Donnie and Leo by James Zapata
Transformers 2010 - Arcee (Transformers Animated, Toys ‘R’ Us exclusive)
The “Revenge of the Fallen” merchandising juggernaut would continue running, with a mix of recolored and new toys, including ‘movie-ized’ takes on some classic characters. These appeared under sub-headings such as “N.E.S.T. Alliance” (after the human military allied with the Autobots), and “Hunt for the Decepticons”. A new sub-line was added called “Power Core Combiners”. These featured smallish toys that would come with either a weapon Minicon, or a set of vehicle ‘drones’ that can become limbs for a combined mode, and they are all interchangeable. While an excellent idea on paper, certain design choices compromised their stability and playability. A third new ‘classics’ line was launched, under the wide-reaching “Generations” banner. This new line worked with mixed source material, including characters and designs that first appeared in the Transformers comics from IDW, and toys matching characters from the new “War for Cybertron” video game. (There had been Transformers video games before, but this was
the first with toys directly tied to it). Takara-Tomy would run its version of TF: Animated in Japan, with toys coated in metallic colors (which often made for less screen accuracy) and the TV series with a new action-packed anime opening title (featuring battles between characters that never even met in the series itself) with music from Jam Project. Hasbro expanded its media empire with the launch of the Hub cable network, with programming mixing classic sitcoms and cartoons from the 1980s and 1990s with new shows for Hasbro properties, including G.I. Joe and a breakout success called “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”. Transformers shows ran of the Hub too, but just the original G1 cartoon from the ’80s at first. The first new Transformers show for the Hub would appear near the end of the year, an all-CG called “Transformers: Prime”, which previewed with a five-part miniseries. The regular series would start the following year, but consumer would have to wait longer for toys, as Prime would follow in
Animated’s footsteps and be pushed around by a new movie release.
There was pent-up demand, at least in the fan community for the toys left unreleased from the Animated line. Some would be released in the Japanese version of the line, like Blackout and Optimus Prime’s Wingblade pack. Others received a late limited release exclusive to Toys ‘R’ Us stores. These were Ironhide, Rodimus (Prime), Cybertronian-form Ratchet, and Arcee here. This was the first official toy of Arcee in a car form similar to the original, as opposed to the string of motorcycle toys between 2003 and 2009, leading some fans to try to reconcile putting an Animated-aesthetic toy in their classic collections. Arcee is colorful and posable, coming with a set of spoiler-wings (optional, and I don’t use them much) and a pair of swords that can store in the pods on her back. It’s not an overly fancy toy, but it has no need to be, because what it does, it does well. Watch out getting those swords in an out of the hands though. She has delicate thumbs which can break under the pressure. (One did during the
photo shoot sadly, but at least I had a spare)
Anime-tastic Transformers: Animated opening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ODtsNMNJXk
Other great toys from 2010:
Bludgeon (ROTF/HFTD) - A Japanese tank transforms into a robotic skeleton samurai with two different storable swords. That’s a lot to process.
Hubcap (ROTF/HFTD) - A simple but elegant Transformer with a striking 1940’s-style car mode.
Rodimus (TF: Animated) - A truly ace toy for a character with a very short screen time. Comes with a bow, so he’s pretty much robot Hawkeye.
Devastator (ROTF legends) - The giant movie construction machine combination in a tiny form, yet the only one with seven toys each their own robot and vehiclew modes.
Starscream (ROTF/HFTD) - I was never a fan of the movie version of Starscream or the toys of him. This one is acceptable.
Thrust (Generations) - Hasbro gets a lot of mileage out of new Decepticon toys based on the 2006 Classics Starscream.
Grimlock (Masterpiece) - The biggest, baddest Dinobot there is, even if a mechanical gimmick gives him a floppy neck.
ARROW (TV): DEADSHOT AND THE DARK ARCHER ACTION FIGURES: The Dark Archer (6.75”), Deadshot (6.75”). $24.95, in stores in May.
BATMAN BLACK & WHITE: BATMAN Designed BY IVAN REIS, sculpted by Mat Brouillard. Measures approximately 6.5” tall. $79.95, in stores in May.