"Generations" War for Cybertron: Kingdom Waspinator Toy Review

01/05/22

General Information:
Release Date: November 2021
Price Point: $21.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Amazon, BigBadToyStore, Entertainment Earth, Target, Walmart etc.)
Accessories: Stinger/Blaster

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:

  • DISCOVER KINGDOM: Worlds collide when the Maximals and Predacons join the fight, coming together with the Autobots and Decepticons in an epic battle that will alter their destiny forever
  • BEASTIFY THE BATTLEFIELD: Unleash the primal power of the beasts with this Waspinator collectible figure, featuring detailed beast mode with intricate wasp-inspired molded texture
  • EPIC BEAST MODE: Waspinator toy converts to Beast Wars-inspired wasp mode in 20 steps and features articulated mandibles and iridescent eyes and wings
  • BEAST WARS-INSPIRED STINGER BLASTER: Stinger detaches from wasp mode during conversion and becomes a stinger blaster accessory that can be held by the figure in robot mode
  • GOLDEN DISK CARDS REVEAL POSSIBLE DESTINIES: Includes a Golden Disk card that reveals a possible destiny of a key character. Collect other Kingdom figures to reveal all 3 alternate destiny variants for each character!

Beastify the battlefield! Worlds collide when the Maximals and Predacons join the fight, coming together with the Autobots and Decepticons in an epic battle that will alter their destiny forever. Primal power floods the battlefield as the fierce beast modes of the Maximals and Predacons are unleashed! Unleash the primal power of the beasts with this Waspinator collectible figure, featuring a detailed beast mode with intricate wasp-inspired molded texture. Toy converts to Beast Wars-inspired wasp mode in 20 steps and features articulated mandibles and iridescent wings and eyes. Stinger detaches from wasp mode during conversion and becomes stinger blaster weapon accessory that can be held by the figure in robot mode. Includes a Golden Disk card that reveals a possible destiny of a key character. Collect other Kingdom figures to reveal all 3 alternate destiny variants for each character! (Each sold separately. Subject to availability.) Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

It is kind of a hat trick to create a character who is meant to be evil (or at the very least, an antagonist) yet somehow he winds up becoming a beloved fan favorite. Waspinator is one such character. While sort of a generic bad guy soldier at first, as Beast Wars progressed, the character's cartoonish defeats and his brilliant portrayal by Scott McNeil made him one of the show's most unforgettable characters. It is fitting then that Kingdom would bring us a new incarnation of the Predacon. This is not the first time Waspinator has appeared in the Generations line. During the "Thrilling 30" series he also had a Deluxe Class figure and he even had a mini-figure packed in with Starscream. This figure is a brand new sculpt.

Packaging:
A new style of packaging has been introduced with Kingdom. The shape is very similar to what has been seen with Siege and Earthrise, with a rectangular box that has an angled panel on the left. This time however the box does not have a window in front that shows off the entire figure. Instead, the window is much smaller and basically shows the figure from the mid-body up. This small window has plastic over it, but what this allows for is artwork featuring the character in both modes, something that is extremely uncommon for the Transformers line. Like previous Generations packaging the Transformers logo is set vertically on the right side with the Generations and Takara Tomy logos above it. On the lower part (under the window) is the Kingdom logo. On this box, Waspinator is flying in beast mode in front, and on the side angled panel you see him in robot mode getting ready to use his weapon. The artwork is absolutely gorgeous and there were many fans on the Unboxing Event call who asked for a coffee table book of the artwork from the Generations line.

The back of the box shows Waspinator in both modes calling out a twenty step transformation. Above him is a modified Predacon symbol which appears to incorporate elements of the Decepticon symbol. In the corner is a nice, classic callback featuring the Transformers logo with the "More than Meets the Eye" tag line under it. Overall this packaging is beautiful and I think it really stands out on store shelves (when you can find them, that is).

Waspinator is attached to a cardboard insert inside the box.  The insert itself is covered in patterns based on the Golden Disk, which played a large part in the cartoon.  On the back is a small slot where the accessory is stowed away, so always be sure to check the entire insert before tossing it out!  Also included is a collector card/sticker.

Accessory:
Waspinator's weapon continues a long tradition among Waspinator figures. The original Waspinator toy from 1996 had a missile launcher that doubled as his beast mode stinger. The "Thrilling 30" version also had this feature and Kingdom Waspinator does as well. Detach the end of his tail section and it forms his blaster. The weapon is designed with some mechanical detail on the bottom with a small point at the end. Unfortunately, likely due to cost cutting this weapon is unsuccessful in replicating the look of the TV show weapon. That weapon had small missiles sticking at at the end. The T30 version of the figure had this piece swing out. Here there is no "end piece" which just makes the weapon look like it is missing a piece. Also a bummer - the end of the weapon cannot hold Blast Effects.

Robot Mode:
Before getting into the details of this figure, it is important to get comparisons with the "Thrilling 30" figure out of the way. First, while the two figures share some design similarities (inevitable given the alt-mode) they are not the same sculpt. Certain parts move very differently and the proportions are quite different. You can see the biggest difference between the two figures in the side by side image in the gallery below: the size. It is no secret that the Deluxe Class has shrunk over the years and that is definitely the case here. "Thrilling 30" Waspinator is about 4.75 inches tall (about 12.065 centimeters) and weighs 2.5 ounces. In contrast, Kingdom Waspinator is about 4.5 inches tall (about 11.43 centimeters) and weighs 2.3 ounces. Also keep in mind that T30 Waspinator had a gimmick where pushing button would cause his wings to flap while Kingdom Waspinator's only "gimmick" is his transformation. T30 Waspinator is a superior figure, no doubt. However keep in mind that figure was released in 2013 during a very different time for the toy industry and the economy as a whole. With that out of the way, the rest of this review will focus on this figure on its own merits.

