Cliffbee.com: Animated Blackarachnia Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Blackarachnia
Series: Animated
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Technorganic Spider



SPIDER MODE
Height: 6.5cm Length: 14cm Width: 14cm

   A black spider with purple on her abdomen and gold paint on the tops of her legs, Blackarachnia has some red painted details here and there. The colours fit the name well - as does the choice of alt mode. The purple is what I'd call fake grape purple - it's the colour you see on the packaging of "grape" sweets - and this bright colour contrasts nicely with the black. Her chelicerae on the front are purple and there's a Decepticon logo stamped on the cephalothorax (front half) while the spinnerets at the rear are transparent red. The colours here are vibrant despite the base colour being black, and she looks sinister yet appealing.

   While this beast classifies as technorganic (according to her packaging), there isn't the same level of sculpted detail we see on Beast Machines toys - rather the lower detail and curves typical of Animated. The curves suit an organic alternate mode, however, and there are enough barbs on her body and painted applications to ensure than Blackarachnia isn't devoid of detail. The spider is essentially anatomically correct with two body segments, eight legs, spinnerets and chelicerae. While the Blackarachnia toys over the years have eventually improved their spider legs, this one has eight _proper_ legs, unlike the Beast Machines version with two quasi-legs at the front.

   There's some play value here, since all eight legs are poseable to some extend and the spinnerets double as a grappling claw - complete with an extending white cord allowing you to hang Blackarachnia from various places. The winch mechanism is in a detachable pod, and this doesn't anchor so well, meaning that it doesn't take a lot of movement for her to fall, but while still she'll happily hang there. The Animated line has proven notorious for QC issues, however, so I would expect some Blackarachnia toys to be unstable while still. The mouthparts can lift up and down while the chelicerae are on ball joints.

   A good spider mode despite the fairly rudimentary sculpt, the colours really work well for the character and the idea. There's not a lot of kibble, aside from robot hands visible under the third pair of legs from certain ankles and the basic anatomy is right. This spider feels more like a spider and less like a robot trying to be a spider than the two previous Blackarachnia toys, and the ability to hang is a nice feature transplanted from the original BW toy, and in the right spot, unlike on the Transmetal II.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach and set aside the pod. Push the robot head through a panel on the abdomen, swing the abdomen and rear legs down and forward, open the chelicerae to form her waist, swing the front four legs behind her back. Rotate the tips of the rear legs to form her robot legs and fold up her feet, rotate the tips of the third legs to form her arms. Pose the legs and attach the pod to the inside of either forearm.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15.5cm Width: 8cm

   A slender black robot with purple hands, waist and thighs, Blackarachnia has gold knees and gold on her collar and facemask, while there are a few red highlights here and there including transparent red eyes with a faint lightpipe. The Decepticon logo is now at the base of her neck. Again the colours fit the character, with the facemask bearing strong resemblance to that seen in the BW cartoon (I have not seen the Animated cartoon version).

   As seems to be the case with Blackarachnia toys, this toy looks deliberately feminine - but this time the slender limbs are fairly normal for Animated, even if her hourglass waist is not. The head is fairly large, which is another feature of this line, but not Ken Griffey Jr big as is the case on some of the toys (such as Bumblebee), and she lacks a goody mouth as on some toys. As was the case in beast mode, there's not a lot of kibble here. The abdomen sits flush on her skidplate, and while it gives her what I'd describe as a "ghetto booty" it's fairly unobtrusive. The tips of the rear legs work as kneecaps while the third leg tips form elbows spurs. The front four legs sit behind her shoulders, and both these and the elbow spurs are features rather than true kibble.

   The poseability here is good, with her neck, shoulders, elbows and hips being ball jointed and the knees hinges. There are small heelspurs and her hands are open in a relaxed position. The range of dynamic poses isn't quite as good as I'd like - the heelspurs are too small for that, but considering how well the legs shift from mode to mode, I can live with that. The pod with her grappling claw causes some balance issues, so I prefer to leave it off, but again you can hang Blackarachnia from stuff (c8

   Perhaps the coolest feature of this toy is how well the limbs shift between modes, as I just mentioned. The arms and legs here _look_ like arms and legs, rather than co-opted beast legs. At the same time, in her spider mode they look like spider legs rather than robot limbs - despite the hands underneath one pair of legs. Both modes look good and are well proportioned without real kibble, something no Blackarachnia toy has really managed before.

   Thanks to the elegant transformation, good colours and some relatively conservative choices in design (head size and the like), this is a great looking robot mode. She doesn't carry much kibble at all and there's some poseability here. While I would have preferred better stability, I'm happy to pay that price for such a well done transformation. The grappling claw is again fun, although the lightpipe is a little disappointing.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   A very solid toy with a fairly simple yet very elegant transformation, Blackarachnia improves on the various attempts so far to get a feminine robot out of a spider. The beast is stylised yet still essentially anatomically correct, the robot mode feminine and not goody as is the case with some Animated toys. The colours work well, both visually and for the Blackarachnia concept. The grappling claw doesn't attach as well as it should and the heelspurs are limited, but the transformation alone makes this toy a winner - 8.5/10

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