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Vault Review: Transformers Prime
NYCC Exc. Bumblebee & Arcee

Just when I thought I didn’t have to worry about getting any of the New York Comic Con exclusives, Hasbro went and made a Transformers Prime two pack.  Luckily there were plenty left over after the show and I was able to snag one from their toy shop.

Transformers Prime is OK.  It’s definitely not as good as the Animated Series.  The majority of the story lines and even the personalities of the characters are boiled down to the simplest form.  The show is aimed entirely at children and doesn’t really give any regard to the older fans that are also going to be tuning in.

But it’s not entirely unwatchable.  There are nuggets of fantastic ideas buried underneath all that simple storytelling.  Probably the most interesting idea is that Megatron can reanimate dead Transformers with crystallized energon from Unicron, turning even the Autobots into ravenous zombie-bots.  But there are others too:  The introduction of Aracnid (Black Arachnia), who cares more about torturing and killing than winning any war.   There are the Scraplets, tiny Sharkticon looking bots that eat metal.

I’m also a fan of the designs for a lot of the bots.  It took me a while to get used to that simple 3D look, but I think it actually is a nice step between G1 and Bayformers.  Just look at Starscream, Soundwave, and Arcee.  Their sleeker designs give them a speedy looking, and even dangerous edge over the more traditional characters like Optimus, Megatron, and Ratchet.

Design is actually why I bought this two-pack.  Arcee has one of my favorite designs from this new series.  This version of her is probably one of the most feminine fem-bots to ever come out of the Transformers label, but her attitude is a bit more hardcore than we’re used to seeing.  This Arcee’s been through the ravages of war and has a personality to match her smooth yet sharp design.  I was always planning on buying the Prime Arcee, but getting her in classic pink is just icing on the cake.

Even though I’m not the biggest fan of Bumblebee, I have to admit that he looks pretty cool as a taxi.  I’m not as well versed in Transformers history as some of you, so can anyone tell me if this is the first time that Bee was made into a taxi cab?  It just seems really obvious that the little yellow car should be painted like a taxi at some point.  Sadly, the only thing missing is the little TAXI sign on top.

Transformation is pretty simple on both bots, but I did need the instructions to get me through it the first couple times.  Bumblebee is a pretty straight forward car changer, and everything just kind of fits underneath.  Arcee isn’t really complicated, but she does have a couple of interesting tricks.  I really like how they designed her back wheel to come apart, allowing each half to go with a leg.  Also her chest area in robot mode is attached by two bars that come around her shoulders and it doesn’t really connect to her torso.  This allows you to move her chest pieces, or even open them up almost like she could house a tiny Matrix.  Continue to page 2…

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28 comments to Vault Review: Transformers Prime
NYCC Exc. Bumblebee & Arcee

  • da man

    These transformers prime figures look like they go well with the TF animated figures. Good to know since that line has been cancelled!

  • That Arcee looks really nifty, even with a ‘face’ with ‘lips’. I may have to look around for the regular version. Bumblebee, not so much. I don’t think he’s ever had a taxicab deco before, I assume because it’s illogical. He’s always a 2-door something or other (originally a VW Beetle, right?), and it’s pretty rare for a cab to be a 2-door anything.

    The ‘day at the beach’ pic is awesome. 🙂

    • AdventureVault

      Thanks Steve! Glad you liked the “beach” shot. 🙂

      Arcee is probably one of the funnest transformers just because of her range of movement. I’ll definitely be getting the blue one also.

      Hmm, don’t they use VW Beetles as taxis in Mexico? Maybe we can get a G1 Bee redecoed into a four door Mexican cab, lol.

  • 3B

    Great review! I’m really digging this set. I received mine just a couple of days ago, but they’ve stayed on my desk and I’m constantly transforming them. I’ve only watched one episode of the show, but I really like the designs for the Autobots and looking forward to the new toy line. This Arcee will be hanging out in my “Classics” display until then.

    • AdventureVault

      They really are fun to fiddle around with, which I really like. I’m looking forward to the new line too. Can’t wait for some Cliffjumper/The Rock!

  • I wanted to buy this but I hate Bumble bee so $33 jsut didnt seem worth it for a very cool Arcee in g1 colors!

  • Lay Ze-Man

    Arcee is pretty neat, but BB is way too Bayformers for my tastes.

    • AdventureVault

      He’s definitely been inspired by the movies, but I think they did a good job toning down most of the spindly fractal look.

  • orionpax636

    I got this set myself, I’m looking forward to messing with it.

    You’re right about Prime not quite being Animated, especially in the area of human character development (probably because with Animated you only had to worry about Sari and her dad). However, I do like the care they’re taking in developing Arcee and how big of a role she has – definitely an upgrade from she-Formers in recent memory.

    They’re also pulling in some killer guest voice talent – Gina Torres is Airachnid, Ernie Hudson is Agent Fowler, Clancy Brown is Silas, and The Rock is Cliffjumper! This needs to hit Blu-Ray already…right after they get past all the licensing politics and release that last season of Animated.

    • AdventureVault

      Yeah, I really do like Arcee’s character development. Definitely a step up from what we’ve seen before. I just wish I had a reason to care about those kids, lol. 😛

  • RageTreb

    Vault, you and I appear to share the same opinion on Prime, Animated, and the lack of an official Sari figure. I too bought this set and I place to chuck the human figures in the extras bin. Those annoying brats are part of the reason I have trouble watching the show, and having them in toy form almost feels like an insult from Hasbro given that we never got ANYTHING Sari-related.

