Dave's Transformers Legacy Rant: Walgreens Exclusive 2022
Minerva (retool of Elita-1)
So, Minerva holds a special place in my fannish heart. Back in the
early to mid 90s, when I was first really getting into Transformers fandom, I
knew about Minerva/Minelba and even got to see untranslated VHS copies of
Masterforce. I'd bought a loose Nightbeat from a friend, and in 1995 I
decided to repaint it as Minerva (at the time there was debate over her name,
since the toy's box said Minelba, but I was in the camp that said Minerva was
an actual plausible name for a British schoolgirl, so). I didn't do a great
job, but I did show it off at BotCon 95. Later, when I had better reference
material, I redid it.
Since then, while there's been a couple of Japanese-release Minerva toys
(an SCF figure, and more recently a redeco of the Titans Return Nightbeat
Titan Master), none of the full-bot Nightbeat toys since then have gotten
redecoed as Minerva except as fan customs. So, that makes this Walgreens
shared exclusive notable for bringing the character in, but now as a co-mold
with Elita-1 instead of Nightbeat.
- Elita-1 review in
which I point out some obvious tooling meant for Minerva rather than
Fortunately, Hasbro Pulse did get it briefly, because Walgreens has been
pretty bad about getting its exclusives onto the shelves lately (I had to
order Red Alert online from Walgreens.com in 2021, and as of the writing of
this review Minerva is still not up on their site).
$25 price point.
Minerva: Original mold was Recommended. The vehicle mode doesn't hold
together as well, but I think I just got a bad copy since there's no
additional paint on any parts that would make it always be worse. I like the
color scheme and the character, as pointed out above, and I think this is a
decent intro to the U.S. as a fully transforming toy. Recommended.
Packaging: Cardboard-hangtag version of the Legacy Deluxe box. The
instructions added in the lightbar but did not remove the Elita head top, so
the two are kinda superimposed.
AUTOBOT: AUTOBOT MINERVA
Altmode: Cybertronian Car
Transformation Difficulty: 14 steps
Previous Name Use: None
Previous Mold Use: Legacy
Function: First Aid Care (G1 function)
Packaging: Has the same packaging plan as Elita-1, with three rattan
strings around the robot mode and the accessories in a tissue bag behind the
inner tray. Instead of a fake head top, there's a lightbar.
As with other exclusives in Legacy, there's no QR code. This shares the
too-high backpack issue with Elita-1, although Minerva's supposed to have
Color Swaps: Most of the toy is now white plastic. The bits that were
darker red plastic (shoulders, torso back, hips, knees) and the feet are now
a medium red plastic. All the clear plastic is now clear colorless. The
biceps, fists, neck, and what were white struts inside Elita's backpack are
silvery light gray plastic.
Paint Apps: In robot mode, "true" red paint on the bikini top, the
thighs, and the cheek pieces of the helmet. The face is orange with bright
blue eyes, and the various recessed details on the pelvis are also bright
blue. The helmet antennae are painted gloss black, although to avoid
breakage the antennae are connected by thin panels to the helmet and the
paint doesn't quite end cleanly at the antenna parts. The tummy is painted
silvery light gray in a very good match to the plastic. Except for the grip,
the "correct" rifle (the one that looks like G1 Minerva's) is painted gloss
black. Her other rifle, the Elita-1 specific rifle, is unpainted. There's
no Autobot symbol in this mode, although the molded spot where Elita-1 has
hers is certainly available for a Toyhax decal.
In vehicle mode, the windshield is painted clear medium blue with gloss
white on the boundaries that aren't supposed to be clear. The spoiler is
painted red, but oddly not all the same shade...the middle is a lighter shade
of red. The bottom edge of the car body has a red stripe running from the
top of each rear fender around to where the front fender pieces meet the
unpainted grille in front. The T-shape on the hood is painted bright red,
with a slightly darker red Autobot symbol printed in the center of the hood.
The lightbar is painted gloss white in the middle with clear red on the light
bits. As with Elita-1, the wheels are painted black, but gloss black in this
case with no separate color for the hubs. The headlights are unpainted.
Mold Changes: The head is new, a pretty good interpretation of the
animation model, if a bit narrower to fit the existing space. The fake head
top piece is replaced by a standard lightbar made from clear plastic. The
lightbar has a 5mm socket on top, so that putting it on the roof doesn't
remove the ability to also put the combined rifle on top.
Other Notes: Interesting how they decided to leave the Elita rifle
unpainted clear plastic, and only painted the Minerva-accurate rifle.
There's no cross design anywhere, due to trademark issues with the Red
Cross, but they also didn't bother with a replacement symbol of the sort they
used on Ratchet. I suppose the T shape on the hood painted red is meant to
fill that role.
I had a lot more trouble getting the vehicle mode all the way together
than in the case of Elita-1, not sure if it's a difference in plastics or if
I just got one with tiny assembly errors this time.
It's interesting how, other than the head, the robot mode really does
avoid having any details obviously specific to G1 Minerva, but still manages
to look about right overall anyway. And like the Elita mold she's co-tooled
with, she looks female without looking like a swimsuit model done in metal.
I consider that a feature, by the way, not a bug. We need more middle ground
between waifu and "wouldn't know she's female if we weren't told or she
didn't have lipstick" Cybertronians.
Overall: I'm a bit disappointed that the vehicle mode doesn't want to
fit together quite right, but then again I spent about twice as much on a 3P
Minerva (MB-12 Athena) that's even worse at holding together in car mode.
For $25, it's a decent first (mostly) mass market Minerva in this country.
Dave Van Domelen, still putting off Metroplex, Junkheap is on deck.