||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (March 2015)|
Armada Mini-Con Leader-1.
|Publisher||Dreamwave Productions, IDW Publishing, Fun Publications|
|First appearance||Transformers: Armada ep. 1
|Base(s)||Unicron (original home-planet)
Cybertron (alternate home-planet)
|Member(s)||See: List of Mini-Cons.|
Mini-Cons are a human-sized race and faction of power-enhancing transforming robots first introduced in in various Transformers series. Pioneered for the Transformers: Armada toy line, Mini-Cons have since been sold under the Transformers: Energon, Transformers: Universe, Transformers: Cybertron and Transformers: Classic lines. In some cases, the word may also be spelled "Minicon" and they are known as "Microns" in Japan.
- 1 Unicron Trilogy
- 2 Transformers: Generation 1
- 3 Transformers film series
- 4 Transformers: Prime
- 5 References
Mini-Cons are a race of small, roughly human-sized Transformers capable of powerlinxing with a larger Transformer to impart extra abilities or greatly increase their strength. Their origins vary depending on the continuity in which they appear. Sometimes, they are creations of Unicron and other times they are creations of the Last Autobot or the descendants of Micronus Prime. However, there are times where their origins are not explained and are portrayed in different characterizations.
Throughout the different incarnations of the Transformers franchise, the Mini-Cons origins, characteristics and personalities vary, depending on continuity. For example, in the original Armada cartoon, Unicron created the Mini-Cons to be mindless tools, sent to Cybertron as an agitating element to the Transformers' civil war. The power-enhancing "smart tools" would be unleashed upon the populace, who would snap them up and bond with them, and the war would only get more destructive, as Unicron drank in the negative psychic energies from the death and destruction. As the Mini-Cons had been designed to form mental bonds with other life forms, when the human Rad touched the Mini-Con who he knew from the future as High Wire, High Wire apparently formed his bond then, with Rad and through the Mini-Cons' shared "soul dimension", the Linkage, sentience and free will spread throughout the Mini-Cons, forming "souls", and crippling Unicron's plans drastically. Most Mini-Cons had limited verbal capabilities, causing much controversy among fandom.
In contrast, the Dreamwave Productions' Armada continuity, Mini-Cons are a second race of Transformer, mostly living in designated sectors by themselves, which left them open to attack when Megatron led his Decepticons on capture raids. Through experimentation on prisoners, the Decepticons discovered the Mini-Cons were rewired, their power could be added to a Transformer through Powerlinxing. Mini-Cons are also capable of tapping an extra-dimensional energy source of unknown origin, but are wary of doing this, and most have inhibitors installed to prevent this from happening. There is no indication that Mini-Cons are related to Unicron in this continuity and unlike their cartoon counterparts, where capable of speech.
The Armada toy line was based around the concept of Mini-Cons interacting with each other, and the other toys in the range. All Mini-Cons could attach to any larger Transformer figure via the "Powerlinx" pegs molded into them, unlocking hidden features and weapons that were otherwise unavailable. For example, attaching a Mini-Con to Starscream deployed his Null Laser Cannons. Attaching one to Red Alert, activated a gun and sounds.
Most non-Mini-Con figures came partnered with at least one Mini-Con. Although the Mini-Con could attach to any figure it was also often uniquely designed to unlock a feature on the toy it was partnered with (for example, the Mini-Con Rollbar could act as the driver for Scavenger's alternate mode, and in doing so triggered a unique sound effect). Mini-Cons were also available in packs of three, themed by their color schemes, alternate modes and gimmicks.
