Cliffbee.com: Fox Kids! Transmetal Tarantulas Toy Review

Toy Reviews
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 silver spider with black legs, chrome silver gold mouthparts and chrome silver on his abdomen, this is a brighter and cleaner repaint of the original TM Tarantulas. The eyes remain bright green while there are some red highlights on the back, with his name in black on the right side of the abdomen. While these colours aren't what we saw in the cartoon, the overall look is close enough to retain the character. This repaint looks really nice, the silver and black is cleaner as I mentioned, and there's a very striking and sinister feel about these colours. The silver chrome against black legs contrasts sharply, the black legs really do present this creature as evil.

   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 black 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 as good as - if not better than - the original's, although they're not as show accurate.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the sawblade from underneath, pull out the black 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, rotate the boots, flip up the robot feet. Give Tarantulas the sawblade as a handheld weapon.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 13cm

   Again, Tarantulas is silver and black, albeit with less chrome this time around. The chest, shoulderpads and helmet are silver while his feet are chrome silver. His lower torso, arms and legs are black, along with his face. The face features orange eyes and a white mouth while there are green highlights on his crown, waist and chest. The silver and black again contrast really well to give Tarantulas a suitably eerie feel - and again they just plain look good together. The colours are closer to his show colours here, although this is mainly because there's less gold and burgundy on the show's robot mode than spider 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 sinister colours combine well with the organic elements to give Tarantulas an evil look.

   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). The silver disc has a chromed centre, which is a nice touch.

   A great robot mode with wonderful colours and suitably ghastly theme. It manages to be organic while still feeling very alien, and while he loses show accuracy, the character is very much captured here. The poseability is excellent and the weapon is very useful.

VARIATIONS

   As mentioned, this is a repaint of the original Transmetal Tarantulas.

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 I wouldn't recommend against the original version, the colour scheme here is just fantastic - visually it's stronger, although it's not as show accurate. If you get the chance to grab this elusive (and expensive) repaint, I'd recommend it, even if you have the original. It's the best Fox Kids! repaint, with only TM Cheetor coming close - 9.5/10

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