: 13cm head height, 13.5cm overall.
: 17 total points - ball-joint neck; 3 points each arm: ball-jointed shoulder, upper arm swivel, hinge elbow; 5 points each leg: Universal joint hip, thigh swivel, hinge knee, hinged foot.
: Molded pink, white, black, and clear blue. Painted black, metallic blue, light blue and pink (face).
: Swords x2, Pistol, Beam Spray Gun.
: Released December 2014 at a suggested retail price of US$14.99.
Arcee is one of the most dangerous Autobots, despite her comparatively small size. She believes the Decepticons must be stopped at all costs. That belief, combined with her combat training, makes her a pure warrior, a hunter who mixes speed and sudden action to strike Decepticon targets whenever she can.
28 years. That's how long it took Hasbro to finally make a G1 Arcee. 28 years.
We've had a couple of close calls- Animated Arcee was based very heavily on the original character but not a good stylistic match to Classics/Generations/Etc. But we're finally here, with a G1 Arcee. So ingrained was the idea that they would never make this figure, that when she showed up in Walmart computers early this year as being in the same wave as Chromia, the rumor was instantly dismissed as impossible.
Well, guess what?
The story of this Arcee is even more complex than merely being the first release of a character repeatedly prototyped and abandoned during the G1 era. Arcee's designer, Hironori Kobayashi, was hired by Takara in 1999 in part for his amazing handmade Arcee figure.
So when Arcee was finally to be made as an official Generations figure, Kobayashi lobbied for the assignment, and convinced Hasbro to make a more accurate rendition of the original character than they had been planning.
Which he did in many ways, but not all. Kobayashi spoke about wanting to "dramatize" the original design... for which he enlisted the help of Yuki "Kiss Players" Ohshima. Yep. So that's why Arcee's hips have gone from angles to curves, and why her back is arched so much. (Fun fact: if you read Japanese characters, you can make out the word "fetish" in the Figure King scan showing Kobayashi and Ohshima's Arcee body design. Urgh.
) It's really not necessary at all, and the hips in particular I don't feel do the figure's appearance any favors. Hasbro's chosen deco for the figure doesn't help with that effect much either, skipping the gray midriff of the original design and instead going with white. At least they noticed that this gave the impression in the early promotional photos
that Arcee was in her underwear. A minor paint application change gives the whole thing a slightly improved look of merely wearing flesh-colored pants. The use of black on the design helps break that up a bit as well, but overall I think the Takara version's deco not only looks more like G1 Arcee, but also minimizes what I would characterize as creepy, creepy
flaws in the design.
The head is a dead-on version of G1 Arcee, and as such looks way too friendly and benign to be the "pure warrior" described on the cardback. The light piping works really well. The head turns a full circle, but it does catch at places and wants to pull the transformation joint for the neck out of position. There's also plenty of vertical tilt, but not much lateral movement in the neck. The shoulders are ball-jointed and turn a full circle as well, though some angling is necessary to clear Arcee's big car-hood backpack. Lateral movement is good as well- you can't quite raise Arcee's arm level to her shoulder, but it's close. There's a forearm swivel that works fine, and the elbows are very effective single hinges with some ratchety action to them.
And then there's the hands. All of Arcee's weapons are 5mm compatible, but have thin grips so Arcee can have small, delicate hands. This apparently created some problems that were being worked out even as the figure went into production. So you'll find two variations of Arcee. One is the "closed hand" version, where the thumb and forefinger are linked, giving a standard block-like G1 hand. The weapons will slide all the way into her grip, but
some owners of closed-hand Arcees have reported that the grip on the weapons is so tight they fear damaging the hand. The other and apparently more common version is the "open hand version, which eliminates the possibilty of hand damage... but has a ridge on the bottom of the tiny hand to reinforce it, which prevents Arcee from sliding the grips of her weapons all the way down to where they look natural and keeps her from getting much of a grip on her swords at all. If you see the closed-hand version, I recommend grabbing it and filing the weapon grips down ever so slightly. I may try to do something about the ridge in my open-handed version, but I'm frankly a bit scared to try.
The hip joints swing forward as far as the shape of the torso would allow, but the shape of the thighs makes outwards lateral movement a bit limited. You can kind of cheat it by using the transformation joints to move the leg farther out from the hips, but you'll have to pose carefully if you don't want that to look weird. But inwards movement is easy in case you want Arcee to cross her legs. I'm 100% certain that came up at the design stage. There's a swivel above the knee which works fine. The knee itself is a single hinge with an excellent range much like the elbow, and Arcee can kneel very naturally, which is a plus. She has, of course, very small feet with heels, as follows the original design. But the back of her heel has had a strut added to help with balancing. The ankles are hinged, but on pins. One of mine is a little loose, but so far Arcee has shown no difficulty maintaining balance in any pose I've tried.
