"Transformers R.E.D. (Robot Enhanced Design) Arcee Toy Review

03/11/21

General Information:
Release Date: March 2021
Price Point: $19.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Walmart Exclusive
Accessories: Fists x 2, Blasters x 2, Blades x 2, Slash Effects x 2, Energon Cube

Official images and text below in italics are from Walmart.com:
Transformers R.E.D. [Robot Enhanced Design] Transformers Prime Arcee, Non-Converting Figure - Ages 8 and Up, 6-inch

  • TRANSFORMERS R.E.D. [ROBOT ENHANCED DESIGN]: R.E.D. 6-inch figures are inspired by iconic Transformers characters from throughout the Transformers universe, including G1, Transformers: Prime, Beast Wars: Transformers, and beyond
  • FIGURE DOES NOT CONVERT: Transformers R.E.D. figures do not convert, allowing us to enhance the robot mode with a sleek, "kibble-free" form
  • SCREEN-ACCURATE DESIGN: Highly poseable with 60 deco ops and 26 points of articulation, Transformers R.E.D. figures were designed to bring collectors the most screen-accurate versions of their favorite characters to display on their shelves
  • PRIME-INSPIRED ACCESSORIES: Figure includes 2 ion blasters, 2 sets of alt hands, 2 forearm blades accessories with slash effects, and a dark Energon crystal accessory
  • COLLECT OTHER TRANSFORMERS R.E.D. FIGURES: Enhance your collection with more collectible R.E.D. figures (each sold separately, subject to availability).

Enhance your Transformers collection with Transformers R.E.D. [Robot Enhanced Design] figures. These 6-inch scale figures are inspired by iconic Transformers characters from throughout the Transformers universe, including G1, Transformers: Prime, Beast Wars: Transformers, and beyond. R.E.D. figures do not convert, allowing us to enhance the robot mode with a sleek, "kibble-free" form.

Highly poseable with 60 deco ops, this R.E.D. figure was designed to bring collectors the most screen-accurate version of the character to display on their shelf. The reliable Autobot soldier, Arcee, from the Transformers: Prime animated series features 26 points of articulation. Includes 2 ion blasters, 2 sets of alt hands, 2 forearm blades accessories with slash effects, and a dark Energon crystal accessory. Chest piece can be removed to reveal figure detail beneath inspired by what would be the inner workings of a Transformers robot. Look for other R.E.D. figures to enhance your collection (each sold separately, subject to availability). Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

  • Includes: figure and 11 accessories.
  • Figure scale: 6 inches
  • Ages 8 and up

Transformers R.E.D. action figures are Hasbro's most recent jump into bringing non-transforming Transformers figures onto the market. This has been tried many times before perhaps most successfully with the Heroes of Cybertron line back in the early 2000's. In recent years, the runaway success of Hasbro produced lines such as Marvel Legends and Star Wars Black Series helped to convince the Transformers brand team that 1:12 sized Transformers figures may be worth a shot. To that end, a deal was struck with Walmart to release the R.E.D. line as a Walmart exclusive series of figures. That said, Hasbro Pulse recently opened up a Partner Exclusive section on their web sites where the first wave of R.E.D. is currently available, so it is possible future waves will be posted on the site as well.

Packaging:
Inspired by packaging such as the current Star Wars Black Series, the R.E.D. packaging is a compact box featuring artwork on the front and right side while the front and left side have clear palstic windows. The window in front gives you a great look at the figure inside. The window on the side let's you see all the accessories. The box itself is mostly red with some black and blue detailing. Arcee has artwork that looks very much in the style of the Transformers: Prime cartoon. The art is on the front but also wraps around a bit to the side. The front features a section with the logo of the series the character belongs to. In this case there is the Transformers: Prime logo with Arcee's name under it.

The back of the box features the figure with accessories attached in varioius ways. This includes the blasters attaching to her wrist and the Energon Cube off to the side. Overall the packaging looks good and fits in theme with the Black Series and Legends packaging that helped inspire this series.

