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Transformers Generations
by yo go re

In the Arcee review, when we said she was the first female Transformer, that was not strictly accurate. Specifically, it was wrong. Although Arcee had been created earlier (appearing in the movie script drafts as early as the summer of 1984), female Autobots first appeared in the Season 2 episode "The Search for Alpha Trion," which aired almost a year prior to the movie. And in that episode, the first one seen was Chromia.

Chromia is a master of infiltration, sabotage, and the kind of tactical counterstrikes that crush an opponent's morale. Unfazed by any enemy or situation, she can always be counted on to step up when her team's in a tight spot.

In the original Generation 1 continuity, Chromia and the other femmebots were supposed to be on the Ark with everyone else, but a Decepticon attack cut them off before they could get there, and the ship had to leave without them. Clearly, the Autobots don't have a "women and protoforms first" policy. Anyway, they all hung out on Cybertron for the millions of years it took for the story to go back there and visit them again. In IDW's continuity, she was born on the colony of Caminus, just like Windblade, and they only recently re-established contact with their ancestral homeworld.

Chromia gets a head that is totally G1-inspired. It's a weird design, with big blue flared wings that rise up off the sides of her face like a crown, and a white section in the middle that appears tobe some sort of air scoop. The design was toned down when Chromia began appearing in the comics, but this one goes full-bore G1 crazy.

That's where it ends, though. The body below the neck doesn't look like either the comic or cartoon design, other than being painted blue. It's a very feminine body - a heavy remolding of TF Prime Arcee - just different from the comics. Considering that the standard M.O. is to redesign the comic characters when they're going to be getting a toy (with, in some cases, the appearance of a new design in the comics being the first clue that someone had a toy in the works), the fact that no one was told to draw Chromia like this is surprising. Compared to Prime Arcee, Chromia has new heels, shins and forearms, plus new bits around the upper arms to bulk them up, and plugs to fill the hollow gaps in her thighs. Naturally, the kibble is all different, but you're meant to ignore that anyway.

Her articulation has some problems. She has a lot of balljoints, but her hips get blocked by her "skirt" piece, so they only move forward and backward, and the elbows are so tight that the plastic of the upper arms ends up twisting when you move them. That seems dangerous. She's armed with a large pistol, but there must have been a mix-up at the studio the day photos were being taken, because the back of the card also shows her holding Arcee's small gun - a sticker applied to the card says "additional weapon not included." Sadly, you cannot take her back kibble off to be used as a shield. If you want to do that, you'll have to cut it off yourself.

Hasbro doesn't have the instructions for Chromia on their website, which is fine, since the instructions leave out a couple of pretty important steps. Flip down the wheels in her legs, then struggle to get them to plug together to form a single wheel. Swing the canopy and her butt-flap up, tip the head down into the chest, and fold her body over her legs like she's kneeling. Point the feet back, press the arms into the sides, and lower the butt-flap around them and over the clear heels.Close the canopy, swing the sides in to plug the top and bottom halves together, then tuck the front wheel in over the head.

Chromia turns into a weird, futuristic motorcycle. Although she's a remold of Prime Arcee, it's not the Prime Arcee we reviewed - the normal release, not the First Edition. This design does match the comics, and does so very well. The oversized wheels and low, curving canopy make her look like a Tron light cycle. The wheels roll freely, and there's a kickstand on the left to help hold her up.

When Arcee was revealed, my first thought was "what, she's a car now?" Because apparently a full decade of telling us she's a motorcycle was all it took for me to accept that that was her natural state of being. Meanwhile, Chromia's G1 altmode was a minivan or something, but for her, they're sticking with the bike. The last time there was a Chromia toy, it was one of the worst Transformers ever released - thankfully, this one is a lot better.

-- 02/03/15

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