Dodgy Paint applications aside, I found this little fellow reasonably interesting. As part of the latest Generations figures and packaged with an IDW comic book to help with the um, production of yet another Bumblebee toy, I was curious to see how it goes. Other reviews of these Generations figures have generally been of the conclusion that they aren’t bad, but rather small. My recent adventures with Transformers (Prime and FOC) have been less than exciting sort of making me float towards other figures that don’t transform.
Can these new Generations tickle me back to the shape shifting wonderful-ness? After all, that is part of the reason why I bought this guy.
Well, in an interesting move the package comes with an IDW Transformers comic. The comic cover suddenly becomes the box art. Hmm. I am kind of glad that they included the comic because I don’t read the comics and therefore have no context as to how he went from a Volkswagen (when I last read a TF comic) beetle to a muscle car of sorts and the comic included doesn’t give any indication as to why either, but it does give one a good impression of how Bumblebee has progressed from his G1 days to the current story of him being the leader of the Autobots on Earth.
I do like the inclusion of the comic, as it isn’t a bad read as such.
I quite like the design of this Bumblebee, although to me personally it is more like he is Goldbug over Bumblebee. The Japanese version of this toy is actually called “Gold Bumblebee” and has a mix of shiny golden bits and yellow. I am curious to see how it comes out, but not so much that I want to pay the $40 or so bucks to import one.
This Bumblebee has some nice inspiration of various ‘Bees. The head is a nod to the G1 cartoon, yet the stripes and ‘door wings’ are nods to the movieverse ‘Bee, oh I guess the muscle car look is too. It ends up being a pretty successful merge of the two
The robot mode is pretty good, his chest piece is a faux bonnet, as the real one folds up on his back and the headlights are on his shoulder. I guess from the comic model there is a bit of cheating, but really that is to be expected. In some ways the toy looks better than the comic version to me. The comic one has really crappy looking feet.
Due to the way he transforms, the shoulders have a lot of joints in them, which is pretty great! The rest of him isn’t lacking either, with a rather nice waist swivel included for good measure.
Ambient sculpting is there too, although there is a definite shortage of paint applications which let the sculpt of the figure down a little bit. For example, the abdominal area in the pictures above have some nice sculpting of vehicle details, but they have no paint applications to enhance it, to make it look like headlights for example.
Despite the shoulders having a large range of movement, his arms are rather limited. The doors of the vehicle mode hang off the back of the shoulders, so lifting his arms up results in wing-doors pointing down thereby being inhibited by his hips. It looks incredibly awkward as well. Add to that the lack of a wrist swivel. Oddly there is a swivel in the bicep right before the elbow piece, which would almost do the trick, but the unnecessarily square shape of the forearm always manages to catch on the square bicep above, resulting in two, maybe three different angles that are available. It annoys me that his forearms are so square as they don’t need to be. They aren’t used for the outer body of the car and hide underneath the doors, so I can’t see why they didn’t just sculpt them into a better shape to get a better ranger of movement.
His legs on the other hand are pretty good indeed. The knee joint is used for transformation, so it is set a bit lower than looks natural, but it is cleverly covered up by the bumper of the vehicle mode, so no matter how much you bend the knee in the joint is unlikely to be exposed from the front. His large feet provide excellent balance and are jointed well not perfectly so, but a large range of movement is still possible. It does have the annoying ‘fad’ (that has been gaining popularity with Transformers lately) of having fake sculpted wheels in them though. Admittedly the comic has the wheels in the feet, but the toy does have them in the calves. if they were painted, I’d be more accepting of them. I am not sure why I hate this so much.
His Stinger Blaster is an interesting piece. I remember the little blasters that Bumblebee from Animated had were called Stingers and I assume that from now on, Bumblebee’s weapons are going to be stingers. That doesn’t seem a bad idea at all considering his name. Anyway, they are made of two pieces that split in half for the vehicle mode and clip on the back of the car. Initially when I saw the shots of this toy on display, I thought they made it look very cool however in the flesh they don’t look as good. I think they’d have looked a bit better of they were smaller as they just seem to swamp the vehicle mode.
They have a blast effect on them. At least I think it’s a blast effect. I don’t really like it that much to be honest, but the good news is they are held on by screws and can therefore be taken off rather easily. something I think is that is a wasted opportunity is the ‘exclusive’ artwork for the package comic has the gun coming from his arm, a la the models in War For Cybertron and Fall Of. Since the weapons clip together, it would have been cooler to redesign the forearms, which aren’t needed for vehicle mode panelling and just had the weapon clip OVER the forearm. As it is though you can do some stuff with it. Again I wish there was more movement in his arms below the shoulders as the gun has two handles and I’d like to have a Gordon Freeman Gravity gun option in there because of that…
It’s interesting to see that he has a couple of peg holes on the underside of his forearms as well. They are a bit loose, so I think they might not be peg holes as such, but then his hands are a bit loose for the handles of the gun anyway.
Transformation is simple and fairly obvious, however they forget to mention a step with the legs and the rear windows and as a result I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get his legs to line up properly. It was most frustrating!
Moving on. The vehicle mode is a nice stylised muscle car. Somewhat similar to a monaro, of sorts but not enough to be recognisable as on.
One little thing, whether intentional or not that I like, is the spoiler. The way it is split at the back reminds me a lot of Armada Hot Shot, as that is where Hot Shot’s Minicon partner would sit. You can also plainly see that his robot toes are sitting within the car as well. Considering how hollow this figure is, I think the choice of translucent windows a bit odd, especially since the rear window is painted metallic blue. They would have been better off having all the windows the same colour.
While I am quite fond of this toy, it is certainly not without flaws. One thing I was most peeved to discover were stress marks on the upper arms where near where the car panels connect. As well as stress marks on the small tabs that peg the legs together. GRRR. I hate stress marks that just form from normal use…
One other flaw and this pertains mainly to the vehicle mode ends up being a fairly major one. Well maybe not for me, but for anyone who would want to play with this toy in vehicle mode it is.
The chest piece in robot mode ends up being under the car, but on mine it sticks out so much so that the wheels can’t make contact with the ground. So if I were to play with this, rolling it around would end up scraping the bottom, and thereby ruining the look of the robot mode. I wonder if this is just mine, or whether they all suffer from this?
I can’t believe that it is that major and I have been very careful in transforming him to see if this can be avoided. So far I haven’t found a way.
However, aside from that fairly major flaw, I ended up liking this figure a fair bit. It doesn’t quite inspire my confidence for the other Generations figures as it is fairly light and the lack of paint a bit of an over-sight, but it’s not terribly bad. The legs and look of the robot mode manage to save this guy as I rather like the aesthetic. Just a few more (or better designed) joints in the arms would’ve helped him a lot. Not a must buy by any means, but you can go far worse.