Beast Wars Transformers Tarantulas (Transmetal) Toy Review

in 1998, Action Figure Review, Beast Wars, Deluxe, Predacon, Transmetal

Beast Wars Transformers


Tech Specs:
Name: Tarantulas
Function: Ninja Warrior

There are few Predacons spinning webs of violence and deceit as lethally as the eight-legged ninja warrior Tarantulas. After the quantum surge, Tarantulas was delighted to discover himself as a meched-out arachnid with motorcross vehicle-like capabilities. Instead of constantly relying on stealth and surprise, Tarantulas now races into battle on his wicked new wheels, converting into a new animalized robot mode that makes him virtually unstoppable in battle!

Strength: 9.0 Intelligence: 4.0 Speed: 8.0 Endurance: 6.0
Rank: 5.0 Courage: 7.0 Firepower: 7.0 Skill: 8.0

Featured on the television show before the toy was released, many people found Transmetal Tarantulas to be a worthy upgrade of his predecessor. One of the first examples of a Beast Wars Transformers toy utilizing a vehicle mode on the show, Transmetal Tarantulas caused a fair amount of excitement among fans, and rightfully so. This mold was popular enough that it would later be brought back as a Fox Kids! repaint.

Beast Mode:
In beast mode, Tarantulas is now a mechanized arachnid. Despite being mechanical instead of organic, this mode still manages to exude a feeling of darkness and creepiness. Perfect for the maniacal character that is Tarantulas.

The primary color scheme of this mode is purple, dark blue and vacuum metallized orange with neon green highlights. In this mode, Tarantulas has ten points of articulation, his beast mode legs and the two mandibles in the front of his beast mode eyes. The detail level on this toy is superb. Each leg is moldedwith sharp points (but not sharp enough to hurt kids, so don't worry parents), mechanical tubing and other such details. His creepy multi eye beast mode head remains intact. Each eye is painted neon green, making a striking contrast with the dark blue head they rest on. Much of the central body of Tarantulas is choc full of mechanical grooves, curves and even engine tubing for his vehcile mode.

Unlike the first Tarantulas toy, this one stands fine in beast mode, due in part to a good amount of stiffness in the ball joints that connect the beast mode legs to the main body. His legs manage to keep a fair amount of space between the main body and any surface he is standing on.

Transformation to vehicle mode:
Tarantulas' transformation to vehicle mode is fairly simple. First the beast mode legs all move up, then from his underside, two wheels fold down. The larger, rear wheel needs to be, twisted, stretched out and positioned at an angle and Tarantulas is ready to roll!

Vehicle Mode:
Tarantulas' vehicle mode looks much like his beast mode, simply mounted on wheels. However, the sleekness of the form negates any bad aspects of such a form and simply makes this mode look fun. He cannot stay upright on both wheels since the front wheel is so slim. Rather, he leans to one side if not supported. However, given a good smooth surface, Tarantulas can roll a respectable distance.

Transformation to Robot mode:
Tarantulas has a fairly complex multi step transformation to robot mode. First his front mandibles swing down and split apart to form his legs. The front, smaller wheel of the vehicle mode detaches to become his hand held weapon in robot mode. The two sides of his robot mode that have the "engine parts and pipes" molded into them move to the sides and the purple parts attached fold down to form his robot mode arms. The rear wheel then splits in half and each half twists and turns and then folds up to the shoulder area. The legs then fold down along with the hips and abdominal area. The lower half of the legs twist around and the feet fold down.

Next fold the beast mode leg parts to the back. The upper chest then folds down and the robot head flips up.

Here's the slightly tricky part. The rear wheel halves should be on top of the upper arms. Now there is a black piece connected to the upper arms that folds forward and there is a small groove which a tiny tab on the wheels locks into. This way, the wheels won't flop around while Tarantulas is in robot mode.

Finally, place the hand held weapon in one of his hands and he's ready for battle!

Robot Mode:
In robot mode, Tarantulas is a virtual clone of the computer model shown on the TV show. His color scheme largely remains intact, only more purple and neon green now shows (primarily on the central body) and some parts such as his arms and upper legs are black. Organic parts are definately evident here on his arms, face and legs. The body is well proportioned, even with the spider legs in the rear (which look more like a backpack than part of the central body). The hand held weapon spins and can act as a blaster or saw. This mode has eleven points of articulation.

Tarantulas makes for a fun toy in every mode and his dark look is nice and menacing. A really cool toy. A+

Additional Thoughts (August 2012)
Even after all these years, I have to say that Transmetal Tarantulas is one of my favorite sculpts of this era. It's dynamic, true to the character and manages to look sleek, cool and creepy all at the same time. The engine detail on the back of the spider/motorcycle is rather stunning and I love the imagination that went into having his "pizza cutter" saw blade weapon double as a blaster on the television show. This toy also demonstrates the imagination that went into having to create vehicle modes out of beast modes (with a robot mode to boot!). An excellent example of a Transformers figure from any era.