Waspinator's robot mode design is heavily based on his Beast Wars TV Show CG model with some key differences. Here are some of the key details from the TV show model:

  • His head design is right out of the TV show including antennae on the top of his head, insect like eyes and mandibles in the mouth area.
  • His chest has his beast mode head split into two halves on it.
  • His arms feature details like circles on top of the shoulders and ridged sections on the forearms.
  • His beast mode wings are mounted on his back and can be moved in an up or down position.
  • The lower legs have pointed sections on the knees and ridged sections on the lower sections.

There are some differences of course. The CG model had the benefit of using animation magic to make parts disappear or shrink as needed. No such luck here. For instance, on the CG model the forearms have two of the beast mode legs on them and they are really tiny. Here he has one beast mode leg on each arm and it does not collapse or shrink in any way so it sticks out quite a bit. The same can be said for the beast mode legs on the lower legs, which also stick out quite a bit. These are the most obtrusive parts of the figure but even the T30 figure had a similar issue.

When it came to the deco on this figure, the designers decided to use the cartoon as the foundation of the color choices. That means a good amount of darker green plastic with some yellow. The beast mode legs and antennae are brown plastic. Yellow and black paint are used for most of the deco and for the most part the figure succeeds in looking like the TV show model in plastic form. I was particularly impressed by the antennae on the head which are painted in alternating yellow and black lines that looks fantastic. There are bits of yellow trim and some black details that are missing, but honestly until I looked at the figure side by side with a screen capture from the TV show I did not even notice it. There is one final and interesting deco note here. The wings on this figure are translucent purple plastic. In the TV show Waspinator's wings were more off-white in color. This purple color appears to be a homage to a different version of the character: Animated Waspinator. That version of the character had purple wings, and I'm sure that's what this was meant to call back to.

There are twenty six points of articulation on this figure. That includes five on each arm and seven in each leg. He does have waist articulation, but when you turn the upper body it has a tendency to separate from the lower body (a function of the transformation) so that's unfortunate. Waspinator has partially open hands that can accommodate weapons with 5mm pegs. There are also 5mm ports on the bottom of the feet.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach the tail weapon and set it aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Swing the front and back halves of the feet together.
  4. Rotate the hands so the thumbs face up.
  5. Swing the chest/beast mode head up, then pull the entire top section (including the hinged sections with the robot head) forward.
  6. Swing the hinged piece with the robot head up, hiding the head between the back piece and the beast mode head.
  7. Swing the robot arms inward at the shoulders, then bend the arms at the elbow and connect the small round peg on the wrists to the corresponding holes on the green section in the middle.
  8. Lift and rotate the waist/hip/leg section around, then push it in.
  9. Swing the rear section of the beast mode down.
  10. Push each robot thigh piece up against the rear section (aka the abdomen).
  11. The bottom of each robot foot has a "U" shaped piece that slides into the tabs on the robot arms. The feet also have a tab/slot that fit together.
  12. Rotate the beast mode legs so Waspinator can stand on them.
  13. Attach the weapon to the rear section.

The transformation relies quite a bit on the tab/slot system between the robot arms and legs. If you're just displaying the beast mode it's fine, but move him around enough and the tab systems have a tendency to break apart, which is unfortunate.

Beast Mode:
Many elements of Waspinator's transformation are similar to the T30 figure, but many are quite different as well. Many elements of this beast mode look appropriately creepy, especially he head section which has large bug eyes and mandibles that actually move in and out in a sideways motion. The legs and main body are also beautifully sculpted, looking very organic and reminding us that the Beast Wars characters are intended to be partly organic. The only part of this mode that really shatters the illusion are the robot legs which wind up on the bottom of the beast mode. This is not ideal, but to be fair, the robot legs have to go somewhere and without perhaps a Voyager or Leader Class budget, it would be very difficult for designers to somehow hide or tuck away the robot legs so they disappear in this mode.

The same colors from the robot mode carry over to this one but the distribution is different, with sections such as the abdomen and robot thighs condensing together. The beast mode eyes are painted a gorgeous metallic purple color, something we do not see often in the the Transformers toy line. The wings get to shine here with their beautiful translucent purple color. The legs and antennae are brown plastic.

Aside from the mandibles being able to move, you can rotate the legs around and move the wings on ball joints. The antennae can also be moved. However, honestly aside from a pose where he points his stinger at someone in front of him, there aren't a ton of poses you can expect of a wasp form. Also keep in mind, Kingdom likes to be "show accurate" for the robot modes, but they lean more towards "realistic animals" in beast mode. In that respect, this figure succeeds.

Final Thoughts:
Waspinator is a good figure and a really nice representation of the character's CG model from the 90's. The beast mode looks creepy and cool at the same time. If you have the choice between the T30 Waspinator and this one (and don't want both) I'd stick with T30. If you don't want to spend $30-50 on that version then this is a good substitute. Recommended, but to a very specific audience.

Pros:

  • Excellent sculpt in robot mode and creepy beast mode.
  • Good deco, especially around the head.
  • Fun and intuitive transformation.
  • Pays homage to two versions of the character.

Cons:

  • The weapon is way too small and does not fit Blast Effects.
  • The mid-body area in robot mode has a tendency to separate if you use the waist articulation.
  • The beast mode legs can get in the way in robot mode.