Mini-Cons sold in the Transformers Armada toy line include:
- Air Defense Team (Runway, Jetstorm, Sonar - combine into the Star Saber)
- Street Action Team (High Wire, Grindor, Sureshock - combine into Perceptor)
- Land Military Team (Wreckage, Bonecrusher, Knock Out - firing missiles)
- Race Team (Dirt Boss, Mirage, Downshift - combine into the Skyboom Shield)
- Destruction Team (Dualor, Drillbit, Buzzsaw - geared parts, interact with Cyclonus)
- Space Team (Astroscope, Payload, Skyblast - combine into Requiem Blaster, fires missile)
- Street Speed Team (Oval, Spiral, Backtrack - highly articulated)
- Adventure Team (Iceberg, Dune Runner, Ransack - geared parts)
- Sea Team (Oceanglide, Stormcloud, Waterlog, - firing missiles)
- Night Attack Team (Fetch, Scattor, Broadside - Land Military Team redeco)
- Air Assault Team (Air Defense Team redeco)
- Emergency Team (Firebot, Prowl, Makeshift - weapon modes)
- Air Military Team (Terradive, Thunderwing, Gunbarrel - weapon modes)
- Road Assault Team (Race Team redeco)
- Road Wrecker Team (Destruction Team redeco)
- Sea Team redeco
- Emergency Team redeco
- Dinobots (Terrorsaur, Knockdown, Swoop) - beast forms released as Classics
- Night Rescue Team (Strongarm, Divebomb, Firebot) - Police Car, Apache AH-64D, & a Firetruck
- Demolition Team (Wideload, Sledge, Broadside) - construction vehicles and tank
- Dirt Digger Team (Dirt Rocket, Oil Slick, Grindor) - Race Themed Team
- Clear Skies Team (Thunderwing, Steel Wind, Nightscream) - an F-14, an A-10, & a Dragon
- Predator Attack Team (Snarl, Darkwing, Overbite) - Wolf, Eagle, & Tiger
Recolors of the Adventure Team (renamed Ironhide, Armorhide and Cliffjumper) and Street Speed Team (renamed Nightscream, Skid-Z and Side Burn) and were split up and sold with the figures of Rhinox, Terrorsaur, Cheetor, Airazor and Predacon. A redeco of the Street Action Team was sold with Sunstorm in the Transformers: Universe line. A redeco of the Space Team was sold with Ultra Magnus in the Transformers Energon line. The Linkage comic featured several redeco teams, which were included with the Japanese Micron Legend DVDs:
- The Super Stunt Team (Redline, Flat-Out, and Servo) - Street Speed Team redeco.
- The Speed Chaser Team (Top Gear, Midship, and Tailslide) - Race Team redeco.
- The Sonic Assault Team (Falcia, Cumbusta, and Twirl): Air Military Team redeco.
- The Aqua Raider Team (Bilge, Freeboot, and Sunburn) - Sea Team redeco.
- The Hazard Team (Kingbolt, Impulsor, and Quench) - Emergency Team redeco.
- Sparkplug (with Super Optimus Prime)
- Jolt (with Hot Shot)
- Longarm (with Red Alert and inferno in the toys R Us exclusives movie voyager 2007)
- Liftor (with Smokescreen)
- Rollbar (with Scavenger)
- Comettor (with Jetfire)
- Incinerator (with Blurr)
- Nightbeat (with Side Swipe)
- Refute (with Hoist)
- Roll-Out (with Overload)
Jolt, Longarm and Comettor were redecoed when they and their partners were released as "Powerlinx" versions of themselves. Sparkplug was remolded and vacuum-metalized for the same reason, becoming "Corona Sparkplug". Rollbar and Roll-Out were redecoed when Scavenger and Overload were redecoed as "Treadbolt" and "Ultra Magnus" for the Transformers Energon line (with Roll-Out becoming "Knock Out"). When Side Swipe was redecoed as "Oil Slick" for Transformers: Universe, Nightbeat was redubbed "Search and Destroy Robot," but was then reverted to Nightbeat again when Side Swipe was again repainted into "Treadshot" for the same line. Over-Run and Incinerator were redecoed when Optimus Prime and Blurr became "Ultra Magnus" and "Swerve" for Universe (with Incinerator renamed "Roadhandler").
- Leader-1 (with Megatron)
- Blackout (with Demolishor)
- Crumplezone (with Cyclonus)
- Swindle (with Starscream)
- Inferno (with Thrust)
- Ramjet (with Tidal Wave)
- Windsheer (with Wheeljack)
- Clench (with Galvatron, Leader-1 redeco)
- Zapmaster (with Thundercracker, Swindle redeco)
- Thunderclash (with Skywarp)
While Leader-1 and Swindle, and their partners, were renamed when they were recoloured, Blackout, Crumplezone and Inferno retained their names when they and their partners became Powerlinx versions. Ramjet was redecoed along with Tidal Wave when they were released in the Transformers Energon line, and Blackout and Crumplezone were repainted a second time for their releases in Energon, as was Inferno when he was released with Sunstorm in Transformers Universe.
- Rook and Crosswise (with Sideways)
- Run-Over (with Nemesis Prime, Over-Run redeco)
- Dead End (with Unicron)
Dead End was redecoed with Unicron when they were released for the Energon line. Rook and Crosswise became Nightcruz and Nightscream when Sideways was redecoed as "Rapid Run" for Energon.
Additionally, an exceptionally large number of repaints of these toys have been released in Japan, pushing the total Mini-Con count to the vicinity of 300. Most notably, exclusive repaints of the Street Speed Team, the Race Team, the Air Military Team, the Sea Team and the Emergency Team were included with the DVD release of Armada (Micron Legend in Japan), who played major roles in Linkage, the 13-part mini-manga which also came packaged with the DVDs, and filled in many of the blanks in the animated series storyline.
