Name: RC (Arcee)
Line: 3rd Party Transformers
Size Class: Deluxe (-ish)
Producer: Perfect Effect
Year of release: 2012
This time I’m going to look at what used to be a kind of unfulfilled promise – a hint of an interesting backstory that was never told, a potentially intriguing character that was given a dull cardboard personality, the only female amongst G1 Transformers that was reduced to the role of a pink sweetheart – Arcee. I wrote ‘used to be’, because, when times and trends changed and strong female protagonists became popular, scriptwriters decided to bring her back. And thus she was reinvented in several different continuities, often with interesting personality traits and always with deadly combat skills. No wonder that figure representations followed, from awful through acceptable to quite interesting ones. But, as we collectors came to expect of late, it’s the 3rd Parties that hit this nail on the pink head, offering a number of great concepts. This one has the most blatantly camouflaged name possible. This is RC from Perfect Effect.
The elephant in the room is riding a motorcycle, so let’s start there. Yes, this is that version of her alt mode. She’s been given various ones throughout the years, including a bike, so no inconsistency here. One minor gripe for some (not for me though) might be the fact that this figure is obviously inspired by an Arcee who transformed into something different… but we’ll get to that later. Now let’s focus on this beauty. As a guy who likes motorcycles and Transformers I can’t help but smile whenever I look at her.
You can attach small weapons to her sides for a discrete attack mode, which makes her look less an Earth’s and more a Cybertronian vehicle.
I prefer her unarmed though, because like that she can totally pull off a regular motorcycle look. The only element that can hint at her real nature is her palms visible from the rear, but even that could be a part of some unique customization. I mean, yeah, you can point at that and nitpick, but since this is really a tiny chip in an otherwise beautiful and flawless facade, I’d give this Transformer a break.
With that super-fast, fine-tuned look and this choice of color, RC seems just perfect for another dangerous girl.
The motorcycle form of our distress-causing damsel nicely fits modern G.I. Joe figures.
Of course a plastic figure won’t ever sit as comfortably on a bike as a soft-bodied human would (I elaborated on that subject in my Bruder’s Landrover review), but the thin middle section allows a rider with flexible hip articulation for all the dynamic and cool-looking poses that a scaled model would. This makes RC also a great diorama prop for 1:18-scaled photos, if you are willing to use an expensive 3rd Party Transformer as a mere vehicle. But hey, there’s no harm in that and she does bring this most unique yet realistic motorcycle look to the table.
Oh, and since this is not the first Perfect Effect figure that I have…
Think we should allow the lil’ guy for a short ride? You know, him being a Decepticon and her being an Autobot… Oh to hell with that!
Wee! He is, of course, too small for the bike, but his hands fit the handles surprisingly well, so this combination can provide colorful material for humorous purposes. Warrior Type F will return further on in this review to repay the favor.
Usually at this point of a review I show few other Transformers in vehicle forms for size comparisons, but it wouldn’t look too well in this case. Motorcycle alt modes are always heavily overscaled compared to other Cybertronian vehicles, even of larger class. Just think about it: if RC is a 1:18-scaled bike then we would need a car of the same scale to go with her, which would require, I dunno, a Leader class perhaps? I don’t have any Transformer that big and you have already seen a G.I. Joe figure next to our lady hero, so you got a pretty good idea of her size. We can, however, introduce the one guy that does fit here.
A short explanation. I just hated the Animated line due to unbearably goofy looks of the characters, especially those ridiculously stretched faces. That said, I can’t pretend I didn’t appreciate the fantastic leap forward of the toy technology Hasbro managed to perform with those figures. Transformers finally started looking exactly like in the show and alt modes ceased carrying the burden of parts left from transformation hanging off their back or shoulders. This was a real breakthrough and it pains me to even think how it is being put to waste nowadays with official figures undergoing reversed evolution to the times of terribly uninventive designs. Guess it’s 3rd Parties’ time to be creative now. Anyway, regardless of my aversion, I just had to get me a token of the Animated toys phenomenon and so I chose something rather small but truly groundbreaking – the first Transformer managing to flawlessly combine a motorcycle alt mode and a slick robot mode – Prowl.