Transformation is appropriately complex, but not terribly difficult. The entire front of the body lifts up and joins with the backpack to become the hood of the car. The shoulders fold up into the middle of the undercarriage, with the legs pulling outward to join the other half of the backpack as the rear end of the car. Pretty accurate to what we see in the animation, and pretty similar to Kobayashi's 15 year-old prototype.
Arcee is a old-fashioned roadster. You remember what 2005-model cars looked like, right? Arcee's one of those.
Probably a Buick or something.
All kidding aside, she's a great representation of the G1 Animation model. And as a convertible, she's got sculpted-in seats, steering wheel, and dashboard. There's a lot of very small details on the dash for customizers to have fun with, but they go very justifiably unpainted here. Per Hasbro's deco choices she has some black and metallic blue that the original didn't have, but otherwise it's spot-on. Rolls fine, too! One thing to note, though- that antenna? Or spoiler? Or strut? Or whatever the heck that Jetsons-looking thing is behind the seats? It's made of entirely rigid plastic. I don't think it's a danger to small eyes given the angle- not unless the kid really works at it -but it may be prone to breakage. If you're not displaying, store carefully, and preferably in Robot Mode!
Arcee is pretty heavily armed, especially for modern Deluxes. She comes with a pair of swords and two different guns. The swords are clear blue plastic and are more or less an homage to the swords that came with Animated Arcee. And simultaneously to IDW's crazed sword-wielding assassin version of Arcee. (She's getting better, still has trouble with socializing, though. Also, there's no way
I buy this figure as IDW's version of Arcee.) They've got a lot of detail, including some tiny gun barrels on the back of the blade. In terms of functional cutting surface there's not actually a lot, though. Which doesn't matter too much since anyone with the more common "open-hand" Arcee is going to have a hard time even using them due to the sloped handles. Due to the copious hardpoints on Arcee in both modes you do have a few options, most notably sticking them to her forearms in a probably intentional nod to Transformers Prime
Arcee. Sadly, you can't fit them on the ones on her backpack, which would be roughly analogous to Animated Arcee's storage for them. They also have to store blades-outward when attached to her legs. There's just not any way to use them comfortably out of all the options besides the obvious one- which has a 75-90% chance of being unusable since you're (currently) more likely to get the open hands.
Arcee also comes with two guns. One is a pretty good rendition of her G1 pistol in black with gray detailing, and the other looks like nothing so much as a Beam Spray Gun, the mainstay weapon of the RGM-79 GM
from Mobile Suit Gundam.
And here's all the gray paint that should've been on the midsection! She can
hold both guns. It just doesn't look anything like natural. Both also have three pegs for storing in various places at various angles. If you want Arcee holding her swords- y'know, assuming you have one that can do
that -you can give her a cannon backpack pretty easily using the hardpoints above her head.
And Arcee in fact has numerous hardpoints in both modes. In robot mode she's got two on her backpack, one on each forearm and thigh, and two on the back bumper of the vehicle mode that can sort-of be pressed into service if you want. In vehicle mode the ones on the thighs and the bumpers remain reachable, and both guns can be stored underneath the back end. In fact, the pistol's storage gives the hands something to grip to better lock them down in Vehicle Mode. One thing I'll give Arcee is that the shape of the accessories has been carefully considered and sculpted to fit pretty much anyplace you want to put them.
Except the hands.
Arcee is also the last figure to come with a comic for now, completing the Dark Cybertron story for those who've gotten every single Generations figure this year. It's not the very best of IDW's output, but it picked up significantly at the end, and you get to see Megatron's heel-face turn, so good deal!
It's always the hope that a long-awaited figure will be perfect, and it's also almost never the case. Arcee is not an exception. Her transformation is very well done, and benefits from a 15-year prototyping period. Her weapons are many, and have varied applications and points of storage. But the running change to or from a less functional hand hurts that. And also, the body sculpt is just so uncomfortably and unnecessarily skeevy.
Even all that aside, Arcee is Good on the Figurereviews.com Non-numeric Rating Scale,
with a bump to Very Good if you get the right hands.
Personally, if you're one of the people who's been waiting their entire life on an Arcee, I advise waiting for the Takara release in February. The colors map to the G1 cartoon more accurately, and all the sample pictures shown so far have had the superior closed hands. It'll cost you 2-3 times as much depending, but frankly if you've waited this long you may as well wait for the best possible version.
|Date||December 22nd 2014 |
|Score|| (8 out of 10) |
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