As promised, here is the review for Animated Arcee. I first opened this figure about a week ago.
I’ll start the review with the alt mode. Check out some pics below.
As you can see from these pics, Arcee is one sexy and sleek ride. I have yet to see Arcee in Animated, so I can’t really comment on the figure’s show accuracy. But like I mentioned in my last post, I’m making the assumption that her appearance in the cartoon is just like the package art, and if that’s the case then this figure has properly captured the look. As far as colors go, this Arcee is undoubted G1 inspired. The overall pink with white stripes is unmistakenly G1, and I like the the yellow headlights painted on the front hood. The Autobot symbol is painted on the windshield. The shape of the alt mode also takes heavy cues from G1, only major difference is probably the inclusion of wings on the Animated version.
In alt mode, Arcee rolls well on a flat surface. The two swords that she uses in robot mode can be placed into the rear wheel compartment, and it’s always a plus in my book when all accessories are accounted for in every mode. The wings can be detached if you prefer the G1 look. Hasbro certainly did not forget the hardcore G1ers when Arcee was designed. Like all other Animated figures, Arcee is all plastic.
Below are some size comparison pics. The only thing I have handy is Classics Hot Rod so here they are. In alt mode she appears to be just a little smaller than Hot Rod.
I do have several gripes about the alt mode. The first is that her wings just love to fall off. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like they will cast off if you simply invert the figure or if she’s given a slight shake. They generally stay on ok if you don’t touch them, but that’s the problem. The wings are positioned so that you will probably always accidentally make contact (especially during transformation), and the slightest physical touch will probably knock them off. I kinda wish the peg and hole mechanism here was better fitting. My second gripe is that Arcee is one of those figures where you will have to measure if you got all the parts into their proper locations when you transform her back into alt mode. Most other figures in the Animated line have mechanisms in place that helps you connect the parts and pieces together, such as tabs and grooves in well-situated locations. I like to think of them as “guides” that let you know a part is placed into its proper configuration in alt mode. Arcee for the most part does not have such a mechanism. Most of the parts, especially in the limbs, you will have to figure out if you got them into the right spots. In the alt mode pics above, you can kinda see that she’s not perfectly symmetrical in a lot of the shots, and that’s a direct consequence of not having this mechanism. This would be less of an issue if Arcee wasn’t so well articulated (more on this in the robot mode section), but the fact is she is capable of a wide range of motion, and without the “guides” that I mentioned it can be tough to get her to look perfectly balanced unless you’re willing to spend a long time doing it.
Now let’s take a look at the robot mode. I like her transformation process. I recommend first taking the wings off when you transform her, because they will probably fall off anyway. Going to robot mode is not at all complicated, but at the same time it’s complex enough to feel like she has transformed.
Overall I really like the robot mode. IMO this is probably the best-looking Arcee figure Hasbro has produced. Most of the time, Arcee is either a character that is conjured up by the show creators without a toy (G1 Movie and season 3+), or an afterthought added to a toyline in which she did not appear (Michael Bay movies). For these reasons, most of the time, the Arcee toys doesn’t look quite right, or we simply don’t have a basis to gauge the toy’s accuracy. This is not the case with Animated. The character appears to be properly planned and a toy accurately produced. The look and feel of this Arcee is a great representation of the character. I think with a little modification, this toy can even pass for G1 Arcee. I would love to see a TF customizer attempt this.
In the pic above, you can see that the swords are stowed in the same place as alt mode when not in use. In robot mode this becomes her back, a very appropriate place to hold her swords.
In robot mode the wings are just as likely to fall off. Sometimes I take them off during transformation, then forget to put them back on in robot mode. This is why in all the pics below she appears without the wings. She’s got great articulation, though. I won’t describe it, just check out the pics for yourself.
Below are some size comparison shots, one with wings and one without. In robot mode, she actually appears a little bigger than classic Hot Rod.
