"Legends" Blackarachnia Toy Review

in 2015, Action Figure Review, Beast Wars, Deluxe, Legends, Predacon

Legends

Blackarachnia General Information:
Release Date: October 24, 2015
Price Point: $30 depending on retailer
Retailer: Japanese Exclusive
Accessories: Grapnel gun

Translation below by Doug Dlin:
Espionage
Having lived through the Beast Wars, Black Widow never overlooks a possibility when it comes to survival, no matter the era or the location. Now that she has acquired the means to increase immensely her chances of staying alive, particularly if there are males present, she may become the greatest warrior of all.

Blackarachnia first appeared in "Beast Wars Transformers". Intelligent, smart and strong willed she became a fan favorite long before she became a Maximal in "Beast Machines". While the "Beast Wars Transformers" toy line did have a Blackarachnia action figure, it was a straight up redeco of Tarantulas, so it did not look like the CG model created for the TV show. Fast forward to 2015 and Takara Tomy decided to take the "Animated" Blackarachnia action figure and give it a new deco with some retooling as a more show accurate representation of Blackarachnia. Check out my "Animated" Blackarachnia review for my original thoughts on the base sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Packaging:
The "Legends" packaging is a combination of modern and Generation One elements blended together into a box. Unlike the "Generations" versions of these figures the "Legends" figures are packaged in boxes. Blackarachnia's box is square and fairly small compared to some of the more recent Targetmaster figures. This is due to her simply having less accessories and having a fairly compact beast mode. The figure is packaged in beast mode inside a plastic shell sitting inside a cardboard try. The outside of the box has a vertical "Transformers" logo on the left side with a grid pattern behind it. The figure is visible in a large window in the middle. On the lower portion is a "30th Anniversary" logo and the character's name with artwork that blends her CG model from "Beast Wars" with the features of this specific figure. The back of the packaging has a brief bio with photos of the figure in both modes. Interestingly, the Japanese letters spell out Blackarachnia's Japanese name "Black Widow" while the name "Blackarachnia" is also printed in English.

Beast Mode:
Like her "Animated" predecessor, this new version of Blackarachnia is a spider. Technically she is supposed to be a Black Widow Spider but the overall shape of the figure does not quite match the look of that species, so we'll give a bit of a pass for creative license and the necessity of making a beast mode that can convincingly transform into a robot. While very similar, there has been some retooling on this figure for this release. Specifically the head has been reworked. The head is a new piece, featuring seven translucent yellow eyes and a couple raised bits that could be two more eyes. Attached to the head are new pedipalps that are oval in shape with sharp looking tips at the end similar to those on a real life spider. This really does bring the appearance of the head more in line with her animated counterpart (though the pedipalps are different shapes than those on the show).

Taking its design cues from the animated series, Blackarachnia is cast in gold, black and translucent yellow plastic. The soft plastic legs in front are more orange in color. The color combination is beautiful and does evoke her animation model even if the color layout is not exact. The middle legs (made up of the robot arms) have a series of black stripes on them more for the benefit of the robot mode than the beast mode. The abdomen section has a large red panel painted, which obscures the "hourglass" design a bit. On the back the grapnel gun ends in translucent red claws. While not 100% screen accurate, this deco definitely has the "spirit" of the animation model.

All the joints in this mode are just as tight as those on my "Animated" Blackarachnia. The grapnel claw in the back can be pulled out, revealing a string attached to it. There is a black button on the gun which draws the claw in.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the grapnel gun and set it aside for now.
  2. Swing the middle panel on the abdomen up, then push it down to reveal the robot head.
  3. Push the beast mode head up, then swing the pedipalps up to form the robot chest.
  4. Swing the rear of the beast mode forward.
  5. Line up the two front legs together, then swing them back and rotate them up.
  6. Swing the legs with the stripes on them down to form the robot arms.
  7. Swing the abdomen piece up on the back.
  8. Rotate the front of the robot legs around, then swing up the feet.
  9. Adjust the robot legs so Blackarachnia can stand.
  10. Attach the grapnel gun to the slot on the inside of either forearm.

Robot Mode:
Like the beast mode, the robot mode features new parts. The robot head is a brand new sculpt based on Blackarachnia's CG model. It looks great, complete with a crest that has the "hourglass" inside of it, wide eyes and a mouth with a U shaped layer of armor around it leading to the rest of the face. It is a very distinct design and the sculpt is brilliant. The chest features the pedipalps forming the chest armor. In this mode you can see spider-leg like designs on these parts, a detail borrowed from the CG model used in "Beast Wars". Unlike the "Animated" transformation, the beast mode leg sections on her forearms are not turned around for this transformation. This makes her look more like her animated counterpart where she had claws instead of hands. The hands from "Animated" Blackarachnia are still there however. While she is not 100% accurate to the animation model from "Beast Wars", she definitely looks more like that model than any of her previous releases. Seriously if you got rid of the beast mode legs on her back and made her forearms all claws it would have made a huge difference (but for the changes you would need to make to do so you may as well just create a whole new sculpt).

The only major flaw with the design of this figure is a very visible gap between the chest and neck area. From certain angles she looks fine and you won't see it, but from others it looks like something is missing.

Gold, black and translucent yellow plastic take center stage in this mode. Black details are used on the head, arms and chest. The details on the chest are interesting as they are thin black lines painted to match the animation model, but these could have easily been skipped to save money. Gold paint is used on the head and waist/hip area. A tiny spot of red is used for the hourglass on her head, which is a small but very nice touch. A Predacon symbol is painted around her collar at the base of the neck, another detail carried over from the TV show model. Finally, purple paint is used on the sides of the thighs and the feet. Overall the figure looks really great and I am very pleased with the retooling and new colors.

All the joints on my copy of this figure are just as tight as my "Animated" Blackarachnia. The grapnel weapon holds nice and snug in the forearms. You can still pull it out to reveal a string connected to the claws at the end (which are adjustable). Press the button on the side and it pulls the line it fast for a fun little action feature.

Final Thoughts:
Blackarachnia/Black Widow is a fantastic retool and redeco of "Animated" Blackarachnia. She evokes the animation model from "Beast Wars" very well and the colors look great on their own. I also appreciate all the small deco points such as the red "hourglass" on her robot head. If you are a "Beast Wars" fan, this is a must add for your collection!

Pros:

  • Newly tooled parts look great.
  • New deco is excellent and detailed.
  • Joints are still nice and tight despite age of tooling.

Cons:

  • Some parts are not 100% accurate to the animation model.
  • The hold under the neck area in robot mode is a bit distracting.
  • You have to fiddle a bit with the legs to get her to stand (this was true of the original version as well).