Sunday, 17 October 2010

Animated Jetpack Bumblebee!

Woe is me, one of the best series of Transformers cut short before its prime.  This Tak-Tom version of Bumblebee was a initially going to be released by Hasbro as Hydrodrive Bumblebee.  Alas that as not to be.
Never mind, as Jetpack Bumblebee is the same thing.  He is quite cool as well!

Yay for Tak-Tom, they have saved the day!  I remember seeing the pictures of this at the end of Animated and was soo excited.  A voyager sized package, but with a smaller 'Bee and a nice accessory that reminded me very much of a toy I liked when I was a lad that wasn't a Transformer. The Centurions.  I was extra excited at the Hydrodrive (hydro for 'water' of course) as it was a throwback to G1 'Bee who had an ability as an underwater operative and also to the Centurion figure I had, being Max Ray, the water guy.  Sure, he looks like Tom Selleck wit that moustache, but I still thought he was awesome!

Hydro was canned by Hasbro, but Taktom brought both 'Bee and Wingblade Optimus to life as part of their 'upgrade' characters run of Animated!  Woot!  Excitement plus plus plus!

The box is nice and slim with 'Bee on one side and the jetpack on the other.  You notice straight away that this fella is a much nicer size for Bumblebee than the deluxe version.  You can see all the appropriate accessories, mainly being the extra jet boosters which can be plugged into his back as well as to the wings of the jetpack.

Included are instructions, brochure, with bio and stats printed on the back, survey card (anket in japanese) and the game card for use with the electronic game that is probably in every department store.  Man I wish I could give it a go.  Looks like he comes with a different card to normal Bumblebee as well, although the artwork doesn't include a picture of the jet.  It does have a small photo, and is described as transforming into a 'future jet.'  Fairly standard stuff really. 

Onto the toys themselves though!  Bumblebee has the usual TT gold and shiny making him a nice looking toy.  The robot mode looks great and has good movement possibilities.  There are a couple of things that limit a little.  The hips are on a bit of angle, so his thigh movement can't coma all that much forward.  His shoulders are almost stuck to his chest.  They are attached via a hinge joint and have a up/down circular joint, but it doesn't come out of the torso at all, and can get in the way of movement, as well as looking less natural.  Knees and elbows are standard hinge joints and he has some ball joints in the area where his biceps would be, allowing a bit more twisting that can be done there.  Generally it's a figure with average articulation.  Nothing fantastically awesome but nothing bad either.  He has a couple of jet boosters that can be plugged into his back for that jetpack-less flying, just like the deluxe version.  He has the nice Autobot insignia on his chest and some tech windows, much like Prowl has on his Samurai version of the toy.

Like the deluxe version, his big eyes allow for awesome light piping and light up well and are easy o set off.  Hi big smiley face and nice moulding of detail for a smaller toy is a joy to behold.

Scale wise it is definitely the best 'Bee to have standing next to the rest of the crew.  He may not be the proper scale, but it is very aesthetically pleasing to have him next to Optimus.  Naturally he is a bit odd when next to Bulkhead, but that's mainly due to BH's small size.  Leader BH might be ok.  Will have to check it out.  The robot mode is pretty good.  Sadly though the toy falls down in vehicle mode somewhat.

From the front the car looks pretty good and 'Bee-esque, but from the side and the back, its let down a tad.  On the side, the panelling is very plain to see and if not aligned properly, which I find easy to do if the feet aren't set up properly the panels don't match up.  Then at the back, there are two black lines which are the robot modes shoulders much like the Activator version of Bumblebee.  Plus, as you may see from the photo, the bonnet is large.  The little notch in the door fits the boosters, but hey can't be mounted in vehicle mode as the fire trail from the back hit the wheel cover.  My assumption for these is that it is for simulating his Stingers (see pics at bottom).  Still the car rolls nicely and fits into the jetpack as well.

The jetpack is the main part of cool in this set though.  Aside from the aforementioned other toyline-i-ness of it, it is pretty cool, if a little simple.  It simply plugs into the place in his back that the boosters do and the windshield folds over the head and torso.  It is armed with a couple of nicely moulded pistol looking guns on the front that can be loosely held in 'Bee's hands when mounted.  When mounted, the jetpack is really really big.  Kinda cool and goes with the power-up theme of the series.  Bumblebee needs some big-ness to play with them Decepticons sometimes!  It has a nice 'tech style' window on it with circuit looking things in it and is pretty well suited to 'Bee with gold and black paint applications.

The window can be left over his face, or placed on the back, as in a open cockpit style I guess.  What I really like about his toy though is the jetpack can be made to fit over the car as well.  It looks pretty decent as well.

I really like the way the paint on the jetpack fits in so nicely with the paint from the car.  You can almost imagine the car sprouting the wings and front as it is applied so nicely.  This mode is where the majority of the toys mojo comes from.  It gives the toy some decent bulk and the jet flames are cool too.  Place the kick-ass guns mounted on the front.  Very nice indeed!  It mounts onto the bottom of the car, which just so happens to be 'Bee's back and the cockpit swings over the front of the car.  It is secured strongly and is very well done indeed.

The wheels do not touch the ground anymore, but hey thats all right, as he is supposed to be flying in the air!  Overall, this toy is nice, as long as it has the jetpack.  If the robot mode was sold by itself, as it is about scout sized, it would be a bit crap, as the robot mode only has average articulation and the car mode has been sacrificed for the ability for it to fit into the jetpack.  However, when combined with the jet pack it's awesome levels jump right up.  Robot mode looks a little awkward when landed, but in air its appropriately cool, especially considering how in Animated the Autobots can't fly and need extra tech to get them up there.  The car mode just looks really nice and tough.  As I said before, the paint kind of melds it ll into one fairly flawless super flying car thingy.

Is it worth buying?  Hmm, if you don't have a Bumblebee and can find one easily, then yes.  Otherwise, I would probably say no.  Its a bit late really for us non-Japanese folk, as the line has finished and if you already have other Animated Bumblebees, then the effort probably isn't really worth it all that much.  It is still a nice toy all up, but not worth a major hunt or big dollars if it ever gets to that point in my humble opinion.

More pics of the rest.


Has Bio and info



Stingers look slightly better here.

With the crew. Vehicle size is pretty good too.  All the others are deluxe sized toys, have yet to compare vehicle mode with Voyager Prime

The game card and instructions for this Bumblebee.  Theses cards came with all Japanese Animated figures and could be used in an arcade machine thing in shops in Japan.  Never got to see one in the flesh so I am not sure what the game was like, but I get a feeling it was a dueling sort of thing going on.


  1. He looks awesome! I'll have to get him since his scale is way better.
    Would it be possible to scan his instructions? I ask cos I'd like to make a custom Transformer with a similar design/ transformation.

  2. Sure thing. Reminds me I need to clean up a little and organise this stuff. I have been so busy it took me too long to find those. Enjoy

  3. Sure thing man. I enjoy looking at customs, so feel free to drop me a link or something.


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