Arms Micron Balo
The first thing that occurred to me when I saw Balo's Character mode, like all the Decepticons an animal, was "It's a four legged spider!" It was only later that I saw the little tinsy tiny head with horns on and discovered that he's meant to be a bull/buffalo. Arms Micron has taken a different approach to Animal Minicons that Classics did: Classics went for realistic animal modes whereas Arms Micron has used the mechanical style more familiar to fans of Generation 1 Transformers. Meaningful articulation is minimal: the head & tail both raise. While all 4 legs are jointed twice at the hips none of them are useful in posing the toy as an animal. On the right side of his body is a clear brown hexagonal crystal under which his Decepticon symbol would go. He comes as an unassembled sheet of parts: 12 of which are grey (4 legs, 4 hips, tail, body, head and horns) plus the clear crystal. Be careful when assembling him: both his head and tail need to go on a specific way round. I got the head the wrong way up and had to pull it off to assemble it properly and as a result the neck clip on mine is stressed.
Transformation (official weapons mode): fold the tail forward onto the body. Fold the horns forward. Fold legs and hip up so the stretch straight out to the sides.
Balo's official weapons mode is sort of a Shuriken and sort of a shield. As well as a 5mm handle on the back there's a traditional 5mm Minicon peg with a bore down the middle of it so you can attach other Minicons onto the front of it. And really it does absolutely nothing for me. Sorry. Fortunately Balo has a second weapons mode.
Transformation (unofficial weapons mode): From official weapons mode fold the legs inwards so they come together covering up the Minicon peg.
Yup it's not in the instructions but the moulding on the outside of the legs makes it pretty clear that Balo aught to be used as a drill. He's a similar size and shape to Throttler, Power Core Combiners Sledge's Minicon. Where Throttler has a minicon socket on his rear, Balo has a 5mm plug in the middle for him to be held by, and if that doesn't suit the robot you want to use him with then you can always fold the tail out as a handle under the weapon.
Balo's a good Micron to be using as the end point in a combined weapon and it's almost like he and Megatron's Minicon Gora and combining them together is a match made in heaven. Another decent match is Balo, opened up in shield mode with Throttler mounted on him and Balo's legs closed round him.
Balo was originally Sold with Arms Micron toy AM-06 Skywarp and bears the M-06 marking on his frame.
C.L., R.A. & Gora.
You know what Balo's creature mode looks like moulded in these colours? It's the Transformers version of The Shadows from Babylon 5!