Mini-Cons released in the Transformers Energon line, in addition to the aforementioned repaints, include:
- Energon Saber Team (Skyboom, Scattor, Wreckage - combine into Energon Saber, Air Defense Team remold and redeco)
- Perceptor Team (High Wire, Grindor, Sureshock - combine into Perceptor, new molds)
Though not depicted in the cartoon or comic, there are a large number of Mini-Cons active within the Cybertron universe, according to the toy lines. In Japan, several Mini-Con Teams were made available as special promotional giveaways, to be "partnered" with major characters. Also, twelve blind-packed, individually sold "Booster" Mini-Cons were available at retail stores. In the US, "vs" packs of two Mini-Cons (one aligned with the Decepticons, one with the Autobots) further expand the Autobot/Decepticon conflict, with Teams stationed on Earth, the Moon, and Cybertron:
- Air Defense Team (Tankor, Thunderblast, Steamhammer—Autobot redeco of Land Military/Night Attack Teams)
- Deep Space Team (Blastcharge, Scrap Iron, Backblast—Decepticon redeco of Space Team, combine as Umbral Blaster)
- Exploration Team (Monocle, Landslide, Ascentor)--Autobot redeco of Destruction Team)
- Giant Planet Team (Deepdive, Longarm, Overcast—new molds)
- Lunar Assault Team (Payload, Kobushi Scattorbrain), Decepticon redeco of Adventure Team)
- Recon Team (Jolt, Reverb, Six Speed—new team)
- Sky Attack Team (Razorclaw, Axer, Sky Lynx—Decepticon redeco of Air Military Team)
- Sky Terror Team (Ramjet, Sunstorm, Thrust)
- Street Action Team (High Wire, Sureshock, Grindor—same characters as the Armada and Energon teams)
- Street Speed Team (Backtrack, Spiral, Oval—same characters as Armada team)
- SWAT Team (Anti-Blaze, Checkpoint, Scythe—Autobot redeco of Emergency Team)
Several Mini-Cons have the ability to combine to special weapons and relics. These include:
- Energon Saber (Skyboom, Scattor, Wreckage - combined form of the Energon Saber Team, Air Defense Team remold and redeco)
Star Saber and Perceptor are named after G1 characters. Many of the aforementioned relics have been re-imagined (in some cases, yet again) as part of the arsenal of the Thirteen Primes in the Transformers: Prime continuity.
Having been defeated in battle by Omega Supreme, the evil demi-god Unicron was reduced to a state of near-dormancy, and, disguised as Cybertron's moon, began a new plan. Cybertronian history is unclear on exactly what happened next - apparently, the planet suffered a mysterious cataclysm that predated the appearance of the Mini-Cons. Presumably, this was Unicron's doing, as it would eventually be revealed that he had implanted some of his cells within Cybertron, where they were cultivated and hatched into the Mini-Cons. Bearing witness to this birthing, however, were Rad, Carlos and Alexis, three human children who would befriend the Mini-Cons a million years hence, who had been temporarily displaced in time. By coming into contact with the Mini-Cons at this early, raw stage in their evolution, they planted the seeds of souls, sentience and feelings into the robots, telling them that they would be waiting for them on Earth.
And so, the Mini-Cons emerged on Cybertron, and their ability to enhance the strength and power of the larger Transformers soon became apparent. This had, of course, been Unicron's desire - as the Autobots and Decepticons clashed over the Mini-Cons, the negative energies of hatred and war fed Unicron, slowly regenerating his body. It is unclear, however, whether or not the war had actually existed prior to the coming of the Mini-Cons, or if their presence actually began it - it is worth noting that rather than simply being caught in the middle of events, the Mini-Cons genuinely seem to corrupt and induce a desire for combat in some beings (as would later be evident with Atlantis).
Eventually, the Mini-Cons developed full sentience and desired to leave Cybertron, to find Earth in accordance with the memory that had been planted in them at the moment of their birth. The Autobots aided them in this endeavour, while the Decepticons attacked, but failed to stop the Mini-Con craft Exodus from escaping through a trans-warp portal. The Mini-Con ship was crippled, however, and upon emerging through the portal in the vicinity of Earth, began plummeting towards the planet. The ship first impacted with the moon, and was torn in two - the rear portion of the ship remained lodged on the moon, while the forward portion crashed on Earth. The ship's entire Mini-Con crew were rendered trapped in the suspended animation they had placed themselves in, sealed in small panels, many of which had scattered all across the face of the Earth as their craft entered the atmosphere. The fragment of the ship on Earth was buried in a mountain, and lay there untouched for a million years.
