the better train mode. Though it push comes to shove I would probably choose Swindle over Overload while the reverse is true for the red variant. Colors do really make a difference indeed.


Combined mode

Before I am going to talk about the combined mode I wanted to mention that the combiner parts for Rail Racer are different from those of the previous combiners. Whereas Defensor and Constructicon Devastator shared, chest, waist, feet pieces as well as gun with eachother, Rail Racer got completely new parts. The fists are most noticably different as they are just fists now whereas they also formed part of the arm on the other two sets

The fists also have a blaster mounted on them so Rail Racer has added firepower. The pegs on his gun can hold Mini-Cons so you could attach those. I must note that the hole on my Rail Racer is a little too thin so the Mini-Cons fall off. The Mini-cons held nicely on my red Six Train's gun though.

Rail Racer is a very impressive.(if you can call it that) combiner. He looks very sleek and the colors match reasonably. It is not perfect but just slightly better than Defensor who has one yellow arm. He has nice and big shoulders (formed by the front train sections of Tankorr and Rapid Run) and the arms are really cool as well. His chest is especially cool since the front section of Railspike forms it. Neat indeed.

Sadly that is where it ends. The arms can move to the sides due to the transformation but the crucial up and down articulation is impossible due to the chest connector getting in the way. That is a huge downside especially when considering that, next to his gun, Rail Racer also had handblasters.

He shares that flaw with Defensor though but since Constructicon Devastator does not suffer from this a bit letdown and makes a near perfect mode useless unless you only want to display him. Then he looks really cool. Constructicon Devastator so far is my favorite combined mode with Rail Racer coming second and Defensor last.



Closing comments

The induvidual Transformers are really neat. I love Micromasters and I also like train modes so these are a winner for me. However the combined mode is a letdown simply because of the lack of arm movement. But it does look really cool and that makes it worth it for me. My second favorite combined mode but my favorite team. Untill the Aerialbots show up of course because I love air planes even more than I love trains.

If you liked the previous Micromaster combiners or Micromasters in general then you will like these as well. Even if the combined mode is basically a statue. But for me Rail Racer is a bonus that comes with these already great figures so I do not mind that one bit.

ReviewerFerry Rudolph  
DateAugust 20th 2005  
Score 8 stars (8 out of 10)  

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