So, yeah… I just got a heap of Transformers: Prime figures in the mail, thanks to a certain someone who decided to clearance a bunch of them out. I’ve been pretty tentative about buying these toys, but the three I already have were all pretty good, and hey… clearance! So, let’s kick off this Transformers Prime week with a look at everyone’s favorite, spunky little scout… Bumblebee!
We’ve seen this packaging here on FigureFan a few times already. I like it well enough. The oversized card with the character art really draws the eye. I do have to deduct a few points for the bio on the back mentioning one of the annoying human kids from the series. Bumblebee is carded in his vehicle mode, with his two blasters on the tray beside him. Bumblebee is one of the figures in this line that sort of kept me from wanting to commit. I just haven’t seen many appealing pictures of him in robot mode, so here’s hoping that having the figure in hand can sway me. Let’s start with his sports car mode.
Ok, so not bad. The fact that the car is held together by rubber bands had me a little worried, but truth be told he’s a solid enough car. He’s a little camero-ish with a twist of anime style. The similarities are there without Hasbro having to pay the royalties. Win-Win. Bumblebee’s windows are all clear blue translucent plastic, and anyone who’s read a few of my Transformers features may know that’s a big plus in my book. There’s not a lot of paintwork going on here. You get the car molded in yellow plastic, with some black stripes. For the most part, this seems ok, but the total lack of paint apps on the back of the car really upsets me. The exposed engine in the hood is cool and that’s where you can plug in the guns if you want your Bumblebee rolling into battle. So far, so good…
Transforming Bumblebee is pretty easy, but not overly so. In fact, I think this guy has just the right balance of ease and complexity. In robot form, Bumblebee’s big problem is his shoulders, which make him way too widely proportioned at the top of his torso. Posing him with a wide stance helps a bit, but the way his shoulders jut out makes me think he’s mis-transformed, when he’s really not. He also suffers a bit from the hollow factor. When you view him from the side, there’s a lot of empty space in his torso, but the down sloping chest and the roof that covers his back helps to make the figure look solid from the front and back.
Everything else about the figure works ok for me. He isn’t the most original of designs, borrowing heavily from the Bayformer look and one thing I do like a lot is the way the final robot form looks like the transformation should be a lot more complex than it actually is. A lot of this illusion comes from the auto-morphing in the torso. I’m not usually a big fan of the auto-morph features, but in this case it works really well and the exposed gears give him a cool mechanical look. I really dig the dual laser cannons that clip onto his arms, and they can also be combined into one quad-barrel gun to be held in either hand or clipped onto the hood of the car when he’s in alt mode.
Articulation? His arms rotate and have lateral movement at the shoulders and swivels and hinges in the elbows, but no wrist articulation. His legs are ball jointed at the hips, with additional swivels just below those ball joints. He’s also hinged at the knees and ankles. There’s no torso articulation, but the head is ball jointed on the neck. All in all, you get fairly satisfactory articulation for a small Deluxe Transformer.
I do have to take some issue with Bumblebee’s coloring. The bulk of the figure is left in the bare yellow plastic, and there’s something about it that feels kind of cheap. But my real issue here is the paint apps that have been stricken from the final figure. They’re on the product image on the back of the card, but in final production, they apparently didn’t make the cut. What really irks me about it is the fact that the Hot Shot repaint (we’ll get to him soon) is brimming with great paintwork. Why, Hasbro, would you cut paint apps on the main character of the line and then go hog wild painting a repaint that only completists are really going to care about?
So, yeah, in hand, Bumblebee is not so bad. In fact, if the shoulders had only recessed a bit into the torso, or flipped around to lay flush with it, I think the figure could have looked down right amazing. As he is now, it just takes some acceptance, and with the right posing, he can look pretty good. That all having been said, he’s a solid enough figure, with a fairly clever transformation and he is tons of fun to fiddle about with. Of course, my satisfaction with the figure also comes from the fact that he was about $6 and at that price, I’m willing to be pretty forgiving. At $10 I think he would have been a satisfactory purchase. But right now he’s hanging on the pegs for $15, and I just don’t think he warrants that at all.