In the interim, some ancient civilisations came into contact with some Mini-Cons. One Mini-Con panel was found in the desert, and apparently used in some way to fashion a temple, filled with advanced-technology booby-traps. More notably, the three Mini-Cons that comprised the Star Saber sword were found and freed by the civilization of Atlantis, who used the Saber as a power source (which would historically be recorded as orichalcum). But the power of the Mini-Cons corrupted Atlantis, and they went to war with another race, who had apparently gained control of the Skyboom Shield Mini-Cons. The resultant energies released in the battle sank Atlantis, and resealed the Mini-Cons, scattering them once more, save for one that remained in the sunken city.
In the Earth year 2010, the crashed Mini-Con spaceship was discovered by Bradly "Rad" White and his friend, Carlos Lopez, while they were exploring the caves outside their city. The inadvertently reactivated the ship, which sent out a signal that reactivated the Mini-Con panels across the world (allowing them to be tracked, not freeing the Mini-Cons within), and reached Cybertron, alerting the Autobots and Decepticons to this development. Megatron, Optimus Prime and their forces soon arrived on Earth, as Rad, Carlos and their friend, Alexis freed and befriended the Street Action Team (but it was, of course, no coincidence, as they had already imprinted on the humans, having met them in the past). The Autobots and Decepticons soon took on Earth forms to disguise themselves, and set up bases in the fragments of the Mini-Con ship on Earth and on the Moon, respectively.
The hunt for the Mini-Cons began, with each member of the teams first acquiring their partner Mini-Cons. Each Mini-Con has an in-built servility program that bonds them to the Transformer which awakens them from their panel, or with whom they combine, which makes them subservient to them. However, if the partner respects the Mini-Cons free will, there is little to no negative effect - such is the case with the Autobots. The little robots are incapable of true speech, communicating only through bleeps and whistles, although certain human beings are attuned to the same mental wavelength as the Mini-Cons, allowing them to telepathically perceive their speech - such was the case with Rad, Carlos and Alexis.
The next target for recovery was the Star Saber sword, but, unbeknownst to anyone, however, the Star Saber was one of three Mini-Con weapons which Unicron had crafted as keys that would reawaken him when the time was right. From his own body, he created an agent named Sideways, whom he sent to Earth to manipulate events, escalating the conflict to feed him further, and also arranging the Mini-Con weapons into position so they could be easily claimed. Following the successful formation of the Star Saber, the next target became the Skyboom Shield, which was successfully acquired by the Decepticons, who had also managed to steal back the Star Saber, thanks to Sideways's treachery and side-switching. In the ensuing battle, however, the Skyboom Shield fell into Autobot hands, and when it and the Star Saber met, an incredible energy flare was released as the two objects' powers fused momentarily.
While all these events were occurring, other Mini-Cons had awoken on their own in other parts of the world. One such group, the Super Stunt Team - working with Stella, a human female with the mental attunement - soon fell afoul of more of Unicron's agents - the Speed Chaser Team, Mini-Cons who had surrendered to Unicron and were more powerful as a result. The battles that followed also saw the Sonic Assault Team pulled into the conflict, and the power exhibited by their foes prompted Redline of the Super Stunt Team to begin experiments into achieving this upgrade for all Mini-Cons, while allowing them to retain their free will. They established contact with the Autobot Mini-Cons on Earth, telling them to prepare.
With Sideways's status as a double agent and a manipulator revealed to the Decepticons, he was dispatched from their ranks, displaying his incredible Unicron-born powers by reshaping his body after being destroyed by the Star Saber. He proceeded to inform the Autobots of the existence of the third Mini-Con weapon, the Requiem Blaster - a newsflash that came just as the giant Decepticon warship, Tidal Wave, arrived on Earth to make life difficult for the Autobots. Rad, Carlos and Alexis succeeded in locating Skyblast, one of the Blaster's components, who overcame his fear of conflict to perform a stunning fear - in the midst of battle, Skyblast unleashed a beautiful, electronic harmony, a song which awoke the other two Mini-Cons and called them to him. They combined into the blaster, which was briefly held by the Autobots until the Decepticons invaded their base, stole it, and killed Smokescreen.
