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Transformers Bumblebee
by yo go re

Third time's the charm!

Arcee loses contact with the capitol as the Autobots are overwhelmed by Decepticon forces.

Because the Transformers Studio Series line is divided into two parts - the live-action movies and the 1986 cartoon - we've found ourselves in a fairly unique situation: there are two Studio Series Arcees on the pegs at the same time! Neither of them is very easy to find yet, but if you're looking for one or the other, you can't just grab the first pink robot you see at the store. At least this one is more substantial than the last Studio Series movie Arcee!

Of all the Cybertronian designs seen in Bumblebee, ILM's Stephen Zavala has said this one is his favorite. He grew up with the G1 designs, so he wanted to update them, not change them - too bad that wasn't the mindset the movies gave us from the very beginning. This Arcee tones down the "Princess Leia" look for something that seems more like a normal helmet.

Movie Arcee isn't as willowy as animation Arcee, but that just makes her look capable of holding her own in a war against the Decepticons. Obviously this is going to take influence from the classic design, especially the inclusion of the big scoops behind her shoulders. Although the full model is never seen in the movie (she's in a firefight, so she stands behind cover), ILM did create a complete body for her. There are flared panels on the back of her calves, and wheels that embed in her heels.

Since the Cybertron scenes were put together so fast, a lot of corners had to be... well, not "cut," per se, but definitely shaved. For example, all the Autobots carried the same single type of gun, because there was no value in spending time designing individual weapons for them (for the movie, at least; Hasbro gave everyone their own). But in the movie, Arcee uses a small pistol, not a big rifle; how can this be? Because it's the same digital model, just scaled down to handheld size! How about that! She was only shown using one, but the toy comes with two. They can be held in her hands, or stored hanging from her scoops. She's just as articulated as teh boys, though in a really neat move, the way she's engineered means you can swing those heel-wheels down to replace her feet, pretending she's skating around like Sideswipe.

Arcee's instruction sheet isn't always clear with what you're supposed to be doing, but she makes sense once you start playing with her. Tip the feet to the inside, slide them down a little so you can spin the wheels out, then slide them back up and fold them into place; collapse the shin flares (which is already done in the package, so that step might not make sense to you first time through) and push the wheels together; do a bunch of things to the torso that the illustrartions don't make at all clear; when that's done, tuck the chest against the back of the bike, fold the arms next to it, and finish by putting the shoulder scoops down around the sides.

Because the robot design is so slender and unencumbered with obvious kibble, there wasn't enough room there for them to invent an altmode for her that would match the G1 car. Emiliano Santalucia tried, but some things just aren't doable. That said, the vehicle mode they settled on is pretty awesome. It seems to split the difference between a car and a motorcycle - you know, the altmode the character had for G1 and the altmode the character had for the first movie. Compromise! It's an awesome-looking vehicle, no doubt, all long and low and lean, with two hollow wheels right up front and a blue canopy to protect any passengers. You can put the guns in the robot's hands to simulate exhaust pipes or something, and you really should, because otherwise it just ends up looking like she's holding her own boobs.

It was exciting to see a recognizable Arcee in a live-action movie, even if she didn't have much to do. The toy is necessarily chunkier than the render, but it's still a nice "movified" version of the character and has a really cool, original altmode. Like, she looks like she should have showed up for the Speedia 500. I knew I was going to get this figure just because the Bumblebee Cybertron designs make a striking set of figures, but Arcee would be good even as a standalone.

-- 10/04/22

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