Transformers: Micromaster was a 2002-2003 miniseries focused on the micro-scale six-member combiner teams from Return of Convoy and Operation Combination. It marked the first official use of the name “Micromaster” in Japan. The toys were essentially re-issues of the original team sets, with the addition of Victory’s Landcross (as a DX Micromaster)
The micro figures were marketed quite differently than their gift-set-only predecessors. Each wave represented one of the six-teams, with the figures packed separately in blind-boxes, each including one or two accessories for the combiner. The blind-boxes had a small circular window through which the number (1-6 for each team) of the instruction sheet shown. The first wave (Sixliner) could thus be purchased with 100% certainty, as the boxes even contained a table corresponding the numbers to the figures’s names.
Starting with the second wave (Sixturbo), each case of 12 figures contained two “Chase” figures, in the form of redecoes representing some powered-up or faction-switched form appearing in the pack-in flyers’s storyline comic. In this sense, the numbered and charted blind-boxes actually did serve to keep the contents somewhat of a secret. All subsequent waves, including Micromaster DX (Landcross) were released in this way.
Unlike many other contemporary reissue lines, the toys themselves were never identical, and rarely even close to the original decoes. All the Micromasters had primarily tampographed detail, whereas the original sets used traditional foil stickers for most of their visual details. Several of the teams had their color palettes shifted completely, and even switched factions from the original sets. The Chase variants had hardly any detail added to the base plastic, and the teams were all cast in one (two, in the case of Sixbuilder) solid color, together with their accessories. This practice was not unique to Micromaster, and was typical of Takara’s Lucky Draw or Chase variants of reissues and PVC figures.
After Micromaster lived out its short run and releasing each of the original six-teams, the line ended with no replacement. The line did provide the segue to subsequent re-uses of the molds for Hasbro’s Universe line.