Doing a G1 style Bumblebee figure without the blessing of Volkswagon seemed to me like a lost cause. I realize that a whole generation of Transformers fans have grown up since knowing him only as a Camero, but to me, he’ll always be a VW Bug. That having been said, Hasbro did a pretty damn fine job in creating the Classics character without making him a Beetle. Turns out, any old little yellow generic sub-compact works almost as well. As for Cliffjumper, G1 fans understand that despite their similarities, Cliffjumper was not a repaint of Bumblebee. The two did share some parts, but they were different enough. Classics Cliffjumper on the other hand is, in fact, a direct repaint of Bumblebee, with absolutely no changes to the tooling whatsoever. And he still works pretty well.
There’s a lot to like about Bumblebee’s alt mode. It’s obviously not a VW Bug, but it is a sporty little yellow sub-compact, so that’s close enough, I guess. There’s some nice detail on this car, like the sideview mirrors that were missing off of Prowl, Silverstreak and Smokescreen. There’s also a sculpted hood intake and a really nice spoiler. Hasbro decided to spruce up his paint a bit from the all yellow G1 toy by adding some silvery white racing stripes and deco to the rear quarter panels. Unfortunately the striping on the hood of my figure is a little sloppy. Bumblebee also has a raised square on the roof where the rubsign sticker is fixed. One of the coolest things about this car is the way that there are actual seats inside the cabin. Beyond the Alternators line, I can only think of a few figures where Hasbro was able to achieve this, so it’s both a novelty and pretty damn cool as well. Bumblebee has a tow hook on the back, where you can hook up his little jetski trailer.
Cliffjumper’s car deco is red with silver accents. I’m really not crazy about the silver apps on this car. Bumblebees were more subtle, but Cliffjumpers are kind of obnoxious. On the upside, the silver paint apps here are a lot cleaner than the paintwork on Bumblebee.
These figures transform in a manner very similar to their original toys. The hood still folds out to become the feet, and the top of the car still forms the chest. The folding out of the arms is a tad complicated, as is the way the back of the car folds back to reveal the head, but all in all the old conversion is still honored pretty well.
I love the robot mode on these guys. It’s stocky and compact, but that’s pretty cool for what are homages to old Minibots. The doors peg into the arms really nicely to become armor. The head sculpt is fantastic and extremely similar to the G1 animated Bumblebee. The sculpt is clean and detailed and he’s got his trademark horns.
The jetski trailers convert into some kind of winged, jetpack thingy that clips onto the top of the backpack. It looks ok when it’s attached, but I’m not a big fan of this piece and I don’t tend to use it a lot or display it with the figure. I would have rather we got some guns instead.
These figures have nice articulation. The head is ball jointed, as are his shoulders, elbows, and hips. Lots of ball joints! His knees and ankles are hinged. The only downside here is that sometimes the seats/knees interfere with the hood plates on the lower legs.
Both Bumblebee and Cliffjumper are really awesome figures. Granted, if these guys were released today, I think Hasbro would have gone the extra mile and did some resculpting for Cliffjumper, but it’s really not a big deal for me. He works just fine as a straight repaint. They do seem a lot more chunky then the Generations figures being released now, but I think they can still pass pretty well as part of the same collection.