My Rambling Thoughts

Quest for the perfect Arcee

SS86, Legends, Earthrise

Arcee used to be a holy grail. It was never released as in the original '86 toyline, although it was prototyped. The first mass-produced transformable Arcee was probably Valkyrie (mid 2010) by Impossible Toys followed by Delicate Warrior by iGear (late 2010). An official transformable G1 Arcee was finally released in 2014, the Thrilling 30 Arcee. TakaraTomy released it as LG-10 with more toon colors (shown above) in 2015.

(Thrilling 30 refers to the 30th anniversary. It will be Thrilling 40 next year.)

The next official Arcee was WfC: Earthrise (2020). It was re-released in the Kingdom line (2021). A new mold was created for SS86 line in 2022.

I got LG-10 a few years back, despite not collecting CHUG figures. It looked really G1! I overlooked the "birth-giving hips" cos it was the only game in town — I thought so then. I did not intend to collect any more CHUG figures.

I was very interested when ER Arcee was revealed. Wow, it looked even more G1! But something felt off and I did not get it. That "something off" was that she was a complete shellformer. Her car mode were a complete shell. None of it made up her bot mode.

Last year, someone compared LG-10, ER and SS86 Arcees in a forum post and only then did I realize there was a new Arcee. And it looked good! It improved upon the T30 mold. I decided to buy it, though it would be a few more months before I saw it in retail stores.

At the same time, I found there was an upgrade kit for ER Arcee. It was possible (though somewhat difficult) to remove her car shell and install a smaller screen-accurate backpack. I was sold. Just nice, I managed to find a customized ER Arcee with painted face for 20 yuan (S$4) more.

That's how I have 3 CHUG Arcees. Do I need all of them? No. I'm considering selling LG-10. It was the first G1 accurate Arcee, but it has been superceded by better figures and there are now many choices across different scales (Legend, CHUG, Masterpiece). As such, it is not worth much these days.

The picture that sold me Legacy Blitzwing

Blitzwing is a triple changer. Its two alt-modes are a Japanese Type 74 tank and a Soviet MiG-25 plane (though it may be hardpressed to recognize).

But here we see the two modes side-by-side from a single toy? :???:

This is Legacy Blitzwing, a Voyager size figure priced as Leader class.

Its tank mode is good (except for one thing) — the plane parts all fit inside the tank. But its plane mode is terrible. The tank parts just sit below the plane! It doubles the height of the plane and looks like a display stand. Someone found that it could be separated easily and hence the picture above. Notice the tank is hollow.

This means Legacy Blitzwing fails as a triple changer. But I like it! I like that the tank and plane modes can be displayed together. I must have gotten this from Arcee, where she is usually a shellformer and she can be displayed together with her car mode.

What is the one wrong thing with Legacy Blitzwing tank mode? The plane cockpit is protruding out too much. The animation model is wrong in the first place. The plane cockpit is supposed to be at the back of the tank, not the front. But that is water under the bridge.

Maybe because it is a terrible figure, it went on sale for almost 40% off and I got it for S$60.94. (The discount is not as fantastic as it seems, it is usually 20% off.)

Best of Transformers SS86 line

Jazz, Cyclonus, Hot Rod, Scourge

I decided to get some mainline Transformers figures on a whim. I would not have imagined doing so a few years back. They were too stylized and too "dumbed down". It changed with War for Cybertron: Earth Rise (2020). That was the start of G1 toon trend. Two figures caught my eyes: Smokescreen and Arcee. I kept them in my cart for a long time, but in the end I did not click the "Buy" button.

Fast forward to mid-2022. Studio Series 86 Arcee was revealed. It turned out that ER Arcee was widely derided for her "shellforming". SS86 Arcee was based on the Thrilling 30 Arcee from 2014 — a better figure by all accounts. I decided to get it and that opened the floodgate to a number of Arcees. This was a special case, though. I did not intend to get other CHUG figures.

The next figure to catch my eye (admittedly, I wasn't paying much attention) was Legacy Blitzwing, but that's a story for another time.

Looking back at 3 years of figures (since ER), quite a number of them were G1 looking, but most of them were too greebled or too hollowed-out (*) for my liking. Only a handful were decent, and most of them were from SS86 line.

(*) There is a cottage industry of third-party add-ons to fill in the gap — literally.

Figures that met my criteria (G1 toon look, well-done, iconic, discounted):

  • Kingdom Cyclonus (2021)
  • SS86 Hot Rod (2021)
  • SS86 Jazz (2021)
  • SS86 Sweep (2022)

The first figure I got was Scourge. Only, I got Sweep instead as it was heavily discounted (S$43.95) and I actually like the lighter blue more.

