Friday, 10 June 2016

TransFormers Collectors' Club Botcon 2005 (Timelines) Flamewar

(Femme-Bot Friday #39)
In a lot of ways, this somewhat hard-to-find BotCon exclusive is the origin of my femme-bot fixation, moreso than the original Energon/Superlink Arcee/Ariel or the Paradron repaint. This is partially because I just really like the mold, and a lot more because it was so hard to find at a reasonable price. She turns up once in a while on eBay, with her price ranging between £120/$175 and £185/$270 but, though exclusive she may be, she's still only a Scout class figure, and even the low end of the secondary market price scale is a little more than I'm comfortable paying.

Cut to April of this year, when one turned up on eBay at less than £60/$80, with the only caveat being that while the figure and weapon parts were in their sealed bag, she was without her bio card and instructions. Call me crazy if you will, but a 50% saving at the expense of a mediocre bio featuring hideous artwork and a sheet of instructions I already have for other iterations of the mold represents, to me, a saving well worth taking advantage of.

Vehicle Mode:
So, once again, we have the Energon/Superlink bike mold... Even now, it's one of my favourites because the design is as clever as it is compact, and it's one of the few TransFormers motorcycles that could comfortably accommodate a rider, if a suitably scaled figure was available.

The colourscheme and paint job are fairly basic and, while I'm not overly keen on the 'tribal' tattoo-style flame patterns, they actually work pretty well on the black plastic. If I had a complaint about the paint job on this figure, it's that the exhaust pipes are bare plastic, when they really should have been painted silver - if a couple of store exclusives from the extended movie toyline can have painted exhaust pipes, a BotCon exclusive surely could!

Her Energon chip and weapons are cast in the same translucent purplish-blue as her windscreen, which suits the dark plastic used for the majority of the model and contrasts well with the red, orange and purple painted highlights.


Robot Mode:
Again, there's not much new to say here... this is basically the black catsuited, Dominatrix version of the Energon/Superlink biker femme-bot, though the use of red plastic for certain bike parts does leave her looking as though she's wearing a red thong. By and large, the paint job seems just as minimal in this mode as it did in vehicle mode, though they went a bit crazy with the paintwork on the head - the bulk of her helmet is painted red, but the central crest is black with a weird, crown/spork-like pattern of 'flame' on the top section. Like virtually every other instance of this mold, her face is painted silver, while her eyes are a good, solid Decepticon red. The purple accents on her boots and arms break up the mass of black, but I'm not too sure about the silver collar... Unless that's part of the Dominatrix schtick.

The weapon works just as well as every other iteration, and the translucent purplish-blue suits her robot mode just as it did with the vehicle mode.


The real shame of this is that, having waited so long to get my mitts on Flamewar, I've got nothing much to say about her because I've written about the mold four times already, and there's no avoiding the fact that motorbike femme-bots have come a long way in the last ten years, not least Flamewar herself. This version is still a cool figure, a great exclusive and I'm happy to have it in my collection, but I have to admit it's not the groundbreaking and exciting mold it was back in 2004, when it was first introduced in the Energon/Superlink lines.

On the upside, it suffers from none of the plastic tolerance issues of the store exclusive repaints from the movie line (though it did come out a couple of years before the first of those), and cost me little or no more than it would have done new, had I picked it up at BotCon ten years ago... On balance, I guess not having the bio card could be considered a bonus by some... She's also further proof - as if any were needed - that almost any TransFormers mold can look awesome in black... Just not so awesome that I'd spend completely silly money on her.

There are two further uses of the base mold, both using the same resculpted head, from the Descent into Evil set from BotCon 2005 - the Autobots Chromia (part of the boxed set) and Flareup (an attendee extra, packaged with the Ratchet repaint of Ironhide from the boxed set). The new head was pretty terrible, though, and I'm not so much of a femme-bot completionist that I'll force myself to buy either one... even though either one tends to turn up at a far more reasonable price than Flamewar here. There's always the chance that I'll decide to buy the Descent into Evil boxed set at some point in the future, but it was pretty lacklustre with the possible exception of Deathsaurus, and I already own two instances of the mold he was created from.

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