So Hasbro's all "FINE, here's your goddamned cartoon-style Arcee toy who transforms into a futuristic sportscar convertible, GAWD." Twenty-eight years later and probably just as many offbrand third-party Arcee toys later, here she is. The one you wanted in the way you wanted her. Probably.
She even shares a case assortment with Chromia, another lady Transformer (who herself is a retool of a previous Arcee toy). It's a case assortment that can potentially pass the Bechdel test! And importantly, Arcee is gloriously pink. They said it couldn't be done in the dude aisle, but here she is. She's not a rosey red or rusty brown, she's legimately hot pink and white. Hasbro's all "fuck y'all, we're doin' it."
The design of this toy was spearheaded by a guy over in Japan who fandom-famously homebuilt an Arcee back in 1998. Additional design work was contributed from another guy who draws Arcee like this, with a broken Escher Girl spine and cheated-in cleavage. There were some design drawings for this toy printed in a magazine that echo these choices, and, uh, I am kind of amazingly thankful that not much of it got into the final toy. There's no sculpted cleavage and the spine isn't as broken. That weirdly organic-looking tummy's still there, though, and if you look at Arcee's toy from the side, you can still see some of those vague shapes, particularly in the boobal area. They, like, point up. Look, for some people Arcee was their sexual awakening, okay??? And now those people make Transformers.
Because of the adherance to the original Arcee robot and car designs, she's kinda backpacky. 90% of the car mode folds up on her back, leaving only the very tip of the hood and some of the rear wheel hubs to serve as the chest and thighs, respectively. The car parts fold up reasonably well, though since the back bumper kind of juts into the small of her arched back at an angle, she can't really keep her arms straight down at her sides. It's arms akimbo or action for Arcee! Other than that, she's a pretty good robot mode. She'd have to be, considering she's just a humanoid robot person with a car on her back. Good robot mode, good car mode, not so great Transformer.
My Arcee is a version of the toy before a running change. Later versions of Arcee have remolded fists that better hold her weapons. In my earlier version, there's a small ledge of plastic that prevents the weapon tabs from sliding all the way through, presumably for structural purposes. The later version removes this ledge but accommodates for structural integrity by closing her fist sculpt. (The fingers and thumb touch each other now, is what I mean.) The open palms look better, but they look terrible holding stuff. And lord does she come with stuff! It's like Hasbro was crossing their fingers that little boys love weapons more than they hate pink girls, or at least pink-girl-hating parents of less culturally-contaminated little boys.
There's two guns and two swords, all sculpted to work with Arcee and only Arcee through a tab system rather than the usual 5mm pegs.... probably because Arcee's arms are so damn thin that a 5mm pegholed fist would look conspicuous. There's slots for these tabs everywhere on her, so there's lots of placement choices. There's even some tabs on the underside of her front bumper (or the top of her robot shoulder kibble) that I'm not really sure are useful in either mode for space reasons. In vehicle mode you can tab her guns in any of the many slots, or store them underneath. The swords hafta remain plugged in visibly, though. They're too big to hide underneath somewhere. (the smaller gun plugs in between her arms, and her fists plug into either side of it)
At the end of the day, it's probably the best toy of the original Arcee design that you could get for $15. There have been some better Arcee toys and there will be better Arcee toys, but if you want one of this particular design, it's actually pretty good for that.
Good luck waiting for a Headmaster version.
Me, I just want one in the preproduction colors.
Behold, it's hyperposeable Mr. Freeze! ...which seems kind of oxymoronic. Of all the folks who need the possibility of dynamic poseability, he's kind of low on the list, if not off it completely. The old Mission Masters Mr. Freeze based on the same design seemed sufficient enough with shoulders, neck, and hips. I mean, dude is dead to emotion. He doesn't move much.
But hey, good news, sort of! Mr. Freeze does have a lot of articulation, but some of it's pretty shallow. We're talking, like, his elbows move maybe 20 degrees. So you can get a little bit of subtle movement to him, but he's never going to be dynamic. His legs are way too long for him to look anything but doofy anyway. I do appreciate his universal shoulders and his articulated ankles, though. You wouldn't think thick boots like his could integrate ankle articulation, yet they do.
Like the other toys in the line, Mr. Freeze comes with an assortmant of alternate hands. Be careful yanking them out and pushing new ones in. I broke my Batman that way, and I ain't gonna let it happen to one of these toys again. He also comes with his freeze gun, and there's a hand that's sculpted to hold it, so I'd recommend getting that hand gripped around the gun while the hand isn't attached to the wrist. It's gonna take some shoving, and you don't wanna accidentally shove something wrong and break the peg.
Mr. Freeze also comes with those sweet-ass insect legs that he had in "Cold Comfort" because his body disintegrated and he was just a head on a robot body. They are tall and sleek and they attach via balljoints to the bottom of his collar. This will also require excessive force. Those balljoint sockets are friggin' tight. Be careful to only push on the balljoint itself, because those legs may show plastic stress at other areas.
And, of course, he comes with a stand. Mr. Freeze has the largest feet of any of these guys so far, but he's so tall and lean that he needs the stand anyway. As with the others, his character model turnarounds are printed on the surface of it.
Mr. Freeze is friggin' beautiful, but fragile. The former wins out with me, and so I adore him, but you still wanna keep your mind on the latter.
