Last week, my good friend Pat sent me a big box in the mail. It was the new Target exclusive Transformers Buzzworthy Bumblebee Worlds Collide (ugh, I hate typing that) four pack, minus Fangry and Bumblebee. Which is perfect for me, since I only wanted the Beast Wars themed figures in the pack. He also sent me the entire-ass box, which was quite a flex.
Pat and I go way back and he is one of my dearest friends on the entire planet. So, thanks Pat! I also haven’t really been buying toys lately, so this was an extra nice surprise.
I was fiddling around with the Blackarachnia from this box set and noticed she inspired me to take a lot of photos. And that I just couldn’t put the toy down. So I figured I’d better write something about the figure, and compare it to both the original Beast Wars Blackarachnia from 1996 and the Kingdom Blackarachnia from 2020.
It’ll be fun, I promise.
Transformers Buzzworthy Bumblebee Worlds Collide Blackarachnia Quick Review
My goal here isn’t to provide a full review of this figure. There are dozens of people on YouTube who do a way better and more professional job than I do when it comes to modern Transformers toys. You can also find full pictorials on various websites and forums.
My goal here is just to tell you why I like this toy, what captivated me about it, and what you can expect if you buy one.
I’m approaching this as someone adding this toy to a Beast Wars-focused collection, not as a person who is an expert on every modern Transformers figure. I do buy quite a few of the newer mainline Hasbro Transformers, but I’m not an expert by any means. I’ll leave that to the people with online toy store sponsorships on YouTube.
Transformers Buzzworthy Bumblebee Worlds Collide Blackarachnia is a repaint and retool of the 2020 Transformers: War for Cybertron Kingdom Blackarachnia. The toy features a new head and new paint job, based partially on the original 1996 Beast Wars Blackarachnia toy (see next section for comparisons), but based more fully on that toy’s original card art.
You can check the card art out over at TFWiki.
Buzzworthy Blackarachnia closely resembles the original toy, but has more intricate paint. It really is a beautiful figure. We’ll start in robot mode, since I feel it’s where the toy shines.
There are a lot of colors on this Blackarachnia– she’s largely purple, black, green, and bronze/copper, but there’s also a fair amount of this beautiful blue iridescent paint that makes the figure look gorgeous under good lighting. There are additional black, silver, and green paint applications.
I feel like the “leopard print bra” is what catches most people’s attention, and it’s a feature that’s true to the old card art. It’s not simply a pervy artistic reinterpretation of the original toy. I mean it’s also a pervy reinterpretation of the original toy, but there’s a little more to it than that.
The head sculpt is gorgeous. It really paints a vivid picture of how Blackarachnia was presented on her original tech spec bio– as a duplicitous assassin who lures victims into her lair. The original Tarantulas was portrayed as ninja before the Beast Wars animated series made him into a cannibalistic mad scientist/gestapo agent. I feel that the original Blackarachnia, before the character changed for TV, was also a ninja assassin type. This menacing masked visage really helps drive that point home and engages the imagination.
This toy has all of the articulation you’d expect in a modern Transformers toy, so I’m not going to list it here. I will note that her legs can’t kick quite as far forward as you’d like and that her knees and ankles are much weaker than those same joints on Kingdom Blackarachnia.
All of the spider legs can move freely on ball joints, too, which means you can position them to use as machine guns like the character did on the show. The original Blackarachnia toy was not able to do that. Now I just need six more of these Siege blast effects…
The figure is also quite fiddly. When you move one leg forward, the other leg wants to move with it unless you hold it in place, due to the way the figure is constructed. You can move the spider legs into a ton of emotive and evocative positions, which is a blast to do, but they are easily dislodged and the entire spider leg assembly tends to move before the figure’s elbow swivel does due to plastic tolerances. This is a toy you have to pose very intentionally.
That’s usually kind of a dealbreaker for me. But I found myself posing and reposing this toy time and again. I could not put it down. The sheer amount of looks and poses I could get from her, combined with her striking appearance, just made a huge impression on me.
I can’t fully explain it, but I ended up absolutely loving Buzzworthy Blackarachnia. In robot mode, at least.
Spider mode is an entirely different story, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
This Blackarachnia also comes with one accessory– her missile launcher/grappling hook, which was a prominent part of her arsenal as both a toy and a cartoon character. It works well and the paint is nice. No complaints on that front.
But now we come to the spider mode. I do not like transforming this toy, and that’s an understatement. With the Kingdom version, I only half-heartedly tried the transformation once. I didn’t get there. It felt like something was going to break. Plus, I bought that toy for the robot mode anyway.
