Friday, 1 May 2015

Hunt for the Decepticons Elita-1

(Femme-Bot Friday #16)
Revenge of the Fallen introduced the TransFormers fandom to the phenomenon of robots that were absolutely nothing like humanoid in their appearance, perhaps most prominently in the form of the three Autobot 'wheelsnakes' - a team of biker bots, led by Arcee, whose robot modes scooted around on their alternate mode wheels - though they got precious little character development and no explanation whatsoever, even though a more humanoid version of Arcee was cut from the first movie due to the complexity of explaining 'female' robots...

Hasbro insisted that all three would get toys - unique molds, they claimed - and had said all along that the intention was to release the instructions for building the gestalt form (which had been cut from the movie) once all three toys were available. However, when the third member of the team was finally released, she was a straight repaint of Chromia, and the instructions never surfaced. To this day, no-one outside of Hasbro has seen even draft designs of a unique RotF Elita-1, though several fans have come up with options for combining the bikes into something approaching the concept art for the gestalt.

Vehicle Mode:
So, yes, it's a black, silver and metallic pink repaint of the Chromia mold. In this mode, it's a huge improvement on the first iteration simply because she seems to have had a much greater paint budget. Metallic pink appears over much of the front of the bike, while silver appears on the top, sides, exhaust pipes, and on the wheels. Her Cybertronian glyph 'tattoos' are silver as well, and she even has a painted/printed license plate, bearing the number 3L 174, subtly referencing her name.

She even comes with exactly the same weapon/stand as Chromia, which is rather disappointing... Still, bike mode looks excellent - far better than the bland blue plastic on Chromia - even if it is entirely the wrong kind of bike for RotF Elita-1.
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Robot Mode:
Erm. Yeah... Not really much more to say - it's Chromia in a new, improved colourscheme. I rather wish Chromia had been molded in black plastic and painted with metallic blue to exactly the same pattern as Elita-1's metallic pink as just that one small change would have made for a much better-looking toy. The pale grey used for her upper arms and chest struts is rather jarring against the darker colours, but it's not the worst addition to the colourscheme I can imagine... It's certainly better than 'AllSpark Blue'.

So, rather than having Elita-1's stabby-blade on one arm and giant wheel claw on the other, this toy has Chromia's 'exhaust blaster arm', which wasn't the greatest feature of the original. At least it looks a bit better, thanks to its far funkier paint job...

Elita-1 has exactly the same head sculpt as both Arcee and Chromia but, again, the paintwork makes all the difference, and she does appear unique, even though she isn't.
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I'm not sure whether I got lucky or if there were any changes to this mold between its initial release as Chromia and its re-release as Elita-1, but the chest seems to peg together far more securely on this than it does on my Chromia. It's still not perfect and still very prone to popping apart when the arms are moved, but at least it doesn't require so much fiddling to get it to stay together in the first place.

This was a huge missed opportunity for Hasbro, but I suspect the decision was entirely commercial - the 'wheelsnakes' weren't popular characters/designs in the movie (their absence certainly didn't merit a mention in Dark of the Moon, though I believe they were pictured - albeit very briefly - in Age of Extinction), the toys were basically reviled (and no surprise, as they weren't exactly brilliant), so why waste time and production money on a third - and, let's face it, probably equally bad - unique mold that probably wouldn't sell very well?

No, instead they repainted the worst of only two options, conveniently forgot about the whole 'wheelsnake gestalt' thing, and raked in some money while the few fans who liked the mold - or were completists - forked out for it all over again just because that's all Hasbro could be bothered to release.

A reasonable model in and of itself, and if you can appreciate its weirdness, but an absolute disappointment in the grand scheme of things...

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