Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Generations Waspinator


It's always a bit of a worry when Hasbro does a new version of a Beast Wars toy. 10th Anniversary Optimus Primal and Megatron can't decide if they're Organic or techno organic, with Primal in particular being a cross between the Beast Wars Ultra and Transmetal versions. Then Universe Cheetor and Dinobot are just poor toys. we've not had a Beast Wars update since till we got Rhinox, Waspinator and Rattrap as part of Generations.

In fact this deluxe Waspinator isn't the first Waspinator in the Generations line. He's already been a Minicon in the Legends line with Starscream. A seemingly odd tie in on the surface but one that makes plenty of fictional sense: In the Beast Wars cartoon Waspinator was at one point possessed by the ghost of Starscream.

Waspinator comes with a copy of Robots in Disguise issue 22 which Waspinator appears in. Unlike all previous Waspinators he's in robot mode straight out the packaging so we'll need to transform him to look at his beast mode first:

Fold the stinger part of his gun under the barrel and peg it into the wasp's abdomen. Fold the chest & head up and forward, folding the head into the robot's back/wasp abdomen. Pull the shoulders out to the sides locking both halves of the beast head together. Fold the shoulder joints under the toy with the arms pointing forward then turn the the beast legs to point forward too. Fold the robot waist down and rotate, via it's attachment to the abdomen, through 180 degrees. Fold the waist back against the abdomen and fold the abdomen down. Fold the legs forward at the knee and bring the robot feet & heel spurs together pointing straight out the end of the leg. Fold the insect legs so they point out the end of the legs. Fold the arms out to the sides then fold the upper legs up to fill the spaces in the sides of the abdomen. Bring the arms back along the body so the pegs on the elbow sink into the holes on the thorax and the rectangular peg on the wrist locks into the outside of the robot knee. Fold the robot feet under the beast head.

There's a few really scary moments in that transformation: folding the shoulders in, folding the abdomen down and anything that involves touching the insect legs: they are easily the scariest looking part of a transformer toy I have seen in a long time. They feel sturdy enough but no part that thin is ever going to survive being manipulated long term. They are strong enough to support the Wasp mode by themselves though. The wasp mode looks superb: articulation is limited to the ball joint at the base of the fore legs and the rotating joint at the base of pairs of back legs. The wings are each mounted on a ball joint to allow them to move but the ball joints in turn are link to a mechanism powered by a button on the wasp's back: press it and the wings flap forward and back. The beast mode is surprisingly solid: the arms pegging into the sides secure everything in place. The downside here is that the robot's hands are visible near the base of the abdomen. The toy's pose is bent a little, like a wasp about to sting, so it fits nicely into the hand to operate the wing gimmick. Compared to the original Waspinator the beast mode is a huge step up: the robot legs integrate much better, there's clearly six insect legs on the toy and the gimmick is a lot of fun. The only downside is due to the orientation of the wing's ball joint it's harder to pose the wings: the ball joint allows for turning and up/down movement but won't allow for forwards and back: that's provided by the mechanism.

To transform back to robot mode start by popping the arms out to the sides. Fold the legs back, fold the abdomen back then fold the robot waist forward and rotate 180 degrees. Fold the waist up to meet the underside of the thorax. Fold the feet forward and the insect legs up. Fold the robot shoulders out to the sides. Fold the insect arms up behind the robot arms. Fold the insect head forward onto the chest, revealing the robot head, and peg into the waist. Push the shoulders in to split the beast head in two to reveal the robot chest. Pull the top of the back of the abdomen off and fold out the sting to form his gun.

To this day I still think the original Waspinator robot mode is satisfactory: it's one of the close ones to it's cartoon appearance. The head on the 10th anniversary repaints was painted better but that's about all that I thought needed improving. Thankfully, unlike previous Beast Wars toys, they've not mucked about too much here. Essentially Waspinator's robot mode is a slimmed down version of the original which has been accomplished by reducing the size of the central chest piece. We've lost original Waspinators robot head too but the mutant head, the one he used in the show, is now a near dead likeness for the cartoon. Thankfully he's kept his lightpipe eyes and the multifaceted panels used for the large bug eyes look superb lit up. I use the light off my phone's torch: they light up with the light pointed directly at the pipe but if you point the pipe down, reflecting the light off the body plastic, they glow green. The other major loss in robot mode is the missile launcher but the stinger here looks really great with it's clear barb. The stinger is two weapons in one really: it can be held with the stinger fully extended or folded back, as in beast mode. He can't hold his original weapons: the fist size is now 5mm as opposed to the 4mm (approximately) that it was before but that does mean he can use his Minicon self or any other Minicon/Arms Micron/5mm weapon.

Articulation: I think every range of motion on the original is replicated on the new version, plus some additions: the ball joints on the neck, shoulder and hips are still present. The bicep swivel & bending elbow are replaced by a ball jointed elbow and he gains a turning wrist. The knee ball joint is replaced by a thigh swivel & bending knee and the foot & heel spur now pivot at the ankle.

Top toy in both modes. Transforming between them is a little worrying though!

Waspinator was available at 2 per case in Transformer Generations 30th anniversary deluxe wave 3 (2014 deluxe wave 1). This wave hit US stores before Christmas and was quickly cleared out. Many online retailers didn't receive their full allotment from Hasbro: I got fed up waiting for BBTS to receive theirs a month and a bit after US on shelf sightings and ordered off eBay. As usual this wave doesn't appear to be scheduled for the UK market. However Waspinator is scheduled to return, along with Scoop, in Generations 2014 Wave 5 alongside new toys Arcee & Chromia and Hasbro UK have announced this case as shipping April 2014 so there's still a chance for UK fans to get him. Waspinator is available in Japan as Transformers Generations toy TG-30 where he has a more metallic finish.

Future Repaints

The most obvious repaint for this toy is to follow the Beast Wars example and redo him, with a new robot head, as Buzzsaw but for goodness sake get the purple right and use the original US shade rather than the muted Takara one which, along with the grey instead of green, sucked the life out of the toy. A very similar looking toy would be to go with yellow and black, with another new head, as Beast Wars Bumblebee, a choice I'm really surprised never got made during Beast Wars. Black and red would give us Transmetal Waspinator while grey and blue would give us a version possessed by Starscream. How about in black as Pretender Bugly? Or a big retool as Dirge Gun?

Colour schemes I do not want to see on this toy: Fox Kids Waspinator! (Though the clear blue wings are fab!)

No comments:

Post a Comment