On this version I powered through. And, thankfully, it wasn’t too bad despite the shitty instructions. I could not, however, get the robot mode gun tabbed in underneath the spider correctly without the robot arms coming undone from the spider abdomen. I just gave up on that part.
And the spider mode does look pretty good. The detail and paint are incredible. It also stands up nicely on its spider legs, which is a rarity for any Beast Wars arthropod.
The spider mode is nice but not perfect. It is pretty much just a pile of robot parts, albeit nicely arranged robot parts. It’s fairly convincing, but doesn’t hold up to too much scrutiny. The head/mandible area looks pretty unfinished in particular, but there’s only so much you can do to make Blackarachnia’s exaggerated female robot form into a little spider.
It’s also fiddly and unstable. If you move it around, something is going to come untabbed or fall out of place. It’s inevitable. I don’t love that.
I will say, though, that I enjoy that the back of the spider looks like an alien skull, thanks to plastic colors, markings, and the faux, vestigial spider eyes that end up on her robot mode crotch. That’s a fun coincidental thing.
So, yeah, overall I pretty much adore this toy. It’s kind of a fiddly mess, but it’s one I’m drawn to. I’ve had a blast playing with it and posing it. I’ll probably never transform it again, but I will enjoy the heck out of the robot mode. It’s a great homage to a weird original Beast Wars toy and its original packaging art. The colors are bizarre and beautiful. I can’t imagine anything being more up my alley.
Now let’s get onto the comparisons.
Transformers Buzzworthy Bumblebee Worlds Collide Blackarachnia Compared to Kingdom Blackarachnia
The Transformers: War for Cybertron Kingdom Blackarachnia is also a gorgeous toy. The figure looks almost exactly like the CGI model from the Beast Wars cartoon, minus a few small color differences. No other BA figure, minus the Takara Masterpiece, has even come close to looking this screen accurate.
And, let’s face it, we all know and love Blackarachnia because of the Beast Wars cartoon. So it’s always hurt to not have a show-accurate version to interact with our other Beast Wars toy.
The Takara Legends version from 2015 almost came close to looking screen accurate, but it was an Animated retool so it was still off model. It’s also fragile. I’ve treated mine with care and it’s already broken. So Kingdom BA was a godsend.
As you can see, they look like completely different characters. Which is a huge plus for me. While I do love a straight-up repaint, especially in wacky colors, I love a repaint that can act as another character entirely even more.
I wanted Buzzworthy Blackarachnia precisely because she didn’t just have to be ‘Blackarachnia with a new hat.’
I see the Buzzworthy version as an entirely different character, a more primal ninja/assassin that does even dirtier work for the Predacons. She was never a Maximal protoform and does not have a spark of goodness within her. She is a stealthy killing machine.
I’ve heard people mention using the Crystal Widow name for her, and I’m not opposed to that. I also thing Darkweb would be kind of a fun name, as it is both spidery and represents the seedy underbelly of society– a shadowy thing that trades in assassinations, narcotics, and illegal secrets. That seems to fit this character for me.
Crystal Widow is also apparently a marijuana strain, which makes me laugh. Let us all bask in the cosmic synergy at work here.
Also note that I did not transform Kingdom Blackarachnia for this article since no one is paying me to do this. So you’ll have to excuse the lack of spider mode comparisons.
But we will have some spider mode comparisons in the next section!
Transformers Buzzworthy Bumblebee Worlds Collide Blackarachnia Compared to 1996 Beast Wars Blackarachnia
This is where things get really fun, in my opinion.
Let’s start in spider mode, since I sort of cheated you in the last section.
The original 1996 Blackarachnia did not resemble a black widow spider very much. The toy was a beautifully garish mix of green, purple, bronze, and red. You could see that the intention was there, and it even included the red hourglass on the abdomen, but it looked more like a generic spider than a true black widow.
But it also looked great. I think the original Blackarachnia succeeds more as a cool, creepy spider toy than either the Kingdom or Buzzworthy versions. It looks like a classic 80s/90s gross-out toy. It’s also remarkably solid and fun to play with.
The 96 BA’s missile launcher actually shot, and you could fit the grappling hook into the back of the spider. If you fired it, the spider could hang from whatever was around your house using the included string for the grappling hook (which mine is missing, sadly). That’s a perfect play feature for a spider toy, and one that several later BA toys tried to replicate.
