Transformers Prime Arcee Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Deluxe, Generation One, Prime, First Edition

Transformers Prime

General Information:
Release Date: October 2011
Price Point: $12.99
Retailer: General release in Asia, Release outside Asia TBD
Accessories: Blade weapons x 2


BumblebeeWay ahead of its release in the United States, select markets in Asia have begun to receive shipments of "Transformers Prime" action figures. Specifically these are the waves that represent the "First Edition" series of figures, which include the San Diego Comic-Con Optimus Prime and the set recently released at New York City Comic-Con. Rumors floated around for a while that "Prime" figures would only see a limited release and that may still be true, but as of late November 2011, Toys R Us stores throughout the US and Canada have begun receiving the first three deluxe figures in the toy line (Arcee, Bumblebee and Starscream).

Once upon a time the realm of female Transformers was reserved for the comic book and cartoons only. The hopes of having any such toy were dashed with the reality that boys generally prefer "male" Transformers. Of course, that's all ancient history. Since the days of "Beast Wars", female Transformers have been part of many Transformers toy lines. One of the most well known female Transformers is Arcee. Originally introduced in the 1986 "Transformers: The Movie" film, the character (in name at least) has popped up time and time again in recent years including appearances in both the "Energon" and live action movie franchise. When it came time for a female character to be part of the Autobot team in "Transformers Prime", Arcee was a natural choice.

I've already reviewed this sculpt thanks to its release as part of the New York City Comic-Con two pack. Much of this text regarding the sculpt is copied from that review. Functionally there are no changes between the two releases. The change in this review will focus on the colors used on this iteration of the character.

Vehicle Mode:
ArceeMotorcycles are notoriously difficult to make into solid Transformers. Over the years, there have been many successes, but also a few failures. Sometimes whether a toy "works" or not depends largely on comparing it to its on-screen counterpart, which is how I'm approaching this look at Arcee. The designers of the CGI models for "Transformers Prime" and Hasbro worked very closely to ensure that the toys would look like the CGI models and vice versa, however that doesn't mean everything is perfect. If you check out Arcee's vehicle mode design, you'll note the CGI model is very pointy and angular in many spots. These angles work to give her an aerodynamic look, but also it acts as a callback to some of the design elements of the movie based Transformers, which were part of the inspiration for the designs in "Prime". However, the figure itself brings down the amount of sharp angles and parts a bit, while replicating many of the features of the CGI model.

First, let's go over the differences. You'll note from the photographs above that Arcee's front windshield and headlight is largely on a curved piece that looks lik eone united piece. The CGI model on the other hand has the windshield and headlight section more condensed in the middle of the vehicle's front end and that section is a lot sharper and angled in the CGI model. Another difference in the vehicle is the way the handlebars are set up on the front section. On the CGI model the handlebars are fairly hidden behind armor panels on the front end, but here those panels simply don't exist and the handlebars are fully exposed. I do grant this isn't 100% accurate to the CGI model, but at the same time I recognize how this would have interfered with the transformation by adding another piece to move out of the way. Also, the way it is sculpted, you actually get to see the handlebar details from different sides instead of having them hidden.

Despite its differences, a majority of the vehicle does reflect details found in the CGI model. The front end does have some of the sharp angles and curves found on the CGI model, they're just much less pronounced. The front wheel cover has a design that flares out on the sides just like the CGI model and the sides of the vehicle have large panels with several angles that lead to a section pointing back and up. Moving towards the back, the seat/rear section of the vehicle is nice and pointed and there are exhaust pipes attached to the back wheel section angling out to the back. The angle is not quite as severe as the CGI model but the design is close enough to the CGI model for me!

One sculpting difference that is borne out of necesity is the manner which you store Arcee's weapons in this form. Since she has blade weapons, they are integrated into the rest of the vehicle by attaching to the sides via small pegs. The blade weapons wind up looking a bit "scifi" but also appropriate considering they are angled and sharp looking like the rest of Arcee in this form. They even sculpted some circles on the sides that look like they could be parts of an engine. I really like this sculpt despite not being 100% faithful to the CGI model.

Unlike her New York City Comic-Con release, this Arcee's color scheme is based on the CGI model used in the television show. The entire scheme is dark and a sharp contrast to the pink and white NYCC Arcee. The main plastic colors of this figure are dark metallic blue, black and translucent green. The blue makes up most of the vehicle including the outer panels on the sides and the front end. Black is found more towards the center such as on the wheels and the sections connected to them. The paint colors align with these colors very well, keeping the dark tone but adding a splash of brightness via silver on the sides and top of the motorcycle. Black paint is used to paint sections along the driver's seat. The patterns are broken up nicely, alternating between the two paint colors and set in some nice patterns including a pattern with angles on the seat and exhaust pipes. The translucent plastic is found on the windshield and headlights. The color scheme looks fantastic and matches up very nicely with the animated model.