I got Kingdom Cyclonus next. It was an opportunistic buy as I found him for cheap (S$40). He looks like he belongs in the SS86 line due to his clean look (i.e. non-greebled). Unfortunately, he has a yellowing problem. Some/many batches were known to yellow, including mine — I got a pre-yellowed figure because I failed to check carefully.

An unintended buy was Jazz. He looks just the part — and this is without license! Most importantly, he was available at a decent price (139 yuan; S$27 excluding shipping).

Rounding up was Hot Rod. He is truly a "mini-Masterpiece". He is Deluxe size, but priced as Voyager. This is an increasingly common trend — intricate figures are priced one level up. I got him for S$42, but had I shopped more smartly, I could have gotten him for S$28+ (if meet $100 total) during Hasbro's Lazada 3.3 sale! I was wondering how sellers could price him at S$40+ (MSRP S$62.90). Now I know.

I would like to get Blurr too, but SS86 Blurr is one ugly dude!

Will I get more CHUG figures in the future? With the precedent set, yes, but they have to be "flawless" — and heavily discounted! I don't expect to buy many. :lol:

The SS86 line has Dinobots. They are pretty well-done, but not to my liking as they are quite greebled. There is recurring speculation that their S1 arch-enemy Constructicons will be released too. Perhaps in 2024 or 2026? (40th anniversary of TV and the movie.)

I hope the Constructicons are Voyager size, non-greebled and non-hollowed. Come to think of it, it is almost 10 years since Combiner Wars Devastator (2015, re-issued in 2021).

Masterpiece purge 2023

Continuing my purge of unwanted figures.

Round 5:

  • MP-5 Megatron
  • BadCube Insecticons
  • MakeToys MTRM-11 Meteor (Starscream)
  • MMC PS-01A Sphinx (Mirage)
  • MMC PS-12 Saltus (Springer)

I used to want multiple sets of Insecticons, just like Reflector, for "army-building". Now, for Masterpiece, just the FansToys one will do.

For Starscream, I have DS-01 (Crimson Wings). It is as toon as it can be — it is even better than MP-52.

For Mirage, I have TE-03 (Speedstar) and FT-49 (Phantasm). Soon after I got PS-01A, TE-03 was announced. If I had known, I would have skipped it.

For Springer, I have MX-10 (Virtus) and RH-02 (Airwolf). These two were not released when I got PS-12. Otherwise, I would have skipped it.

3P figures are hard to move. There is little interest in them.

Round 6:

  • MP-12 Sideswipe [sold]
  • MP-19 Smokescreen
  • MP-25 Tracks
  • UW-04 Devastator

I'll keep the rest of my carbots (MP-17 Prowl, MP-20 Wheeljack, MP-28 Hot Rod and MP-39 Sunstreaker) for now. Not that sure about Hot Rod, though, with his massive backpack. :lol:

I decided to get rid of UW-04 Devastator too. It is hard to say if it can be sold, since I'm asking a rather high price together with the DK-01 upgrade kit (it has long been sold out and can command a good price).

Masterpiece purge 2022

Note: this entry was written in Aug 2022.

Round 1:

  • MP-10 (Optimus Prime v2)
  • MP-11 (Starscream v1.5)
  • MP-22 (Ultra Magnus)
  • MP-36 (Megatron)

I have THF-04, which is KO of MP-22, and IT-01, KO of MP-36, so in a way I still have them. If there are better figures in the future, I will get rid of them too.

Round 2:

  • MP-13 (Soundwave and Laserbeak)
  • MP-15 (Ravage and Rumble)
  • MP-16 (Buzzsaw and Frenzy)

The ironic part is that I waited a long time for a reissue of MP-11 and MP-13, and now I get rid of them because they are not "toon enough". At that time, I thought they were the best possible representation. That was before the rise of "Third-Party" makers and the switch to toon aesthetics.

I still want Laserbeak. The cheapest way to get it is a 6-tape KO set (~$26).

Round 3:

  • MP-18 (Bluestreak)
  • MP-21 (Bumblebee)
  • MP-28 (Ironhide)

Round 4:

  • MP-3 (Starscream)

I sold MP-3 at a rock bottom price ($35). It was pretty dusty and had some discolouration after being on display for 15+ years. I also didn't have the box/instructions with me. I'm surprised there were takers, quite a few, in fact.

I'm thinking of selling MP-5 (Megatron) too. Of the "first gen" MPs, I will keep only MP-1 (Optimus Prime) and MP-8 (Grimlock).