Transformers Prime Robots in Disguise Airachnid Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Deluxe, Prime, Robots in Disguise

Transformers Prime

General Information:
Release Date: July 2012
Price Point: $12.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Electro-stinger weapons x 2


*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics from the The Official Transformers Web Site:
Hunt AUTOBOTS with the fierce AIRACHNID! Conditioned to battle and hardship by her years spent hunting rare creatures across the depths of space, AIRACHNID is a primed and powerful warrior. All of her voyaging has been in preparation for the day she will once again face ARCEE in combat. Now, she has come to Earth in search of her revenge, and more. She has also returned to the service of MEGATRON after her long absence, determined to prove herself as a leader – no matter who she has to destroy to do it.

Converts from robot to vehicle! The DECEPTICON hunter AIRACHNID converts from an awesome helicopter to a villainous robot bent on revenge and back. She has snap-on electro-stingers and a triple-bladed sword for trashing any AUTOBOT she encounters. Battle her against your other TRANSFORMERS figures! Includes: Converting AIRACHNID action figure, snap-on electro-stingers, and triple-blade sword. Features: Triple-blade sword!, Snap-on electro-stingers! Ages 5 and up.

AirachnidThe original Transformers series introduced the concept of Transformers who are "female" (let's not get into the reproductive aspects of Transformers culture, it can get confusing). At first, the "females" were only Autobots. Later during the "Beast Wars" series, fans would be introduced to a regular female lead character who was also a "bad guy" in the form of Predacon Blackarachnia. Since then, other female characters have been introduced who aren't the nicest of the bunch, and this includes the latest addition to this list: Airachnid. A hunter by nature, cruel and power hungry, it's a role that could have easily been written for a "male" Transformer such as the "Transformers Animated" character Lockdown, but I'm glad the character was made into a strong female antagonist instead. Being voiced by Gina Torres (one of my favorite actresses) just added a whole other layer of like!

Vehicle Mode:
Airachnid came to Earth and adopted a vehicle form based on a military helicopter. Looking at lot like a "stealth" copter, this vehicle was mostly black, had some sharp angles to it but few details, and that is replicated very well in this vehicle mode. The main body of the helicopter is mostly angled panels with few detail work. There is a sculpted Decepticon symbol in the front of th ecockpit, a couple line details here and there on the side, but for the most part Airachnid's detailing is formed from the outlines created by where her panels separate to form the robot mode. Where you do see nice sculpting are the rotor blades, which each have distinct pattern based on the legs of an insect, coming to a point at the end with a pincer like design to the side. Her cockpit is also a nicely sculpted piece, with the bars running across the sides forming a spider-web like pattern. The overall effect is that of an other-worldly looking vehicle that has some creepy, spider like influences (which is of course, the point). In a nice touch, the cockpit can be opened (it's part of the transform) to reveal a chair inside and a control panel in front of it.

The primary color of the vehicle is black. The rotors are cast in metallic purple and the cockpit (and the chair inside) are translucent pink. The colors all work nicely together and match up with what has been seen on the television show. The only paint details in this mode are found on the cockpit, where black paint is used on the parts that form the support frame of the cockpit window. To be fair, the vehicle itself is mostly black in the television show, so it's not like there's a whole lot of room for any paint details however I have to admit to be very disappointed that the designers didn't take the opportunity to paint the Decepticon symbol in the front of the vehicle. If you lack details elsewhere and you're going to bother to sculpt the detail, why not accentuate it with a drop of paint? I somehow doubt one small drop of paint would have broken the budget on this figure.

