Arcee is a name with a lot of history in the Transformers Universe. She was first introduced during the animated movie in 1986. As the first really prominent female Transformer -- a group of female Autobots that appeared in one episode early on in the series notwithstanding -- Arcee was a little derivative in appearance. She had a pink body, and rather distinctly female humanoid features in her robot form. She transformed into a futuristic sports car, and although a highly effective warrior, easily the equal of any male Transformer, she also had a certain maternal instinct towards young Daniel Witwicky, the son of Spike Witwitcky, a longtime human associate of the Autobots.
Despite her prominence in the Transformers series, there was no Arcee toy. Even in a line of robots, the axiom "female characters do not sell in a boys' toys line" held sway, and Arcee just didn't make it.
I have it on good authority that had the Transformers Action Masters line, which ran from 1989-1990, continued for an additional assortment or two, there were plans to do a number of characters from the movie, and there was a good chance that Arcee would have been a part of that. Sadly, this didn't come to pass either.
Arcee, despite the lack of a toy, managed to maintain a certain level of popularity. She was even mentioned in Beast Wars, at one point, when Rattrap made the exclamation, "By my great aunt Arcee!" I'm not even going to try to figure out how that worked in the robotic world.
Finally, there was an Arcee toy, in one of the more recent incarnations of Transformers. But she didn't transform into a sports car. She turned into a motorcycle. Technically, this wasn't the G1 Arcee. But the character was still named Arcee, the headsculpt looked a fair bit like the G1 version. she was predominantly pink, so -- close enough.
Now we come to the live action movie. And as it turns out, Arcee was supposed to be in the film. But for various reasons which I shall not get into here, Arcee didn't make it. The character was fully designed, however, in both robotic and vehicular mode -- and maintaining her previous toy appearance, she would've been a motorcycle. Here's hoping that she makes it into the sequel.
However, as far in advance as both the CGI character designs and the toys themselves had to be designed, there was an Arcee toy ready to go -- and I don't mean the dark blue motorcycle that's a Target exclusive. That toy is cool, don't get me wrong, but it's really just a recoloration of the previous pink one. I still recommend it as a cool toy, but if you want a more movie-centric Arcee, then you want the general-release version.
As I said, Arcee is a motorcycle. Toywise in this mode, Arcee is rather interesting. She's not exactly pink. She's more of a pinkish purple. It's not a bad color, really, and it's certainly brighter than most of the Transformers from the movie. If Arcee is based on an existing real-world motorcycle, I don't recognize it. Granted, I am no expert on motorcycles. Arcee is a fairly fancy, rather futuristic-looking motorcycle, but not at all implausible-looking. I'm a little reluctant to draw this particular comparison, but the toy, at least, almost looks like something I'd expect to see in a Power Rangers box. Okay, it's a bit more sophisticated than that, and probably the unusual color of the motorcycle aids in that image. Overall, Arcee makes an interesting motorcycle.
Let me say something about the packaging here. Hasbro has carried something over from the recent Classics line that I sincerely appreciate. The toys are not so strapped down in their packages that it takes a pair of wire cutters, just to get the toy free from its packaging. Arcee is held in place by two wire twist-ties that are not woven through the figure. Easily snipped, easily removed.
In motorcycle mode, Arcee has a small kickstand that allowed her to remain upright on two wheels. The wheels turn, although there is no steering action. Arcee has a license plate, ostensibly from Massachusetts, which reads "TF 7407". Hasbro's been working the release date of the movie in wherever it can. It was also on several of the Real Gear Robots. Overall painted detailing on Arcee is excellent. I tend to think it can't have been that easy to match the purple color of the plastic on other parts that had to be partially painted.
One additional note -- in motorcycle mode, Arcee is not to scale with the other Transformers from the movie line. Granted, some of them aren't even to scale with each other. Most of these toys are being marketed under the same price point, and you're simply not going to turn out everything from a motorcycle to military vehicles in the same price point and keep them all at the same size. As such, Arcee comes across as a pretty big motorcycle compared to her peers.
