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Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Micromaster Base
Year: 1989

For a world without evil, you need a universe without evil.
An intergalactic hero and space explorer. A legend to beings throughout the universe and an inspiration to his fellow Autobots. Fought 1000 battles and circled almost a million stars, defending the rights of the innocent. Transforms to lunar rover with com-link disk that enables him to control the entire defense base from up to 30,000,000 miles away. His interstellar rocket ship converts to mobile launch pad armed with two energy-zapping de-kineto cannons that freeze objects in mid-motion. Ship is also designed to use planetary orbits and gravitational pulls to "slingshot" across entire galaxies in seconds. Command base equipped with laser blasters, high-tech repair bay, interstellar communications center, space-tracking radar, and high-speed launch pad.

Robot Mode: Let’s get the actual Countdown figure over with quickly so we can get to the interesting stuff. Countdown is a typical Micromaster. Small, boxy, and following the standard design of basically being a car stood upright. He can move his arms at the shoulders and can bend his knees (a transformation requirement), but that’s it. He doesn’t look bad, mind you, carrying a nice amount of detailing for a figure his size, but at the end of the day he’s just another Micromaster robot. Nothing more, nothing less.

Alternate Mode: Countdown transforms into a moon buggy with a big (relatively speaking) antenna dish on top. The car looks good for its size with sculpted seats, but that’s pretty much it. A typical Micromaster vehicle mode. One of the nicer ones, yes, but still not that spectacular.

Launch Pad: Now we come to the actual reason to buy this set, the Rocket Base (or Shuttle Base in Japan). It’s a pretty big mobile launch pad on tank treads with a gantry tower and a white and grey rocket sitting on top of it. It is loosely modeled after the NASA Space Shuttle crawlers, but features several components that are decidedly non-NASA such as the open-seated double cannon on one end, the detachable cockpit on the other, as well as the various guns you can attach.

Apart from seating Micromaster robots in the gunnery and cockpit modules, you can also open up the hatch of the rocket and place one in there. The gantry tower can fold away for launch of the rocket and has an elevator on the back. You can also attach one of Countdown’s black platforms to the tower (not pictured above, noticed it too late) to provide access from the elevator to the hatch of the rocket. Overall I like this mode very much. Oh, and side note: in Japan you were supposed to remove Countdown’s rocket and instead launch the separate Transformers figure Galaxy Shuttle from the launch pad. Either way, a pretty good mode.

Base Mode: Countdown’s rather compact launch pad unfolds into a pretty big base. The base is designed to interact with other Micromaster bases, so there are multiple points to attach the standardized short ramps, all of which can serve as bridges to other bases instead. The rocket becomes a separate “building” which you can connect to the main base or not, your choice. The cockpit module from the launch pad can either attach to the main tower or roam free as a so-called scout vehicle.

There are lots of places here to attach weapons and position your Micromaster (or similar-sized) robots to set up a truly epic-looking play set. Sadly mine is missing quite a few stickers (computer screens and such), but I intend to remedy that soon with new ones from Reprolabels. Overall I can’t really write much more here, as the base doesn’t have much in the way of gimmicks or such. It just looks cool and serves as a stage for your figures. Just look at the pictures, I believe they tell the tale. Overall I really like this mode, both for itself and for its compatibility, and I hope to find the time soon to set up a really big G1-style Autobot City playset.

Remarks: Countdown, the robot, has a few comic book appearances under his belt, most notably in the Dreamwave Micromaster miniseries. The rocket base, however, has turned up quite a few times in Japanese cartoons. It served as the headquarters of Star Saber’s team in the Victory cartoon and was later part of the defense of Planet Zone in the first (and only) episode of Transformers: Zone. Countdown’s rocket base was also the biggest toy sold in 1989, a year when Transformers began to shrink down more and more.

To be honest I’ve never been a big fan of the Micromasters. I am, however, a huge fan of play sets. Be it Castle GrayskullBoulder Hill, Nordor, the Gobots Command Center or any of the various Transformers who become their own play sets, I like them. Thus I could hardly pass it up when I found this one here pretty cheap on eBay.

Overall Countdown’s Rocket Base is just that: a play set. The play value lies in setting it up, connecting it with other Micromaster bases (if you have any), populating it with Micromaster robots (or other similar sized Transformers) and just letting your imagination run wild. It’s not really a great display piece as such (still trying to figure out how to put it in my display cases), but great for putting together your very own version of Autobot City together with other bases and base mode Transformers. As such, fully recommended.

Rating: B+
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