Cliffbee.com: Tarantulas Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Tarantulas
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Predacon
Function: Ninja Warrior
Alternate Mode: Spider



SPIDER MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 17cm Width: 13cm

   A spider with deep transparent brownish purple body (which I'm just going to call brown) with yellow paint markings, semi transparent eye array and black legs. The mouthparts have yellow painted bands on them, matching those on the body itself. The colours are dark and brooding, which suits the character well.

   This is a pretty good spider form, as you'd expect of Beast Wars. Naturally, he has eight legs and a three segment body (head, thorax and abdomen). The legs are long and spindly, four point back and four point forward. These forward facing, longer legs, are on ball joints. He can stand on his legs, or if you don't feel like posing him, you can just lay him on his belly.

   While the articulation in the legs doesn't amount to much, there's still play value here. A black two-pronged grappling hook sticks out the back of this mode, and can be fired by pressing a green button on the abdomen (it just fired as I typed that). The hook is on a white piece of string about 18cm long, and Tarantulas will happily hang from a hook (or whatever you can find). The string is wrapped around a pole within his thorax, and it's a matter of unscrewing two screws if you want to release that loop.

   While it's not all that detailed, this is still a good spider mode with the major aspects done right. Compared to the arthropods that came before him, Tarantulas's beast mode is excellent. The play value is good considering the limitations of such a specific beast shape, which is a plus as well. My only real complaint is that the robot feet are visible underneath the back of the abdomen.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Unfold and pull back the robot legs from underneath, flip up the feet and heelspurs. Fire the grappling hook, unclip the launcher from his abdomen and set aside. Unclip the arms from underneath the thorax, swing them out to the sides and fold down the thorax & head to form his chestplate, which will also bring the arms into place and reveal the robot head. Rotate the forearms, give Tarantulas his launcher and load with a projectile.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 13cm

   Again based on the transparent brown plastic, which is present on the torso, outer thighs and forearms. Tarantulas has grey inner thighs, lower legs and a grey head with black eyes. The feet are painted copper while there's some green on his upper arms. The spider legs hang off his upper arms and look pretty good there.

   This is a well laid out robot mode. The legs hanging off his arms are a great feature yet they don't get in they way of his poseability. The forearms are the mouthparts, so Tarantulas has claws rather than proper hands. The claws are "backwards", with the larger mouthparts on the insides. You can swap them over if you like, but this will weaken the sockets in his elbows - and they do have a tendency to crack.

   The thorax is now his chest and the beast head is the groin and waist. The latter works fine but the thorax gives Tarantulas... well... boobs. This works for the repaint, Blackarachnia, who is female, but is a little strange for Tarantulas. It's more of a quirk than a problem, though.

   As was the case for most of the early Beast Wars toys, Tarantulas has both a standard head and a mutant head, although in his case it's really two faces on the same head. Folding the robot head forward 90 will give us the mutant head, which was the one Tarantulas had in the cartoon. This head looks better since there's a gap in the standard face's mouth to allow the head to rotate.

   Play value is quite good, and Tarantulas has great poseability. The neck, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees are all ball joints, while the feet and heelspurs are hinged as part of the transformation. The launcher can fire the grappling hook again, or Tarantulas can dangle from this hook, just as he can in spider mode. The four front legs from spider mode can detach and form missiles, which fire quite well. He doesn't come with spare legs though, so you have to be careful not to lose any missiles. The launcher actually has a compound trigger, which sticks out on both sides, in robot mode the "underside" of the abdomen is on top of the launcher, with a different part of the single trigger piece now accessible.

   The versatility of his weapon is quite cool, the colours are muted and suit such an evil, scheming character well. The toy is visually appealing, the beast legs on the arms are well done, the mutant head matches the show and Tarantulas is very poseable. My main complaint here relates to the weak elbow sockets. The hanging claw has nowhere to go if you've decided to go with a proper missile launcher, but the claw can kind of stow on his back in the recess where the launcher sits for beats mode. You can of course remove the claw with a screwdriver, which is what I've done (it's easily reversible).

VARIATIONS

   The Japanese version, Taransu, has slightly different colours, designed to match the cartoon colours a little better. There are two distinct paint banding patterns on his mouthparts, the earlier version has painted elbows the latter does not (I have the earlier version).

   As mentioned, Blackarachnia is a repaint of Tarantulas. There was a Transmetal Tarantulas toy, which was a distinctly different mould.

OVERALL

   Two solid modes, a successful, novel gimmick along great poseability in robot mode make this a good toy. The weak elbows bother me somewhat, and while the grappling hook can get in the way slightly in robot mode, but the way the designer has managed to get the beast legs out of the way whilst being a feature of the robot mode is excellent. If you're a fan of the Beast Wars toys or cartoon, this is a toy I'd definitely recommend - 8/10

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