Transforming Arcee is not terribly difficult, and interestingly, is surprisingly similar in some respects to the previous Arcee toy, although the movie Arcee is larger and more complex. One of the more curious features is how one of the wheels actually splits in half to move to either side of her shoulders. The end result is an impressive, almost 6" tall robot that really makes you hope that there will be a Transformers sequel that will bring in more characters, and that Arcee will be one of them, becayse she looks very much as one would expect a movie-style Arcee to look, as well she should.
Arcee is very well articulated, as all modern Transformers of decent size tend to be, although I do wish that her elbows had either been configured a little differently, or her wrists had been put on a swivel. She us poseable at both the elbows and wrists, but it's a little tricky to get her to post on a good weapon-firing stance.
Speaking of weapons, Arcee's is very interesting. The rear part of the motorcycle becomes Arcee's weapon. It's a spring loaded missile-launcher, but pushing the missile into the launch mechanism causes these two pieces to spring out to the side, making the weapon look like a futuristic, robotic crossbow.
Arcee's face is appropriate to the movie style, but if I may make a general comment here about the character designs from the movie. Don't get me wrong -- I immensely enjoyed the Transformers movie, and I am well aware of the fact that trying to directly transpose G1 designs over to the live-action world probably would not have worked all that well, at least not with modern movie-goers expectations in the world of special effects. That having been said, I do feel that some of the designs were a little TOO alien. Yes, these are alien robots, but to some degree, we have to be able to empathize with them, and that's a little difficult when in their robot modes it's hard to discern any significant facial features, and their overall designs are so distinctly alien that you wonder how they manage to fit all of that into a car (or plane, or tank, or motorcycle...)
I'll admit to some concern about these movie images becoming the "default" likeness in the public pop culture mine of these legendary characters, and yet there does seem to be some G1 material out there in conjunction with the movie items, so perhaps this much is a needless concern. But I do find myself wondering if some of the robot designs really had to be as extremely alien as they turned out to be.
Anyway, Arcee is a cool toy. Her headsculpt is unusual, apart from the movie design element itself, in that it is not entirely symmetrical. The top portion of the head is a little lopsided, almost as if this were some sort of robotic hairstyle. Her eyes will glow a rather dark blue if the head is backlit from a nearby light source.
Her feet almost manage to be a sort of robotic "high-heeled shoe" formation. This, in a way, is another notable carryover from the previous Arcee toy. Given the way the color scheme works out, however, with Arcee's entire lower legs and feet being black, it almost looks as though she's wearing high-heeled boots.
There have been detractors over the years who have said that it really isn't appropriate or even logical to have male and female robots. Personally, at least within the world of Transformers, I think this is ridiculous. Even in the movie style, Arcee looks more feminine in a robotic way than the other Transformers. She is more slender, less bulky, and I don't think you'd catch any of the others in high heels.
There is a character profile on the package which reads as follows:
ARCEE is a born hunter. Before joining the Autobots, she passed her time tracking turbofoxes on Cybertron with some of the other speedsters, taking great pride in approaching as close as she could to them, quickly and silently, before tagging them with her bow. She's brought those skills with her to Earth, where she passes the days stalking unsuspecting Decepticons until she draws close enough to strike.
Impressive! Need it be said her highest ranking on the various capabilities graph is Skill, which ranks at "9", but she doesn't really come up short anywhere.
As of this writing, the Transformers movie toys have been phenomenal sellers, especially the action figure toys based most closely on the movie characters themselves, as one would expect them to be, and most especially the basic carded units -- again not surprising.
But the general word out there is that the Transformers movie is a hit, and the toys are proving to be an even bigger hit. If you enjoyed the movie, and have been any sort of collector of the toys, you're probably going to want at least some of these, and certainly Arcee, based on actual movie designs that just didn't quite make it, is one of the most interesting entries in the line.
The Transformers Movie ARCEE definitely has my enthusiastic recommendation!