Subsequently, the Decepticon Starscream was abandoned by his teammates, and joined the Autobots in a misguided attempt to claim revenge on Megatron. Providing them with access codes to the Decepticon base, Starscream participated in an invasion which revealed that Megatron was using all the captive Mini-Cons to construct a starship that would return them to Cybertron. Perceptor attempted to make the Mini-Cons stop, but they would not listen until Megatron assaulted Perceptor, at which point all the Mini-Cons ceased working, turned on Megatron, and once again sang their beautiful harmony. In the course of ensuing events, Starscream and Megatron battled with the Star Saber and Requiem Blaster, another flare of energy being released as two of the three Mini-Con weapons met. The Autobots successfully saved all the Mini-Cons from the Decepticons, but the seed of doubt had been planted in Starscream's mind when Optimus prevented him from killing Megatron.
Starscream was then manipulated by Thrust - who was in turn being instructed by Sideways - into returning to the Decepticons, stealing the Skyboom Shield from the Autobots, thereby giving the Decepticons ownership of all three Mini-Con weapons. Locked in their weapon forms, the weapons were used as a mighty new weapon, releasing the energy as they had done before when brought together, this time controlled by their integration into the new weapon mounted on the front of the new Decepticon starship, the Hydra Cannon. The Decepticons launched and targeted Earth with the cannon, but Optimus Prime absorbed the blast with his Matrix, sacrificing himself to save the planet.
Meanwhile, Redline had successfully unlocked the Master Key, bestowing upon himself, and gradually all other Mini-Cons, the enhanced, unrestrained powers that Mini-Cons normally do not have access to. With these new powers, he and his allies were successfully able to defeat Ravenus, another of Unicron's agents, who had been instructed to destroy the Linkage, the communal mind of all Mini-Cons. With the Mini-Cons' full powers now unlocked, all the remaining robots joined the Autobots in their pursuit of the Decepticons, back to Cybertron.
Being parts of Unicron, the Mini-Cons possess a wide array of powers. With their abilities unlocked, they perpetually glow with a green aura, and are able to communicate verbally. They possess enhanced strength, energy projection powers, are capable of interstellar flight, and can upgrade and repair other Transformers by bathing them in their light - Hot Shot, Red Alert, Demolishor, Starscream and Megatron (now renaming himself Galvatron) received such upgrades after their defeat at the hands of Nemesis Prime. The Mini-Cons were even able to resurrect Optimus Prime by entering the Matrix and forming a new body for him. They also created Overload in this manner.
When both forces subsequently returned to Cybertron, Sideways and Thrust succeeding in stealing the Mini-Con weapons - when Starscream and the kids pursued Thrust, High Wire used his powers to initiate the time displacement that sent Rad, Carlos and Alexis back in time, triggering events. After they returned, Thrust and Sideways brought the weapons to Unicron, reactivating him, and as the planet-eater turned on Cybertron, the Mini-Cons merged their bodies together, forming a duplicate of the dark god, and grappled with him hand to hand, until Unicron exerted his influence over his creations, turning them back into his servants. He absorbed Galvatron and the children into himself, but with their consciousnesses integrated into his, Rad was able to awaken High Wire once more, that effect spreading to all the Mini-Cons, who penetrated Unicron's body and bathed his interior in their light, awakening the weapons and cutting off Unicron's power, leaving him deactivated in space. However, he soon began to move again as Galvatron began a fierce battle with Optimus Prime, which only ended when Galvatron sacrificed himself to stop Unicron.
Over the ensuing ten years, Mini-Cons became much less of a desired commodity as the Autobots and Decepticons worked together with humankind to establish cities on Earth and in the solar system to mine of the energy-rich mineral, Energon. The Street Action team received upgrades to their bodies, but rarely saw any kind of combat, content to partner around with Kicker. The Energon Saber Mini-Cons - apparently not upgraded Star Saber Mini-Cons - were stationed at Mars City, and survived the devastation there, joining the fight against Alpha Q and his Terrorcons, wielded as a weapon by Ironhide and Kicker, and on occasion by Optimus.
A quartet of Mini-Cons were with Vector Prime when he traveled to Cybertron to warn the Autobots about the Grand Black Hole and the need to find the Cyber Planet Keys in conjunction with the Omega Lock to seal it. These Mini-cons (Jolt, Reverb, Six-Speed and Safeguard) were apparently among a group of Mini-cons that were companions of the Transformers that migrated with a Cyber Planet Key to the Giant Planet, Gigantion, which was blown into another universe due to a rift in space. They were saved by Vector Prime when, during a hide-and-seek game, the shuttle they were hiding in accidentally launched. All Transformers on Gigantion have a Mini-con partner, though only Jolt was shown to have any ability to speak human speech (explained in Japan as due to his neural patterns being more like that of a human than like a Transformer, in the US as due to his love of Earth television, radio and internet entertainment). In the US Cybertron comic book series Safeguard is depicted as speaking normal language as well. As partners, the Mini-cons work in tight spaces that the Giant transformers can't reach.