Even though here it seems that the only thing connecting those two is the type of vehicle they change into, they share much more similarities. More on that later on. And since we now have two bikes of 1:18-ish scale, then why not bring a second rider. Prowl is a guy, however to honor the fact that this review, unlike 99% of those involving Transformers, is not a complete sausage fest, I decided to ask another hot and dangerous girl for help.
The sexy-awesomeness factor, measured by the amount of leather-clad female bodies’ curves pressed against super-fast machines reaches dangerously high levels so let’s get down…
…and focus on something more technical – the transformation. No, it’s not the time for robot mode yet. I literally mean the transformation, as a process. I know many people are nagging about RC requiring parts-forming. This means the need to take some components off a Transformer in one form and then attaching them in a different fashion (or putting aside) in the other. This is frowned upon by collectors, as they expect the figure to be technologically able to transform – meaning to change form and not get disassembled and re-assembled as something else. I can see where they are coming from and I agree with this attitude. And yes, RC does require some elements disconnected. The thing is, this time it doesn’t necessarily mean a flaw. Take a look at RC with her first part removed.
What do you see here? A partially disassembled Transformer in alt mode with robot parts showing or… a motorcycle with its side panel removed?
As a guy who happened to take a look (and even mess around with cables and connections) inside a bike I can tell you that to me this looks just fine. Yes, I know that this is a Transformer so I tend to look for signs of that here and am able to find them, but they are really far from obvious. Sport bikes with a construction like that require whole large components of the outer shell taken off even for minor repairs. There is no hood to be popped open, the only way to gain access inside is this. Even taking off the saddle is no big task for a motorcycle owner, not to mention a mechanic.
Even now, with more parts removed, when RC requires additional support to stand, it works. As long as the twin rear side elements (boosters? storage containers?) are present everything adds up.
This is the alt mode with all parts taken off. Call me crazy but apart from the obvious robot palms I still see this as a bike with inner parts exposed. Maybe all those naysayers just never saw a motorcycle in such state? What I’m gaining at here is that while RC is a Transformer requiring parts-forming, this can be easily justified by viewing this as an additional feature. And in turn we have a beautiful bike transforming into…
…this. Ok, if you don’t like this design then I don’t know what you are doing on this blog. It’s a figure of a female robot, feminine enough to add her character and not too feminine to make her look, well, exploitive. Even if you don’t like Transformers at all you should get a positive vibe from RC here, because she could actually represent a totally different franchise: some manga-styled cyborg story or any other SF/cyberpunk-oriented continuity. And if you are a Transformers fan, then regardless of your take on Arcee herself, you just have to appreciate the image of a fembot that a minute ago was a perfectly looking motorcycle and now is a slick Cybertronian of humanoid shape. I understand that pink might not be your preferred color theme and in such a case you could look into a repaint that Perfect Effect thoughtfully prepared: RC Battle. And if you are, like me, a fan of both the original G1 and IDW’s re-imagination of Arcee’s design, then this figure is a double must for you. One: the mold purely rocks and two: apart from the alt mode she is so like the real thing. And since I don’t care much for hover cars and I do care for bikes, she is the Arcee I always wanted, both as a kid and reading the new IDW’s plot lately.
The only element of RC’s robot mode that I am not too fond of is the face. Depending on the angle of view it may seem angry but it’s actually just… bland. And I mean both the expression and the features. I guess it results from the mixture of the color applied and the sculpt being a bit too nondescript. The mouth is almost non-existent, maybe carved too delicately? It makes RC look almost like a drone or at least shallow and non-caring, which stands in obvious opposition to how filled with rage and passion she was in IDW’s stories. I wish they gave her a much paler face with an angry grin or a cruel smirk. Other than that – this is the Arcee we know from those comics.