I do have one gripe about the robot mode. There is a slight construction flaw in the figure. On my figure, there is a tab in the right knee joint that prevent the lower right leg from straightening all the way. The knee joint does have a hole that is meant to go over the tab, but either they made the tab too big or they made the hole too small. I guess I can take a knife and either file down the tab or cut the hole bigger, but I feel I should not have to do this. Out of the package she should be without these kinds of flaws.
My final verdict about this figure is you should pick one up if you see one at your local TRU. But keep in mind that I can’t recommend her as highly as some of the other Animated figures due to the shortcomings I mentioned. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by other figures in this line, but I have come to expect a very high quality from the Animated figures. The construction and mechanical design flaws that I mentioned keep this figure from getting a higher recommendation. However, this figure does have some great aesthetics, great poseability, and is perhaps the most accurate Arcee ever produced. And let’s not forget she is produced in extremely limited numbers, hard to find and indeed very rare. So if you see one, do not hesitate to buy one.
“Truth is power.” Transform and Roll Out!
Transformers Animated is officially over in the United States, so all the remaining toys that were planned for this line are now released in limited quantities through major retail chains as store exclusives. Personally, I don’t like it when items are released as “limited” or “exclusives” purely to stir up demand, but I don’t think that is what’s going on here. The remaining TFA toys will only be purchased by a small but loyal following, so the sensible solution is to release them in limited numbers. Hasbro saves money by producing less units overall, the stores get to advertise them as exclusives, and the real fans that want them still get a chance to buy them. It’s a win-win-win for all. This is much better than the alternative where the toys don’t get released, in which case the fans don’t get them, and Hasbro can’t recover any sunk cost that already went into the planning (and possibly manufacturing) of these items.
All the remaining Animated toys are products of this nature. Toys R Us carries most (if not all) of the Animated figures released this year. Earlier in the year I found Cybertron Mode Ratchet at TRU. Unfortunately I never made a blog post about him, so let me just say now that he is a great figure. He was advertised with Arcee, another figure that I really wanted. Her sighting was reported as early as January of this year on Seibertron.com, so I’ve been hunting for her at my local TRU for at least some months now. I finally found her this week.
I’ve yet to watch all of the Animated series, so I haven’t seen her character yet. But looking at the toy and at images on the web, Animated Arcee most definitely takes cues from G1 Arcee. This may be the most accurate Arcee figure ever produced. Check out some images of Arcee in the pacakge.
I will be opening her soon and doing a full review. Until then… you better stay close to her! Transform and Roll Out!
In my last post, I mentioned that I will do scans of the instructions for FansProject Warbot Defender (WB001). In case you missed it, my review of Defender appears here.
How are FP instructions better than Hasbro’s? Oh let me count the ways…
- Book format
- Quality color printing
- Quality paper
- A comic book intro
- Detailed instructions with notes and highlighted transforming sections
Hasbro should seriously look at this and take some notes here. Anyway, witness the awesomeness for yourself in the scans below.
Pure awesomeness! Pure FansProject! Transform and Roll Out!
As mentioned in my previous post, I have received Warbot Defender by FansProject some weeks ago. Any TransFan who’s been around as long as I have can instantly tell you that he is really Springer, the green Autobot triple changer first made famous in the G1 Movie.
Up to this point, all products by FP has been accessories or add-ons. Springer is their first attempt at a stand-alone figure, so I wasn’t exactly sure as to how the figure would turn out. Making items designed to enhance Hasbro products is one thing, but producing a full-fledged figure that transforms all on its own (and a triple changing one no less), that’s something else. Well, I’ve had a few weeks to play with this figure now, and I will say first that all my doubts are permanently put to rest. FansProject have given us the best triple changing figure in the history of TFs! This is the Springer figure as he was meant to be. Hasbro should seriously be embarrassed. This figure deserves a full review and that’s what I’m doing today.
Let’s start by looking at the package.
