Transformers Generations: Arcee (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

It took me a while to get her, but Hasbro’s G1-style Arcee finally arrived at my doorstep last week, and only about 28 years late. It’s absolutely baffling that it took this long for the figure to be released, and don’t tell me it’s because of the whole, “boys don’t buy girl action figures” nonsense, because we’ve seen an Arcee figure many times over the decades, just never one this closely based on the G1 continuity.  This gal’s the real thing!

tfgarcee1

Ah, the Generations Comic Pack. I guess we’re done seeing these for a while, at least on the pegs. I’ve still go a few of them to showcase here. There’s something so blissful about getting an action figure and comic book all in one tidy bundle and the deco of 2014’s Thrilling Thirty packages really hit my nostalgia right in the sweet spot. Granted, I wasn’t terribly keen on this comic’s story arc and it doesn’t do a great job spotlighting Arcee, but hey… free comic! I’m not going to scoff. Anyway, Arcee comes packaged in her robot mode, but as usual, I’m going to start with her alt mode.

tfgarcee10

tfgarcee7

tfgarcee8

And that alt mode is indeed a pink, white, and black Cybertronian convertible, and I’ll be damned if it ain’t great looking. The long, stylized hood is a little reminiscent of a 70’s Chevy Corvette and I love the fin protruding up from behind the seats. The driver area is pretty nicely detailed with a sculpted steering wheel and console and a translucent blue windshield. The coloring is excellent and that big, crisp Autobot emblem on her hood is pure love. All in all this is a pretty faithful recreation of Arcee’s Sunbow alt mode design. I can’t think of anything off hand that I would have improved on. Even the seaming on it isn’t bad so long as you take the time to make everything go where it’s supposed to.

tfgarcee2

tfgarcee3

Arcee comes with a plethora of weapons, I’ll look at those more closely in a bit, but all of the weapons can be attached to her car mode in one way or another. Her pink gone can clip under the back of the car plus there are two tabbing ports on the top near the trunk and two more on the sides. As is often the case, weaponinzing the alt mode can get a bit silly, but I must admit to being rather fond of just having the single cannon mounted above one of her rear wheels. It actually look like it’s designed to go there and not like a tacked on afterthought.

tfgarcee4

tfgarcee5

Moving on to transformation… are you familiar with the term “shellformer?” Hmmm? Sure you are! And that term is certainly applicable here. Now, you’ve got your shelformers that involve a whole lot of plates fitting together just right like a car-bag around a bundle of robot kibble. To me, those are the worst offenders. Arcee isn’t that bad, although she does basically wear her alt mode on her back. It folds out to form the car shell and the arms and legs fold in underneath. Normally I’d be pretty critical of this sort of thing, but lets not forget that Arcee is a toy based on a totally made up animation model and one that had to retain a certain femininity in robot mode. That’s a tall order for the engineering department and a $15 toy, and so I’ll be cutting Arcee some slack here.

tfgarcee22

tfgarcee11

Yes, that my friends is the G1 Arcee I know and love and looking at the feminine curves of her body, it’s easy to see why they had to go the shellformer root and why she wears the car on her back. Still, the way the figure is designed it really does look like Arcee wearing a backpack and I’m very much fine with that. The proportions are pretty good, although Arcee is definitely sporting some child bearing hips she still manages to have a slender waist, a curvy (almost organic looking) midriff, and a strategically placed angle in her chest plate to form them robot ta-ta’s. What’s impressive is that even with that bulky backpack, Arcee has no troubles with balance. The coloring here is more of the same, appropriately white and pink with a little blue and black trim to make things interesting.

tfgarcee18

The head sculpt is pure G1 love. I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. She has a cute little pink face, tiny painted lips, and the Princess Leia buns sculpted into her “helmet.” It’s certainly more Daniel-loving G1 Arcee than “You’re going to come home and find that I boiled your Petro-rabbit on the stove” IDW Arcee. That’s both G1 Transformers and a Glenn Close reference all rolled into one, kids… Weeee! Anyway, the head sculpt could be good or bad, depending on your personal tastes. Frankly, I never liked what IDW did with the character, so I dig it. Arcee also sports some really nice light-piping in those baby blue eyes of hers.

