"Generations" Waspinator Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: December 2013
Price Point: $12.99
Retailer: General release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Stinger/Blaster

*Images with asterisks above and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Finding himself in a world thousands of years distant from the one he once knew, Waspinator did the only thing he could – found someone strong and put himself under their command. Sure, he’s being manipulated. And sure, he’s getting blown to pieces just as regularly as he used to. But at least the guy he’s working for now knows how to put him back together properly. Convert, arm and attack with all the Transformers action you can handle! This Waspinator figure is just the Predacon to create maximum trouble for his Autobot enemies (other figures sold separately). In robot mode, your Waspinator figure has the firepower he needs to defeat his enemies. But when he needs to zip around and do recon, convert him to wasp mode, where his wings really flap! Whatever mode he's in, his enemies will think twice before taking him on! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

In 1996, the "Transformers" universe changed forever. For over a decade, the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons had been the focal point of all "Transformers" series no matter what types of powers or gimmicks the Robots in Disguise took on, it focused on robotic Autobots and Decepticons duking it out (sometimes with organics tossed in). In 1996 Kenner (the division of Hasbro in charge of action figures at the time) relaunched the "Transformers" brand as "Beast Wars Transformers". The story now focused on the heroic Maximals versus the evil Predacons with Transformers who could transform into organic animals. Though controversial at first, the series became a gold standard of "Transformers" television shows for fantastic writing.

Hot on the heels of the Generations release of Voyager Class Rhinox, "Beast Wars" gets another shout out in the Generations line via Deluxe Class Waspinator! In the "Beast Wars" animated series, this quirky character was beloved by many fans who enjoyed his fun voice, can do attitude and his resilience in the face of being blown apart repeatedly. The character recently has become a central figure in the IDW Publishing comic book series, making now the perfect time for him to return to the "Transformers" toy line!

Robot Mode:
When the "Beast Wars Transformers" television show as being conceptualized and sketched out, the designs for the initial "Beast Wars" toys had already been planned. This gave the animators of the show a challenge: take these toys and create interesting looking CG models of them for the show. The result were unforgettable designs that gave a new and unique look to the Transformers as a whole. However, this also meant a lot of interpretation happened, and the result was a group of CG models that sometimes did not match very closely with their action figure counterparts. Waspinator was an example of this. While his original figure did a great job of emulating the TV show character's overall shape and design, a lot of details existed in one model but not the other.

The "Generations" version of Waspinator has the benefit of over ten years of hindsight to benefit its design, and the result is a figure that is instantly recognizable as the Predacon from the television show. Among the design elements that have carried over from the TV show's CG model are:

  • The head sculpt is very accurate to the CG model. He features two antennae sweeping back on the top of the head, two large insect-eyes, a diamond shaped crest in the center and madibles with "teeth" sculpted underneath.
  • The forearms have a row of four circular details on the insides.
  • The lower legs have pointed, claw like details wrapping around them.
  • The feet have ball shapes near the top, a carry over detail from the CG model that probably indicated a virtual "ball joint".
  • Instead of a large missile launcher with a long missile, Waspinator features a blaster with a stinger at the end. The stinger design is based on the missiles Waspinator fired in the show and the weapon is relatively short, just like the one in the show.
  • In a very small detail, the ends of Waspinator's fingers are somewhat pointed (most likely not fully pointed for safety reasons), making them more like the sharp looking, pointed fingers of the CG model.

It is worth noting that a lot (but not all) of these details were in the original Waspinator toy, but they were either smaller or had less emphasis than they do on this figure.

From a sculpting standpoint, Waspinator looks fantastic. His proportions are good too, with his chest sticking out a bit thanks to the wasp head halves and the way his body narrows in the middle and then widens out to his feet. His wings give him a nice "cape-like" design in the back. Indeed, the only element that detracts a bit from the appearance of the figure are the beast mode legs, which stick out quite prominently on the forearms and legs. There's not much that can be done here however as you need those parts and there's really nowhere to tuck them away or shrink them down (and keep the figure at a Deluxe scale price). I'm perfectly okay with them being there myself but thought they were worth a mention.

Waspinator is cast in two shades of green plastic - one medium in tone and the other darker. The medium tone green is used for smaller parts like his shoulders, hands and waist. The other green is found on parts like his forearms, chest and lower legs. His other iconic color is also used: yellow. You'll find this on his thighs, the abdomen (located behind his legs in this mode) and his weapon. Translucent plastic is also used, most notably on the head and wings. You'll also find translucent plastic on the stinger portion of his weapon.

More details come from paint details done mostly in black and yellow. The black is used on the yellow portions (almost all of which form his abdomen in beast mode), giving him the black/yellow striping color found on both the CG model and the original Waspinator toy. Yellow is also used for other details including some on the lower legs, forearms and on his head. I was a tiny bit disappointed that the antennae on his head didn't have the black/yellow striping seen on the TV show's CG model, but it is a rather tiny and intricate detail to expect from a mass produced figure such as this. Waspinator also features metallic blue on the wasp "eyes" on his chest and a spot of brown on his thighs, matching up with the brown insect legs and antennae that appear in this form. A bit of dark green paint is used to paint the armor right above each angle and the area around his eyes. Sure he could have used a couple more decos, but I don't think there's a "Transformers" toy I couldn't say that about. Overall I think he looks awesome.

