It’s no secret that I’ve been hard up for content for Transformers Thursdays, but today I’ve got a little compensation to offer in the form of a Transformers: Animated double feature. This past weekend I had my Animated collection out to do some re-shoots for their old Features and I realized that neither Bumblebee nor Ratchet ever had their due. I did a little digging to find out why, and found that I started the Features for these figures, but never finished them. I’m going to look at Bumblebee this morning and then swing on back later this evening with a look at Ratchet. I’ve got no packaged shot to offer, so let’s jump right into Bumblebee’s alt mode…
In keeping with modern tradition of making Bumblebee a little yellow sportscar, that’s exactly what we get here. The yellow plastic looks pretty good and even the transparent windshield pieces that have parts painted yellow match the base coloring pretty well. There’s an off-center black stripe running down the top of the car, and because Bee modeled himself after Captain Fanzone’s car, he has a little police light on top. Other paint apps include the red tail lights, some very faint metallic paint on the headlamps, and a silver Autobot insignia on the driver side of the rear bumper. Naturally, there are some unsightly seams on the car, but overall, I dig this alt mode.
Bumblebee comes with two rocket boosters that can peg into the rear sides. These attachments look like adorable, bloated atom bombs and feature some nice silver paint and translucent blue plastic.
Bumblebee’s robot mode is still an amazing sight to see, because it manages to produce such a creatively stylized robot figure out of a working Transformer. That’s something this line has generally been terrific at, but I think that goes double for Bumblebee because his proportions in the cartoon are so unconventional. Sure, the entire chest is a fake-out. The plates that make up the top of the car wind up on the back of the figure, but c’mon… this is still great stuff!
Despite all that car shell winding up on the Bumblebee’s back and lower legs, these pieces are neatly tucked away, so you don’t get a lot of ugly kibble. Plus, the plates on the backs of his legs serve as heel spurs. The modest backpack tabs together and acts as a storage for his bombs, which when attached make for a cool jetpack.
I suppose, if I had to nitpick something here it would be the feet. They look disjointed where they connect to the leg, so they’re not quite as clean as they could be, but when the rest of this figure looks so damn good, I can give them an easy pass.
The head is just fantastic. It captures all the personality of Bumblebee in the cartoon and serves up some very effective light piping for the eyes. I really liked this look for him, especially with the tiny little horns. Mine has a little scrape on his chin, but otherwise the paint is solid.
All this and solid articulation too? Yup. Bee features a satisfying array of both ball joints and hinges, making him a truly fun figure to play with and pose. Surprisingly, the rather large door plates on his forearms don’t really get in the way of the fun.
Bumblebee does have one little play gimmick. He has two translucent pieces folded into his arms that can deploy and connect to form an energy weapon. I don’t remember this from the series, but it’s been ages since I’ve watched it, and I never saw the whole thing. I recently got a good deal on the whole series on DVD, so I’m going to start going through it next week.
I was a little apprehensive about looking at these figures for the first time, so long after the fact. I find that a lot of older “modern” Transformers haven’t held up for me all that well and that’s why I’ve unloaded a lot of my Cybertron and Energon toys. Plus, it took a while for me to warm up to this style. I wasn’t fully on board until I had some of the toys in hand. I had originally taken these guys out of storage to photograph with the hopes that I could justify parting with them and generating some space and cash for other things on my want list, but that just hasn’t been the case. I still have a soft spot in my heart for this line in general, and I think Bumblebee is among Animated’s best figures.