tfgarcee16

I don’t always bother running down all the articulation points in my Transformers, but in the case of Arcee it’s so damn impressive that I’m going to make an exception. Her arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and have swivels at the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees and ankles, and have swivels in the thighs. There’s no articulation in the waist, but the neck is ball jointed. So Arcee isn’t loaded with a ton of points of articulation, but it’s what you can do with them that count. The joints have a great range of motion and they’re all firm and can hold poses really well.

tfgarcee17

tfgarcee19

tfgarcee20

How about those weapons? Arcee comes with a formidable little assortment of killing tools. You get a pair of blue energon swords, which I suppose can double as rifles. Or is that vice-versa? You also get a medium sized gun and a smaller pistol. She can hold any of these weapons in either hand, although the guns tend to sit rather high in her grip, making them look a little awkward when she’s wielding them. Arcee also has tab ports in her forearms and thighs so she can wear her weapons like they’re holstered or wield her blades on her arms.

tfgarcee12

tfgarcee13

tfgarcee14

tfgarcee15

arceenfs2

arceenfs1

Arcee is a great little figure made all the sweeter for how long we had to wait for her. Yeah, she’s a shellformer, and yeah she wears a car on her back, but she’s also happens to be a gal with plenty of charms. The sculpt and coloring are great and I was surprised at what a solid and stable figure she is to play around with. Is she enough to keep me from blowing $60 on MMC’s Azalea? Well, the jury’s still out on that one. What I will say is that for a $15 Deluxe I think Hasbro did right by us old-timer fans with this release. She looks really good hanging out with the likes of Generations Blurr and Kup, but it’s a pity she’s too undersized to hang out with her boyfriend, Springer.

Advertisements

Transformers Generations: Goldfire (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

It’s Transformers Thursday again and after a Masterpiece inspired detour last week, I’m back to checking out the last wave of Generations figures I picked up. I started with Skids, the one I wanted the most out of this wave and now I’ll check out the one that I had to choke down to get him… It’s Goldfire. He’s a repaint of the IDW Comic Pack Bumblebee and despite his copyright-challenged new name, in a roundabout way, he is intended to be an homage to Goldbug.

tfggoldf1

And there’s that great packaging fortified with 100% comic book goodness. I’ve opted not to read this one all the way through, as I’m pretty sure it’s a reprint of an issue of Robots in Disguise, and I’ve only read the first six issues of that book. I’m not in a rush to get back to it, but in case I do eventually, I didn’t want any spoilers. I do know that this is the issue where a wrecked Bumblebee gets an overhaul into Goldfire, although he’s not actually named in this issue so I’m not sure if he still goes by Bumblebee, Goldfire, or Goldbug. Either way let’s check out the figure and we’ll start with the alt mode…

tfggoldf4

tfggoldf5

Golfire’s car mode is a muscle car that is quite clearly inspired by the Chevy Camero that Bumblebee adopted in the Bay movies. I love the styling on this car, as it borrows from vintage and modern designs and the contours just looks amazing. There’s something about the way the hood swells really does it for me and I also dig the split spoiler in the back. One issue I still have with this mold is the faked out chest for the robot mode leaves zero clearance underneath so the car doesn’t roll as well as it should.

tfggoldf6

tfggoldf7

There aren’t a ton of paint apps, but the gold plastic looks so much better to me than the crappy yellow used on this mold the last time around. You get some black striping, silver and black on the front, and some black and red on the tail end. That’s it. The windows are clear tinted blue plastic, and Hasbro opted to not paint the rear window this time, which I think actually looks better, even if it doesn’t make a lot of sense. On the downside, the door pieces are cast in the same clear plastic as the windows and painted over and the gold paint on was already showing a few chips and scratches inside the package.

tfggoldf8

tfggoldf9

Goldfire comes with repaints of the same two weapons that came with Bumblebee and you can still peg these onto the sides of the car to weaponize him in his alt mode.

tfggoldf11

tfggoldf12

I was pretty indecisive over this mold’s robot mode when I looked at the original Bumblebee release. I think I came down in favor of it last time, but it hasn’t exactly been growing on me a lot. I actually have no problem at all with most of the figure, but it’s those shoulders that drive me nuts. The designers were definitely inspired by Bayformer Bumblebee what with the doors becoming wings and I think it looks OK right up until I start moving his arms. I just don’t like that the whole assembly is tied to the arm movement. If those pieces locked into place as shoulder armor and the shoulder joint was located inside and independent, I would have been totally on board with this guy.

