I’ve mentioned many times before that I’m not a car guy. That’s partly why I’ve always been a big fan of the Transformers who transform into bugs and animals. As a kid I found robot animals much more fun to play with than cars and trucks. But oddly enough, when the Transformers brand made the switch from the classic Generation 1 (G1) vehicles of the 80s to the all-animal BEAST WARS concept of the 90s I wasn’t a fan.
However, it wasn’t the fact that the Transformers were now all animals that led to my disinterest. This thing is I was a teen by the time the Beast Wars toyline and cartoon launched in the 90s so obviously it had less of an impact on me than the G1 stuff did in the early to mid-80s when I was an impressionable child. Plus I didn’t care for the 3D animated look of the show. I actually went to 3D animation college in 1998/1999 but to this day I prefer classical hand-drawn animation because that’s what I grew up on. My little brother Brian however loved Beast Wars and its follow-up Beast Machines. He was too young to experience G1 at its prime. So while I was all about Autobots and Decepticons he was all about Maximals and Predacons. Since he watched it every day I caught the odd episode and I appreciated how the writers made an effort to link the 2 generations together; the Beast Wars years fit into G1 continuity during the years that the Autobots slept dormant in their crashed spaceship.
I’m familiar with most of the Beast Wars characters but I don’t have a personal attachment to any of them. Waspinator, who transforms into a wasp, was one of the Predacon henchmen on the show. He was kind of a bumbling inept character as most cartoon henchmen tend to be. He spoke in a distinctive buzzy voice. He was kind of neat looking but he didn’t hold a candle to the G1 Insecticons in my mind. When I started collecting Transformer toys again in the 2000s I was pretty excited about getting updated versions of the G1 characters I loved because I had long since gotten rid of all my childhood Transformer toys. But I had zero interest in getting updated versions of Beast Wars characters. Even though they were all technically part of a shared animated continuity I had no desire to collect Maximals and Predacons.
Another thing I’ve mentioned on this blog many times before is how much I love the Transformers comics published by IDW. The IDW stories feature the G1 characters in a brand-new continuity that harkens back to the old cartoons and comics of the 80s. For the past few years IDW has been knocking it out of the park with great artwork and storytelling. The writers have managed time and again to turn background G1 characters I never cared about before, like Swerve and Tailgate, into some of my absolute favorite Transformers.
Well for the past year or so Beast Wars characters have begun popping up in the comics. Rat Trap and Waspinator, most notably, have both taken on very prominent roles in the series. Rat Trap is the right hand man of the democratically elected ruler of Cybertron, Starscream, and Waspinator served as an unwitting pawn of Shockwave in his latest scheme. These characters are now firmly established in the G1 Universe and they seamlessly interact with the characters I grew up on. The result of that is that I must now own these characters in action figure form.
This 2014 Waspinator figure was released under the “Generations” banner. I really like this figure in both his robot and bug modes. The color choices are very nice. He’s primarily dark green but he also also has lighter green, black and yellow striped, brown, blue, and translucent parts. They all come together to make a vibrant figure that really stands out amongst the other Transformers on my shelf. But as great as the colors are I wouldn’t mind seeing a black and purple repaint of this figure so that he could be displayed as a member of the original Insecticons.
One interesting aspect of Waspinator’s robot design is how buggy it is. The original Insecticons like Bombshell and Shrapnel didn’t look anything like bugs when they were in robot mode. Waspinator, on the other hand, retains his big segmented bug eyes and mandibles in both bodes. He also has wings and segmented bug legs which are both very noticeable and exposed while in his robot mode. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though as it adds to his uniqueness.