Defender is packaged in robot mode. Size of the box is just a tad wider than your typical Kleenex box. As you can see from the pics above, the box is surrounded by an outer clear hard plastic. This is to protect the box itself. If you choose to not open Defender and want to keep both the figure and the box as mint as possible, FansProject has got you covered with this packaging. But even if do you decide to open Defender, the clear plastic should keep the box dust-free.
The back of the box is mostly Japanese with a few simple phrases of English here and there. In the pic above, the words on the box looks blurry because of the clear plastic. I can’t read Japanese, but I can read Chinese so I’m able to pick out the Kanji portions. To my knowledge, FP is not of Japan origin. I have some theories as to why they went with Japanese. It could be that, by using Japanese, FP is more able to distance themselves from Hasbro, or maybe FP is simply paying homage to early Diaclone packages. Whatever the reason, I’m glad most of the writing is in Japanese. I think it speaks to robot collectors who came out of the early to mid 80s, which really is the intended audience of this figure. The bottom of the box (not pictured) suggests that this piece is for persons 16 or older. This is depicted as a warning because of choking hazards and parts “of a sharp nature”. But seriously, only guys who lived through G1 as kids would even consider buying this given its $78.99 price tag.
As usual, I begin my reviews with the mode that the figure comes packed in.
The detail on this figure is just amazing! Click on the pic above and see for yourself. This is hard to describe in words, but the details on the figure simply looks sharp compared to your typical Hasbro offerings. The mold and lines of every piece is cut at a sharp angle and it really distinguishes itself from TFs of the toy variety. The paint job is also superb. Defender kinda has a matte finish all over and I really like this look. I don’t see any color goofs and unintended paint splatters are nowhere to be found.
Defender comes with 2 handguns and his G1-famous scimitar that is formed from his chopper blades. Hardcore G1 purists are probably quick to point out that Springer never wielded dual pistols, but in this FP update I really don’t mind. I think he looks cool with the twin pistol action. In the two pics above, the scimitar is stored on his back, on his right side. I didn’t take a pic of this and I probably should have, but just know that FP did design a place for the scimitar when it’s not in use.
Defender is one of the most articulated figures that I have ever seen. The number of places on the arms that you can rotate or swivel is simply insane. He’s got great articulation in the legs as well. The head is on a ball joint, and there is waist articulation as well. He is capable of some great poses, and Defender has no problem holding those poses because he is so well constructed. Most joints feel just right, not too tight and not too loose. Many key joints are of the ratchet variety that’s got the “clicky” feel. There’s diecast in the chest and in the legs. The rest of him appears to be high-quality plastic. There are no manufacturing issues with Defender whatsoever.
In this pic above, you can see one pistol holstered inside his right leg. This works on the left leg as well. Both pistols can be stored when not in use. Very cool.
Below I show some size comparison pics.
The first pic compares Defender to Hot Rod and Optimus Prime in the classics line. In the G1 movie, Springer is a tad bigger than Hot Rod, but not quite as big as Prime. FP most definitely had the classics in mind when they created Defender as his size is perfect in relation to figures in this line. The 2nd pic shows Defender next to 2007 Botcon Exclusive Springer (repaint of Cybertron Defense Hot Shot). This is the only other Springer figure I have in my collection, so I put them next to each other. Defender is taller than the Botcon Exclusive Springer if you look at where their heads are, but overall they are about the same size. These two are also about the same weight-wise. Defender does have die-cast, but Botcon Springer is a bulkier figure.
I do have one very minor gripe about the robot mode. If you stood Defender perfectly erect and looked at him from the side (and I should have took a pic of this), you’ll see that parts above the waist are not in the same vertical plane as parts below the waist. The upper body looks a little bit pushed back from the legs. Appearance-wise this is noticeable, though I don’t think it’s a distraction by any means. But functionally, this makes Defender a little back heavy, so he has a tendency to fall backwards if he is posed perfectly straight and the surface is given a slight shake. Still, this is a very minor gripe and a flaw I can easily live with. I just feel compelled to point it out because I want to be perfectly objective and not one of those TF fanboys that become giddy little schoolgirls whenever a good figure comes around.
