Toy Review – Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Studio Series

NOTE: All Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Studio Series figures in this article were provided by Hasbro for review. Use this link for 10% of any in-stock Transformers — or any other in-stock items — at Entertainment Earth, with free shipping.

For the live-action movies, the Transformers characters are more complex than can ever be reproduced in a toy. However, the Studio Series figures have done an excellent job of using design cheats to come as close as possible.

Built with the aid of digital models, they’re meant to be the sole Transformers line where every character is in the same scale — at least within each property. The Studio Series has branched out into the animated movie and video games, and those aren’t necessarily in the same scale as the “Bayformers.”

With the new movie — Rise of the Beasts — comes a whole new wave of toys. These include one Core Class (Arcee), two Deluxes (Airazor and Bumblebee), one Voyager (Battletrap), and one Leader (Scourge).

The Big Bad

As the main villain, Scourge — his boss, Unicron, is mostly offscreen — will likely be a hot ticket item. He’s tall, dark, and menacing, with a head akin to feudal Japanese armor.

His large claw hand opens, closes, and even switches out for a blast cannon that stows on his lower back. On his other hand, the forearm blade can rotate and swing into an upright sword while still attached to his arm. The leg joints can be a bit stiff at first, but he’s nicely articulated in robot mode.

Orange light-piping effects simulate the Unicron power glow are eye-catching, if a little lackluster. They show up best in truck mode.

Transformation isn’t intuitive, as the back part of the truck mode looks like a bunch of nondescript junk. With the toy — as with the onscreen character — only the front of the truck is meant to be seen. The cab transformation mostly comes from unfolding his back to create a shell over the rest of his torso; the legs form a more vaguely defined rear. The front of the cab even has the badges of his defeated foes, which is a nice detail.

The Henchman

Battletrap has a similar transformation issue, which in his case are the arms. They come with a lot of kibble on the underside that forms a strange-looking tow winch.

The trick is to fold Battletrap’s arms early on in the transformation. Leaving them till the end is pure finger torture. The downside of these two Terrorcons having the coolest robot sculpts is they have the toughest transformations. Remember, there’s no shame in going to YouTube to find help!

Battletrap’s design in both modes is full of personality — angry orange and lots of spikes. The one bummer of the figure is the lack of his ball and chain weapon. He only comes equipped with the ball, which splits in half to become a knuckle duster of sorts. His cardboard display backdrop is the same museum image as for Scourge — just a little smaller.

Again, the translucent orange parts work better in alt mode, where the wrecking ball also locks in place to hold the winch steady. It all looks a little uneven, but snaps together once you get it right.

He’s a badass bot despite the winch hooks, though. It’s a shame the movie didn’t give him a lot to do. His color scheme manages to evoke wasps, tigers, and demolition vehicles. I assume the “Bernie’s” is a tribute to Bernie Mac’s appearance in the first movie as the man who sells Bumblebee to the Witwickys.

The Hero

Bumblebee, by contrast, is basic Bumblebee. He doesn’t change drastically movie to movie, and Deluxe Class figures have a formula down. The only challenge with this one are his arms, which bulge from the bottom more than you might expect. He comes with a removable sword and gun, which stow underneath and on the back of his car mode respectively.

His eyes stare in an intense, almost angry way. (Probably mad his solo movie didn’t get a direct sequel!) There’s no flip-down mask on this model, but he definitely leans into the bee look, with “wings” and “antennae.”

The Wise Old Bird

Airazor is an intuitive Transformer, as she should be. Beasts are closer to robot shape anyway, so it’s usually just a case of modifying the legs and arms. Airazor never actually transforms in the movie, so the designers had some free reign. It’s predictable: arms become body, legs shorten, head flips down, wings fold out. Kids and parents will figure this one out without instructions.

If Michael Keaton‘s Vulture ever went full robot, it might look a little something like this.

The Speedster

Most Studio Series figures come with stiff cardboard display stages decked out with movie scene backdrops. On top of that, a dummy version is included that the figure can be tied to for security. Arcee, being in the tiny Core Class to keep her in scale, only comes with the dummy version. But if you don’t mind the holes, it works all right.

Arcee cheats a lot more because of her size — it’s not really possible to do both wheels on her shoulders and still have the transformation work. In the movie, her alt-form has a dummy driver, but not here, as that would complicate things even further. So you’ll have to plug her second wheel in, and mostly look at her from the front.

Her transformation is fairly simple, but beware of pieces coming off. When you push her head forward for the shift, it sticks and feels like it might break. Take it slow.

These are not cheap figures. Tiny Arcee runs around $11.99, while Scourge goes for $54.99. The rest are somewhere in between.

With that said? they look pretty darn cool on the shelf. You might not enjoy transforming them back and forth as much as kids with the original toys used to, but you’ll have some impressive replicas of the robots that never actually existed on-set.

Take a look through the gallery below for even more looks at the robots and their so-called disguises.