There are seventeen points of articulation on this figure in robot mode. This includes three in each arm and four in each leg. I'm including his wings in this since they can be moved around as well. While seventeen doesn't sound like a gigantic number by today's standards, note that many of these (including the shoulders, elbows, hips and wings) are all ball joints, allowing for a really nice range of articulation. Even better, all his joints are nice and tight, and his heel pieces give you a way to pose him and keep him nice and stable. Waspinator's weapon is a non-functional one, but it does look great and he can hold it in either hand. Since Waspinator was made to represent the CG mode from the TV show, he isn't choc full of 5mm ports to plug in extra weapons, but he can definitely hold 5mm peg weapons in his hands.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon and fold the stinger back. Attach this to the end of the abdomen on the back of the robot.
  2. Swing the robot chest up.
  3. Pull the chest forward slightly.
  4. Push the two halves of the wasp head together.
  5. Swing the chest/robot head piece back, hiding the robot head under the back armor piece.
  6. Swing the waist/legs section forward, then rotate it around and push it down.
  7. On each robot legs, swing the heel/foot pieces together.
  8. Swing the abdomen section forward a bit (you'll need to push a bit to get it into place, but don't use excessive force).
  9. Align the robot thigh sections with the abdomen so the lines match up.
  10. Swing the lower robot legs up, connecting the rectangular holes near the ends of the feet to the tabs under the beast mode head.
  11. Rotate the insect legs on the robot legs so they're in the front.
  12. Swing the robot arms in, with the two halves of the arms set at an angle.
  13. The peg on the inside of the elbow joint has a corresponding groove on the sides, connect those two sections.
  14. On each inner forearm is a tab which connects to a corresponding hole on the sides of the robot legs, connect those together.
  15. Rotate the insect legs on the robot arms so they form the rear/middle legs.

Beast Mode:
Whenever a Transformer has a beast mode, it can be quite complicated to make it look right. This goes doubly so if the beast mode is an organic looking beast mode. That is the case with Waspinator. This is a challenge that the Kenner designers managed to pull off back in 1996, so it's no surprise that their successors have been able to do the same with some concessions. I want to preface this section by saying that the original 1996 "Beast Wars" Waspinator had a fantastic beast mode. It looked creepy, had some good size and wingspan to it and it really did look like an organic insect (albeit, a very large one). With this incarnation of Waspinator, it the focus was not so much on creating a "realistic" looking wasp, but rather creating a beast mode that looked like the one on the television show.

For the most part, Waspinator's beast mode succeeds in recreating the look of the one from the show. His head is rather large compared to the original Waspinator toy's beast mode head. It has a flat shape with mandibles in the front (complete with teeth inside!) His eyes are huge and have five sided shapes built into them in a really intricate pattern. Dangling off the center of the head are two antennae sculpted with distinct segments. This all leads to a back section that is round with some spikes on top, but there are distinct machine-like elements sculpted along the edges that break the "organic" illusion a bit. The robot arms are clearly visible on the sides, and that is perhaps the sculpt's biggest flaw, but I am reminded that when Waspinator transformed in "Beast Wars", his arms did sort of just pop out of the sides, so in a sense it's weirdly accurate. You can also see the robot legs peeking out from the underside of the head/chest area - but since the visual emphasis of this mode is so heavily focused on the head, back, wings and abdomen it's really not a big deal to me. What I really love is how solid he is. Thanks to the robot arms linking with the sides of the legs, he really holds up well on his insect legs - which are relatively thin. They are really intricate however, with segments clearly sculpted to be distinct from one another, "feelers" on the edges and even small claws at the end (which he used to emote in the shows now and then). The abdomen section looks great and has some nice layering of curved details including the stinger. From that perspective, Waspinator looks quite dangerous!

The same colors featured in the robot mode carry over here, but a lot more emphasis is given to his translucent wings. The clear plastic is perfect as it gives you a look at the wonderful details sculpted within. Each wing actually represents two wings, they're just layered with a larger one on top of the other. The main "new" detail revealed in this form is his Predacon symbol, set in purple and white tampographed on the back of the figure. You also get to see more black used on the abdomen section. The metallic blue on the eyes really helps them stand out against all the other details and I was happy to see dark green paint used on some of the lighter green plastic to help it stand out.

Unlike his "Beast Wars" counterpart, Waspinator has an "action feature" in this mode! Pull the brown button on his back and his wings flap! It's fun to do and having the ability to position his wings on the ball joints makes it neat to play around with the best ways to make his wings look cool as they "flap".

Final Thoughts:
Waspinator is an awesome representation of the character from the television show. He is not perfect. Some robot parts stick out in beast mode, he could use a tad more deco in robot mode (symbols on the head come to mind) but overall, it's a stellar figure and a welcome one, providing diversity to the 'generations' being represented by the "Generations" toy line. Highly recommended!

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