"Beast Wars Transformers" Waspinator Toy Review

in 1996, Action Figure Review, Beast Wars, Deluxe, Predacon

Beast Wars Transformers

Waspinator

General Information:
Release Date: 1996
Price Point: $9.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Missile launcher; Missiles x 2

Images:

Tech Specs:
Name: Waspinator
Function: Aerial Attack

Like a rattle snake's tail before an attack, a chilling sound buzzes in the distance as if to forecast approaching danger. Suddenly from the sky the giant wasp appears, revealing its monstrous face and bulging eyes as it streaks down for an aerial attack! The Waspinator launches its secret wing missiles, striking the helpless victims below with the poisonous power of a robotic cyber-sting!

Strength: 8 Intelligence: 5 Speed: 8 Endurance: 5
Rank: 6 Courage: 7 Firepower: 7 Skill: 6

One of the most beloved characters from the "Beast Wars" series was Waspinator. The action figure of the character came out before fans saw him on the TV show, but once they did he was actually so popular the figure was hard to find for a little while (not very long though since the figure was issued twice in its original form). His quirky nature and seemingly indestructible spirit (and body) was not just a joke on the show, but endearing in its own odd way. So popular was this character that he even got an update in the "Generations" toy line. My original review for this figure was not that robust, so I've decided to write this new review along with new photos to give this figure its due.

Beast Mode:
In beast mode Waspinator is (not surprisingly) a wasp. He has many of the basic elements of a real life wasp including a head with antennae, round compound eyes, six legs, a short thorax section (forward body) and a longer rear abdomen section along with a stinger. On a slightly interesting (and amusing) note, it is actually the female wasps that have stingers not males. However it definitely makes for a more interesting and potentially threatening enemy so I think it was a good choice. While nowadays we're very used to high level sculpting on Transformers, back in the 90's sculpting was hit or miss. Some Transformers were not too detailed, others were very detailed. Waspinator represented a new level of sculpting - specifically integration of very organic details on a Transformer. While this had been done here and there in G1, it was not until "Beast Wars" that the sculpting elevated to another level. Among my favorite details on Waspinator are the patterns in the eyes, the small raised sections on his legs and the mottled looking surface of the thorax section. Waspinator is wonderfully sculpted and bears enough resemblance to a real wasp that his beast mode is instantly recognizable.

Waspinator is cast in several plastic colors: green, black, olive, a translucent silver color and a more opaque version of the silver color. This is a lot of plastic colors and they're used in a series of alternating parts. The thorax is green while the legs are black with smaller parts cast in silver. It's a really nice color pattern and while wasps are generally yellow and black, the green really has become Waspinator's signature color over the years and in the cartoon it helped distinguish him visually from other characters. Paint colors include black, yellow, light blue and dark grey. The yellow and black are most heavily used for bands of colors on the abdomen section. The light blue is used to paint his eyes. The dark grey is used for a beautiful spray pattern on the rear legs. Overall the color palette of this figure is very different than most of the Transformers figures that preceded it and it really stands out to this day as an interesting departure from the traditional Transformer.

There are eight points of articulation in this mode. This includes the wings and two sections of the rear legs, all of wh ich are on ball joints. I'm also counting the front legs which can swivel in and out. Unfortunately, these front legs are also a weakness in the design of the figure. Most of the time they stand up just fine, but they can collapse now and then.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the tail/stinger section and remove one of the missiles from underneath a wing and insert it into the launcher. Set this aside for now.
  2. Swing each forward section of the rear legs back.
  3. Rotate each of the lower rear leg sections around and swing them up against the peg on the thigh area.
  4. Flip the figure over and you'll see the hip section is on a hinge, swing it up, then swing the legs down.
  5. Swing each of the robot arms out to the sides, then swivel the insect arms forward.
  6. Push the beast mode head down part way.
  7. Split the beast mode head and swing it down, then push each half against the piece sticking out in the middle of the torso.
  8. Place the missile launcher into one of the hands.

Robot Mode:
When the "Beast Wars" television show was developed, many of the toys were used as a starting point for the visual design of the CGI models used in the program, but the CGI models were not direct translations but rather interpretations. Since the TV show is the most well known visual representation of many key characters like Waspinator, it's easy to claim a toy isn't "show accurate" from that era, but it's more accurate to look at this figure for what it is (and was): the visual foundation for the model more accurately reflected in "Generations" Waspinator. It's from that perspective that I review this robot mode.

Waspinator's organic appearance does not end with the robot mode. Since so many beast mode parts become parts of his robot mode, he still looks like an organic creature, but certain elements are distinctly robotic. This includes the arms, the middle of the hip area and the center of the torso. These parts have more angles and mechanical details on them than the beast mode parts. You'll actually note a lot of these parts made it through to the CGI model on the show including the wasp arms on his forearms, the wings on his back, the eyes from the beast mode on his chest and the "claw" like shapes on his knees and feet.

When it comes to the head design, it is important to remember many of the earlier "Beast Wars" figures actually had two heads. In some cases this was one head with parts that folded over it as a "Battle Mask" but in Waspinator's case he actually has two distinct head sculpts. The more commonly known one would be the more organic looking "Battle Mask" which looks like a shrunken down version of the beast mode head down to having large compound eyes, antennae on his head and even mandibles. This is the head which would serve as the basis for his CGI model's head. The other head is a more traditional robot head complete with a "helmet" section and a face featuring visor eyes with a nose and mouth.

In this form, Waspinator carries over all the colors from the beast mode, but now you get to see many more of the silver parts. Both heads are silver. The "Battle Mask" head has translucent eyes with a light piping feature (though it only works moderately well) and the "Robot Head" has purple on the nose/mouth area. The way the colors break out, Waspinator doesn't need a ton of paint applications to make him look visually complex. Overall he looks great.

Waspinator has fifteen points of articulation in this form. This includes three on each arm and leg and I'm counting the wings. The missile launcher fires the missile by pressing the trigger on top. It's basic functionality but it works for the figure and the character. He doesn't need any fancy gimmicks in my opinion.

Final Thoughts:
Waspinator is an excellent figure and he represented an amazing departure from what had come before. Sure he's not 100% "show accurate" but to me that doesn't matter (for reasons outlined above). He's a well detailed and fun toy that looks awesome and distinct. Even over a decade after its release, I still recommend adding this figure to your collection!