tfggoldf13

The only new sculpting on this guy is found in the head. Goldfire sports a faceplate and his eyes are painted rather than light piped. It’s a decent enough sculpt that matches the comic art quite well, and it’s very nicely painted.

tfggoldf14

I’ve already talked about how the deco is much improved and obviously that carries over to the robot mode. Here you get the same gold plastic with black paint apps as in vehicle mode, but you also get some additional blue showing up int he feet, legs and biceps. It’s an odd color mix for the gold, but somehow it works. I also really dig the way the blue translucent plastic on the door wings looks with some light coming through it.

tfggoldf16

tfggoldf17

Goldfire’s two weapons can be held in both hands to be wielded akimbo, or you can put them together to make one big cannon. The Bumblebee figure was able to have the two halves peg into his forearms, but the pegs are too loose on this one and they keep falling out.

tfggoldf15

tfggoldf18

tfggoldf2

tfggoldf3

tfggoldf10

So, I still find myself waffling on this mold. The car mode looks great and the deco is much improved, but the robot mode still gives me pause. It looks fantastic standing on the shelf, but it loses some favor with me when I pick it up and play with it. The best thing I can say is that after having been forced to buy it to get the other figures in this wave at a good price, I’m not as displeased with the figure as I thought I would be. The new deco alone makes it an improvement over the original Bumblebee release, but that’s still not a ringing endorsement of this guy. Next Thursday, I’ll check out the other repaint in this wave… Dreadwing!

Transformers Generations: Autobot Skids (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

It’s Transformers Thursday and I worked late into the night to spare you all another Armada figure! Yes, I had some new newish figures arrive in the mail yesterday afternoon and I jumped on the opportunity to get one of these guys ready to go for today’s feature. Skids is from a couple waves ago, but he’s been eluding me for a long while now and I’ve been reluctant to pay scalper prices for him because of many reports that he isn’t all that exceptional. But he’s Skids and I needed him for my Classics/Generations shelf, so I was willing to take a chance. Fortunately an online retailer surprised me and put this wave back up for order a couple weeks back and I was able to pick him up with the rest of the assortment.

tfgskid1

Oh god, how I love these comic packs! The presentation is just so superb… from the old school Transformers logo and grid pattern on the card to the way it cleverly uses an actual comic book for the packaging art. Hasbro has used this style with great success for everything from Marvel to GI Joe and Star Wars. I wish they’d bring all of it back because I can’t get enough of it. Also, I gotta say for a figure that I’ve heard a lot of negative things about, he sure looks fine to me in the package. Let me bust this guy open and check him out. But first, I’m going to light up a Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Cigarillo and enjoy the comic book. Be back in a few.

tfgskid25

And BACK! Yeah, this is More Than Meets The Eye #22, so I’ve already read it. In fact, I believe this is the last issue in Volume 5 of the TPB with Volume 6 not due out for a couple of more months. It’s still a great read, but that goes without saying as I’m on record that MTMTE is not only my favorite piece of Transformers fiction, but one of the best comics I’ve ever read. For those still not blessed with the experience, this issue is a nice way to dip your toe in and get the flavor as it showcases some of the great humor, dialogue and characterization. Although I’m not really sure why they chose it as Skids’ comic because he’s not at all central to the issue. Anywho… let’s start off with Skids’ alt mode.

tfgskid2

tfgskid3

Gone are the old days of being a mini-van! Skids’ auto mode is a cute and compact blue sports car and not a bad one at that. The first thing that strikes me about him is the deco and that’s worth pointing out because the color and paintwork on Hasbro’s Deluxes these days hasn’t always been the best. Skids bucks that trend with a vibrant blue plastic as the base coloring of the figure and some bright red and white paint to jazz things up. The windows may appear to be painted black, but they’re actually just a really dark tinted clear plastic. The front grill is picked out with some additional gray paint and some gold hits as well and there’s a tiny Autobot emblem stamped right where the hood ornament might go. This car is defintely pleasing to the eye. Just compare Skids’ auto mode to the IDW version of Bumblebee and look at the difference in overall quality and appearance.

