Coming up we have Transformers Beast Machines Blackarachnia. Beast Machines is the follow up series that takes place after the events of Beast Wars. I never really got into the two shows, but since the release of the first Blackarachnia I’ve come to consider her as an interesting choice to add to my collection. Apart from the original Beast Wars and Beast Machines versions, there’s also a Transformers Animated version. I recently acquired Blackarachnia at a local Pop Culture Expo and have been meaning to do a review since then. So here we go!
The Beast Machines cartoon aired in the late 90s/early 2000s and I think it shows here. For an expert saboteur she’s pretty bright and colourful. There’s a lot of purple and green going on with some black here and there, and some clear green plastic covering some of her bio-mechanical workings. I really like the paint work they’ve done here. She’s a deluxe size, but with her leg span and posture in beast mode she could possibly be slightly bigger than that. Even in robot mode she stands a bit taller than what would pass for a deluxe these days. Her spider/beast mode is as spindly and creepy-crawly as you would expect, and her robot mode has that “dangerously feminine” style to it.
Sadly, she doesn’t come with any accessories. Given how they’ve designed her “hands” it makes it a bit tricky for her to hold any sort of weapon. She has two “claws” towards the end of each arm that can swivel in, so she might be able to hold on to something, but then it looks a bit weird with one massive appendage hanging out the end. You could probably pretend that they’re some sort of scythes and call it a day. Beast Wars Blackarachnia comes with a grappling hook and launcher that can be deployed in robot and beast modes, but unfortunately her Beast Machines version misses out.
She moves pretty well in both modes. In beast mode she has enough joints in her limbs to create most “spidery” poses. She also has a neat feature in her spider head where if you pull the green and purple pedipalps apart, the mouth pieces move up and down. It’s equal parts cool from an engineering viewpoint and creepy if you’re not a big fan of spiders. The transformation process is pretty straightforward and it’s quite easy to repeat the steps. There’s no instruction sheet here, instead the instructions are printed on the packaging. Another neat feature is her “visor” that can move up and down to cover her eyes as well as reveal additional eyes on her forehead.
In robot mode she has a decent range of movement, apart from her head that is. She does have a double swivel in her neck that allows for turning and tilting up and down. However, due to her “hair” being a solid piece of plastic, she is unable to tilt her head back at all. She can only look down slightly though. She has ball joints in the shoulders and elbows that allow for a decent range of movement, and just past the elbows is a swivel so you can turn her forearms. The aforementioned “claws” can turn in for grasping things (or create a massive “flipping the bird” effect).
She has a swivel at the waist and ball joints at the hips as well as hinges in the knees and ankles. The elbows and knees can only manage a 90 degree bend though. The legs tab together nicely in robot mode, but then she’s left with some overly long feet. It would have been nice to have some sort of lateral swivel in the legs, but I guess it would have been too difficult to do due to the transformation process. The really long feet do make her pretty stable though (her spider abdomen makes her a bit back-heavy).
You could try to pose her en pointe (with the “toes” of the feet separated slightly to give more surface contact points), but that requires a whole lot of patience to get her to balance right. Even then there’s not a lot you can do from there.
Transformers Beast Machines Blackarachnia is a bit of an odd duck in my collection. I don’t have any other transformers from Beast Machines or Beast Wars, and I don’t have a lot of other insectoids/arachnids for her to hang with. That aside, she’s proven to be quite an interesting figure. I often find scenarios for her that I normally wouldn’t consider for other transformers or other figures in general for that manner. Fans of the shows should be sure to pick her up if they haven’t already. The lack of accessories and the issue with her head are just minor things really.
There are variations to her modes that can also make things a bit more interesting. Her robot mode arms can be moved forward under her body in spider mode so that they face the front.
It’s also possible to have a sort of half-transformation where you can have her robot torso on top of her spider legs.
Transformers Beast Machines Blackarachnia can be found at the link below along with other transformers in the Beast Machines and Beast Wars range (and be sure to keep an eye out for the Transformers Animated version as well).