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Series: TransArt
Allegiance: Predacon
Year: 2023

Prelude: The nicest thing anyone has ever said about Tarantulas is that he was insane. The Predacon’s Mad Scientist and Secret Police agent certainly left a lasting impression in the Beast Wars TV series and he was among the few Predacons who also got a Transmetal form. Now this version of Unicron’s spawn returns from TransArt in Masterpiece-scale under the name Motor Spider. Is he as insane and sadistic as ever? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaa! Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: TransArt has made it their mission to take the already (for the most part) brilliant Beast Wars figures and scale them up to Masterpiece scale. Now it is the turn of Transmetal Tarantulas, too. Motor Spider, as he is now called, is roughly 50 percent larger than the old Beast Wars Deluxe figure, but apart from that he looks pretty much the same. His coloring is possibly a tad lighter than back in the 90s, but it’s clearly meant to be the same character, so full marks here.

I was always a fan of Tarantulas’ Transmetal form, so I like the look of this figure a lot. Motor Spider looks great. The articulation has been improved when compared to the old Beast Wars figures and now includes twisting wrists, articulated finger claws, ankle tilt, and a twisting hip. His big golden feet, made from metal, give him a solid stance for all sorts of poses. All eight of the spider legs on his back are also multi-jointed, so you can put them into whatever pose you prefer, too. Very nicely done.

Motor Spider carries Tarantulas’ chainsaw gun, which looks pretty much identical to the one from the 90s. One difference: the old gun could turn the saw blade sideways, too, which isn’t possible here. Not a big thing in robot mode, but it does play a role in his alternate modes (more on that below). When he doesn’t need it, Motor Spider can store his gun on his back.

One tiny little drawback, though: when transforming Motor Spider from alternate into robot mode, putting the torso together is a bit fiddly. You first have to attach the big shoulder pieces to the torso and then the arms plug into the shoulder pieces. It works, but it’s a bit fiddly to get everything lined up just right. Important tip: the shoulder pieces, which are the halves of the rear wheel from the vehicle mode, are not interchangeable, because the pegs for the arms don’t fit when the shoulders are switched.

Apart from that, though, a near-perfect robot mode. Transmetal Tarantulas has stepped out of the old tube TV and has become this figure. Nicely done.

Alternate Mode: Motor Spider transforms into the same mechanical spider he became back in days of yore, only bigger and heavier. The transformation is basically the same one, the only difference being that the head of the spider is not the chest plate of the robot. That one is a fake, the spider’s head emerges from inside the robot’s torso. Otherwise, though, same transformation, just bigger and with a few more detailed steps. The resulting spider looks great and, despite being multi-jointed, the spider legs have no problem holding the spider’s body up. Nicely done. The two front mandibles are mostly immobile, but that was the same for the original figure. The only slight downside here is that there is no place to store the chainsaw gun in this mode. This is where the original figure had an advantage, because turning the saw blade sideways enabled you to store the gun on the spider’s underside. That does not work here.

Like all Transmetals, Motor Spider has an additional vehicle mode. The spider folds up the legs, the big rear wheel unfolds from the back, and the chainsaw gun now serves as a front wheel, giving us a spider motorcycle. Of course the toy cannot really stand on the two wheels without toppling over, so best to fold down one of the spider legs as a stand. Then the motorcycle is stable enough even for Dinobot to sit on top like he did in the episode “Code of Hero”.

Bottom line for the alternate modes: very nicely done. Just like in robot mode, Motor Spider perfectly captures the look of the original figure.

Accessories: Motor Spider comes with three little spider drones, the likes of which he also used in the TV series. Technically they aren’t spiders, of course, given that they are six-legged, but that let’s leave that aside for now. Basically they are little missiles on legs, one of them with a loading area on top. The other two have little plugs where you can insert one or two little robotic arms. The spider drones are cute and capture the look of those seen on TV, but I think they will soon wander back into the box.

Remarks: Tarantulas was among the original crew of the Darksyde, the ship that Predacon Megatron commandeered to travel through time back to ancient Earth. He was far from a loyal follower, though, but rather a member of the Predacon Secret Police and his job was... well, it wasn’t one hundred percent clear, but Tarantulas attempted to alter history by killing both the original Megatron and Optimus Prime aboard the Ark in order to alter history, so at the very least he was quite ambitious. In the end his own ambition doomed him, as his attempt to harness the power of the alien Vok destroyed him.

After a somewhat lackluster showing with Blade Leopard Shadow, TransArt is back at full speed with Motor Spider, a brilliant Masterpiece-scaled version of Transmetal Tarantulas. He isn’t quite perfect, the fiddly torso assembly prevents me from giving him full marks, but otherwise he is quite glorious. So a clear and definite recommendation to all Beast Wars fans.

Rating: A-

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