To sum up, I’m very impressed with the robot mode.
Ground Vehicle Mode
In the instructions, the first mode to be transformed into is the ground vehicle (Cybertronian car according to some) so I’ll review this mode next.
I thoroughly like the look of this vehicle. All the details that were apparent in the robot mode is also reflected in this mode. In G1, Springer’s ground mode was more of a Cybertronian sports car. FP’s interpretation of this mode is more of an armored vehicle, and I think it works just as well. Defender’s two guns is clearly pegged on the sides. You know FP would account for all accessories in every mode, but if you’re wondering where the scimitar goes, there is room for it at the bottom center of the vehicle (another feature where I should have took a pic).
The transformation into the ground vehicle is not too difficult, but at the same time it’s not obvious either. If you want to do it without the instructions you can, but it will take some trial and error. The transformation process does feel unique, and as a triple changing figure there are lots of moving parts. I only got him into the ground vehicle once, but I felt the process was very cleverly done.
Defender is really durable in this mode. He rolls well on a flat surface. I can’t tell if the wheels are made of metal or hard plastic, but either way, they more than sufficiently support the figure in this mode. Of the three modes, this ground vehicle comes together the best. There are pegs and grooves on each interconnecting piece where appropriate, so the vehicle feels like one cohesive piece. There are no dangling pieces whatsoever, and no parts feel out of place.
This pic shows a size comparison of Defender and Botcon Springer in their vehicle modes. Defender clearly looks more sporty in this mode next to Botcon Springer. Size-wise, Defender is wider, but Botcon Springer is taller.
Overall, the ground vehicle mode is very nice. It might be my favorite of the three modes.
The last mode to be reviewed is the helicopter. I think in the G1 movie, Springer preferred this alt mode over the car.
Transformation into this mode is quite complex. The difficult part is in the arms. I mentioned that Defender’s arms in robot mode is highly articulated, and the reason for that becomes apparent in the transformations. The arms are configured one way in ground vehicle, and they are configured in a completely different way in helicopter. It can be hard to figure out without the instructions. But again, transformation process is clever and FP has done a terrific job coming up with the overall triple-changing mechanism.
I like the look of the helicopter. Unlike the G1 figure where the helicopter looks very similar to the car mode, this figure does not have this problem. The two alt modes look distinct enough from each other. In this mode, parts also come together well and the unit feels solid, though not as much as the ground vehicle mode. The two guns are clearly shown on the sides in the pic above, and as every G1 purist can tell you, the scimitar becomes the chopper blades, so all accessories are accounted for. The chopper blades rotate well in this mode.
Below are various shots of the helicopter from various angles.
There is one more accessory in the package that I need to mention. Supposedly, it works with this one particular display stand (not included) so you can have the helicopter displayed on it if you wish. I’m not sure exactly how this works, and I’m not all that familiar with display stands. But I just thought I mention it in case that’s your thing and it is something that FP has accounted for.
One more thing that I wanted to add is that Defender came with probably the best instructions ever. Hasbro should be ashamed of the usual black and white trash that they include with their figures. I’m thinking of scanning in the Defender instructions as a separate blog post.
So to sum up, I give this figure the highest possible recommendation. All 3 modes look great, and that’s no easy feat. In my opinion, Hasbro only managed this once, and that’s classics Astrotrain. All their other triple changing figures have at least 1 mode that looks awful, sometimes 2, sometimes (gasp!) all 3. This is only FP’s first attempt and they have already surpassed every triple changer that Hasbro has ever made. The awesome transformation, coupled with robust construction and amazing details, makes Defender a required purchase for every G1 TransFan. FansProject claims that they are “For Fans, By Fans”, and it really makes a difference when the people behind product cares about the product.
FP you have my utmost respect and I can’t wait to see what else you have in the works. Transform and Roll Out!