Review: Transformers Generations Arcee

2014 was the 30th anniversary of the Transformers brand, and now that the year’s over, there has been much debate among the less-pleasable portions of the fandom as to whether or not the “Thrilling 30” was a worthy year to celebrate the brand. The Botcon theme was a bit disappointing (and confusing), the fourth live-action movie had a fairly lackluster toyline, and several figures suffered from major QC issues. On the other hand, 2014 gave the fandom things that have been desired for decades: the revelation of 2015’s Combiner Wars, a fully-functional Headmaster as a retail figure, and now, at the tail-end of the year, Hasbro has finally released a Classics version, and indeed the first real incarnation, of the ’86 movie’s iconic female-Autobot-Princess-Leia-knockoff herself: Arcee.

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Vehicle Mode

The ’86 movie introduced the concept of “Cybertronian” vehicles as characters’ default alternate modes, and thus Arcee takes the form of a futuristic roadster convertible. In terms of shape and design, it’s impressively accurate to her G1 cartoon vehicle mode, though the colors are a bit off due to the inclusion of the black paint apps. These have been a major point of contention with this toy, but I honestly think they look good and do a fine job of breaking up the pink and white. We don’t need another Botcon Elita One.

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She’s rather small in this mode, but that’s kind of the point. She looks very quick and very agile, and this really is a nice-looking vehicle. I particularly like the goofy little antenna behind the seats; it screams retro-futuristic. Arcee has some very intuitive weapon storage for her two guns, one of which holds the arms together in altmode. Her swords, sadly, do not stow away, and must be pegged onto the sides of the car. It looks silly, so why would you do that?

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Transformation

What seems like a simple shellformer at first glance quickly becomes a very intelligent and intuitive conversion, boasting some of the niftiest engineering I’ve seen in the Generations line. If this is anything like the custom Arcee designer Hironori Kobayashi brought to his Takara interview, it’s no wonder he got the job. Sure, she ends up with a big backpack, but when you look at everything else this transformation accomplishes, it’s really not a big deal and the results are worth it.

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Robot Mode

Just to list off some nitpicks right off the bat: her arms are a little thin, her hips are a little wide, the black parts aren’t accurate, she has a big backpack. There, I got the negatives out of the way. Now I can say that this is pretty much the perfect G1 Arcee toy. This is the toy that fans have been waiting 28 years for, and even blows away the past efforts of third party companies. This is Arcee. Black aside, the colors are spot-on, her curves and proportions are excellent, and she packs plenty of articulation into her petite frame.

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Arcee boasts: ball-jointed head and shoulders, universal hips, faux-ratchet elbows, swivel biceps and thighs, hinged knees (with an impressive range), and very useful ankle swivels (but no tilt). Unlike her fellow fembot Windblade, Arcee has very well-designed feet that maintain the silly high heels, but add a lengthy heel strut so that she can stand without delicate balancing. The only things she’s really missing are a waist joint and wrist swivels. I can somewhat understand the omission of the former due to the nature of her transformation, but wrist swivels really would have helped for sword posing.

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Speaking of which, Arcee comes with a small arsenal of weaponry. Most notable are her two guns: one a small black pistol, the other a larger black and grey hand cannon, both of which I believe are straight from the cartoon. Less G1-inspired are her two blue swords, which homage her Animated and IDW incarnations. She can hold them in her hands or mount them on her arms, but I’m not a big fan of them. On such a G1 cartoon Arcee, the swords look out of place.

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Each weapon makes use of a rectangular peg on the handles and sides which match up to slots on Arcee’s arms, thighs, and back kibble. This allows for some pretty effective weapon storage, though I’ve yet to find a suitable place to store the swords. One issue about this toy that is worth noting is a running change in the design of her hands: some have thumbs that connect to her fingers, and some have shorter thumbs and open hands (like mine). This is presumably to prevent breakage, but the running change also adds a strip of plastic to the inner-bottom of Arcee’s hands, preventing her weapons from fully sliding into her grip, resulting in some funny-looking weapon wielding. If you end up with this variant, just shave down that plastic to allow for a full grip.

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Overall

Generations Arcee is something of a love letter of gratitude from Hasbro/Takara to the Transformers fandom. After nearly three decades of repaints and homages and promises from Hasbro that it’d never happen, we finally have a proper G1 Arcee toy released in mass retail. Is Arcee perfect? No, but she’s pretty damn close. The hand problem is a bother, but it is fixable, and hopefully the closed-finger version will be the easiest to find. She lacks a couple of major joints, but nothing that ruins the articulation. This (perhaps moreso that Takara version) is without a doubt the definitive G1 Arcee toy, and the perfect way to finish out the 30th Anniversary of the Transformers.

Where to Buy

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