Alternate Mode: Honda S2000
Thanks to Vivien for donating Arcee for this review.
SPORTS CAR MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 17.5cm Width: 8.5cm
A very realistic pearly white Honda S2000 convertible, in fact Arcee is a 1:24 scale model. The majority of the shell is die cast metal, the front and rear bumpers are the largest chunks of white plastic. Arcee has black rubber tyres, silver mags and a black ragtop which can unclip and be replaced with a solid white roof (well, white paint over clear plastic). The windshield is also clear plastic while the side windows are missing (well, down permanently). The seats inside the cabin are musk pink, giving us the white and pink colours traditionally associated with the character. I doubt these colours would ever be found on a real S2000 - the white could work but the pink seats are unlikely.
Arcee is a repaint of BT Overdrive using the solid roof piece created for the plastic Alternator Decepticharge (in fact, she is a repaint of Decepticharge, but that toy never made it to the Binaltech line). The switch from red to white certainly helps differentiate the two, as does the change from a ragtop roof to a solid roof. The white car with pink seats is not quite the cabriolet that the original, cartoon, Arcee was, but it's a pretty good realistic alternative. We get a lot more white than pink here when it was once the other way around, but the switch makes for a far more credible looking alt mode.
The interior is black save for the very pink sears and white steering wheel. Arcee is a two-seater. Details include a steering wheel (right side since Honda is a Japanese company), wiper & indicator sticks, a stickshift (with silver knob) and handbrake, air vents and sculpted doors. The steering wheel is soft plastic, along with a black aerial sticking out on the right side just behind the wheel. The fuel cap is at the same location on the left side, by the way and there are rear vision mirrors with chrome. Arcee has sunvisors, wipers and even little wiper nozzles on the hood. Her lights are clear plastic with orange paint on the insides for her indicators and red inside the rear lights for her brake/taillights. At both the front and the back there are silver Honda badges while on either side, behind the front wheelbays she sports the word S2000, just behind the side mounted indicators. Underneath the rear bumper Arcee has chromed exhausts, there are sculpted doorhandles and the rear licence plate bay is black with "S2000" - I guess she thinks she's in a Honda ad! These details meet the standards set on previous BT toys - the standard has been consistently high throughout the line. The only regression I can find is the unpainted callipers on her brakediscs, and that doesn't bother me - this was also the case on Overdrive.
As you'd expect there's a lot of play value here. The wheels turn and the front set are on a rack and pinion. The steering wheel turns and while it's not connected to the wheels this is a nice bonus. The doors, hood and boot all open and the seats can fold forward. The hood can be a little tricky to open from the top - your best bet is to push up slightly on the engine from below - it sticks out and connects to her white driveshaft. Opening this hood reveals the now obligatory engineblock, which is black with some red and silver. And then of course you have the choice of the ragtop or it's roof, both of which can clip in securely. I prefer the top down, partly because you get to see more of the excellent cabin detail, partly because it exposes the pink seats, and partly because the original Arcee lacked a roof anyway.
A very good reinterpretation of Arcee into a realistic modern car. Sure. she's a repaint, but the use of white with pinks seats is clever and not gaudy. It's not quite realistic but the pearly white looks great and could work. This is a great sports car with excellent detailing, good play value and a lot of visual appeal. She's not really any better or worse than Overdrive, but I do appreciate the change in roof.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Taking cues from other Binaltechs, Arcee's legs follow the same plan as Sideswipe's with improved ankles and the hood ending up snug on her back while the arms and head more or less follow the plan set out on Tracks, with the ragtop cover and boot becoming her chest. The doors actually fold right out and hang parallel with her legs.
Height: 18cm Width: 17.5cm
Now a white robot with that musk pink on her chest, forearms and shins, Arcee has hot pink on her groin and around her white face while her eyes are pink. It's a pretty good approximation of the colours of the original, animated, version of the character, considering that this robot mode was not made with Arcee in mind. The two pinks and white work fairly well together, too - and I'm glad that there's more white than pink since it means Arcee's not gaudy. There's a red Autobot logo central on her chest, which is not flanked by breasts, thankfully.
This isn't an especially feminine form - it was designed to represent Overdrive - but the colours ensure than Arcee _looks_ female if not dainty. The head was designed for Decepticharge who isn't especially feminine either, and the shape isn't really Arcee at all, but again the pinks help in this respect.
The rear fender shoulders are the biggest Honda chunks here, while the front tyres sit on her shins and the doors form side shinguards. The ragtop can clip onto the outside of either forearm and form a sort of shield, although it looks like a ragtop sitting on her forearm so I prefer to leave it off. The black engineblock becomes the stock of a rifle with the white driveshaft unfolding to form a long barrel - this is easily the most innovative engine-weapon in the Binaltech line yet, and it's my favourite so far.
Arcee is of course very poseable. The neck is a ball joint, the shoulders swing and the arms can lift out to the sides (the fenders stay still). The elbows are hinges with rotators just above them while the wrists are ball jointed. The index fingers can open and close, the other fingers also move as a unit. The waist rotates a little, the hips move in three planes and the knees hinge back maybe 10°, which is more than Sideswipe's do. The ankles are ball jointed although in practise they function like swivels. Arcee's front grille forms cuffs on her ankles similar to Sideswipe's, but they clear her feet a lot better than on that toy. The legs are slightly more poseable than Sideswipe's but still relatively immobile for a Binaltech. They do allow for a fairly relaxed, natural stance, so I don't mind so much.
I have no real complaints here. Firstly, I would have liked more poseable legs, but as I said the legs are an improvement on those of Sideswipe who shares the same concept, and they've removed the hood from behind her legs which is a plus. The gun doesn't clip into the palms of her hands as firmly as I'd like, but this isn't a major issue. The poseability is still pretty good and this is a very attractive robot mode with a kickass gun. Inevitably for a repaint of a tribute toy, the form doesn't match the character, but the colours do a great job of nailing down the character here - this is very clearly Arcee despite the head bearing Decepticharge's shape.
A repaint of Decepticharge, as mentioned. There are no actual variants that I'm aware of.
A great vehicle mode is pretty much the norm for Binaltech, and Arcee is no exception. The robot mode isn't especially feminine and the mould doesn't especially suit the character, but the clever use of white with pink makes this repaint work surprisingly well. The vehicle mode _does_ work very well for the character and it's about as realistic as a pink and white car mode could get. The gun kicks ass and the droptop options are welcome, and appropriate for the character. She's essentially the same as Decepticharge, mouldwise, but if you're after a G1 Arcee car or this retool in die cast, I'd recommend this toy - 9.5/10.