"Transformers" Crimsonflame Toy Review


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General Information
Release Date: January 2024
Price Point: $34.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Limited Release (Asia, Amazon Canada)
Accessories: Weapon barrel/staff weapon handle, Staff weapon handle end, Blast Effect/Spear tip, Staff weapon handle extension/tassle, Display Stand, Display Arm

Official images and text in italics are from Amazon.com

  • CRIMSONFLAME ACTION FIGURE: Celebrate the 2024 Lunar New Year, the Year of the Dragon, with this 5.5-inch (14 cm) Crimsonflame Transformers toy
  • 2-IN-1 CONVERTING TRANSFORMERS TOY: Transformers action figure converts from robot toy to dragon toy in 22 steps
  • AWESOME ACCESSORIES: Comes with a shield accessory and 3 pieces and a blast effect to assemble into a spear accessory. Accessories attach to the robot toy in both modes
  • UNLEASH DRAGON FIRE: Attach the blast effect inside the figure’s mouth in dragon mode for breathing fire poses
  • INCLUDES DISPLAY STAND: Use the display stand to show the dragon-mode figure in flight poses
  • LUNAR NEW YEAR-THEMED PACKAGING: Packaging is designed with artwork and details inspired by the Lunar New Year. Great for display on collector shelves!

In 2024 the Lunar New Year began in February 2024. To align with this event, Hasbro's Asia division put together a special release: Crimsonflame! This figure leans into celebrating the Chinese New Year, featuring a Transformer who converts into a dragon and a bunch of accessories that call back to Chinese culture. This figure is a retool and redeco of the sculpt used for The Last Knight Steelbane and Skullitron. This review will focus on the changes made to the base sculpt for this release as well as its new accessories.

This figure was first revealed at Singapore Comic-Con 2023 but little information was given about how far and wide it would be released. I wound up ordering this figure from Aliexpress speculating that it may not see a release in the United States (where I am based). It cost me well over the suggested retail price, but given that the item was shipped to me from Asia (and arrived within two weeks) I don't mind the extra cost to ensure I had this special item in my hands. Interestingly, shortly before I received this figure Amazon Canada posted listing for Crimsonflame though he is currently marked as "Temporarily Out of Stock" (though you can still purchase him and "reserve" a copy). However, as of the day I am writing this review (February 10, 2024) there is no listing for this figure on Amazon US.

Crimsonflame is a special release aimed at celebrating the Year of the Dragon on the Chinese Zodiac. The packaging itself is also a celebration of this event. The box colors are absolutely gorgeous featuring various shades of red and gold colors, both colors representing good fortune. On the right side is the vertical Transformers logo with the year 2024 above it. Interestingly this packaging lacks any other label. No "Generations" or any other branding. For the sake of giving this review a home, I have filed it under "Generations" on this site, but really it is meant to stand on its own as an individual release. The main illustration Features Crimsonflame in beast mode with fire coming out of his mouth and one arm resting on an Auspicious cloud (another symbol of good luck). The box art extends to the left side of the box (if you are facing it) where there is a dragon symbol and an "Authentic Transformers" logo towards the bottom.

The back of the box features Crimsonflame in both modes calling out a 22 step transformation. On the upper left side it shows his staff weapon fully assembled while the lower right shows Crimsonflame in beast mode connected to his display stand. There are some nice graphics on the back too representing Paper Lanterns and flowers like Cherry Blossoms. Interestingly, nowhere on the box is there any indication as to what faction Crimsonflame belongs to. I like to think he is an independent entity with a mission all his own separate from the Autobot/Decepticon war. From front to back the packaging for this figure is absolutely beautiful and I am very impressed by the effort put into it!

Back during the days of The Last Knight toy line, Steelbane and Skullitron were about $20 USD at retail. Of course, thanks to inflation the Deluxe Class now averages $25 USD in North America but you'll notice this figure is priced at $34.99 in the Amazon Canada listing above. Part of this is no doubt due to designing new packaging and the retooling involved with this release. However, the designers also gave Crimsonflame a bunch of accessories that replace the swords originally included with Steelbane and Skullitron. Here's a rundown:

  • Spear Tip/Flame Blast Effect: Since Crimsonflame's weapon can take two configurations, this Blast Effect serves two purposes. If you have all the accessories combined as a spear weapon, this attaches to the top as a spear tip. If you have the weapon configured as a hand cannon, this accessory looks like a blast coming out of the cannon! This piece is made up of soft, translucent yellow plastic and features a connection point at the end.
  • Shield: The shield accessory serves a dual purpose. In robot mode he uses it to protect himself. The shield has a distinct shape with two prongs at one end and raised panels running down the middle. The way this shield is sculpted, it looks like it has two layers. First is an inner layer made of horizontal panels. Then the rest of the shield looks like a frame that is built over it and held in place with bolts sculpted onto the middle, top and bottom of the shield. This piece also forms part of the beast mode's back. In beast mode, you see the raised panels act like fins on the back of the dragon mode and it looks very cool and covers up that part of the beast mode much better than the sword accessory included with Steelbane. This piece is made of gunmetal grey plastic with red details in the middle. It has one 5mm peg which you can use to attach to the sides of Crimsonflame's arms.
  • Weapon Barrel: One of the main pieces of the spear/staff weapon is a three barreled blaster. This is inspired by a real life weapon known as the San Yan Chong (aka the three-eyes gun) used during the Ming Dynasty. This piece looks ancient with raised panels echoing the fins on the Crimsonflame's back in beast mode and there are raised details on the ends that look like bolts. This piece is made of gunmetal grey plastic with gold paint details at the end of the barrel. The fire/spear tip Blast Effect can be attached to the port in the front of the barrel. As a spear weapon, the Blast Effect acts like the spear blade when attached to this piece. This accessory features a 5mm port in front and 5mm pegs on the bottom and back.
  • Spear Handle: This piece is a thinner one than the weapon barrel. It is intended to attach to it and act as either the back of the hand cannon or the lower part of the spear. This piece features an ornate design at the top with a piece of fabric (sculpted into the piece) tied to it. The top of this piece attaches to the 5mm port on the back of the weapon barrel. At the end is a 3mm peg that allows you to attach the tassle accessory at the bottom. The lower part of this piece is where Crimsonflame holds on to the spear. This piece is gunmetal grey plastic with gold and red paint. I liked the fabric piece being painted red as this is often seen on spear weapons used in martial arts to this day.
  • Tassle: The tassle piece at the end is an example of Chinese knotting and features a design you will often see on items like Paper Lanterns. This piece is sculpted to look like it has individual strands of fabric or hair with a solid base. This piece is made of soft, translucent yellow plastic with some red paint in the middle. This piece is beautiful and I never thought I'd see an accessory like this for a Transformers toy! The top of this piece has a 3mm port that allows you to connect it to the base or the end of the spear. The port is inside a 5mm peg that you can use to attach to the figure.
  • Display Stand: The display stand is made up of two parts: a base and an arm. The arm fits right into the base and is designed to rotate in place. The base is beautiful, featuring a sculpt that looks like stone work reminiscent of ancient roads. The front has a curved section with the Transformers logo in front next to an Autobot symbol. Other than that the display stand is all gunmetal grey. The arm is interesting as it is designed to hold almost all of the accessories listed above. There is a curved section in the front of the arm used to help support Crimsonflame in beast mode. If you want to display him in robot mode, rotate the arm around and you can attach him to the base (and store almost all the accessories minus the shield).

It is very uncommon for Transformers of this scale to come with so many accessories. As a person of Chinese descent, I really found myself appreciating many of these accessories not only from a "toyetic" perspective but also from a cultural one. The display stand is a really fun bonus and I think it is super cool that it was designed to work in both modes!

Robot Mode:
Using The Last Knight Steelbane and Skullitron sculpts as the foundation for this figure makes perfect sense. Both figures were designed to look like warriors wearing ancient armor. Of course, that armor leaned towards the armor of Arthurian legend (or the Hollywood version anyway). Still, the "warrior wearing armor" look dominates the design of this figure. In robot mode, key pieces were changed to make this design look more like Chinese armor possibly from the Ming Dynasty era. The changes include:

  • Head: The head sculpt looks like a helmet from the Ming Dynasty (see an example of ancient art with the helmet in it here) featuring a rounded shape and a point at the top. The edges of the helmet around the face flare out in a pattern that resembles flames, a callback to his alt-mode. The face itself features narrow eyes, a nose and a mouth surrounded by a mustache and beard. It is a beautifully rendered and sculpted head design and I absolutely adore it.
  • Forearms: The Steelbane/Skullitron design had the rear beast mode feet connected by a hinge to the forearms. The same is true here but the feet are totally new pieces that are more narrow and robotic looking than those on Steelbane and Skullitron. This piece also has a 5mm port sticking out the sides so you can attach accessories to it such as his shield and hand cannon.
  • Armor: On Steelbane and Skullitron there is a piece of armor right under the chest armor that starts at the abdominal area and extends down to the knee level. On Crimsonflame this entire piece has been replaced with armor featuring a much more Chinese looking design. This includes the raised patterns on it and a very distinct Chinese Guardian Lion head design in the middle (you could also see it as a stylized dragon head too). This piece is made of the same soft translucent yellow plastic as some of the accessories but it features a lot of orange and red paint to match up with the armor on the rest of the figure.
  • Back: I will cover this a bit more in the beast mode review, but the back of the figure is very different from Steelbane and Skullitron in that the winged arms have been completely removed and replaced with two shorter, but thicker beast mode legs. In this mode these tuck up against the back. They do feature two 5mm ports from the bottom of the beast mode feet allowing you to use them as accessory storage or if you wish, attachment points for Battle Masters or Weaponizer bits!

This mode also makes the new head and tail for the beast mode very obviouis but I will focus on these in the beast mode review.