Thrilling 30 Springer is amazing. I've said it before, but it's relevant again. It's a fantastic robot who somehow also becomes a good car and a good helicopter. Triple Changers are rarely great in all three modes, and yet here we are. But on top of that, the dang thing's versatile. With some retooling, it also became a great Sandstorm. It's also been custom fodder for most Transformers under the sun -- Drift, other Drift, Alpha Trion, Obsidian, Dinobot -- and that's just stuff Cheetimus has done. (The Dinobot is mine, seen in the photo.) And it always turns out well.
So here's friggin' Cloud Rodimus. And it's a great Rodimus. It might be the best Rodimus -- though it helps that the competition isn't terribly stiff. Who knew that a redeco of Springer would make the best Rodimus?
Mind, there were some steps along the way that smoothed this over. The More Than Meets The Eye comic book ongoing series presented a Rodimus design that's more spikey and pointy than usual, including a departure from Rodimus' usual simple dome head. That prescendent is admittedly part of what makes this Rodimus easier to swallow as Rodimus. But, hey, I am friggin' okay with it. I wanted a Rodimus that would pass for the MTMTE guy, and none of the previous Rodimuses really stepped up to the plate. This guy definitely approximates MTMTE Rodimus without actually being that design. He's got the yellow forehead, the spikey helmet in general, the red feet, the yellow hands, the orange abs... all designs I wouldn't have expected in the otherwise dogmatically-original-cartoon coloration of the rest of Rodimus's fancy-pants Transformers Cloud line. And so I'm pretty sure he is supposed to take after MTMTE Rodimus. Those comics seem to be pretty popular in Japan among Transformers fans, so I wouldn't be surprised.
And in person, the toy is glorious to behold. Its red has this vague magenta to it that isn't seen on enough Rodimus toys. That combined with the orange and yellow makes the damned thing glow. And it's painted meticulously -- it kind of has to be if it's gonna turn Springer's color layout into Rodimus's.
Summing up, Cloud Rodimus was pretty, one of the best Transformers toys, and vaguely modeled after some of the best Transformers fiction. The only downside is he's an import and an exclusive, so as such he's gonna run ya. Sell all your other Rodimus toys and get this one.
1. I like Transformers
2. I like Evangelion
3. I like purple, orange, and green on things that shouldn't be
Or, wait, four reasons:
4. Mad porn monies
If you've handled Masterpiece Optimus Prime The Second, you'll know this guy's deal, but Convoy Mode "EVA" is in crazy secondary colors instead of the usual primary colors. There's a little Spike painted up in NERV uniform, an intricately-decoed trailer, plus an ax and a Matrix crystal done up in blood red. It's insane crosspromotional zealotry between two of my favorite properties, against all reason, and I had to have it.
Anyway, now TFWiki has a Misato Katsuragi article, the end.
We don't get a lot of working Headmaster toys at retail these days and for good reason -- find yourself a random Transformers toy and check out the size of its noggin. Those things are tiny. Now imagine that becoming a robot. The tiniest robot! We're talking like a centimeter or so high. Transformers proportions are pretty pinheaded. They make comic book superheroes look like Charlie Brown. The original Headmasters all had proportionately huge heads for a Transformer. They kind of had to.
This new 30th Anniversary Brainstorm guy tries to lessen the head/body ratio math by engineering him in a larger size class. He's a Voyager, and a pretty tall one. He's a wedge taller than, say, Springer, and he doesn't look too far off from Jetfire's height. He feels like something in between. He's way less complicated than either, which may be why he can command such real estate. He's definitely larger than the original Brainstorm, while also having a smaller head. The usual Transformers proportions have persisted despite his gimmick.
He's a Headmaster, meaning his head transforms into a little robot guy (or guy in a robot suit). Brainstorm's neck is actually Arcana's head. (Arcana is not named anywhere, but we can assume it's the same guy as the original Brainstorm head.) Arcana's head is balljointed on his own tiny body, and so Brainstorm's head is also balljointed, which is nice. Usually the Headmaster gimmick precludes neck articulation.
To remove Arcana from Brainstorm's torso, the instructions say to pull down on the gray piece across his collarbone. This accomplishes a little. It does remove some of the plastic obstructing Arcana's head's removal from that hole in Brainstorm's torso, but you still kind of have to yank hard. This may end badly in some cases -- as I said, Arcana has a balljointed head, and it seems feasible to me that one day I may yank and pull Brainstorm's head away while leaving Arcana's head buried in Brainstorm's torso. But then, I have gone through like three TNBA Batmen this month, so I may be viewing things through Paranoia Glasses.
Brainstorm transforms simply, largely because he wouldn't look much like Brainstorm if he didn't still Transform like the original toy, which also transformed simply. You tuck his forearms back and fold his legs under the jet. The shins kind of point a bit far out the back of the jet mode, which I thought meant I missed a step, but everything pegs together perfectly and there are no other moving parts to suggest some additional transformation magic. The head obviously doesn't have to hide anywhere, since it becomes the pilot.
I am biased strongly in favor of this toy since Brainstorm has been appearing very importantly in the More Than Meets The Eye ongoing comic book series from IDW for the past three years and this toy is based on that design. (Minus the Headmaster gimmick, so far as we know.) The toy is a great representation of that iteration of the character, and so I have fits of glee just looking at him standing on my desk in robot mode. I should keep that going, I worry about the neck balljoint thing.