  • davy

    i have to disagree with you on Transformers Prime. It may not be as good as Transformers Animated but i think in time it might be. The show is not totally aimed at kids, there’s plenty there for older fans too.
    bringing back cullen and welker as the title characters was a awesome idea and it totally worked! welker’s new take on megatron is perhaps my favorite version of the character. and hearing cullen as prime is just pure joy. arcee is also another very strong character on then show, and again probably the best version of her character to date.
    character interaction is what this show is all about so far. the relationships between the autobots and there human companions seem “real”. well as real as you can get with cgi humans and robots. the whole megatron / starscream angle is also done really well to the point where it’s not totally predictable as in past shows.
    the episode where starscream is pleading to megatron for his life while holding up that boulder..i really wasn’t sure what megatron would do. and the way it way it ended with that issue un resolved was very “un-kid-like” (is that a word?). in the same episode you have miko’s scene where she’s pleading to stay with bulkhead, to not leave him behind, i actually teared up..it was very heart wrenching.
    yes the plot lines can be somewhat streamlined at times but just because something is simple it doesn’t mean it can’t be just as good as something that is complex. so transforners prime may not be up to the standards of transformers animated,yet, but i care more about the characters on prime than for any that i did on animated.

    • AdventureVault

      You bring up some pretty good points, and I definitely like hearing Welker’s and Cullen’s voices again. I also think this is probably the best Arcee characterization that we’ve ever had. The show’s definitely getting better. I think it’s just lacking this element of fun for me that I found in the Animated Series. But I’m going to keep watching and see where it goes.

  • LV

    Maybe it was a personal preference thing, Vault, but Bumblebee’s chest isn’t quite transformed in those images. The bumpers both hinge down a little (this is sort of going on in yours’ left side) and the chest halves fold into the center much more, pretty much completely obscuring this deco’s Autobot symbol and much more closely replicating Bee’s crumpled-into-a-ball torso from the show. (As usual, Hasbro’s packaging photos don’t quite manage this either.) I was very impressed by the engineering, although the tolerances could be a little tighter.

    • AdventureVault

      Yeah, I decided not to push the shoulders all the way together because I like seeing the Autobot symbol, so that one’s my fault. But the bumper on my Bee’s right side is stuck, so it won’t really come down at all. I’ve tried prying it loose, but I don’t want to push too hard. :/

      • LV

        I thought it might be the symbol. It looks like the normal version’s symbol is smaller so as to not get covered up by the transformation. It does go a long way to making his overall shape more “superhero” and less “gibbon”, though.

        (I ended up prying the bumpers down by using a flat tool to push down the rivet on the back of the piece, because I was sure I was going to break the plastic trying to snap it down from the front.)

  • dayraven

    i don’t want to get too fan-fictiony… but do transformers screw? cuz poor arcee and arachnia are vastly outnumbered by their males counterparts and i’d hate to think that somewhere on cybertron, there’s some poor fembot being passed around like a dinner napkin at a colossal “keep the bots alive” orgy.

    cuz really, why have genders if they’re not required for breeding purposes, but if they are, shouldn’t there be a ton more chick-formers? or are there like brood-mare formers we haven’t seen yet who are little more than giant honeycomb wombs receiving t-former seed from bots who just line up to donate into huge collection suction tubes like where you put your money when you go to the bank drive-thru.

    these are the thoughts that kept me out of the really good schools.

    • Beedo Sookcool

      I’m sure that with all his schoolboy gross-out humour and goo-spewing Cybertronians, that Michael Bay will have this issue covered in the next film. You’ve seen Bumblebee urinating, Devastator’s wrecking ballz, Starscream and Megatron spitting chaw like baseball players, and several robots bleeding red blood. Bay’s next film: TransFormers: Bow-Chikka-Bow-Wow.

  • dayraven

    also, i can’t help but think that the photo of helix on arcee is straight up some of the hottest girl on girlbot fanfic i’ve ever seen. you naughty boy you.

  • Beedo Sookcool

    Excellent review and pictures, as per usual! You almost make me want to buy those things . . . almost. Only a couple of things prevent me from doing so.

    1) I ain’t so keen on the designs, anyway. (If only Hasbro could do that kind of articulation on most of their “Classic”-style TransFormers, that’d be seven shades of sweet.) And 2) Convention exclusives are almost always American, and even if there’re plenty of leftovers on the online stores, they usually won’t ship outside the USA. Bigots. England might as well be on Mars or in Mexico as far as they’re concerned. Oh, and I just thought of a third thing: some time ago, Hasbro Toy Shop messed up one of my orders, and I haven’t been able to place an order with them for years, and their customer service people were of no help whatsoever.

    Having said all that, I’m actually kind of looking forward to the Bulkhead one they’ve got forthcoming. Bulkhead rules.

    • dayraven

      the funny thing is, it’s kind of hilarious how many US retailers won’t ship imported goods outside the US… i almost feel like you guys should be trying to get some kind of distro deal established directly w/ the chinese factories to have them ship to you and bypass the US “middleman.”

      • Beedo Sookcool

        That sounds like an idea of unparalleled genius on your part, D.R. But since American toy companies long ago bought up all their Eurpoean licence holders, and now hold all the cards, that may be tricky. Not impossible, but tricky. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  • Mose

    Glad you liked them, Vault.

    I’m looking farward to the Prime figures.