Of course, Buzzworthy Blackarachnia’s spider mode is much more articulated and expressive. It can easily stand on its spider legs, while the original just kind of lies flat on the ground. But the newer mold is less convincing from some angles, and is kind of frustrating when it comes to stability and that whole “staying tabbed together” thing.
Buzzworthy BA outdoes her predecessor when it comes to paint and deco, of course. Her spider mode is a gorgeous kaleidoscope of colors. It’s also more dynamic and stands out more in a display or photo.
When I told me friend Drac I thought the original Blackarachnia had a better spider mode, he called it a “hot take for the ages.” I’m realizing that he might be right. To me, Buzzworthy Blackarachnia’s spider mode represents frustration but, objectively, it is a bit better than what the original offered.
But I still stand firm in my opinion that 1996 Blackarachnia is a fantastic creepy spider toy that would have really appealed to kids at its time of release.
Now, onto robot mode.
Don’t they look great together??
As you can see, Buzzworthy BA replicates the original in broad strokes, even if she’s more based on the original package art that the original toy. All of the colors and patterns are there, but much of the color placement is different, which is pretty easy to see.
The newer toy also has much more intricate paint applications and stronger sculpted details, of course.
The original Blackarachnia had really good articulation for the time. Her shoulders, eblows, hips, knees, and ankles all move, which was huge for a Transformer. Beast Wars was great at that. As such, she can strike a good number of poses.
But, as far as articulation goes, she does pale in comparison to the new Blackarachnia.
The original figure also had one more really cool feature: four of her spider legs could be removed from their ball joints and used as extra missiles for the grappling hook launcher. That’s much more ammo than most toys come with! I love how versatile her main weapon is.
Buzzworthy Blackarachnia doesn’t have any action features at all, of course, because she’s a main line Generations release. Hasbro generally saves the action features for the “kid oriented” lines at this point, which is sometimes kind of a shame.
You’ll also notice that these toys have vastly different body types. I am not a person who thinks any female-coded Transformer needs to have an hourglass figure. I really enjoy it when Transformers mixes it up a bit with a character like Strika from Beast Machines or Clobber from Cyberverse. I’d actually like to see more of that.
1996 Blackarachnia was the first ever female Transformer released at general retail. And she was a repaint of Tarantulas. I love that Kenner/Hasbro came right out of the gate with a toy like Blackarachnia, who looks like a powerful combatant with a body type that couldn’t be more different from Arcee’s.
Of course, the folks at Mainframe could not let that stand for the Beast Wars animated series. Apparently, they based the Blackarachnia CGI model on a dancer they saw at a local strip club. And that real dancer, in turn, is who both the Kingdom and Buzzworthy Blackarachnia figures are based off of.
I’m not really here to pass judgment or to say that no fictional character or action figure can have a “bombshell” body type. But I also think it’s good to move beyond those things, too. There’s room for all body types, especially when it comes to transforming alien robots.
Looking at 96 and Buzzworthy Blackarachnia together, I think they make a stunning pair. I kind of see them either as sisters or members of the same Cybertronian ninja clan. They, like Tarantulas, could also be members of the Predacon Secret Police. I absolutely love seeing them together, and I view both of them as different from the Blackarachnia character.
Maybe they can be Crystal Widow and Darkweb.
In the end, the Transformers Buzzworthy Bumblebee Worlds Collide Blackarachnia does something totally different than either her original Beast Wars or Kingdom counterparts. She has the body of Kingdom BA and the general appearance of 96 BA, but she takes the original packaging art to heart and comes out looking different from both of them.
In my collection (and in the Beast Wars world in my head), there’s room for all three of them simultaneously.
Buzzworthy Blackarachnia is a toy I’m very glad to own, and she compliments both other versions nicely.
Closing Thoughts on Transformers Buzzworthy Bumblebee Worlds Collide Blackarachnia
Thanks again to my friend Pat!
I hope you enjoyed this post. It’s not the type of thing I traditionally do, but Buzzworthy BA inspired me to write up something, no matter what it was.
I probably won’t have another full review for you this Thursday. We are (safely) playing a music festival later in the week and I just can’t see myself finding the time. So I’ll see you next week.
I also want to thank everyone for writing such thoughtful comments on the Sonic Fighters Viper post. I was thrilled at every single comment y’all left.
So, what do you think of the various Kingdom Beast Wars updates so far? Would you want to see more figures done up to look like their original toy colors like Buzzworthy Blackarachnia here? Let me know in the comments!