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Blackjack's review: Ultimate Bumblebee 2007

Name: Ultimate Bumblebee
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Scout, Guardian of Sam Witwicky, Blowing Decepticons up, Being the poster boy for the movie
Sub-Group: Minibots Ultimate Class
Accessories: Projectile

"Check on the rep, yep, second to none." — Bumblebee being modest, 2007 Movie

Bumblebee is a star! In 2007, the blockbuster movie Transformers heralded the birth of a new Transformers line, following from the Classics/Alternators line. However, despite being the most expensive toy, Ultimate Bumblebee never got a review until, well, now. For those wondering, this review is written well after the second movie, Revenge of the Fallen, haS been released.

Bumblebee had a long history... First, he appeared in the original G1 Autobots line-up, functioning as the kid-appeal character. He was a major player in the first two seasons, but his appearances reduced into more minor roles in TF:TM and seasons 3 and 4. He's one of the few Transformers who appeared throughout all the four seasons of the cartoon, with him being upgraded into Goldbug in Season 3. In the comics, Bumblebee, and later Goldbug, would feature major roles, most notably his desertion with Blaster. Goldbug was killed by Starscream in the Underbase Saga, but was later revived by Starscream as Pretender Bumblebee. He appeared in semi-minor roles throughout the comics, as well as Earthforce. Bumblebee's so popular that he's in the Earth-bound Autobots of the modern G1 reboots (Dreamwave, and later IDW).

How about the toys, you ask? Well, G1 Bumblebee had a Minibot toy in 1984, and this toy would've been retooled with a proper head much later. He got a Goldbug toy, a Pretender Bumblebee toy and an Action Masters toy, totaling to four toys in G1, making Bumblebee the character with the most toys in G1. Even Optimus Prime only had three toys (Original, Powermaster, and Action Master) in G1. In G2, Bumblebee got two toys — a repaint of his original G1 Minibot toy and a GoBot toy. Then, all is silent as Hasbro abruptly lost the trademark to the name Bumblebee. The 'little yellow kid-friendly character' role would fall to Cheetor and later Hot Shot. Fear not, as Hasbro won it back again recently, before the first movie. This granted us the excellent Classics Bumblebee. The movie gives us the first Bumblebee not from G1, who transforms into a beat-up Camaro and later a 2009 concept Camaro. Animated gave us the third character to bear the 'Bumblebee' name.

Being the star (as Prime appeared nearly halfway through the movie) of the 2007 Movie, Movie Bumblebee got a whole truckload of toys. Two Deluxe class toys (the 1974's Camaro and the 2009's Camaro), Robot Replicas, Fast Action Battles, Robot Heroes, Legends Class, and Ultimate Bumblebee.

The Ultimate 'Bee is the one with the highest price point, and the subject of this review.

VEHICLE MODE

Bumblebee's vehicle mode is sculpted after the 2009 concept Chevrolet Camaro. The car is sleek, flashy and looks fast, while at the same time not too attention-grabbing (not unlike ROTF Sideswipe). Bumblebee's alternate mode is large, larger than Masterpiece Megatron's gun mode. It's also show accurate, with Alternator-level outer detailing. Though at this size, it would've been rudimentary, and not at all impressive.

The main colour is yellow with black stripes, like a real bee. Little Chevy signs and the fuel intake are present. Windshield wipers are molded in. The car plate (4N77454) is painted on the back, and a golden Autobot symbol adorns the hood. The windows are painted opaque.

You know, at the price we're paying for him, at least there should be interior seats and whatnot, right? Like the smaller Alternators? Wrong. Open the doors and what do you get? A solid lump of plastic that is Bumblebee's gimmick—electronics. Switch it on and roll Bumblebee around and you get sound effects. Engines starting up, car horns... you know. Rolling Bumblebee forward will create an accelerating noise, and some music. Stop his rolling and you get brakes. Rolling Bumblebee backwards will produce different kinds of sound effects, namely crashing ones.

Kibble check. From the top? No robots. From the front? Nope. The back? No. The sides? Nope. Turn him around, however, and you'll find that Bumblebee's entire robot mode is crammed onto his bottom. Okaaaay.

TRANSFORMATION

Transformation is fairly complex, but what else could you expect from a toy his size? Bumblebee's electronic gimmick detects which sound effects to produce based on what is attached to the electronics. Either the joints on the front wheels or the shoulders. Leave nothing attached or one of each, and Bumblebee will make stalling engine sounds. Whilst transforming, ye olde transformation sound effect may play.

ROBOT MODE

Bumblebee's robot mode is chock-full of details. The face, for one, is superbly sculpted. Details are, as expected from a toy this size, numerous. The chest panel are mistransformed on the toy. They could fold in a bit to be more show-accurate. Bumblebee looks show accurate, and his posability is excellent as well. If we could pose him freely, that is. The electronic gimmicks often rotates the shoulders in poses and forces them to be in that direction. And the head, too. Can't force the head to move.

The gimmickry makes the toy suffer a lot. The electronics are in a huge box, making Ultimate Bumblebee top-heavy. The larger feet often solves this problem, but he still feels off-balance, so I don't display him in robot mode, for fear of him dropping. I mean, what's the point? The Leader class toys and the Masterpiece toys all have good articulation (and an inflated price tag), but at least they can stand and be posed freely.

Bumblebee's gimmickry electronics are numerous (and very annoying). Fortunately, they could be switched off with, well, a switch. Pressing the button on his chest or his side would give a variety of sound effects, and his head, shoulder and 'wings' could move around. He also randomly shoots the projectile in his missile launcher arm. Oh, yeah. One of his hands is a missile launcher. With this size a toy, they could've made him cooler by making a missile launcher that retracts and changes into an arm, but nooooo.....

Some of the sounds are music, snipets from Devo's "Whip It", and an all-new "Trans-for-mahrsss more-than-meets-the-eye". There are also voice effects, like "Take that, Decepticon!" -shoots missile- "You're my first human friend." and, if left alone, "Where did everybody go?" That last one is cute.

But, is he worth it? When you could use the same amount of money to buy, say, ROTF Leader Optimus Prime? And have some left over? No. He is a good transformer, but the gimmicks spoil it all. Had he just been a Masterpiece-styled toy, with probably one or two sound effects, he's be much better. Not this one, though. There are better Transformers products out there.

[Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation 7/10 Bumblebee's pretty complex, but you can't expect less from a toy his size. Bumblebee's easy once you get the hang of it. Takes a lot of steps, but easy.
Durability 9/10 Bumblebee's durable, if nothing. His joints could get loose, but the plastic joints for the 'wings' could wear out due to friction. His vehicle mode is very durable, and it could be used as a murder weapon. The projectile could get lost, but no big loss, there.
Fun 2/10 The transformation takes too long for playing, and besides, he's way out of scale with any other toys. Bigger isn't always better. Besides, Leader class toys are less annoying, cheaper and have more play value.
Price 0/10 Nope. In retrospect, I'd have the money.
Overall 1/10 Bumblebee's a great character, but if you really want a toy of him, get the Deluxe class toy/toys. Or, if you want BB to be big, the recent Human Alliance Ultra class Bumblebee would be more to your liking. Ultimate Bumblebee is just not worth the cash. I mean, come on! No one even bothered to review him for two years since he was released.
 
 
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