Transformers Prime New York Comic-Con 2011 Exclusive Set

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Comic-Con Exclusive, Deluxe, Prime

Transformers Prime

General Information:
Release Date: October 14, 2011
Price Point: $33.00
Retailer: New York City Comic-Con / Hasbrotoyshop Exclusive
Accessories: Dual barreled blaster x 1 (Bumblebee), Blade weapons x 2 (Arcee), Jack Darby figure, Raf figure


In the past few years, the convention known as "Comic-Con" has grown and grown as not just a place for fans of various shows, movies and comics to hang out, attend panels and buy stuff, but it's also a media machine to promote upcoming projects. The most well known of these is San Diego Comic-Con, but quickly gaining on its sibling show is New York City Comic-Con, which was (to be honest) not so impressive the first time I went a few years back, but their guest list has increased significantly in terms of the quality of the guests and more companies have begun participating in the event in the same way they do at San Diego.

One of these companies is Hasbro, which a few years ago only had a token presence in the form of a display of some current product, with no representatives to be found anywhere. This year however, they've kicked things up a notch with a display inspired by their elaborate layouts at Botcon. As part of this recognition of New York City, the powers that be decided to create an exclusive that was specific to the city! Featuring Arcee in a G1 inspired deco and Bumblebee in a modern day "checker cab" deco, this set is not generic in the same way the San Diego Comic-Con Optimus Prime was. Like the San Diego Comic-Con Optimus Prime, this makes four more figure releases (counting the humans of course) that are being released as exclusives before their mass retail counterparts are available for sale, which is quite unusual.

New York City Comic-Con has slowly gained prominence in the past few years. While its San Diego counterpart still gets most of the attention, Hasbro decided to tailor its New York City Comic-Con exclusive to, well, New York City! That includes packaging on this figure set. The box is made up of a cardboard bottom and back with panels on the side. Most of the packaging is made up by a large window bubble with the words "First Edition" printed on top, something that many of the first wave "Transformers Prime" figures will have. The cardboard section is mainly dark blue and black in color, keeping consistant with the packaging colors to be seen on the rest of the main "Transformers Prime" toy line packaging.

Around the edges of the cardboard section is a checkerboard pattern. This is inspired by the "checker" taxis of New York City's famed past (few of the original "checker" taxis are still around in any capacity, but it is an iconic New York City image). Indeed, these decos are used as the basis for Bumblebee's deco pattern in this set. On the sides there is package art that has been modified to reflect the colors and designs of each figure. The right side features Bumblebee with Raf (wearing his "I Love NY" inspired T-shirt) and the left shows Arcee in her G1 inspired colors with Jack.

The back of the packaging features photography of all the toys in the set, with Bumblebee on the left and Arcee on the right. Both figures are given a generic transformation difficulty level of "2" on the upper right hand corner.

The interior of the packaging is critical to the "New York City" theme of the set. The cardboard insert inside is quite intricate in design. The background features a picture of skyscrapers (which could be from the New York City skyline, with some editing thrown in). In the distance is a rooftop where Megatron and Starscream are standing ominously. On the left side of the backdrop are cardboard buildings with their windows lit up to show the letters "NY" on two different buildings, and then an Autobot symbol on a third. Look closely and you'll actually see these patterns are made up by tiny photographs that look like the exterior views of windows on a skyscraper. I was very impressed photography was used over just simple yellow boxes done in Illustrator or something.. Next to those "buildings" on the side is a picture of the Statue of Liberty, another iconic New York City fixture.

In the foreground is another part of the cardboard insert that very much resembles a bit of highway, with all the figures placed on it. Bumblebee and Arcee are in vehicle mode to the left and right respectively while Raf and Jack are in the center. The cumulative effect is that of showing Bumblebee and Arcee driving by one of New York City's elevated roads as they pass by some of its iconic sights. I think this packaging is a really fun and beautiful way to celebrate Hasbro's presence at New York City Comic-Con!

Jack Darby and Raf Reviews

Jack Darby
Jack Darby was one of the first characters we met in the "Transformers Prime" cartoon, so it's very appropriate for him to get a figure as part of this line. This figure represents Jack very well, using this exact outfit and giving him the long face that he has on the show complete with a big mop of hair sitting on the top of his head. He's stuck in a static pose, with his left hand on his hip and right hand hanging off his paints. His legs are spread out in a casual fashion and the figure has a base that looks like a piece of the desert floor, a setting the characters have been shown in several times during the run of the show. The base is removable, however there's not much you can do with the figure as it's pretty much stuck in one pose. The head can turn however, which gives Jack a look of someone mugging for a camera at a photoshoot. It's actually kind of funny!