tfgskid4

Skids does have his share of seams from the transformation, but nothing too bad. It was a little tough for me to close all the gaps and tighten it all up when going into car mode on the first go around. The transformation here is very clever and feels very fresh, but it’s one of those designs that requires you to lock everything up at the end and while there’s certainly a tab for everything to hold it in place, making it happen just right requires precision transformation skills. On the other hand, going to robot mode is pretty intuitive.

tfgskid5

tfgskid6

There are sockets located just in front of each of Skids’ rear wheels that allow you to peg in his extra weapons. I always enjoy this option. Any time that I can’t store the weapons under the car, I like to have the ability to weaponize the hell out of it. Skids actually looks pretty decent with his guns hanging off his sides. So far so good, we’ve already had a peek at his robot mode, let’s check it out for reals!

tfgskid7

tfgskid8

So my initial reaction is one of pure love. Skids is a wonderfully intricate design and a fantastic reproduction of his comic character art. The way he wears the front of his car mode instantly reminds me of IDW Trailcutter and Hoist, which ain’t a bad thing at all. But there’s so much else going on with him. To be more specific, he’s positively bristling with weapons! He’s got rocket packs in his shoulders, two double barreled cannon angling up on either side of his head and two more sets of double barreled guns on his arms that can be slung below his fists or worn in a split fashion. So cool!

tfgskid11

And check out that portrait! It’s a great likeness to his IDW counterpart. The odd thing here is that he’s decked out on the back of his noggin for light piping, but his eyes appear to be painted over. And yet they have an eerie piercing quality about them. It’s pretty nice work.

tfgskid10

tfgskid9

As solid as the deco is in car mode, it’s in robot mode that it really shines. Skids carries over all of that brilliant blue plastic and shows off some more of that striking red paint. I’m extremely impressed with the paint apps that went into each of his individual rocket hatches. This stuff may sound like nothing to crow about, but with how stingy Hasbro has been with paint lately, I really want to call it out when it looks this good.

tfgskid13

Ok, so with all that having been said, I can certainly see some issues. First and foremost his shoulder articulation is at odds with all his car kibble. His shoulders bump up against the roof and door parts on his back. I can still get a full rotation out of the shoulders by shifting things around, but there’s almost no lateral shoulder articulation. The articulation is there, but the sculpt won’t allow it. He is an amnesiac. I suppose I could just pretend he forgot how his shoulders work.

tfgskid12

Two other points worth mentioning occur down south in his legs. First off, those plates that jut off the backs of his lower legs are rather unsightly when viewed from the side. Also, Skids is in dire need of a set of heel spurs. He doesn’t look like he’s back heavy, and yet he’s constantly falling backward. I really dig the way his wheels fold down to form his feet, because you don’t see that a lot, but it’s clear that his footsies aren’t up to the task of holding him vertical. I mention these two things together because if Hasbro had been able to engineer a swivel into those lower leg parts they could have angled downward and solved both problems. I know, it’s easy to say but something like that isn’t simple or cheap to execute. I’m imagine it wouldn’t cost out for a Deluxe. It looks as if they already maxed the budget on this guy with sculpt and paint.

tfgskid14

The last thing to talk about is Skids guns, which combine together to form a big rifle. I love the design on these things, especially the pistol, which looks like it has a drum magazine. They look great when combined and they have multiple pegs so you can attach them to any like sized port. I think the pistol works well for my Generations Swerve, at least until I get around to buying that third-party “My First Blaster” for him.

tfgskid16

tfgskid15

And so, I was tempering myself for disappointment, but in the end, I’m really not seeing why this guy gets such a bad rap by some. Granted, I’ve been told that I’m really forgiving when it comes to my assessment of Hasbro’s Deluxe Transformers and I would tend to agree with that criticism. Anyone who is an articulation whore, and there’s nothing wrong with that, will certainly be frustrated by Skids’ arms, but I really dig the engineering of his transformation and looking at him up on my shelf, I think he’s one of the better looking Deluxes in my Classics/Generations lineup. At one point, I almost laid down $25 for him and in retrospect I probably would have been OK with that. Of course, it was better to get him for $15 as part of the wave assortment.

Next Thursday I’m going to detour to check out Masterpiece Wheeljack and after that I’ll come back to this Generations wave and start looking at the rest of them.