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Elita-1

Transformers Legacy
by yo go re

So this is that Battle Angel everybody's been talking about?

Elita-1 bravely leads the resistance forces, standing fearless in the face of danger.

Oh, so that's how we're spelling it this time? "Elita-dash-numeral-One," not "Elita-dash-spelled-out-One" or "Elita-space-One"? It's one thing to hear characters say "ɪˈliːtˈʌ ˈwʌn" on a cartoon, but without showing her name in the credits, no one is going to know the proper way to format it until a decade later when the internet is a thing and nerds can get their hands on the original scripts and production bible. Say what you will about Tumblr getting irrationally mad about Amphibia fan-art, the level of connection and inside information modern fans get for their favorite cartoons and creators is an amazing thing. "This character appeared, half-obscured, in the background of a single scene, but fans like him. So here, his name is Spimbo Crimbly and this is the final model sheet we used on the show. Enjoy!"

Despite debuting in 1985, Elita One didn't get her first toy until 2009... and it was a BotCon repaint. Next came the plane in 2018, and a Walmart Netflix repaint of Arcee in 2020. This Legacy release is the first time she's ever had an original mold! Designer Mark Maher worked really hard to make sure the design matched the cartoon as much as was possible, with particular focus given to her weird helmet thing.

The figure is much blockier than the animation, which makes sense: the G1 design was fine, as far as "space lady robots" go, but there was no indication she was something that could turn into a car. Her torso has definite parallels to the animation, though, like the sort of armor "vest" she wears, the upside down T shape in the center of the abdomen, or the inverted triangles by the waist (though they're not painted pink here). One feature that would be easy to overlook are the tiny bumps sticking up on her shoulders, which reference similar details on the cartoon model - you see, because she was the female equivalent to Optimus Prime, so those are her equivalent of his smokestacks. Wow!

Elita has some kibble sticking up behind her shoulders that's never existed before, but that's because this mold had to be designed with re-use in mind. You can tuck them down lower if you don't like them. The figure moves at the knees, thighs, hips, waist, wrists, elbows, biceps, shoulders, and head. You can also use some of the joints in the ankles to flex her feet to the sides. The only real problem is with the neck joint, which is one of those cases where a piece wants to "slip" into its nuetral position, which would be fine, if that postion weren't slightly off-center, meaning she wants to constantly look slightly to her left. She includes two transluecent blue rifles: one a reference to the pistol she carried in G1, the other based on the mold's eventual repaint.

To convert Elita, spin the lower body around, raise the hood and put the shoulder-towers into place, fold the roof out from inside the kibble, rotate the arms and hands, lock the arms into place, fold panels out of the inside of the shins, press the legs together, hinge the shins up sideways, and flip the feet around. Then do the weirdest thing ever, and attach the loose kibble.

No model sheet for Elita One has ever been surfaced by the fans, but what little we see of her in the cartoon shows us a very pointy car with the robot's forehead poking up through the roof (an inspiration on Override years later). Since the toy's head is nowhere near the right spot to do that, we instead get a piece of removable kibble to simulate it. This is ridiculous. We're used to faux-kibble being sculpted in robot mode, but a separate piece of kibble for vehicle mode? Yeesh.

Like we said, the cartoon car was pointy - like, "Arcee without the front fenders" pointy. This toy is anything but. It's wide and flat, like some kind of enclosed buggy, but still has a spoiler on the back. The vehicle's windshield is the same translucent blue as her weapons, which can store on the sides of the car, or plug together and sit on top. The toy's colors are red, white, pink, and maroon, all present here. The feet at the back of the chassis are pretty blatant leftovers from robot mode, and don't even meet in the middle, so we've got a bit of a gap there.

Elita-1 has a nice little robot mode, but the vehicle is a major departure from what you'd expect, as evidenced by the fact Hasbro felt they had to include detatchable kibble in order for you to even recognize who it's supposed to be. It's cool she finally gets to be her own toy instead of a repaint of someone else's, but the final product is underwhelming.

-- 11/29/22


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