There are two "stinger" weapons included with airachnid. They look like big claws with a blaster barrel in the center (bearing a passing resemblance to the stinger on a scorpion's tail). The weapons are cast in black and seem to have a majority of the paint applications for this figure. The claw portions are painted metallic purple and the "stinger" sections are painted gold. The stingers can attach to holes on the sides of Airachnid, which have been made to accomodate 5mm peg weapons. The stingers themselves have a hole at the base for 5mm weapons, allowing you to attach additional weaponry. If you think you've seen them before, you have. They were feature very briefly as part of Knock Out's weapon cache as "Null Rays". The rotors do spin as well, adding a bit of additional play value.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the rotors and stinger weapons.
  2. On the rotor, swing up the longest rotor and bend each "leg" in the middle.
  3. Swing the cockpit cover open.
  4. Swing the front nose of the vehicle back into the cockpit, then close the cover.
  5. Separate the top and bottom halves of the vehicle's rear section.
  6. Swing out the sides of the vehicle's forn tend to begin forming the arms.
  7. On each arm, extend the forearm out and swing out each hand.
  8. Holding the front and back halves firmly, slide up the rear half of the vehicle to reveal the robot head.
  9. Separate the legs and swing the foot pieces forward.
  10. Attach the rotor piece to the back, clipping the longest rotor to the tab on the cockpit window.
  11. Attach the stingers to the hands or the upper arms.

Robot Mode:
Airachnid's robot mode has an unlikely design inspiration, the Disney character Maleficent. This is most evident in her head sculpt, which like Maleficent's feature's a helmet section with high "horn" like points coming up at the top and a distinctive T shaped area for the face and a narrow, pointed chin. This influence also accounts for Airachnid's mostly black coloring and design, which is mostly made up of a series of flat armor panels with some curved sections, most notably on her hips and waist area. She definitely has many of the design aspects of her CGI counterpart including her lower legs sculpted like she's earing tall boots and the overlapping, claw like designs curving around her hips. Just as with the vehicle mode, she has a Decepticon symbol sculpted onto her chest. Her hands are sculpted in an open palm position, which has the unfortunate effect of making her look like she's constantly getting ready to do the robot dance.

The primary plastic color in this mode is black, with some translucent pink plastic showing through on the head via her light piping plastic. Some parts are cast in the same metallic purple as the rotors such as her hands the shoulder joints. Purple paint details matching that purple plastic can be foun don the Decepticon symbol, around her waist and hips. The face is painted silver with a bit of gold around the eyes and well...that's it. Despite the stock photo on the back of the figure showing gold and purple paint details (and really nice ones to boot) on her legs and feet, they are left completely unpainted on the final product and well, frankly it looks unfinished. I seriously thought I had perhaps gotten an "error" piece until I went online to find nope, this is just how the figure was released. Sure the packaging does say the colors on the real thing will vary, but we're not talking a different shade of a color or just one small detail left out. Given how long the legs are on this figure, she really needed those paint details to look complete. Considering the vehicle mode barely has any paint applications, I find it really sad they couldn't keep paint applications originally intended for the robot mode intact. Your best hope to add a splash of color to the robot is attaching her stinger weapons.

On the Transformers Prime television show, Airachnid has the capability of transforming into a "spider-like" mode where her upper body is all still robotic, but her rear section hangs back like the abdomen of a spider and then she would walk using her rotors (which became spider legs). This was perhaps, one of the things that fans had hoped most we would be able to do with this figure. Nope, not going to happen. Her rotors only have three "legs", they're too short to accomplish the task and her legs don't come together the right way to form the "abdomen" part. Theoretically, Airachnid has thirteen points of articulation. However, because of her wide armor panels on the sides of her arms and legs, those points of articulation are almost useless. There's simnply no range to th emovements. It's really a darn shame when a figure has ball joints but can barely move those parts. This is especially bad in the hip area, which are clealry made to have a wider range of motion than they do, but are hampered by the flat panels on the outsides of her thighs.

You can attach weapons to Airachnid's palms or to the sides of her arms. In terms of action features, that's all you're going to get. Even her head can't turn all the way side to side thanks to the back of her head being the pilot seat from the vehicle mode (its range of motion is blocked by the sides of the cockpit section).

Final Thoughts:
As I mentioned in a Twitter post when I opened the figure, I was ecstatic when I found the figure, then I opened it up to find out what an amazing disappointment it truly is. Airachnid is a cool, strong character in the show with a striking visual appeal and she deserved a much better figure than this. A feel like every possible corner was cut with this figure at a time when the prices have gone up (averaging $12-14.99 now at most stores). To make it worse? For some reason Airachnid is "rare" (I'm not sure if she's only one per case or something) so most venues online are selling her at two times her retail price. Don't fall for it folks, this is a terrible figure and the only reason to buy it is to have the character in plastic form in the Deluxe scale to complete your cast of characters. Not recommended.