Though the Mini-Cons' plight in the Dreamwave Productions comic books was similar to the cartoon, their portrayal and actions were considerably different. Mini-Cons in the comic universe are capable of normal speech, and their origins are unexplained.
Making a bid for power on a peaceful Cybertron, Megatron began raiding Mini-Con villages, capturing the inhabitants and performing cruel experiments on them to further strengthen their power-enhancing abilities, taking village head Leader-1 as his personal slave. Only four Mini-Cons were able to escape Megatron's sweep; Sparkplug and the Air Defense Team. While Megatron used only a couple of Mini-Cons to enhance his troops and take over the capital Cyber City, the four free Minis breached the Decepticon headquarters' defenses and freed the remaining captives, retreating to the Air Defense Team's junkyard base where a starship waited to take them all off-world and out of Megatron's reach. But due to a failure in the ship's engines, the ship crashed into the Earth's Moon, splitting in two, and the passengers remained inactive for centuries.
In 2010, Rad accidentally uncovered a portion of the Mini-Con ship, activating a distress beacon that sent the Decepticons and Autobots heading towards Earth. Rad, Carlos and Alexis befriended Sparkplug and the Street Action Team who were inside that portion of the ship, but soon found themselves pursued by Megatron. They managed to evade him long enough to run into the Autobots, who managed to defeat the Decepticons thanks to the intervention of the Mini-Cons Jolt, Longarm, Liftor and Rollbar. Megatron later captured the Air Defense Team, and turned them into the powerful Star Saber sword. However, the Mini-Cons were ultimately able to resist Megatron, and Megatron was forced to retreat.
Having battled Unicron in an alternate dimension, Optimus Prime returned home and immediately ordered a general Mini-Con call to arms. The Mini-Cons gathered at Arizon, Black Mesa where Over-Run revealed the existence of the Mini-Con Matrix and his plans to use it to defeat Unicron. Megatron returned the Mini-Cons his Decepticons had enslaved to further boost the numbers. Assembled at Cyber-City, Over-Run released the power of the Mini-Con Matrix and combined it with the energies of the Mini-Cons to defeat Unicron. Thus ended Armada #18.
When the comic transformed from Transformers: Armada to Transformers: Energon with #19 the Mini-Cons largely disappeared from the narrative. The only Mini-Con character to feature was Over-Run who has spent the intervening decade nurturing the Transformers' natural evolutionary steps - developing the Omnicons. Dreamwave's bankruptcy left the comic's overarcing plots unresolved, and whether Mini-Cons would go on to play any further roles is unknown.
Transformers: Generation 1
|Publisher||Marvel Comics, IDW Publishing, Dreamwave Productions, Devil's Due Publishing, Fun Publications|
|First appearance||The Transformers #1
|Member(s)||See: List of Mini-Cons.|
The Transformers: Classics toy line and accompanying fiction would take the opportunity to introduce a new background for the Mini-Cons in the Transformers: Generation 1 universe. Set in the aftermath of issue 75 of the original Marvel Comics series, where Optimus Prime died defeating Unicron, a bio presented in "Games of Deception" told that as events unfolded to their conclusion in the comics, culminating in the Decepticon ambush on Klo, the humans trapped along with the Last Autobot realised that while the Autobots needed help, the planet also needed help to recover. To this end, he used data from the newly resurrected Optimus Prime to create the Mini-Cons, with each containing part of the Last Autobot's Spark.
While the Mini-Cons didn't appear in the original series, a similar race called the Cassette warriors, also called "Mini-Cassettes", or simply "Cassettes", are featured. They are human-sized transformers with microcassette alternate modes. Within the context of the series, in the days of Megatron, Decepticons developed the art of espionage using cassette technology. Their first cassette, Laserbeak, could fly undetected into any Autobot stronghold, record information and then return to base. Then the Decepticons decided to increase their spying abilities with Ratbat. As a bat, Ratbat can hide in crevices that Laserbeak can't reach, and is especially effective in tunnels, caves or in the darkness of space. Ratbat records from the Autobots' most carefully guarded secrets.