She doesn’t have any lightpiping in her eyes but notice orange semi-translucent elements on her wing-thingies. If you cheat a little and put a strong light source behind her…
…you get this effect of the wing components being filled with energy. I like it but it requires a lot of fiddling with the lights to avoid such an obviously lazy reveal of the lamp like in my photo. Moving on to poseability…
It’s… nearly perfect. I mean it, she feels almost like an S.H.Figuarts or a Gundam Mobile-Suit-In-Action figure. You think of a pose and you make her achieve it, just like that. Her elbows and knees are almost double-jointed but with a slim body like that she really doesn’t need more. She is like an action figure that also transforms. Before we explore the accessories an additional cool feature.
A roller-skating robot! It’s not an official mode, at least it isn’t mentioned anywhere in the instructions, but one that seems too cool to not have been designed intentionally as part of the transformation process. The wheels maintain their full functionally so it’s hard to make her stand on her own like that, luckily we got Warrior Type F offering a helping hand. Speaking of hands, it’s time RC reached for the weapons that you probably already noticed.
If you are familiar with the IDW version of Arcee then those are no surprise to you…
Twin energy swords with cool sabre-like hilts. Being a sucker for bladed side-arms I obviously perceive this as utterly cool, but I can hardly imagine anyone disliking these. They are just of the right aesthetics for this character, or simply for this figure, if you choose to ignore her backstory. She looks like she can use them and you wanna see her use them.
Both RC’s wrist have this forward/downward hinged joint as modern Joes do, which comes very handy when wielding a sword. I also love the option to store them on the back, both for how the hilts visible over the head complement the look and for the sheer comfort of this solution.
The swords are mounted on a kind of backpack. And yeah, those things in the lower area of the pack that look like guns are guns. I’ll get to them in a moment, after I show you her without the backpack, which is in fact one of the elements that need to be relocated during the transformation. So again: parts-forming – theoretically yes but the fact that this part comes off makes perfect sense.
The wings are articulated so you can kinda spread them or keep them together, and without the backpack you can move them even closer to each other. Alright, on to the guns.
The thing is I don’t have that much to say here. Yup, twin guns, always works, especially if given to an ass-kicking chick. What more can I add?
Apart from that. This review was sponsored by the eXXtreme chromosome pair. Use you imagination to insert a casual slo-mo eXXplosion in the background and a we_are_so_awesome tune.
If you counted all the detachable parts then you know not everything was used. Yes, there’s more in terms of accessories.
Sweet Primus, that’s one long rifle!! It reminds me of POC Jungle Viper‘s weapon and it should, as this is also a huge sniper rife with a bipod. It’s a fantastic way to make use of ‘left-over’ parts and a good example to follow by any parts-forming Transformers (cough City Commander cough). The rifle has one hollow spot visible from the side but even that is creatively used to represent the bolt mechanism. Nice!
RC, being a robot, doesn’t look as ridiculous with a weapon that long as Jungle Viper did and I really like the above image of her standing with it by her side. Naturally, there is no way she could…
…Alfa Trion’s beard, she can wield it!
And looks natural doing it without any support! So instead of a desperate attempt to piece together the last components left from alt mode (cough) we receive an actual accessory, usable and neat. Way to go, Perfect Effect! Oh and want to see the bipod used? We need some kind of base for the rifle, maybe…
…Generations Kup? Why him? Because I friggin’ love both the character and this toy version of him. Because I’ve been wanting to use him in a review for some time now. And because he and Arcee seem to be the two most creatively and controversially re-imagined Autobots of IDW’s storyline. Both are deranged and deadly, yet both manage to overcome their inner demons and help their robots-in-arms, if watched a bit more carefully than other soldiers in the heat of the battle.
Sadly I haven’t been able to keep up-to-date with IDW comics lately so I don’t know if Arcee and Kup met and what followed if they did, but either way such a duo would make a kick-ass team, worthy of a whole Wreckers squad.