Crimsonflame is mostly made up of orange, gunmetal grey and soft, translucent yellow plastic. Orange is the primary color with the gunmetal breaking up the brighter color on areas like the biceps, fists and head. Paint details are mostly done in red with some orange on the gunmetal grey parts. A bit of silver can be found on the face and thighs. His eyes are yellow (so that does not do much to clue us in to his allegience). I like the deco on this figure a lot but I do wish the chest and lower legs had some color to break up the orange a bit. Still, the color suits the character's theme very well and from a cultural standpoint he looks like a walking embodiment of good fortune.

There are seventeen points of articulation on this figure including four in each arm and leg. Steelbane and Skullitron had more articulation since they had the articulated legs with wings on their backs. Crimsonflame can hold 5mm peg weapons in his hands and you can attach them to his forearms. Unfortunately this sculpt still suffers from the "chest/back" issue. The back and the chest pieces are supposed to connect using connection points on the sides. They hold fine - until you start moving the figure around to pose him out. At that point the chest piece tends to separate from the back. They push back in place easily enough, but it is annoying. However, this is a carry over issue from previous versions of this figure and not a new problem. Attaching the spear weapons to the hands felt a bit dicey as the spear handle did not easily slide in. I would recommend making sure you are doing this in a warm environment and not when it is too cold. Hopefully this will make the plastic a bit more flexible when you attach the weapon.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. On the left leg swing out the dragon head and swing the robot foot up.
  4. On the right leg, swing out the dragon tail and swing the foot up.
  5. Swing the chest sections attached to the robot arms forward.
  6. Pull the right leg out to the side and swing it up so it is next to the robot head.
  7. Rotate the left leg at its base (where the leg attaches to the hip piece) and then rotate the lower left leg.
  8. Rotate the right leg at the hip piece to cover the robot head, then rotate the lower leg section with the tail on it.
  9. Swing the back piece from the robot mode forward and extend the front legs of the dragon.
  10. Slide the section with the torso armor and robot arms back.
  11. Swing the chest panels up. On either side of the piece the head sits on are tabs. These connect to the notches on the inside of the chest panels.
  12. On each forearm, swing the beast mode feet down then rotate the pieces around.
  13. Attach the shield to form the back (and hide all those unsightly connection points underneath).

Beast Mode:
Like the robot mode the designers did quite a bit of rework to make this into a Chinese Dragon. Unlike the more Western dragons that Steelbane and Skullitron transformed into, this one has a more serpentine body with no wings. The designers did not just remove the wings however, they changed several parts including:

  • Head: The beast mode head is based on classic depictions of the Chinese Dragon including having a long snout and antennae and whisker like pieces that sweep back and look almost like flames. The chin also has a small goatee beard, which is a fun detail! The head is made up of soft, translucent yellow and gunmetal grey plastic. Orange paint is used on the top and bottom. I love the way the yellow looks against the orange.
  • Legs: All the leg pieces have been swapped out with new ones. The front legs are a bit longer featuring what looks like metal armor overlapping organic claws. The front legs even have details on the back that look like little wings. I love that callback to the Cybertronian nature of the character. The back feet also look like armor overlapping claws. All of these parts are gunmetal grey with orange on the armor parts.
  • Tail: The tail is designed to look almost like a flame trailing behind the dragon mode. To that end, this piece is made of soft, translucent yellow plastic with orange paint on the base. It's beautiful and fits the theme of the character perfectly.

All the colors from the robot mode carry over here but thanks to the shield on the back we get a big chunk of gunmetal color in the middle. I love the bursts of translucent yellow on the head and tail. They almost create a visual bookend to either side with plenty of orange and a bit of red in between.

There are twenty points of articulation in this mode. A lot of extra articulation comes in the form of joints on the neck and head. The beast mode mouth opens to reveal a 3mm peg to attach the spear Blast Effect (or any Blast Effect really). Thankfully, much of the looseness you'd find on Steelbane and Skullitron is has been taken care of and this figure feels pretty solid in this mode. The front feet each have 5mm ports on the bottom, allowing you to attach any of his accessories such as the tassle (which is an allusion to a depiction of the Chinese Dragon with an orb underneath its feet sometimes seen in artwork of the creature).

Final Thoughts:
I absolutely love this figure but here's the thing - I have to confess to having a total cultural bias here. As I mentioned above, I am Chinese and seeing something that so intensely references my culture while also being a Transformers toy checks off a lot of boxes for me personally. That said, I liked the Steelbane and Skullitron sculpts on initial release (even with the sculpt's inherent issues) so I was already predisposed to liking this release. By fixing the joint tightness issues of the originals this release is even better (though the chest/back thing is still annoying). The extra accessories are awesome and the packaging is spectacular. For me personally this is a "highly recommended" figure but for most folks I think I can comfortably knock it down a notch to "recommended".


  • A great base sculpt made better with new parts.
  • Several nods to Chinese culture.
  • Joints are now much tighter than those on Steelbane and Skullitron.
  • Amazing accessories and display stand.


  • The chest and back still have the separation issue from the original Steelbane/Skullitron releases.
  • I would have liked a bit more paint in the robot mode.

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