It’s Week #5 of Transformers Thursday held hostage and I’m looking at Transformers based on the live action films up until the release of Age of Extinction. And hey, lots of in hand pictures and reviews of the AoE figures have hit the Interwebbings last week and I’m now more comfy than ever about saying that I won’t be buying any of them. Anyway, today I reached my mitts into the dreaded Tote of Bayformers and I picked out Arcee from the first live action movie. Of course, she didn’t appear until Revenge of the Fallen, so this figure is one of those Expanded Universe kind of efforts. This figure is also another one in which I remain so very torn. Let’s take a look at her alt mode.
So someone, somewhere and at some point decided that Arcee was going to be motorcycle and that’s been the case ever since. I seem to recall that it was the Energon line that first gave her that alt mode, but please someone correct me if I’m wrong. In this case, Arcee is a sporty purple crotch rocket and I have to say this is one kick ass alt mode. I’ll concede that the use of what is a very Decepticon-ish deco of purple and black gave me pause at first, but the shade of plastic is so gorgeous that I just don’t care. Toss in some very sharp metallic gold and silver paintwork and you have a very sexy looking motorcycle.
But this bike shines even beyond the striking deco. The attention to detail here is just killer. The sculpting in the wheels, the engine, and even the chain on the motor is all dutifully recreated. The handlebars and brakes are sculpted, the rear view mirrors are there, and the contours of the front shield, seat and gas tank all look amazing. The piece is finished off nicely with some silver lettering, an Autobot insignia and a fully detailed license plate for Massachusetts. I’m not sure the significance of that, but I do appreciate the detail. There are a few minor bits of robot kibble visible, like her hands hanging off the back, but I’m still prepared to say that this is a Five Star vehicle mode.
And then there’s this. Ok, so I’m probably going to surprise some people when I say that I do not hate Arcee’s robot mode. It would be more accurate to say that it’s so close to being great, I hate the few lazy things about it that hold it back. Let’s go with the good stuff first. Hasbro did a really fine job transforming a motorcycle into what is a fairly feminine looking figure. She’s got the long legs, the shapely thighs, and the robot equivalent to high heeled boots. She’s even got a bit of a chest and the slender arms help hammer the gender of the robot home. Even the front of the motorcycle and the front wheel fold fairly neatly onto her back. And as with the motorcycle mode, Arcee’s deco in robot mode really shines. You get a lot of the same gorgeous purple plastic with black accents and some really attractive gold, silver, and blue apps all along her torso. I love the detailing on this figure and I love the way the color scheme and quality of paint compliment it.
So, for me the most aggravating thing about Arcee are the half wheels on her shoulders. They’re ungainly, awkward, and I don’t like the way that they just flop around using gravity to keep them pointed down. There are actually a couple things you can do with them, including folding them into her chest like this…
To me that looks better, but it severely stifles both the articulation and the proportions of her arms, so it’s not really a viable fix for me. What kills me about the wheel shoulders is if Hasbro had just made the hinge that they’re on able to bend back as well as forward, you could have neatly folded these back and out of the way and I think the figure would have been vastly improved by it. Granted, I don’t know what’s involved in costing out additional movement like this, but the hinge is already there for chrisakes. Just give it a little extra movemenet. Sheesh!
And then there’s that head sculpt. Arcee’s face looks kind of like a robot cartoon chicken. Or is that just me? Her lips look like a beak. Either that or possibly a sex doll… only because I read about those once. Needless to say, I’m not all that keen on Arcee’s portrait. I will say that the paintwork is nice and the blue light piping in the eyes is pretty good if you can get it just right.
The back of Arcee’s bike comes off during transformation and converts to a missile launcher. Alas, I couldn’t locate her missile, which usually isn’t a big deal, although in this case if you insert the missile the sides pop out to make it look like a crossbow. It’s a very cool weapon, but without the missile in place, it just looks like an arm blaster.
Arcee’s got some problems. You get an amazing motorcycle mode, some great coloring and quality paintwork, counterbalanced by a really bizarre head and some unfortunate shoulder kibble. The problems I have with this figure could have been easily fixed, but I’m not sure if they were lazy design elements or just poor design choices. Still, when you consider the monstrosity that was Revenge of the Fallen Arcee, this release doesn’t seem so bad at all.