Transformers Prime Arcee

The thing about the Transformers: Prime toy line that makes it so much fun is the fact that they look so much like their models in the TV show. One of the big disconnects back in the days of Generation 1 (the 1980’s cartoon that originated the franchise) was the fact that the designs of the toy line had little resemblance to the characters from the show. Big, burly bruisers like Ironhide became misshapen mutants with no heads when the toys appeared in stores. With the improvement in materials and design, however, coupled with increased competition, we’ve gotten to a point where the toys can come very close to the robots you see on screen.

We saw this improved likeness during the whole Armada/Energon/Cybertron trilogy, but when Transformers: Animated rolled around, it got pretty amazing. The new Prime toys share that same closeness with the CGI models, but without the far out anime look of its predecessor. While the robot forms still are pretty organic-looking, the vehicles look more traditional.

Transformers: Prime Bumblebee is one of those toys that wouldn’t look out of place alongside a Transformers Universe Hound or a Henkei Mirage in vehicle mode, but looks like he should belong next to a Transformers Animated Blurr in robot form. Among the other Prime toys I bought a few weeks back, the other that shares that same aesthetic is Arcee.

Case Assortments for Wave 1 and 2, respectively.

Like Transformers: Prime Bumblebee, the packaging of the First Edition is top-notch. I love the foil accents and reflective surfaces of the card, as well as the huge paintings of the characters. It’s the kind of card that makes me wish I was a Mint on Card kind of guy or had enough cash to purchase one to open and one to display in the package.

I’m still hoping to pick up a special edition NYCC version of the figure at this year’s December Toy Fair. While it doesn’t share the superb packaging, I can’t pass up that G1-esque paint job:

Solicitation photo from Hasbro.
One other thing that the single packed version has going for it is that the First Edition figures come with a “display stand” that you can use to show off your pet Transformer. Unfortunately, this “display stand” is a little piece of paper board with the Prime logo printed on it. It’s not much to look at. I would have preferred if they had just said “Collect them all!” and stuck a piece of a diorama in with each figure.

At least it works better for her than it does for either of the other two Autobots.

The toy starts out in vehicle mode and comes with two accessories, both of her forearm blades. The blades can either be removed altogether, or attached to the sides of the bike (as you can see from the photo, I prefer them off). Either set up looks fine, though the blades do make the bike more stable.

The bike is not quite in scale with 1/18th figures like G.I.Joes. They'll fit, and look OK from a far, but get closer in and you'll find that it's just a bit too small to work. Some of the smaller figures (like the one below from the Spider-Man line) work a little better, but since he's lacking in the articulation department, it's hard to get him to do anything on the bike.

I do like this alt mode. The color scheme is great in my opinion, with the blue and the silver complementing each other nicely and the balance of each just right. I do hope that they eventually re-color this figure and give us other fem-bots that I could eventually make into a team as I did with the Energon Arcee toy. That NYCC version would be a great start.

One of the really great things about this figure is the transformation. I remember when I first got my hands on the Deluxe Class Arcee (from the first Transformers Movie toyline). I was disappointed with it because the transformation seemed overly complicated and you ended up with a bot that was ugly and had a lot of unresolved kibble. I promptly sold it off.

This figure is almost the opposite of that. The conversion sequence is relatively simple (gas tank is her torso, the side panels are her arms, and her rear wheel and suspension form her legs and feet) and the kibble she has fits nicely (and fairly securely) on her back.

Not only that, but she LOOKS good.

As with the Arcee of the cartoon, this figure comes with dual blades that fit into her forearms and extend out past her elbow. In the show, these pop out when she needs them, but for the purposes of the toy, they’re detachable. I’d prefer them like this rather than as some action-feature that would have required her arms to be humongous. This way, her feminine proportions are preserved and she still has some kick-ass weapons.

I can’t really say if the design of the blades is spot on because I’ve only been through the season once and the fight scenes in the show are cut pretty quickly. I can tell you that they aren’t show-accurate size wise, though. They are much bigger than they should be.

That doesn’t kill the fun though.

The articulation is another big star on this figure’s portfolio. Again, I’ll compare it to the Transformers: The Movie Deluxe Class Arcee. While they both share a number of ball joints at key articulation points, the Prime Arcee doesn’t suffer from the same flawed design as the older figure. Because of the huge amount of kibble, the older Arcee’s articulation was a pain: so many of her joints were hindered because the limbs would hit some part or other and couldn’t complete their ranges of motion.

Prime Arcee has some kibble-based problems at her shoulders, where the shoulder plates hamper some movement, but it can be worked around and is far, far less than what we’ve had to settle with before. The fantastic ball joints, light weight, and large footprint means you can really get her into some great action poses.

As with most Transformers, there aren’t a lot of paint applications to look out for (mostly just her face, but as you can’t check for that in package, it’s not something you should worry about), and I haven’t heard of any glaring quality control issues on this batch of robots.

Overall, I’d place Transformers: Prime Arcee strongly in the “win” category. The figure still rings in at Php 700.00 (roughly $15.50 US) while being smaller than previous Deluxe Class releases, but the superior engineering and design really win through. A very nice toy of a character that I wish got more attention in plastic.

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