Line: Bumblebee Movie
Bio: I threw out the box, but, c'mon, it's 'Bee. You know the deal.
Robot Mode: 'Bee is packed in bot mode in a partially open box, exposed to the elements. Removing the cardboard shell reveals a robot that's quite impressive, but doesn't actually look that much like the character shown in the trailers. The toy's got door wings that the CGI lacks. The CGI's torso has a lot of yellow, with the center chest formed of a folded down hood. The toy's torso is mainly grey, with an orb in the center of the chest instead.
Bot 'Bee sports only a few colors:
- Yellow for the car parts, and arm/hip armor that does a decent job of looking like it's made of car parts.
- Black for the windows of the door wings
- Translucent blue for the headlights, eyes (normal and masked), and chest orb
- Dark grey for the torso and upper arms
- 2 shades of light grey for the forearms, legs, and trim
The arm stinger is simple enough; just slide the lever in the left forearm to extend or retract it. It looks imposing enough, and being built in makes it more fun than a removable blade would be.
The battle mask is deployed by pulling forward on the cheek armor. It's a bit awkward, and you lose some of the flash of the spring snapping the mask into place since your fingers are in the way. Still, once deployed, it looks great, as does the unmasked face. The closest thing I have to a complaint is the lack of detail in the Autobot sigil molded into his forehead.
Spinning the orb in his chest plays one of several sound clips. Which clip seems to depend on the direction, speed, and amount of turn. Fiddling with him to get quotes for this review, I heard 1 or 2 phrases that were new to me. There's probably still some I haven't heard.
Like the movies, 'Bee doesn't have his own voice, and instead has clips presumably taken from in-universe film and TV. "Drop the Beat". "You ain't Gettin' Nuthin' out of Me" (followed by a game show buzzer). "Available at all local retailers...a new car".
Lights in the torso flash to illuminate the headlights, but they aren't aligned quite right, so the torso glows, too. Leave him alone for a bit, and he'll play a shutdown sound.
Alternate Mode: The giant car Drift was expecting. Aside from a few seam lines in the back, and the forearms bulging out below the car near the doors, there's no indication that this is a transformer instead of a model car. He doesn't have any licence plate deco, molded or painted.
Again, he's plain, but it works better in car mode. Painted, opaque red tail lights add a bit of color. Those, the clear blue headlights, light grey bumpers and side mirror, and dark grey hubcaps are all that break up the yellow car and black windows. The windshield wipers molded into the front are a nice touch. The VW logo molded into the hood is unpainted; I don't know if this is accurate to a real VW or not.
This is one of the few cases where the clip on wheels look better than pinned wheels would have, with the painted hubcaps have VW logos embossed in them. The clip-on wheels don't impede rolling, since 'Bee doesn't roll freely due to the sound gimmick. The chest orb is now underneath the car, acting as a 5th wheel. Rolling 'Bee forward and back triggers engine revving sounds. Stop, and you can hear his engine idle a bit before shutting down.
Rolling 'Bee also triggers the lights. However, the lights do nothing to accommodate transformation, and just flash underneath the car, and can be seen through the yellow plastic. The headlights remain dark. One flaw in the design is that the power switch to enable the electronics cannot be accessed in car mode. Given the limitations of the electronics in car mode, I'll probably just turn the switch off before transforming him to car mode from now on.
Transformation Design: From the knees up, he's a shellformer, with the sides, hood, windshield, and roof folding into his backpack and door wings. But, they fold efficiently enough to not be any more obtrusive than the G1 Datsun and Jazz molds.
The arms just tuck underneath the car. The lower legs become the rear of the car in a more intricate manner, with the rear wheels ending up embedded in the bot heels. If you think you need to bend the rear bumper to get the fender into place, you're doing things in the wrong order. I'm including a pic of him partially transformed so you can see roughly how the transformation works.
The sides of the car have to fold into place before the chest folds up. It's a bit awkward, especially if you're used to folding door wings in last. Other than that, the transformation's good. Everything tabs into place well. The tabs that hold the sides into their door wing shape are each about as large as a Titan Master leg, so the pieces snugly slide into place rather than clicking, which is nice.
Again, the power switch to activate the electronics is only accessible in bot mode. When the switch is off, spinning the orb does nothing. If he's in car mode, and you get the urge to rev up the engine, you'll have to partially transform him. 9/10
Durability: The plastic doesm't seem likely to break under normal circumstances. But, the elctronics make him heavy enough that he'll hit the ground harder than most if dropped. That 1 legged semi-transformed pose was a bit of a nail-biter. The rubber Bumble buggy bumpers might deform over time, especially since transformation is lot easier if you bend the rear one out of the way just a little bit. Do this one time, and you'll be more careful from now on, you promise. 8/10
Articulation: Two axes of movement in each shoulder and hip provide almost as much range as ball joints, while being much sturdier. Swivels in the upper arms and legs, just above the 1-axis elbows and knees, give him a decent range of motion. He was able to pull of the 1-legged pose, after all. But, he lacks ankle articulation due to his transformation, and wrist articulation due to cost cutting. His knees don't seem strong enough to hold many poses while bent much. His head can only turn side to side, with no vertical movement. No waist swivel. 7/10
Price/Value: I paid US$50 for mine, but have seen him at some stores for US$45. That's either Leader price, or slightly more, for a larger figure with electronics and built in mask and weapon. 8/10 for me, 9/10 if you get him for $45.
Overall: He's pricey. He takes up a lot of space. He doesn't scale with anything else you own, except maybe MP-01. If any of these are a deal breaker for you, I won't try to change your mind. But, if you're open to the idea of a giant movie 'Bee, this one's really good. I got the even larger Camaro 'Bee with electronics at a flea market for $10, and still feel like I got more for my money paying full retail for this guy.
When I first saw him in store, I decided to wait to see what the Studio Series version would look like before making my choice. When I saw SS VW 'Bee a few week later, I was disappointed in the tiny, spindly figure that still cost 40% of this one. So I went big, went home, opened him up, and was satisfied with my choice. 9/10