I was prepared to potentially dislike this toy based on the feedback I had seen online. Granted, if I was going solely on the feedback, I would have been prepared to despise this toy with every fiber of my being and oh, why does Hasbro hate us, not making a voyager class toy out of easily the best character in Transformers Prime and yadda yadda yadda. I don’t know if you know this, but the Transformers fandom can be a little drama queen of a community sometimes.
That being said, I do not entirely blame people for feeling particularly annoyed with the Transformers Prime line, it has been one misstep after another. It began with a year-long delay between the release of the cartoon and when the toys began to appear. Then there was the debacle around the original mostly-not-a-release of the First Edition toys (soon to be rectified with a re-release later this year).
It continued on with the will we/won’t we news about Skyquake. At one point, they announced that we won’t be getting a Skyquake but we would get the mold as Dreadwing.
[SEASON ONE AND SEASON TWO SPOILERS!]
Skyquake was dead, so fair enough.
Still, this is Hasbro, who love nothing more than repaints. This seems like a no-brainer. Then, as reported at SDCC 2012, they changed their mind? Or maybe the first news reports were bunk? Who knows at this point.
This brings us to Breakdown. A fan favourite even given his Skyquake-like deceased-ness, it was frustrating to learn that Breakdown will not be released in the U.S. due to his mold being “not made to the same standards”. Translation? Bringing the mold over is too expensive and not worth it for a dead character in Hasbro’s opinion. Looks like it’s time to import (mine is in the mail to me as I type this.) Of course, it’s not all bad. Breakdown’s Arms Micron release comes with a Rhino Mini-con that transforms into a hammer. Rhino Hammer. That’s worth the price of the import right there.
But, we’re not done with Breakdown, he’s getting another Takara release as “Cyrus” Breakdown. Mostly likely a reference to the fact that Silas, the somewhat compressed (having a giant robot land on you can have that effect) leader of MECH, is in possession of Breakdown’s bits and pieces (making Airachnid royally pissed at you can have that effect).
[END OF SPOILERS]
But, we’re not done with Breakdown. Wait… what? Yes! Takara is releasing the “not made to the same standards” mold a third time. This time in red with a new headsculpt as the Autobot Swerve.
That’s three releases of a mold that Hasbro states will not be sold in the U.S. Very uncool at $50-$60 + shipping a pop. I have the original on his way (Rhino Hammer!!), a pre-order in for “Cyrus” (just in case, I am still reserving judgment to see where the show goes with it and how much difference there is in the toys), and no interest in Swerve (I keep telling myself that to make me a little less ticked off at the whole situation.)
Any one of these, especially the Breakdown nonsense, would be annoying on their own. All of them together, plus more, are just exhausting.
Along the lines of “plus more”, there’s Airachnid.
Where to start? How about her missing mode? Her name is a play on the word “arachnid” or spider. In the show she has an amazing half-robot half-spider mode that is completely absent in the toy.
There’s her hands, which are permanently affixed in “judo-chop” position, have large holes bored directly through them to hold her weapons, and are blocked from being able to be rotated in line with her arms.
Her arms themselves have very little in the way of lower articulation due to the hinge used in their transformation. Her legs also suffer from a lack of articulation at the hips and are so poorly arranged that she has a hard time standing upright. Her alt mode’s rotor does at least pay homage to her missing arachnid mode, forming three of the spider legs of which she has five total; two being formed by part of her alt mode’s tail section.
Her headsculpt pretty much looks correct to what is in the cartoon, but the seat in the cockpit of her alt mode is protruding from the back of it, effectively wiping out 90% of her neck articulation.
Speaking of alt modes, her helicopter mode is the only part of this toy which is done some justice. It may be small, but it is at least accurate to the cartoon.
Her stinger weapons can be attached to the side, but ruin the smooth lines of the alt mode when attached as the directions suggest.
I prefer to either leave them off altogether or attach them flat along the body.
Basically she can’t be displayed in alt mode without attaching the stingers to provide her enough stability to not fall over and she doesn’t look all that great in robot mode because her poorly molded hands look ridiculous.
This all really is a shame, because she is a wonderful character and looks so amazing on the show. I know it won’t happen but I would love nothing more than a do-over for Hasbro on this in a proper Voyager scale toy. At the very least, hopefully some 3rd party company can take advantage of the fact that her rotor is detachable and make a replacement one the provides her with sufficient spider legs.
On a note unrelated to her toy’s sad state of affairs, I learned that not only do Takara fans have to contend with this lackluster toy, the producers of the Japanese version of the cartoon have also broken an otherwise cool character on the show itself. In the original version of Transformers Prime, Airachnid is less a Decepticon out of allegiance than out of the opportunities it provides for her to exercise her own psychopathic tendencies. Case in point: she collects specimens (specifically dead ones) of endangered species. What happens if she arrives somewhere where the wildlife is teeming? How do you collect unique specimens if the species isn’t endangered? You endanger the species yourself. Prior to getting unintentionally reacquainted with her erstwhile Decepticon comrades, her plan upon crash landing on Earth was to hunt humanity into extinction and take her one trophy.
All pretty cool for a villain character. How did that get messed up in translation? Her TFWiki entry sums it up:
“In the Japanese version of “Predatory”, the nature of what Airachnid refers to as her “collection” was substantially altered. The images of the alien monsters were removed and, to fit Airachnid’s modified Japanese interpretation, her collection was said to consist of “cute boys” she had hunted and captured. She falls head over heels for Jack and becomes intent on making him the next addition to her boy harem, specifically.”
No words. I have no words for this.