I've been struggling with the idea of plunging into 3rd Party Transformers for years. The major perk of 3rd Party figures (for me) is the fact that there is a lot of attention paid to female characters (at least in comparison to licensed brands), but the downsides are high prices and uncertain quality. I say uncertain because you can't really ever browse these in a store, so you're really buying them blindly. So last Autumn I found myself with a fully-loaded PayPal account and an itch to spend. Fate would have it that this was the week that two new Mastermind Creations fembots went up for preorder. This Azalea figure was already released at that time so after googling some reviews I felt very comfortable about the construction quality. I pulled the trigger and all these months later I'm the happy owner of three gorgeous new fembots. Azalea is the requisite Not-Arcee figure. There are lots of 3rd-Party Arcees, but this one definitely appeals to me most. Let's check out Azalea below!
This is just about the coolest packaging I've ever seen. The pictures don't do it justice at all. The contrast of high gloss and matte printing with the magnetic hinged picturebook display are perfect.
The articulation on this figure is impossible to count. Everything moves. Everything is double-jointed. But it's not in the gangly old school Marvel Legends kind of way.. rather in a well designed way that blows your mind with its complexity. My favorite detail of this figure is that the pink sheaths on her forearms and thighs can slide around to be seen from any angle.
Azalea comes with 5 accessories: Two handguns, two swords, and a flight stand for her vehicle mode. Even these weapons are articulated. The handle of the gun is hinged which makes posing so much more fun, and the laser swords fold in half for mounting.
Her vehicle mode takes forever. This is a very complicated transformation and I probably didn't even do it right.
Luckily the directions were on point.
Azalea comes with this little card. You might overlook this, but the fact that it's a heavy-duty credit-card-thickness piece of plastic really calls attention to it.
The insert comic is of awesome quality, too.
Something I really like about the design of Azalea is that she blends the classic G1 Arcee with the newer IDW comic look.
Azalea has lots of potential to mount her weapons. Her calves, thighs, and wings (and maybe forearms) have pegs on which to mount them,
There have been several repaints of this figure: R-08AM Azalea Asterix Mode, R-08Z Zinnia, and R-08D Azalea Stealth Assassin
Look at this beauty!
Time for some Group and Comparison Pics!
Here she is with the Generations Arcee figure.
And with the NYCC Exclusive Prime Arcee.