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TRANSFORMERS TOYS AND MERCHANDISE SECTION

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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Denyer's review of: Arcee

Name: Arcee
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Warrior
Sub-Group: Omnicon
" I know only two speeds... fast and faster"

Arcee is a fast and feisty young Omnicon. She is a dedicated warrior who has proven, time and again, that she can fight alongside the best of her Autobot teammates. Her skills with an energon bow are unmatched. In vehicle mode, Arcee becomes a super fast sport bike and can outrun anyone who dares to challenge. Her loyalty to the Autobot cause is unquestionable, making her one of Optimus Prime's greatest warriors.

I doubt I'm the only person buying this figure because of its ties to earlier Transformers series. The name and robot mode are indeed highly reminiscent of the Arcee who appeared in Transformers: The Movie and the UK comics, and I regard this as an update as much as an original character. Fans of the other female Autobots (which I'm not) will be glad to see that the head shape also appears to owe a little to Arial from the episode War Dawn, having a small point on the back. The very gradual release of the Energon series and show means Arcee is shipping in quite low numbers at the moment, and I trust Hasbro won't be applying the idiot logic followed by Mattel that female action figures don't sell. If there'd been an Arcee figure at the time of Transformers: The Movie I'd have wanted one, although the toy design skills of the time (the prototype was a repainted Brainstorm) wouldn't have done the character much justice. Boys do not universally find female characters icky, especially ones with guns and alt-modes, although I suppose it'd be nice to see a repaint in a colour scheme which omitted pink. Red, you'll be glad to know, features as much or more here.

Vehicle Mode:
There haven't been many motorbike Transformers and those there have tended to be rather disappointing. Groove was a block with vestigial limbs, for example. It isn't easy to cram a robot mode into such a small space, and Arcee is definitely one of the better attempts to do so.

The energon bow she comes with integrates nicely with the bike, doubling as extra exhausts and a balanced weapon system which also keeps the bike upright. The translucent salmon-coloured plastic compliments the white and black body surprisingly well, with minimal pink (seat) and yellow (headlight) areas at the front and back. The energon crystal doesn't look quite as superfluous as it is in robot mode, but still a bit like a tacked-on blancmange mould.

Transformation isn't too difficult... split the saddle and back wheel, fold out the arms and twist them around, pivot the head forwards, twist the legs right around from the hips and straighten them out. It's at this point you're likely to notice that Arcee's feet are styled as high-heeled cowboy boots.

One thing which did concern me is that part of the energon weapon has an air bubble clearly visible through the plastic at a point likely to receive stress when combining and disassembling the bow. This could equally be the case with a lot of toys which are opaque, and we simply wouldn't know. Possibly a one-off, but a reason to be careful with your Energon toys.

Robot Mode:
The figure is quite small next to others in the Energon line... it's as if Hasbro decided to spend the plastic allowance on the energon weapon instead. She's actually a little shorter than original series Jazz. Any bootlegger who can pull off reproducing such a complex toy design and upscale in the process will probably have me as a customer.

Arcee can just about hold the energon bow and stay standing, although the only reasonable pose she can assume with it is the one pictured on the back of the card. Unfortunately, the limits of the design don't really permit her to hold the cannon in the peg-holes underneath her hands. Some reviewers have commented they don't like these, but they're to scale and facilitate posing with the bow. Under normal conditions, the hands simply reverse and nestle comfortably inside the forearm sections. (Those who'd prefer to hide the wheels have the extra option of rotating them downwards so that they're concealed behind the arms.)

I'm a little annoyed by the peg sticking out from her left leg, but years of Transformers with such kibble have conditioned me to it. You might be able to attach a smaller energon weapon from another figure to make it look more natural. Speaking of energon, I don't think the crystal suits the figure particularly well. Were it not for the raised well in her chest, Arcee's torso would be a little more proportional. These are quite minor points, though, not anything which should put you off.

Wrapping up this review, I'll go with the slightly cliche label of "small but well-formed". A natural standing pose can be achieved, the designer has resisted the temptation to exaggerate the fact the character is female (see: Blackarachnia) and she displays well sans the big see-thru weapon. In all, Arcee represents an endearing addition to the homage-paying Energon line, and one of the few recent figures I'm happy to have in my collection.

Transformation: 7 ...complex for the size but generally quite intuitive.
Durability: 6 ...weapon quite fragile and joints could wear over time.
Fun: 9 ...very poseable, two very decent modes, firing weapon.
Price: 9 ...I paid more to import early. At retail she'll be a real bargain.
Summary: 8 ...a few slight design niggles, but overall a great toy.

 
 
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