The Autobots had no choice but to strike back with these Decepticon techniques of stealth, building their own force of cassette Transformers, with Blaster as their guardian. They constructed Ramhorn, the rhino, who can use animalistic force if cornered, and Steeljaw, the lion, who can crawl through the foliage of any alien world, to sneak up on Decepticons. They also bolstered their cassette force with Rewind and Eject, who can transform to robot mode and use more conventional fighting force techniques. Due to the loose continuity of the series, an alternate version of the Cassette warriors' origin is also stated in the animated series. According to this version, the beast-moded ones were once created by the divine inventor Primacron.
The Mini-Cons of this universe are a sub-set of Micromasters, diminutive Autobots who were originally unable to transform until exposed to the energies of a dimensional shockwave. When most of the Micromaster population decamped from Earth under the command of Hot Rod to found their own civilization on Planet Micro, some elected to remain with the Autobots to help them continue the war. These little 'bots partnered up with larger Transformers, adopting weapon and equipment alternate modes (in addition to their vehicular forms) which their partners could wield. Like the Mini-Cons from other universes, they provide their partners with a power-up by connecting to them when in weapon mode. Some of the earliest known include Tailgate and Swerve's partners Groundshaker and Phaser, Tailgate/G1 Micron Chapter though many more named warriors would follow as partners of the Power Core Combiners.
Evidence suggests that Mini-Cons would persist into the Beast Era: the enigmatic Wedge Shape, as well as several of the combatants involved in the "Eternal Prisoner" conflict, professed Maximal and Predacon allegiances. Additionally, Mini-Con Dragoyell is reported to have taken part in the Beast Wars. In "Betrayal", the Maximal Ramulus uses "Mini-Con" as a term of derision, implying that CatSCAN is timid or insufficiently assertive. Ironically, this story predates Transformers: Armada.
For the most part, the Decepticon Mini-Cassettes did not appear to have a particularly special or unique relationship with Soundwave. Soundwave occasionally carried Laserbeak within his chest compartment, releasing him for surprise attacks. More often, the Mini-Cassette troops used their small alternate modes for stealth, disguise and transportation by other characters. Rumble and Frenzy frequently hitched rides in the cockpit of the Decepticon jets, for example. Ravage used his cassette form on several occasions to spy on humans. Three of the cassette troops were taken out of play by Omega Supreme and remained inoperative for quite some time, while Ravage was dropped into a mine shaft by the Autobot Skids, taking him out of play for even longer. Only Laserbeak remained operative, acting as a sort of totem of Decepticon leadership. Ratbat assumed a cassette form upon traveling to Earth, and used this disguise to monitor his human accomplices.
Their Autobot counterparts were even less featured. In the U.K. Marvel Comics, Playback was a prisoner of the Decepticons on Cybertron. Along with Hosehead and Horsepower, he was released into the wild on Earth to be hunted down by Thunderwing as part of his initiation as a new Decepticon leader. He was the first of the trio Thunderwing tracked down and executed, leaving his corpse to rust on a shallow beach. By 2008, Eject was stationed at Autobase on Cybertron, working communications for Ultra Magnus. Meanwhile, on Earth, the Quintessons invaded Autobot City, devastating most of the base's population. Rewind, Steeljaw, and Ramhorn were stationed there, but got trapped inside Blaster's chest when he was blasted off-line and hung on the ramparts. A quick-thinking Hot Rod realized where they'd be and managed to free them. The Mini-Cassettes joined Hot Rod and Arcee in retaking Autobot City from the Quints. Steeljaw appears in the Transformers: Generation 2 comics as part of a squad of Autobots dispatched to Earth when Optimus Prime learned Megatron was still alive and active. He was killed in battle by Megatron's hyper-velocity rail gun, a deadly weapon created by Cobra.
In the Transformers: Classics comic, the Mini-Cons were created by the Last Autobot to cleanse Cybertron of Demons and Mutants before the Autobots returned. The Mini-Cons began their task of rebuilding the planet, but after a while dissension arose. The Mini-Cons began to wonder why they should rebuild a planet for the other Transformers, the same Transformers that had destroyed it in the first place, with the race eventually splitting into Autobot and Decepticon aligned factions and beginning a new war on the abandoned planet.
Transformers film series
Little is known about the nature of Mini-Cons in this continuity, but known Mini-Cons include Longarm, Frenzy, Chopster, Bomb-Burst, Catilla, Triceradon, Dualor, Rav and Pinpointer. Various beast-like mini-robots appeared in the first three Transformers films, and like their Armada predecessors, they didn't talk because the production team thought it would be odd. Scorponok appeared as a Mini-Con partner for Blackout in the first film, while Ravage appeared as a Mini-Con partner for Soundwave in the second.
