Distribution of toys seems to be backing up, with Autobot Minerva (and Red Alert before her) not getting the kind of Walgreens exclusive distribution we used to see - I had to get both online in early 2022. I'm not sure quite why the somewhat empty shelves of Walgreens didn't get these figures sooner, but hey, better late than never. American toy collectors never had a crack at the Minerva character outside of some imports.
The toy is a recolor and retool of Elita-1, which I never finished reviewing because a) I never could get her transformed right, and b) I could never find an in-store replacement to examine for what I thought was the flaw in my copy. Now that I've got Minerva in hand, apparently I realize that the flaw is that the parts tolerances are so picky that this is just not a good car mode. Transforming this toy is unpleasant and required a level of precision that does not seem to have been given to the manufacturing process, so get it for a good robot figure and hold your nose about the "Transformers" part of it.
The robot mode is great. It's fantastic - it's a nice robot action figure with lots of joints, bright colors, and a good range of motion. Her orange face and blue eyes pop out of a white and red helmet, and I love the "gun ears" on her head. The torso sculpt is closer to the cartoon version, but most fans will probably not be super aware of any of her previous appearances in toys or fiction. She's a skinny robot medic, and she looks like a skinny robot medic - and she has no red crosses this time. I recently found out the reason the red crosses on medic toys and video games are being replaced by other icons because, apparently, it's a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
Her back kibble is a little wobbly, but the important thing to remember is someone tricked the Walgreens toy buyers to take an obscure Japanese robot medic lady. It would be nice if she was amazing - she's not bad - but the fact that she even exists is something of a miracle. She has no problems standing or holding her guns, and posing her is a breeze. The worst I can say is that she's good enough as a robot figure. And that qualification sort of leads us to how unpleasant she can be.
Transformation is clever, but awful. There are a lot of tabs that have to be just-so, with half-bent elbows and rotated wrists that, as far as I can tell, will never fit together properly. You can see little gaps where the pieces don't fit quite right, particularly around the car's hood. I would say it's an unpleasant process. You might want to throw her at the wall. As I get older and I get more of these toys, I would say this is one I never, ever want to transform again.
Thanks to the parts not fitting together as well as they should - which, 37 years into a brand, feels inexcusable - you get a perfectly nice little chibi car. It might not be intentionally smooshed and cute, but since the parts are a little weird the proportions seem to indicate something closer to Choro-Q than Diaclone. The wheels don't roll well, there's not a lot of clearance under the car, and her helmet is plainly visible. It's consistent with most toys in recent years - the robot takes priority, so the play features are fewer and generally don't work as well. If you just look at it and don't touch it, it's still OK - the red trim is nice, and I like the bold blue windshield. The colorist did a nice job.
With the many price increases since 2020, I expect a lot. I want the figures to fit together well, with excellent quality control, and great sculpts. What we have here is a good robot figure that collectors are going to buy for lack of a good alternative, but getting to the lackluster car mode is just not worth the effort. It is weird to say "recommended if you want a Minerva!" because there are literally no good affordable alternatives, but maybe your tolerance to clunky conversions is higher than mine. I'm happy she exists. I hope you can get her at a fair price. I would probably also replace her for an alternative that is a little friendlier to my fingers in a heartbeat.
16bit.com is best not viewed in Apple's Safari browser, we don't know why. All material on this site copyright their respective copyright holders. All materials appear hear for informative and entertainment purposes. 16bit.com is not to be held responsible for anything, ever. Photos taken by the 16bit.com staff. Site design, graphics, writing, and whatnot credited on the credits page. Be cool-- don't steal. We know where you live and we'll break your friggin' legs.