Arcee can roll on both wheels and if you wish, you can detach the blade weapons and use a small white kickstand on the left side of the figure to keep the vehicle standing. Arcee really isn't in scale with any of the current "Human Alliance" figures. I'd say a figure around the size of a G.I. Joe would make sense if you wanted her to have a "driver".

Overall, this vehicle mode isn't 100% perfect, but it really doesn't need to be. It looks great and has a very nicely done paint job that pays homage to a classic character, and in my book that's a win.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. If ajl;ttached, disconnect the blades from the figure and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing out the side panels to reveal the robot arms (they'll be folded in half).
  3. Hold on to the rear wheel section and pull it back.
  4. Split the rear tire in half.
  5. Rotate the rear half of the vehicle around (this is the waist joint of the robot mode).
  6. Straighten out each arm and rotate it at the shoulder joint.
  7. Swing each of the pink panels on the shoulders up.
  8. Push the front of the vehicle down to reveal the robot head.
  9. Swing the robot head/neck up, then swing the collar around the neck forward and connect it on top of the circle on the chest.
  10. Swing each side panel of the headlight section out, then swing it down to form the chest.
  11. On the back, rotate the front wheel around so it can rest flat against the back.
  12. Swing the handlebars down, then push the windshield down.
  13. On each lower leg, swing the wheel halves in, then swing each foot out (they're very tight, so you'll have to push a bit).
  14. Now swing the wheel halves back against the ankle section, and set the wheel halves so the curved parts stick out the back of the lower legs.
  15. Attach the blade weapons to each of the holes on the bottom of the forearms.

Robot Mode:
Arcee's robot mode is designed to be just like her vehicle mode: sleek, sharp looking but with hints of power. In many ways, it looks like a very slender frame with armor on top of it. For instance, if you look at her upper arms they're relatively thin but lead to forearms that appear to have gauntlets on them, making them a bit thicker. Her legs are similar in that her thighs are rather thin and cylindrical in shape, but they lead to more angled and sharp looking armor on top of her lower legs and feet. I think this "suit of armor" look works very well especially in concert with her head design which looks like a helmet from some ancient army with a high crest on top and details that curve around the front and lead straight to the back.

The Arcee sculpt replicates many of the design elements found on the CGI model. The design elements described above are all there including very sharp looking armor on her legs and the design of the head. In addition, she has several details on the mid-body shaped just like the CGI model. The sides of the vehicle mode create two pointed shapes that you can angle back, and the front halves of the vehicle form the chest armor which has angled sections on the top, similar to the CGI model. In terms of fidelity to its source material, I think Arcee looks fantastic. Like the vehicle mode, she may not be 100% spot on in this mode, but she's close enough. The sculptors did a great job.

The robot mode primarily relies on the same colors as the vehicle mode, but you get to see a lot more black plastic in the form of the arms, thighs and feet. The translucent green plastic is now seen on the head, allowing for light piping on the eyes. The same paint colors from the vehicle mode carry over as well including silver, which is used on the torso, the edges of the weapons, face and knee armor. A new color is used in this mode in the form of a light gold color. You'll see this both on her head and lower legs. In the center of the chest is a small Autobot symbol tampographed into the center. The colors match up well with the animated model and I like the addition of the gold color to add visual variety.

Arcee has seventeen points of articulation in this mode. This includes five in each arm and waist articulation. This articulation works very well in concert with the blade weapons. You can position her arms in various poses while twisting the waist, making it look like she is about to strike! The holes that hold the blade weapons could also be repurposed for any Transformers weapons with standard 5mm holes. Sometimes the side panels from the vehicle mode get in the way a bit and you'll have to do some tweaking/adjusting to attain certain poses, but it's worth it. I really love the weapons as they're fairly unique in the Transformers universe and they match the sleek look of the character.

Final Thoughts:
The Arcee sculpt is really nicely done and basically "90%" of the CGI model is present in both modes. The colors help bring the rest home. Unlike her NYCC counterpart, this figure really does represent the character on the show very well and is fun to boot. Still, part of me keeps seeing the NYCC Arcee as "Arcee" and this one as Elita-1, but that's just me! Highly recommended!