Apparently, they changed their minds when it came Laserbeak's turn for Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Lazerbeak was another Mini-Con partner for Soundwave, appearently replacing Ravage, who's most useful of his abilities is to transform into almost any type of alternate mode. These include a hover jet, a photocopier/printer, an LCD television screen, a wall-mounted CD player, and a child sized, fuchsia Bumblebee.
In the Transformers: Power Core Combiners toy line, there were sets where Commanders had the ability to combine with Mini-Cons, which powered up their abilities. Usually, the Commanders were the only one able to transform from a vehicle into robot, while the other four "drones" simply transformed from vehicle mode to a limb. The Commanders usually formed the torso and had an alternate head for their combined form, however, the combiner itself would still have the name of the Commander, rather than be another entity.
Micronus Prime is the first Mini-con and one of the Thirteen. By coming in contact with the other members of the Thirteen he could enhance their skills and powers. Notably, he assisted Solus Prime in the creation of many of the Thirteen's artifacts. Micronus Prime was among the Thirteen created by Primus to battle and defeat Unicron and seeing the activation of the Well of Allsparks. Interestingly, Micronus takes the form of a small Cybertronian encased inside a seemingly energon based force field.
They appear in Transformers: Exodus. In the book, Mini-Con is the name of the group of Decepticons under Soundwave's command, which consisted of Laserbeak, Rumble, Frenzy, Ravage, Ratbat of the High Council, Makeshift, and Buzzsaw. Makeshift reappears in the sequel, Exiles, where he disguises himself as the Autobot Hound aboard the Ark.
In Transformers: Prime, Micronus Prime is seen unnamed in flashbacks in the season one finale "One Shall Rise". Laserbeak is also a recurring character in the series, though he often appears as part of Soundwave's chest and goes unnamed until the season 2 episode "Triage". During the final story arc, Soundwave is captured by the Autobots and subsequently rescued by Laserbeak. During his rescue of Soundwave, Smokescreen shoots off Laserbeak's transponder which the Autobots use to build a mini-drone and rescue Ratchet. At the end of "Deadlock", Soundwave and Laserbeak are trapped in the Shadowzone dimension.
Transformers: Robots in Disguise
The sequel series, Transformers: Robots in Disguise, features several Mini-Cons as part of the main cast. The first and most prominent Mini-Con introduced was Fixit (voiced by Mitchell Whitfield) is a hyperactive Mini-Con with an error in his vocal processor. He appears as a member of Bumblebee's new team of Autobots. Formerly stationed aboard the Autobot prison ship Alchemor, Fixit crashed on Earth and saw the majority of the captives escape or be scattered across Earth's surface before meeting Bumblebee and the others. Unlike most Mini-Cons, he is not known to possess an alternate mode yet transforms into different tools.
Subsequently in the episode "Hunting Season", two pairs of Mini-Cons were introduced: The first pair introduced were Airazor and Divebomb (voiced by Roger Craig Smith and Khary Payton), two Mini-Cons that are partners to the Decepticon bounty hunter Fracture. The second pair introduced were Jetstorm and Slipstream (both voiced by Roger Craig Smith), two Mini-Cons who used to be criminals before they reformed. Since then, they have been working as partners to the Autobot samurai and bounty hunter Drift. As Drift and Fracture are rivals, their respective Mini-Cons are also seen engaging each other. In this case, these Mini-Cons are powerful enough to fight "normal"-sized Transformers.
The original Mini-Con, Micronus Prime (voiced by Adrian Pasdar), appeared in "Out of Focus", where he resided in the Realm of the Primes and was the first to train Optimus Prime in preparation for an evil that will threaten Earth and Cybertron. He used generic a Decepticon deployer and Mini-Cons in his training of Optimus Prime. In "Deep Trouble", several Mini-Cons briefly appear on board an ancient Cybertronian ship Octopunch was trying to reactivate to leave Earth. They take down Strongarm and imprison her in a room when the Autobots got split up. They all looked identical to Fixit causing Strongarm to have post-trauma when she saw the actual Fixit again. Fortunately for her, the ship exploded and presumably the Fixit drones with it. In "The Trouble With Fixit", Denny accidentally briefly reactivates Fixit's sentry mode, causing him to become a threat to the other Autobots when he becomes nearly unstoppable. Micronus reappears in the season one finale when Optimus is reborn and sent to Earth to stop Megatronus.
- Furman, Transformers Armada Issue #1, pg 14-15 character Longarm "Decepticons believed they'd figured out a way to use our powers to enhance their own. But they needed to test the theory, so they started capturing mini-cons as slaves"
- Furman, Simon (2004). Transformers: The Ultimate Guide. DK Publishing Inc. p. 122. ISBN 1-4053-0461-8.