Beast Wars Transformers Fox Kids! Tarantulas Toy Review

in 1999, Action Figure Review, Beast Wars, Deluxe, Predacon, Transmetal, Fox Kids!

Beast Wars Transformers

General Information:
Price Point/Size: Deluxe
Retailers: General (K-Mart, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Kay Bee)
Release Date: 1999
Accessories: Saw weapon


As part of the relaunch of the Beast Wars Transformers series on the Fox Kids! network, several first series Beast Wars Transformers toys have been reissued. Each of these toys is a recolored version of the original toys, so as not to detract from the "collector's value" of the original toys, and these toys have been packaged on Transmetal cards with the original character art and images of the Transmetal 2 toys on the back. The characters reissued were chosen based upon demand by fans who have consistently e-mailed and called Hasbro since the first series of toys went out of production.

Among the second in this series of reissues is Transmetal Tarantulas. The maniacal Predacon has changed from his original form due to a quantum surge. Now a Transmetal, this spider is more powerful and dangerous than before!

Beast Mode:
In beast mode, Tarantulas is primarily silver and black. His transmetallized parts are metallic silver with red detailing. One color remaining consistent from the previous Transmetal toy are his spider eyes which are still neon green. This color scheme helps make this toy look much more mechanical than the previous version. Although the original Transmetal form used various colors such as purple, black and orange, the uniformity of the colors on this toy add to the appearance rather than subtract from it.

Tarantulas has ten points of articulation, his beast mode legs and the two mandibles in the front of his beast mode eyes. The detail level on this toy is superb. Each leg is molded with sharp points (but not sharp enough to hurt kids, so don't worry parents), mechanical tubing and other such details. His creepy multi eye beast mode head remains intact. Much of the central body of Tarantulas is choc full of mechanical grooves, curves and even engine tubing for his vehicle mode.

Unlike the first Tarantulas toy, this one stands fine in beast mode, due in part to a good amount of stiffness in the ball joints that connect the beast mode legs to the main body. His legs manage to keep a fair amount of space between the main body and any surface he is standing on.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
Tarantulas' transformation to vehicle mode is fairly simple. First the beast mode legs all move up, then from his underside, two wheels fold down. The larger, rear wheel needs to be, twisted, stretched out and positioned at an angle and Tarantulas is ready to roll!

Vehicle Mode:
Tarantulas' vehicle mode looks much like his beast mode, simply mounted on wheels. However, the sleekness of the form negates any bad aspects of such a form and simply makes this mode look fun. He cannot stay upright on both wheels since the front wheel is so slim. Rather, he leans to one side if not supported. However, given a good smooth surface, Tarantulas can roll a respectable distance.

Transformation to Robot Mode:
Tarantulas has a fairly complex multi step transformation to robot mode. First his front mandibles swing down and split apart to form his legs. The front, smaller wheel of the vehicle mode detaches to become his hand held weapon in robot mode. The two sides of his robot mode that have the "engine parts and pipes" molded into them move to the sides and the purple parts attached fold down to form his robot mode arms. The rear wheel then splits in half and each half twists and turns and then folds up to the shoulder area. The legs then fold down along with the hips and abdominal area. The lower half of the legs twist around and the feet fold down.

Next fold the beast mode leg parts to the back. The upper chest then folds down and the robot head flips up.

Here's the slightly tricky part. The rear wheel halves should be on top of the upper arms. Now there is a black piece connected to the upper arms that folds forward and there is a small groove which a tiny tab on the wheels locks into. This way, the wheels won't flop around while Tarantulas is in robot mode.

Finally, please the hand held weapon in one of his hands and he's ready for battle!

Robot Mode:
In robot mode, Tarantulas is a virtual clone of the computer model shown on the TV show. Of course this repaint is different colors. His face is nicely detailed with the upper part being silver, orange eyes, silver mouthplate and black detailing. His upper chest, shoulders and upper arms are all silver with black detailing. His lower arms and legs are black and his feet are vacuum metallized silver. His gun is now silver.

Organic parts are definitely evident here on his arms, face and legs. The body is well proportioned, even with the spider legs in the rear (which look more like a backpack than part of the central body). The hand held weapon spins and can act as a blaster or saw. This mode has eleven points of articulation.

Like many of his fellow "Fox Kids!" toy releases, Transmetal Tarantulas could easily be renamed to another character since this color scheme totally diverges from both his original and Transmetal form. However, the color scheme is nice, and in no way subtracts from the toy. A+

Additional Thoughts (February 2013):
This is one of my favorite toys of this era. As Beast Wars wound down and Beast Machines took its place, it was nice to be reminded of what had come before. What's cool about the colors is the way they make Tarantulas look "industrial" as opposed to the more colorful and fanciful version featured on the television show. Also, looking at this figure in an age where most Transformers are straight forward beast to robot or robot to vehicle forms, it's neat to see some of the creative ways "vehicles" were incorporated into "Beast Wars". I still dig this figure a lot to this day.