Accessories:
Since the R.E.D. figures do not transform, the designes instead decided to focus on aesthetics and accessories. Arcee comes with a bunch of accessories to replicate her look on Transformers Prime. Here's the rundown:

  • Forearm Blades: Previous versions of Arcee toys featured blades that attached to her forearms, and this figure continues that tradition. These blades are curved with an angle in the middle. They feature some raised mechanical detailing on both sides. The blades are cast in grey plastic with no paint details and that's a shame as the figure itself has a nice deco.
  • Slash Effects: Similar to the Blast Effects from Siege, these look like sparks or energy coming off the blades as Arcee slashes her enemies. These attach to the edges of each blade. The edges are all rounded so unfortunately the "strike" effect is kind of lost. Unfortunately these pieces are cast in the same grey plastic as the blades. The original promotional photos showed these made up of clear purple plastic (the same color as the Energon Cube). That would have been much more visually striking. These wind up looking a bit dull instead.
  • Fists: Arcee's "default" hands in package are in a "holding a gun" position complete with fingers set like they're about to pull a trigger. Her alternate hands are balled fists. These are also cast in grey with blue paint on the top of the hand. These attach via relatively thin and long pegs. Compared to pegs on other lines that are around the same size I was surprised how thin these were. In generaly they snap in just fine, but I would be concerned about long term stretching of the plastic til it breaks.
  • Ion Blasters: In Transformers Prime the Cybertronians borrowed a design conceit from the live action films where their arms could transform into weapons (though conceptually this goes all the way back to the G1 cartoon). Arcee could transform part of her arm into an Ion Blaster, a thin, rectangular weapon with curved edges and a very "scifi" look. I love the various layers of detailing on these weapons. These attach to the wrists in the same way as the fists. Each weapon is made of grey plastic with dark grey paint for detailing. Given the relatively thin size of the peg, it is surprising just how tightly these pieces attach to the wrist.

Arcee:
In the Transformers Prime show (and other CG produced Transformers series) the Transformers characters had to do a lot of visual cheating when they transformed. Parts had to disappear and essentially "morph" into vehicle mode bits. When the toys have to represent those characters, sacrifices are often made for those designs. Since R.E.D. figures do not transform, the designers had an opportunity to create a figure that is very screen accurate, focusing on the look of the CG model and not transformation in its design. To that end, the designers have succeeded to a large degree.

In general, Arcee has a very lithe, reflecting the sleek and thin nature of her vehicle mode. There is liberal use of sharp, blade or spike like shapes all over the figure. For instance, her knees look like spikes that could easily impale an enemey. Meanwhile the "wings" on her back look like the blades of a weapon. They even captured smaller details like cuff designs around her wrists that resemble blades. Another distinctive feature of Transformers Prime Arcee was the way she looked like a humanoid wearing bits of armor. The best examples of this are the chest and forearms, where layers of detail in those areas replicate that look. This includes the torso plate having blade like details sweeping back over the shoulders and the knees which resemble spikes.

Arcee is not made from the same type of plastic you would generally expect from say, Generations action figures. Instead, this is a softer plastic more akin to what is used on Marvel Legends and Star Wars: Black Series figures. Given the various points on the figure, it makes sense to use softer plastic to prevent possible injuries and breakage. This only concerns me at one point: the knees. The knees are tiny joints. They move just fine, and I haven't seen much wear and tear on my figure (I've only moved the joints about a dozen times so far). I'm just worried given their size and the weight and size of the lower legs they could break at some point. I do admit, this could just be paranoia on my part. This also can lead to some parts being warped (you'll see this with the crest on Arcee's head in my photos). Most likely hot water and some sculpting by hand will help get it back in shape (literally).

The main plastic colors on this figure are grey and blue. There is a good number of paint details on this figure. These include gold, light grey and dark grey colors. These colors are largely inspired by the animation model, though on that the gold parts sometimes looked almost like a metallic pink depending on lighting. The gold works however as it contrasts against the blue and grey very nicely. I'm also very happy with the way the eyes are painted to resemble the way they looked in the cartoon.

There are twenty six points of articulation on this figure. This includes five in each arm and six in each leg. One of the more interesting ones are the shoulders. They can raise upwards instead of relying on ball joints to swing up. This allows the designs of the shoulders to be sculpted like those on the show while still allowing for the articulation. I am also counting the ability of each fist to swing up and down.

Final Thoughts:
R.E.D. Arcee looks fantastic, and I love the accessories included with the figure. There are some missteps here (such as the "blade strikes" being grey plastic instead of translucent purple) but overall this is a really nice expression of the character. If you are into the R.E.D. line and Transformers: Prime this figure belongs on your shelf.

Pros:

  • Fantastic sculpt.
  • Good deco.
  • Great set of accessories.
  • Good articulation.

Cons:

  • It was an unfortunate decision to have the "strike effects" be cast in solid grey plastic.
  • The knee joints do worry me, but so far they have held up.