Saturday 29 November 2014

Hello Mr Bumblebee

I wonder how many people will get that reference.
Masterpiece Bumblebee arrived today at my residence.  Yay.  Previously I had spent a good half hour typing up and editing this post, then the programme crashed and now I have to start again as I hadn’t saved.  Gawdamit.
I think in the design process, Bumblebee presents a lot of challenges.  The first is his original vehicle mode, being the Choro-Q deformed beetle.  The next, would be making his robot mode scaled for the other MPs, but then the vehicle mode won’t scale well. 
What to do?  As a bonus, Bumblebee also comes with Spike in an Exo Suit!  YAY!  Finally after all these years we have and Exo Suit.  I don’t know why it took so long….  After all M.A.S.K managed to give us Scott and T-Bob right from the get-go.
So, how is the end result?  Read on to find out!
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First impressions were a bit… Shocking.  he is packed in vehicle mode and its very small.  But also cool; you know how it’s really nice to have a kitten lie on the palm of your hand, that’s a bit like what holding Bumblebee in vehicle mode is like.  As usual the instructions and info page is nice.  This is the Bumblebee that comes from Amazon and has the extra mask that is based on the G1 toy face.

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Masterpiece Bumblebee
As you can see the box is the same as the previous release of the Autobot Cars, even going so far as to be the same size as Wheeljack’s box.  Now to build the suspense, I am going to start with….  Bumblebee’s vehicle mode.

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He’s not a squished up Beetle this time like G1.  He does look very nice though.  The yellows are made from a variety of paint and plastic and while being very close to the same colour they are off by just a touch.  It’s barely noticeable and they look much better when he’s in robot mode. 

The wheel case on the back of the car can be taken off it you don’t like it and replaced with a license plate thing of sorts.  If you do like the spare wheel on the back, the license plate can be held within the spare tyre case.  OOonn top of that, if you want the license plate, the spare tyre can be stored underneath the car along with his gun. AWMAHGAWD!

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I really like the look of the vehicle mode, except for the back underneath the car.  The fore-arms of the robot mode are there and from certain angles they are glaringly obvious.  Luckily most of the time they are fine and not noticeable.  No rubber tyres either boys n girls, but I doubt anyone expects them anymore do they?

He does have see through windows and they are blue.  Yay.  They have a nice comic book feel to me.  However they are also dark and kind of blurry, so you can’t see robot parts inside the car, unless you are really looking.  For example, have a look in the picture below and you can just make out his head.
Masterpiece Bumblebee

Due to the need for the robot to be a good height when standing next to his Autobot Pals, he isn’t in scale with the others in vehicle mode.  But it still looks cool to see Bumblebee rolling out with the others!
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Transformation is clever.  It’s simple enough to not need to refer to the instructions (which are pretty good), but also interesting enough to have enough clever parts in there to keep you interested.  One in particular that I liked was how the part of the bonnet fold in and slides into the waist to compact down very nicely thus avoiding becoming a piece of kibble hanging off somewhere.
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You can also have him in a freaky Gerwalk mode if you feel like it.

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As you can imagine, Bumblebee is pretty chunky but nowhere near as fat as I though he was going to be.  his feet are also better proportioned than I thought they’d be as well.

He comes with two faces and the mask if you ordered from Amazon.  You just pull them off and switch back, much like with figuarts/figma etc.
I kinda like his face without a face.
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His articulation is really nice and the feet are solid and provide a large base so many poses can be easily pulled off.  He also has a lot of ankle movement available.   Actually, he has a wide range of rocking in the ankle, the up/down movement isn’t so great due to the way the car panels fold around to form the back of his shoe.  If you really wanted to you could unfold those bits for more movement, but what is there normally is pretty good.

 Masterpiece Bumblebee
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He has waist joint as an extra.  About the only thing I wish he had were wrist swivels, but considering how his hands are connected, there is no way the joint could have handled it.

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His torso and arms are nicely articulated as well.  The Autobot symbol on his chest rotates around, so you could easily have a Bumblebee with no insignia on his chest.  Although he only has a single elbow joint, you can have his arm move to about 70degrees, which is nice.  He has swivels just under the shoulders and ball joints at the shoulders, which are joined to the torso by a hinge.  So, you can make him shrug!  YEAH!  He comes with the little laser gun that shows up in some of the G1 cartoons which looks hell sexy and made me have a good look at some of the sculpting on this dude.

