Friday, January 30, 2015

Microman LED Power Series: MicroBikes Hiper Speeder & Tornado Bison

Many fans know that Takara has re-used various Transformers molds in other non-Transformers branded lines. One of the Brave series re-used Sky Garry, Sonic Bomber and Dai Atlas. Even Takara's Microman line had a few Transformers toys. The Micromaster base, Countdown, and the truck from the Action Master release of Optimus Prime are commonly known TF molds used. But did you know the Laser Cycles from Generation Two were also re-used for Microman?

These re-used molds first showed up in 2000 as part of the Microman LED Powers Series. The colors look very sharp, better than their G2 counterparts in my opinion. Take a look at this article for more information about these. I've yet to track these down for my own collection, but they are on the list.

While I knew the Laser Cycles had been re-purposed in the Microman line, I didn't know there was a Toys 'R Us Japan exclusive two pack of the MicroBikes; released around the summer of 2000. Once I discovered these years ago I immediately set out on a search to find them. I don't remember how long I searched for them, but they eventually were added to my personal collection via a Yahoo! Japan auction.

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A lot of the Microman toys of the time were packaged on blister cards with removable bubbles. These exclusive MicroBikes came in a very nice black and gold box.

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I'm not sure what it was about these motorcycle molds that I liked so much, but I really wanted these guys. I'm not really a mold completionist, but after adding these two to my collection I found the only version of these molds I lack are the regular Microman versions.

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Both bikes come packaged in a plastic tray with each Microman figure already mounted and ready to ride! There have been a few modifications to the molds from their G2 days. The electronics have been removed so you won't a small button by the handle bars or the rubber tubing extruding from the side. Speaking of the handle bars, the original mold had hand brakes molded onto the handles. These brakes have been removed for the Microman releases. I assume this was done to allow the figures to be able to easily grip the handle bars. Outside of these small changes I haven't noticed any other variations.

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Hiper Speeder (or is Hyper Speeder?) is a translucent yellow and orange version of G2 Road Rocket. The included Microman figure is Master Laser Arthur. I love how great the figure actually fits on the bike. It's almost as if these bikes were designed for these figures.

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Master Laser Arthur comes with a few weapons and a shield he can wield. These weapons can be assembled to form a larger gun as shown above.

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In true Microman LED fashion, each figure comes with a battery powered back pack. When the button on the back pack is pressed, a small red LED light shines through the chest of the figure.

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While I love the motorcycle mode, the robot mode has always left something to desire. I guess it's the motorcycle wheels that just sort of hang out there that I don't care for. I do like the integrated buzz saw weapon and how it plugs into his forearm.

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I've always thought the robot's head/face looks like a masked ninja. Move over Ryu Hyabusa!

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I wanted to have a few comparison shots with G2 Road Rocket, but the Robot Masters release was easier for me to grab off my shelf at the time.

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Here you can see some of the mold changes from previous releases. Notice the handle bars lack the brake handles the G2 version had. If you look at the center of the handles, you'll see that Hiper Speeder lacks the small button that activates the LED light.

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Master Laser Arthur doesn't matter what color his bike long as it's FAST!

The other half of the package is Tornado Bison, a translucent orange and yellow version of Generation Two Road Pig. This is the first laser cycle I purchased back in the G2 days so I'm a little more partial to this toy.

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I don't know enough a lot about the Microman toys, but I noticed these two figures are very similar to one another, outside of the color differences and different head sculpts. Tornado Bison's partner is Laser Shakunetsu. I prefer the overall look of him when compared to Master Laser Arthur.

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Laser Shakunetsu comes with his own back pack as well as a different set of weapons.

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Tornado Bison has an equally strong robot mode in my opinion. He's a little more beefier and the designers did a better job at concealing the motorcycle wheels...or at least getting them out of the way.

The glittery, translucent orange plastic isn't my favorite look for this mold, but it's different and I like different. The original, evil looking robot head returns.While Hiper Speeder may have built for speed, Tornado Bison was built to rumble.

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Again, the Robot Masters version of this mold was readily accessible during my photo shoot so we'll use Sideways here in place of G2 Road Pig.

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Here is another minor example of the mold change. Just underneath the bike, behind the front wheel is the small black button that activates the LED light on the G2 and Robot Masters versions of the mold. Notice the Microman version still has the battery compartment, but no rubber tubing.

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" Get your motor runnin', head out on the highway, lookin' for adventure and whatever comes our way"

I find these versions of the Laser Cycles to be a lot of fun and since I already have the G2 and Robot Masters bikes it just made sense for me to pick these up. The translucent, glittery plastic may not appeal to everyone; but like I mentioned before I like different.

If you are looking to add these toys to your own Transformers or Microman collection, good luck. They don't seem to appear for sale on the secondary market very often. I haven't searched eBay for them, but you may have a better chance using a proxy service and looking on Yahoo! Japan auctions as I did. 

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1 comment:

  1. Laser Master Arthur has wind-swept hair. Sculpted wind-swept hair. However, I feel as though his bike, Hyper Speeder is the better of the two bikes. I actually dig the wheels on the shoulders. They give the impression that they could be used for a flight mode.