What makes this figure quite different from its upcoming "Entertainment Pack" counterpart is his shirt. Instead of being painted the brown color of his CGI model, this one is painted white. On the shirt are the letters "NY" with an Autobot symbol under them. This is very reminiscent of the old "I love NY" slogan t-shirts found in tourist areas of New York City. In Jack's case, his shirt is a long sleeve, reaching all the way down his arms (instead if just being a T-shirt as it is commonly seen in real life). Jack's head and hands are painted a light, flesh tone while his hair is black. His pants are painted blue (like he has on the show). It's a nice, basic color scheme that works with the bold, white shirt.

Rafael "Raf" Esquivel
"Raf" is the youngest member of the kids on "Prime" and thus winds up being the smallest of the three human figures. The sculpt for this figure is almost exactly the design used for his official picture with the young genius standing casually with his hands set to his sides. His outfit is what you could call contemporary geek wear complete with a sweater, long sleeved shirt, baggy jeans and high top sneakers. His head sculpt has the big, backswept, spiked hair from the animation model and his glasses have been sculpted into the head as well. Like Jack, only his head can turn and he comes on a removable base.

Like Jack, Raf is also wearing a shirt with the Autobot logo and "NY" on it, however his is more of a cut off shirt, with his long sleeved shirt painted yellow. His pants are blue and his shoes have been painted grey. The face and arms are flesh toned, with his hair painted in brown.

I love the creative use of these figures, repurposing their shirts with such an iconic New York City slogan is brilliant and I am really happy with the sculpts on these figures. My only wish would have been to give them more articulation or some type of "Human Alliance" style interaction with their respective characters, but other than that I think they're great.

Arcee Review

  • Arcee in Vehicle Mode (Back)
  • Arcee in Vehicle Mode (Side)
  • Arcee in Vehicle Mode (Back)
  • Arcee in Vehicle Mode (Front view)
  • Arcee in Vehicle Mode (Angle view)
  • Arcee in Vehicle Mode (Blades attached)
  • Arcee in Vehicle Mode (Blades attached, side)
  • Arcee in Vehicle Mode (Blades attached, back)
  • Arcee in Robot Mode
  • Arcee in Robot Mode (Side)
  • Arcee in Robot Mode (Back)
  • Arcee in Robot Mode (Close up)
  • Arcee in Robot Mode (Focus on head)
  • Arcee in Robot Mode (Angle view)
  • Arcee in Robot Mode (Posed)
  • Arcee in Robot Mode (Weapons Attached)
  • Arcee in Robot Mode (Alternate pose)

    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 like one 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 necessity 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.

    The color scheme for Arcee is based on her G1 namesake. This isn't the first time a character named Arcee has used this type of vehicle form with these colors. The first transformable Arcee figure released by Hasbro was Energon Arcee who was also a pink and white motorcycle in vehicle form. This time out Arcee uses the core G1 colors: pink, white, black and translucent blue. The pink color makes up a lot of the armor pieces such as the angled panels on the sides, the middle section and the front end. The translucent blue is used for the headlight in front and windshield. White is mostly found on the lower part of the figure such as the sections that attach to the wheels. The wheels are cast in black, which really offers quite a contrast from the pink and white plastic.

    Again running with the G1 color theme, Arcee's colors are inspired by her G1 counterpart. The paint colors used are pink, silver, gunmetal and red. Pink is used to fill in some of the details on the front end such as the side view mirrors. Pink lines are also used on the middle section of the wheels on either side, offering color continuity with the rest of the figure while also offering a nice contrasting color against the black. The silver paint is heavily used on the top, sides and bottom of the figure. If you have the blade weapons attached, silver really makes a bold appearance as the blades are painted silver. Gunmetal grey is used to offer more metallic colors but also a darker color that contrasts nicely with the brighter silver color. The gunmetal is found on the middle of each wheel as well as the seat of the motorcycle and the exhaust pipes. Finally, the red is found on the left side panel in the form of an Autobot symbol. The deco looks great and works really well with the plastic colors. It is instantly recognizable as a G1 Arcee homage and is a very appropriate "exclusive toy" color scheme as exclusives often offer a chance to pay homage to the past of the Transformers toy line.

    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.

    In this mode you wind up unfolding several more white parts. White shows up on the neck, arms, thighs and feet. Other armor sections such as the chest, side panels and lower legs are cast in pink. Arcee's paint colors carry over from the vehicle mode, but they're used in different areas. For instance, the face is silver while pink paint is used to paint the helmet section of the head. It's also found on the mid-body of the figure and the legs. Once again, gunmetal grey shows up in sharp contrast to the silver plastic (since it already stands out quite a bit on its own). Finally, silver has been used for several parts including the knee armor and the mid-body. Just like the vehicle mode, this mode and the colors automatically remind me of G1 Arcee and it looks great!