On his flanks, there are some nice details added in and for some reason, I really love the little extra details chucked on the back of fists.  His head also has some vents and stuff as well.  Very impressed.  The Autobot symbol on mine is nice and crisply painted on and the different yellows that were a bit noticeable in vehicle mode have pretty much become a standard yellow in the robot mode.  It’s really nice!
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Quality wise I have one complaint.  The upper arm on his left is a bit split, but I suspect I can fix that myself.
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That’s it.

There’s so much to like about Bumblebee, the way his head and tail lights are coloured plastic, the nice paintwork on the VW logo and indicator lights, the clever transformation, the articulation, sculpting of the body, gun and faces and even the little wing mirror that I left off as I thought it would get in the way in robot mode doesn’t.  Sure he’s small, but this is Bumblebee.
Masterpiece Bumblebee
Enough fawning about the robot, lets have a look at the squishy.

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Spike here is a nice little figure.  Fairly simple, especially when compared to his box-buddy.  The elbows are stuck at that angle, but can be cheat moved by using the transformation joints.  I kind of expected that though as the design of the exo suit from outset looks a bit awkward.

I must admit I am a bit biased about this, as I’ve wanted an exo suit Transformer for AGES!  Sculpting is nice and it has all the details my memory says are correct.  I actually really like that if you look at his head, you can see the big collar his space suit has inside the exo suit.  Its pretty cool.
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Spike is also blessed with nice 80s cartoon bouffant hair. YEAH !
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The neck has an up/down hinge so that he can look up when driving the transformed exo suit.  For some reason, the face looks too young to be Spike, I think the cheeks are too pudgy for a person of Spike’s age.  I really have the feeling it should be Daniel in there (Unless there is a naming conflict going on between the US and Japanese names.).

Articulation isn’t the best.  Aside from the hindered elbows, he has swivels for up/down in the shoulders and hinges at the knees and ball jointed hips.  His elbows are actually ball joints, but they are encased in the forearms, pretty much negating any movement there.  One annoying thing on mine (and I hope it’s just mine) is that the ball joints in the elbows keep popping off.  I’ll have to thicken them up a little…

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His feet do keep him pretty solidly upright.  As you can see, articulation isn’t the best, but I guess he’s probably more designed to stand next to Bumblebee.  Which is what mine will be doing!!

This Exo Suited figure does transform as well. YAAAAY!  It’s pretty easy to do.  The instructions do something a bit weird with the feet I found at the end, but it’s easy enough to work out by yourself.  Once Transformed he looks pretty close I guess to the original vehicle.  the instructions provide a screen shot and they look close.  I do wish it had a bit more paint on it, but considering how he’s an accessory for a very nice Transformer, I’m willing to let that slide.

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One word of caution with this guy though, if you angle his head up as far as it will go, the canopy will rub against his hair when you go to put it back on again, so I’d recommend leaving the head angles up about 15 degrees.  I suppose that’ also more natural too…
I must admit, when you plop them together they do look very nice!
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Damn, now I would like to see Spike and Ultra Magnus…..  I was going to skip Magnus….
So there we go.  A look at the delightful Masterpiece Bumblebee.  I knew I would like this toy, but I had no idea that I would it THIS much.  Sure the vehicle mode is small compared to the others, but that means we get a nicely sized Bumblebee to stand next to Optimus and all the other Autobots. 
And let’s face it, if you buy Masterpiece Transformers to display them in vehicle mode, you should probably spend your money on model cars….

Bumblebee is full of character his articulation is pretty damn fine, his large feet allow for lots of poses, the looks is nicely balanced between keeping the chunkiness of his frame without him looking fat and the faces have great sculpting.  Plus he has a smile! 
Spike is a nice enough additional character.  Don’t expect too much from him as he can be assumed to be an accessory I think.  It’s nice to finally have an official transforming Exo-Suit.  Like I was when Wheeljack arrived, I was blown away by this figure.  The price is good being cheaper than the other Autobot cars and the look, design and figure itself is just BRILLIANT.

You need one.  THIS is the Ultimate Bumblebee.

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