Thursday, 8 March 2012

TransFormers (Movie) Arcee

If I remember correctly, in the early stages of planning for the first TransFormers live action movie, Arcee was intended to appear, but ended up getting replaced by Ironhide. Considering what a botch-job they made of him, it's almost tempting to wonder what the movie would have been like with Arcee instead... Would there have been a love triangle between Sam, Mikaela and Arcee? Would Revenge of the Fallen have included a scene with Mikaela languishing upon Arcee, spraypainting sexily? Oh, hang on, RotF did actually feature a trio of female biker-bots, so probably not.

In any event, designs for Arcee were made, and she actually looked pretty darned good... And since Hasbro occasionally gets things right (and may have picked up on the fans constant clamouring for a new Arcee toy, based solely on her appearance in the 1986 animated movie!), these designs were not entirely wasted...
Vehicle Mode:
I'm not sure when it became standard for Arcee to be a bike. In the animated movie, she was a strange sort of car, after all. It's only been since Superlink/Energon but, even then, the Binatech/Alternators Honda S2000 mold ended up getting repainted as Arcee, both by fans (who tended to give her a new head) and by TakaraTomy (who just went with the ill-suited Decepticharge/Windcharger head in white and pink). I guess motorbikes - being small - would suit a smaller robot... but why should a femme-bot necessarily be smaller?

It's also quite a large bike, comparatively. It's not even Human Alliance scale so, in vehicle mode, it really doesn't fit with the rest of the movie Deluxes. It does feature a kickstand, and the missile for the robot mode's weapon can plug into one side of the bike and pretend to be the exhaust pipe. Other than that, the only things that let it down are the robot's hands quite visibly dangling behind the numberplate, and the large gaping hole just above the numberplate, where the missile plugs into the weapon.

Comparatively speaking, there's quite a bit of paintwork on Arcee - probably the same amount of paintwork as any Deluxe, but it goes much further on a smaller model. As you can see from the photos, though, that didn't stop me adding a bit more - the silver on the front wheel arms, around the foot rests, on the chain and on the missile were all added by me... the rest of the paintwork is standard. The numberplate is a cute feature - TF7407 refers to the release date of the first TransFormers live action movie, 4th of July 2007.

At first glance, this model bears some similarities in its seams to the Superlink/Energon Ariel/Arcee mold, though this is a fair bit bigger and more detailed.
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Robot Mode:
It's quite rare that I have the opportunity to describe a main-line TransFormer - a mere toy - as beautiful. I think the only other one - so far, in this blog - to earn that description was Masterpiece Starscream. Arcee may be smaller, but she's no less beautiful. Her proportions are more human - and more feminine - than almost any other TransFormer to date, but I have to say there's something of the Dominatrix about her appearance - knee-length boots, and a very obviously corset-inspired torso, with a couple of molded robo-boobs oozing out.

Colour-wise, she's much the same as the vehicle mode, but with a bit more of the coppery/goldy colour in evidence on the torso, along with a few touches of blue, which isn't apparent anywhere on the vehicle. That said, robot mode may not have been quite so desperately in need of extra paint, but the basic model comes with large splodges of black on the face (most alarmingly on Arcee's 'beak'). Hasbro's does have a tendency to use black as a fallback colour whenever silver is most appropriate - just look at Leader Class Megatron...

Arcee's weapon strikes me as a bit of a cop-out - it's basically the entire back end of the bike which, with the missile inserted, spreads a couple of arms to become a rather large crossbow. Compared to the Superlink/Energon scout, the weapon's proportions are a better fit, but that ain't saying much, because the four-part Energon Bow was ridiculously oversized.

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This Deluxe-class toy has a transformation scheme almost identical to the Superlink/Energon Ariel/Arcee model, but with a few more details and extra steps, and the end result in robot mode is a huge improvement, on balance.

The wheel halves on her shoulders do get in the way, and certainly restrict the movement of her arms, but strangely it's the legs that suffer most. For no obvious reason, the movement of the - double jointed - knees is restricted, so they bend forward more than they bend back. She's also not the most stable of the movie toys - despite having rather large feet (with high heels, naturally) they don't offer much stability unless they're planted firmly, and they'll only plant firmly when the legs are straight...

I'm not averse to the Revenge of the Fallen 'wheelsnakes' (which I will get round to eventually!), but even I will admit that this is the superior design. It's a shame that this form of Arcee never made it into any of the movies, because it is another fine example of that rarest of things - a beautiful and elegant transforming robot toy. I managed to snag the white-and-pink G1 repaint, which is seriously cool (though it was missing the missile!), and am still hoping to find the Japan-only black repaint, one of these days...

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