    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 on Arcee:
    The Arcee sculpt is really nicely done and basically "90%" of the CGI model is present in both modes. She is also a fantastic homage piece and looks cool in both modes and is a cool G1 homage to boot!

    Bumblebee Review

    Bumblebee Images:

    Vehicle Mode:
    BumblebeeBumblebee's official description has his vehicle mode listed as a generic "muscle car". It borrows some inspiration from the live action movie Bumblebee's vehicle mode, a Chevrolet Camaro. I has a wide body with some nice, curved lines running along the sides and the back, but the front and back have flat areas that give the vehicle an aggressive appearance befitting a muscle car. This is no Camaro clone however. It is very much an original design all its own. The front end is angled and comes to a wide "V" shape in the center. The headlights have four sides with the insides angled towards the grille. The grille is split into two sections with horizontal lines on it. Also on the front is a bit of an engine design sticking out of the vehicle's hood, implying more power than your standard car. The wheels on the back of the vehicle are actually larger than those on the front, and this creates a nice illusion of the vehicle being lifted up in the back which adds to its aggressive appearance. Much of these larger details and some smaller ones (such as the two cylinders under the headlights in the front) carry over directly from the CGI model, and in that respect Bumblebee is very accurate to his on screen appearance.

    Bumblebee's deco is not the same as the one that will be in mass release early 2012. Instead, his yellow is a much deeper "orange yellow" color, akin to the color used for the Camaro in the live action movies. Also seemingly inspired by the movies is the translucent plastic used in this form, a nice shade of blue that makes up all his windows and headlights. His wheels are (of course) cast in black plastic.

    Bumblebee's paint deco is a fascinating combination of influences. Clearly there is some influence from his animated appearance, which entails several black stripes running along the length of the vehicle. This deco pattern itself is influenced by the character from the live action movie. Now let's throw in influence from the aforementioned "checker cabs" of the past, and you have one interesting deco. The primary paint color used in this form is black, although yellow, silver, gunmetal and red do play a role. The black color is found on the grille and then extending up to the hood of the vehicle. Then the stripe angles down to the side, running across to the back and then back up on top of the trunk section. The stripes are not completely solid black. Along the length of the stripes are sections with a checkerboard them. On the sides, a portion of the yellow plastic is left unpainted, allowing the words "NYC Taxi" to show on the doors. I really dig this design pattern. It looks great and fits in perfectly with the theme of New York City. Unlike the CGI model (but perhaps just for his journey to New York City) Bumblebee is sporting a large, black Autobot symbol right on the center of his hood. It's quite bold and looks fantastic.

    The other colors used include yellow, which fills in the portions of the car's cabin cover that were not cast in yellow. The top of the engine piece is painted gunmetal grey, but I was very surprised to see that the lower part of the engine piece was left unpainted as I would think the designers would want to emphases on the "powerhouse". Red is used to paint the rear lights and the lights off to the side of each headlight are painted orange. Overall, I really like the color scheme as it pays homage to versions of the character beyond just Generation One.

    In this mode, Bumblebee can roll on all four wheels. If you flip him over, you'll also see where his weapon is stored. The dual barreled blaster weapon has a series of empty slots along the sides (on both barrels) that can then be clipped into corresponding tabs located on the top edge of his robot feet (which you can see on the underside of the vehicle). It does hold well and you can roll the vehicle around with the weapon clipped, but I warn that it's best to make sure you really push it in securely or the weapon will pop out pretty easily.

    Transformation to Robot Mode:

    1. Detach the weapon and set it aside for now.
    2. Push each of the halves of the vehicle's rear section out to the sides to begin forming the robot legs.
    3. Swing the rear sections (now split for meach other) down.
    4. Swing out the robot feet and heel pieces.
    5. Swing the doors out to the sides, you should now see the robot arms tucked into the underside of the vehicle.
    6. Fold the top sections of the cabin down behind the side windows.
    7. With the bottom of the vehicle facing you, swing down the panel in the middle.
    8. Pull out each arm and swing it out to the sides.
    9. Unclip each section with the headlights on them and pull them out to the sides a bit.
    10. Swing the middle section (with the robot head attached) up, then rotate it around.
    11. Rotate the middle section of the vehicle mode's grille.
    12. Turn the head around so it is facing front.
    13. Swing the entire front section of the vehicle down to form the upper body.
    14. Swing the center section down.
    15. Swing the part in the middle section up against the middle section with the grille piece on it.
    16. On each section with a headlight, pull the bottom half of the piece down.
    17. Push the side sections in, carefully positioning each of them onto the clips in front of Bumbleee's head on either side.
    18. Swing the curved panel on the upper arms against each front wheel and connect them together.
    19. Push the windshield on the back down.
    20. Swing the shoulder joints out so the shoulder armor is facing forward.
    21. Rotate the forearms so they can move up at the elbow joint.
    22. Attach the weapon to one of the holes on his forearms.