There’s one more accessory left to cover – a pair of goggles. And I’m not sure what to make of these. They are… there. Sure, they are an additional thing and offer a different look – a rather bland variant of a bland face, but it can always translate to more potential material for a dio-story themed photo. They are also held pretty tight in place. So why don’t I seem too enthusiastic about those? Well, I just hate to have ‘spare’ parts left behind that are prone to getting lost. I already have boxes full of palms and faces for manga figures, I don’t need that from Transformers. And the goggles have no place to go other than RC’s face: no slot on the backpack, no dedicated spot on the motorcycle form. And they are so damn tiny, so all it would take is a properly shaped small crevice anywhere and it’s taken care of. But no, you either use ’em or lose ’em – a case already reported by few online reviewers.
For the end I will again bring Animated Prowl.
But not in that form! I want you to compare both robot modes.
That’s more like it. I think you can now see the similarities even without fiddling with the figures yourselves. Prowl and RC share an almost identical process of transformation, with her having additional trinkets and gimmicks here and there, but the source of inspiration is obvious.
Perfect Effect must have used Animated Prowl figure as a basis for designing RC. Now, is it a bad thing? Hell no!! I have no idea why Hasbro is now stubbornly ignoring their own old accomplishments in toy technology, but that’s what we collectors expect 3rd Parties to do: be creative where the monopolistic license-holder fails to be. If that means using what Hasbro had done good in the past – by all means, go for it! Nobody blames FansProject or Make Toys for designing their armors for official Transformers. Nobody blames unlicensed sticker-producers for creating label sheets customizing officially released figures. And nobody blames 3rd Party companies for taking already existing tooling and molds and perfecting them. Hasbro is the creator of this awesome line of toys and it’s not like we want to abandon them, they just persistently push us away, straight into the welcoming arms of independent figure makers.
I mentioned before that I purchased Animated Prowl due to my admiration for his incredible transformation process allowing for slick and elegant design of both modes. Ironically, this is the very same design, only perfected, developed, fine-tuned and upgraded, that made me buy RC. Only this time it’s Perfect Effect who got my money. Paraphrasing the well-known meme: Hasbro, wake up and take our money! Or, to be more precise, wake up and at least try to make us want to give you our money.
I must admit I am really pleased with what Perfect Effect offered me so far. I know that at this moment FansProject is perceived as the leading 3rd Party company and Mastermind Creations competently chase them with their awesome non-Predacons following the earlier Hearts-Of-Steel-inspired steampunk designs. And I don’t argue here, those guys continue to give us fantastic larger robots. However, when smaller transforming figures are concerned, I can’t help but cheer for Perfect Effect. As you can probably tell, I absolutely love RC, just like before I was enchanted by the lil’ guy with huge personality: Warrior Type F. I hope to continue gushing over true small-scale creativity and let me just add that more is coming to this blog soon enough. Please, PE, don’t follow all Hasbro’s footsteps and keep up the good work!
Strong and weak points:
+ awesome robot design, usable both as IDW’s Arcee and just a female cyborg
+ superb poseability
+ wide range or accessories: swords, pistols, rifle, goggles
+ mounted backpack with storage space for smaller side-arms
+ wieldable sniper-rifle making use of all parts left from alt mode
+ goggles attach firmly in place
+ slick vehicle mode, almost flawlessly posing as a 1:18-scaled sportsbike
+ removable motorcycle’s side panels and saddle imitate gaining access for repairs
+ ‘roller-skater’ mode for the robot
+ existing recolor for those hating pink
– bland face, with both featureless sculpt and poor choice of color
– parts-forming as an element of the transformation
– visible palms in the rear of the motorcycle
– no place to store the goggles when not used
– first-time transformation can be a little scary as some steps require using force and being confident of what’s supposed to take place
Who will like it:
almost everybody: Transformers fans, SF designs fans, cyborg fans, cyberpunk manga style fans, obviously Arcee (both G1 and IDW’s) fans, posable figures fans, sportsbikes fans…
Who won’t like it:
ultra-nitpicky types who will be bothered by her parts-forming transformation or other super-minor flaws