Cliffbee.com: Transmetal Tarantulas Toy Review

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Individual Review




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



SPIDER MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 17cm Width: 14cm

   A black spider with burgundy legs, chrome gold mouthparts and chrome gold on his abdomen. Tarantulas has bright green eyes along with some green paint apps here and there. The gold is quite vivid and contrasts sharply with the dark burgundy and black, making this a very attractive colour scheme. While I doubt you'd see a spider in these colours, as a Transmetal it looks great.

   Tarantulas does a good job of the Transmetal concept. Much of this beast is robotic, from the legs to the engineblock sculpted on top of the abdomen to silver engine detailing on the sides of his abdomen. The eyes are probably the only really organic aspect of this spider mode, although there are some small spines visible on the mouthparts.

   All eight legs are fixed in a walking position, and all have ball joints at the stem, allowing you to pose the legs. Tarantulas is able to stand on his legs, although it takes a little work since the back is quite heavy. The sawblade stowed underneath can deploy as a quasi-stand if you like, allowing Tarantulas to stand. Additionally, you can lower the body so that he lies on his belly, maintaining the illusion of him standing on his feet. The mouthparts move around a little, although not in a meaningful way.

   The vehicle mode is pretty much the spider with wheels, but works very well. The legs simply lift up and condense to form outriggers, while the sawblade folds down to form a front wheel. There's a larger tyre cleverly hidden underneath the abdomen, which twists into place. It's close to impossible for this motorbike to stand him on the tyres, you'll need to cheat and bring one leg down on either side (or prop him up on something). Despite the balance problem, this is a nice bike mode, thanks to the engineblock on his abdomen. The way the wheels come from nowhere is quite impressive.

   A good spider mode that succeeds as a Transmetal, with mech detailing and a vehicle mode that forms well despite not being as stable as I'd like. The colours are excellent, the gold chrome looks great and on mine at least, has stood the test of time very well.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the sawblade from underneath, pull out the silver engine areas on the sides, which will become the arms. Split the tyres and swing the halves forward, clearing a gap for you to swing the mouthparts down to - the mouthparts are now legs, and have dragged the stomach with them. Push the struts of the wheel flush to the torso, bring the arms against the shoulders - everything ends up fitting together quite well. Fold down the head of the spider to form the chest, lifting out the robot head. Fold back the spider legs, rotote the boots, flip up the robot feet. Give Tarantulas the sawblade as a handheld weapon.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 13cm

   Again mainly black, with a lot of green on his upper body. Tarantulas has burgundy boots, a burgundy groin and chrome gold feet. His mouthparts are bronze while the eyes are yellow. The colours are again dark - almost gothic - with the exceptions of his feet and the green highlights. There are spider eyes markings on his forehead, which are a nice touch for an organic robot mode.

   Just as much of the beast mode is mechanical, most of the robot mode is organic. The head, forearms, legs and hips have moulded fur while there are pectoral muscles on the stomach. The hands are three-pronged claws, the spines visible on the beast mouthparts are now on the boots, giving Tarantulas a creepy-crawly feel. The gothic colours combine well with the organic elements to give Tarantulas a great evil theme.

   The few mechanical aspects here work well. The most notable are the tyres halves, which sit above the shoulders as shoulderpads of sorts, and look quite good there. The outsides of the upper arms have engine aspects, but they're not really prominent. The robotic spider legs are visible on his back, but are clearly tucked back, and this only serves to cement the whole Transmetal thing Tarantulas has going.

   Tarantulas has excellent poseability. The head, shoulders, hips and knees are ball jointed while the ankles and elbows are hinged. None of these joints are restricted - the clearly the shoulderpads allow is impressive, allowing Tarantulas free arm movement. The head will only move around 30 each way - but that's enough for most meaningful poses. The feet have two "toes" and heelspurs, allowing for a steady robot mode in a wide range of poses. Tarantulas looks like he _should_ be back heavy but he's not. The sawblade weapon is nice, even if it can't really work as a ranged weapon. The circular saw blade itself spins quite well, and really looks like a circular saw. The end can actually rotate, allowing Tarantulas to slice an opponent horizontally (or at an angle).

   A great robot mode with good colours and nice brooding, gothic theme. It manages to be organic while still feeling very alien, and manages to be dark in spite of the chrome - which is an achievement. The poseability is excellent and the weapon is very useful.

VARIATIONS

   There is a black and silver Fox Kids! repaint, which is one of the nicest (and the most sought after Fox Kids! repaints).

OVERALL

   The deluxe Transmetals were generally very good toys, and Tarantulas is one of the best. The robotic beast mode is great, with a nice bike mode - despite a lack of stability. The robot mode is exceptional, with a nice gothic theme and great poseability. While the original is a decent toy, this version is way ahead. For Beast Wars fans I'd strongly recommend tracking this toy down - it's behind only Cheetor as Transmetals go - 9.5/10

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