    Note: You may have a bit of difficulty with step sixteen. The bottom half of those sections do not come down quite as much as the instructions imply, but you will notice a small gap.

    Robot Mode:
    Just as Bumblebee's vehicle mode is based on his live action movie counterpart, so is his robot mode. The overall design and look is heavily based on his movie appearance, with no real call backs to his G1 namesake other than his color scheme. He has the classic Autobot shape where the front of the car becomes his chest, the doors of the car wind up o his back and the rear of the car becomes the legs/feet. The head sculpt is even inspired by the movie. Instead of the more angular and horned head from G1 Bumblebee, this one has a round helmet section and he has large, circular eyes with a cover over where his mouth would be. Some of the details are also inspired by the movie model such as the way the chest piece represents several of the vehicle mode's sections broken up into separate areas. His forearms have curved armor on them that come to points at the end. This design choice of course makes sense since kids are going to be most familiar with the movie Bumblebee at this time, and it jives with the extent that Optimus Prime resembles his live action movie counterpart as well.

    Bumblebee isn't just a clone of his live action counterpart however. There's a very distinctive style to the figure overall. While his vehicle mode is very angular in design, his robot mode has a design that leans towards curved sections and points. I already mentioned his forearms come to points at the end (near the elbow) and he has other designs that do similar things. His knee armor for instance comes up like a spike over his legs and on his lower legs are designs right above his feet where there are arrow shaped designs. There are a lot of curved designs including the thighs which are cylindrical in shape and his waist area, which is very curved. Together with his movie-based designs, he really winds up looking fantastic as a blend of the movie style and something current. More to the point, his design is very accurate to his CGI model as well.

    Unlike the vehicle mode, the robot mode breaks out Bumblebee's colors into more tha just black/silver/yellow. The yellow-orange plastic is still heavily present. You'll find it on his back, the head, the torso, arms, waist and legs. However, many of the yellow parts are broken up by dark grey sections such as the elbows, fishts, inner thighs and feet. Further breaking things down are smaller parts cast in a light grey plastic. This includes his hip joints and heel pieces. Rounding out these colors are translucent blue parts, all carried over from the vehicle mode. Even without paint decos Bumblebee pretty much has the look of his on screen counterpart down. He has all the critical elements of the CGI model from "Transformers Prime" while still being practical as a toy.

    There aren't a ton of paint applications in this mode, but frankly they're not necessary since the ones that are there pretty much complete the details from the CGI model (even though this is a redeco). Silver is the primary paint color, which you'll find on his face, waist and lower legs - and that's about it. That sounds bad, but honestly it's not. Because of the way his plastic colors are broke up, in concert with some of the details carried over from the vehicle mode, Bumblebee looks great in this mode and faithful (at least in spirit) to the animated model. Sure he could use a couple of extra silver decos (on his knees for instance), but it's hardly a deal breaker.

    Bumblebee has twenty four points of articulation in this form. I'm including smaller movements such as his wrist being able to move in and out as well as the ability of his feet and heels to move. I was happy to see this articulation included the ability of his waist to move side to side and six points of articulation on each arm. His weapon can be attached to either forearm and if you wish, you can attach 5mm peg weapons (such as Energon and Mech Tech weapons) as well. You can also put weapons in his hands, which are set in a curved position.

    Final Thoughts on Bumblebee:
    Bumblebee is a great looking figure in both modes and I really like the deep, yellow orange based color scheme on the figure. The "regular" figure to be released next year is much lighter in tone, which looks a bit off from the CGI model. Despite his "NYC Taxi" deco, he is easily recognizable as the "Transformers Prime" version of the character.

    Final Thoughts on the New York Comic Con 2011 Set:
    I'm a native New Yorker and an old skool Transformers fan, so for me, seeing a Transformers set that celebrates both G1 and the city I love is really a treat! I also think it's a great idea to identify an exclusive based on the event it was at. While cool, the San Diego Comic-Con exclusives could have been sold anywhere really. By identifying the figure with the city Comic-Con took place in, it makes it that much more distinctive and special, something I applaud. The G1 color scheme for Arcee is fantastic and the Bumblebee makes me smile at the acknowledgement of a piece of New York history. Add in the really nice design of the box and inserts and this is a fantastic exclusive. Highly recommended!