Friday, 3 July 2015

TransFormers Collectors' Club BotCon 2014 (Timelines) Flamewar

(Femme-Bot Friday #25)
Fun Publications, the folks behind BotCon, seem to have a thing for sexy, femme-fatale-bots. Flamewar was first introduced to the Timelines universe at BotCon 2005, in 'Decent into Evil', where she attempted to sabotage the Autobots investigation into Deathsaurus' insecticon revival. Seemingly destroyed by the Tripredacus Council, she has lain low until now, returning with a new look for BotCon 2014. Both were attendee exclusives, but this newer one is the first I've been able to buy because the first is already commanding silly money on eBay.

Vehicle Mode:
Based on the Beast Hunters remold of the mass release TF Prime Arcee, Flamewar looks even more like a Bat-cycle than Arcee does thanks to the darker colourscheme, although only an action figure Batman would approve of her scarlet and orange detailing.

Whereas the 2005 Flamewar had a set of fairly subtle flame-like 'tattoos', the 2014 version has red on her wheels and the front of her bike mode and a pretty vibrant orange on the 'wings' on her flanks and tail, as well as the protrusions from her rear wheel mountings. Throwing subtlety right out the window, she has a dramatic flame pattern on her petrol tank and purple leather for her seat.

Then there's her bow - definitely an upgrade to the Energon weapon she wielded in her earlier form, this mounts (after some struggling) on the front wheel and can fire two large spring-loaded missiles. Large scarlet claws wrap around the body of the bike to hold everything in place.

In fact, just like Beast Hunters Arcee, Flamewar has great difficulty staying together in vehicle mode. The arms aren't so bad on this one, but the side 'wings' just don't want to tab into place. The weapon is as difficult to mount on Flamewar as it is on BH Arcee, and I still haven't figured out what the extra grooves on the wheel mounting are supposed to be for.

And, as is common with motorcycle TransFormers, the kickstand is a little bit too short to be truly effective, even with the larger foot on this version of the mold.


Robot Mode:
I am a massive fan of the First Edition Arcee mold, a pretty big fan of the mass release version, but substantially less keen on the robot mode of the Beast Hunters remold. All the extra sticky-out bits get in the way of each other without really adding anything significant to the look of the robot.

Flamewar's colourscheme suits this remold perfectly. Largely black throughout, the only pieces molded in a different colour are her crotch, her kneecaps and the vehicle mode's kickstand on her left leg. This gives a good, strong and, above all, coherent base for the paintwork. The flame pattern on the petrol tank is recreated across her chest, though the silver at the collar and on the 'abs' almost makes it look like she's wearing a kind of 'flaming bra'. On the upside, at least her legs weren't painted silver or molded in grey plastic in an attempt to give her a knee-high booted look, or her upper arms, to give her an elbow-length gloved look. The forearms and shins have touches of the same purple paint as her vehicle mode seat, which stands out well against the black base and complements the red.

The bow weapon still seems a little large for a 'bot this size, though it does scale better than the massive thing wielded by Energon Arcee, and one would tend to expect Flamewar to carry some heavy duty ordnance. It's a shame that the Fun Pub paint budget didn't run to picking out some of the molded detail on the weapon with some paint - since the central part looks like of like a lizard's face, a touch of colour on its 'eyes' would have been cool. Even some paint on the spines and claw tips would have been nice.

The head sculpt is the basic Beast Hunters Arcee mold, but with rather more paint applied - silver over the face, red on the side twists and on the outer parts of her crest, then the central part has a subtle graduation from yellow to orange at its tip. It's remarkable how much the paint job can change the look of a mold.


Several aspects of Flamewar's transformation are easier than the equivalent step on my BH Arcee, notably the rear wheel splits and goes together far more readily... though this could just be a sign of mold degradation. Other than that, it's basically the same process as both of the mass release TF Prime Arcees.

Like BH Arcee, she loses some points for articulation versus the original mold simply due to the clashing protrusions. As if her bum-bag weren't bad enough, it now has wings... and the spiky bits coming off her wheel mountings want to occupy the same space as those wings in many poses. The profusion of ball joints makes it fairly easy to counteract this, but it's still annoying.

I picked this up for a decent price on eBay, and it arrived without the bio card. Considering the usual quality of Fun Pub's character bios, it wasn't a dreadful loss (and, looking back at the eBay listing, it wasn't mentioned, so I can't complain), but it's disappointing nonetheless. I've read her bio via the gallery on Seibertron.com, and it's about par for the course from Fun Pub. The first paragraph is OK, but the second features the sentence "she's smart enough to know that ex-Wrecker KNIGHT DEVCON has been tasked with bringing her in, and takes pleasure in the fact that her repeated elusiveness is literally driving him to the point of obsessiveness." which is not only terrible grammar ('her continued elusiveness', perhaps? Is 'literally' even needed? And she's 'driving him to the point of obsession', surely?), but it doesn't even make sense. How does being smart have any bearing on whether or not she knows who's after her? That's just a matter of having the right information, or watching one's own back, unless we're expected to believe their paths keep crossing unexpectedly, and he's all "No, no, Flamewar, I'm just here for the scenery...". Ugh. Seriously, Fun Pub, all I want to know is what her bow is called and what it can do... Fill in the story with your goddamned comic.

And carrying on this thing of 'Femme-Bots With Lipstick', her bio actually mentions her habit of leaving "a bio-metric luminescent lip print on the face of her victims" (dodgy pluralisations there!), and the character artwork certainly features prominent lips... but the toy's face is painted much the same as Arcee's - plain silver with no embellishments. Mind you, considering Fun Pub's track record with molded lips on its custom head sculpts, perhaps it's a good thing they left this stock sculpt alone and kept the face paint simple.

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