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Numbat's review of: Bumblebee

Name: Bumblebee
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Autobot Spy
Sub-Group: Minibots

Quote: "Data is power."

Small compared to most other transformers, Bumblebee more than makes up for it through his incredible bravery and willingness to go places larger robots won't. Capable of aerial and underwater missions, he is more versatile than many other Autobots. His eagerness to do his part leads him to go above and beyond the call of duty, often placing him in grave danger. It is a testament to his skill that he has never been captured.

If the past Transformers year will be remembered as anything, it should be the ‘Bumblebee Renaissance’. Ignoring the key ring reissues, reissues, World’s Smallest Transformers series, and Japanese namesakes (which ought not to count… Bumblebee’s known as 'Bumble' in that world…) this is the first Bumblebee since 1995 (G2 Go-Bots Bumblebee) – that’s over 10 years! And to Bumblebee fans, that’s a long time to go without Bumblebee. Strictly speaking, Classics Bumblebee is the first new mold to be developed since Go-Bots Bumblebee – but Hasbro aren’t letting up here. There’s a Classics Legends Bumblebee (Legends of Cybertron Hot Shot repaint… shudder) on its way. But, more than that, there is an as yet unknown multitude of figures and toys representing the 2007 live-action movie version of our most beloved underdog!

In fact, it seems likely that the 2007 movie is the reason we’ve been gifted with a Classics release. As a filler series, Hasbro are relying on existing characters (and fiction) to sell the Classics line. Still, that by no means guaranteed a Bumblebee figure. The need to secure the rights to the name for the movie likely cinched the deal.

Unlike previous Bumblebees, the new release is actually a standard Deluxe scale figure. This makes him a little larger even than his G1 Pretender incarnation’s inner-bot. What’s more, he no longer transforms into a VW Bug (partly due to VW’s desire to remain detached from anything resembling war… and that’s fairly understandable, so I’ll forgive them…)! So, does he live up to the memory of his grand original incarnation in this new size class, without the back-up of the cutesy VW Beetle alternate mode?

Two words: Ohhhhhhhhhhh yesssssssss!

Alternate Mode:

No longer able to turn into a VW Beetle, Hasbro have given Bumblebee an overhaul. The result could be seen as midway between the lovely rounded bubble contours of the Bug and his upcoming, less cute, film appearance as a Camaro. The result is a sporty coupe, very similar in appearance to the MG ZR. (And there are a lot of those in yellow kicking about Dumfries & Galloway at the moment, at least!) It’s rather nifty, actually, and, if he’s no longer able to turn into a Bug, then this is a happy alternative for this Bumblebee fan.

The car measures around 4 1/2” (11.5cm) bumper to bumper – making him a nice size alongside the other Classics figures – just that little bit smaller, while still scaled to Hot Rod (erm, Rodimus). Sculpted detail is fantastic – with the little chap being souped up by a vent on the bonnet, rear spoiler and cool white stripes. Basically, done up just enough, without becoming Neddish (good if you’re me, but other opinions may differ). The headlights are clear plastic, as is the windscreen, while the taillights are painted flat red. Silver picks out the grills. However, I think the best detail is the seats within the car! The result is very much like a miniature Alternator (lacking a steering wheel).

Of course, the obligatory rub sticker can be found on the roof.

Unfortunately, the paint does seem to scratch off rather easily, and has been applied poorly. Of my five Classics figures to date, all exhibit this problem to a greater or lesser degree.

At the rear of the car is a tow bar. Seeing as Bumblebee is that little bitty smaller than the other Deluxes, I guess Hasbro felt they ought to throw in some extra plastic somehow – so this bar allows you to connect a 2 ½” (6.5cm) long trailer, which holds a white and orange Wave Crusher. Although the water vehicle is non-detachable, it does look quite cool behind the car. Still, I must confess – I tend to play and display without this addition.

Robot Mode:

The transformation is great fun! Although rather simple, it does beat previous Bumblebees in the complexity stakes. But the real joy is in a perfect and fun transformation – and this figure delivers.

The resulting robot stands around 4 ¾” (12cm) tall, making him a shade shorter than most Deluxes, gladly. And he looks like Bumblebee!

The proportions are slightly chunky, and keep the front of the car as his feet. His arms still sprout from the rear wheels, but these are hidden within the body itself (nice touch). Another fun detail is the silver on the thighs, formed by the seats! But what about that most important of anatomical features – the head? Well, it is a loving homage to G1 Bumblebee. Hasbro has achieved perfection, skirting the boundary between simplicity and detail. The result has just enough geometry and lines added to create a nostalgic representation of an ‘80s toy, updated for the new millennium. But the thing that truly makes the figure is the wee smile on the little fellow’s face.

Bumblebee also scores on the articulation front, with fifteen points of useful articulation. (The only thing missing is waist articulation, which is prevented by the method of transformation.) Coupled with an excellent centre of gravity (and the lightness of the figure) and you have a very fun and displayable toy.

Oh, and as a bonus, you can attach Mini-Cons to Bumblebee’s arms, using the sockets designed for the doors… Sneaky… (Why not give the little fellow some heavy armaments? Cotsco Energon Rollout makes for a rather hefty arm canon!)

But we’ve forgotten that extra lump of plastic – the Wave Crusher. Surely that has a use in this mode? And it does. Through a simple transformation (don’t follow the instructions – they make it far more complicated than it is!), the thing turns into a jetpack for Bumblebee’s aerial missions. And it looks ghastly! But it is a nice idea…

So, result? A perfect representation of G1 Bumblebee – without being a VW Beetle.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation:– Although rather simple, the transformation is absolutely perfect, and great fun!
Durability: 8 – He seems pretty solid. The only trouble is that some of the paint does seem to scratch off easily (mine even came with a number of scratches – the curse of the Classics line…).
Fun: 10 – Life doesn’t get more fun than this! (Well, not in the world of Transformers, at least… you can’t quite compare him to a chainsaw, but he rules over most Transformers figures!)
Price: 8 – He’s a steal at around £10 ($19.75), but does seem a little steeper for quantity than other Classics figures. But remember – this is pure quality! (Of course, our friends across the pond have no worries, with a retail of around $10 [£5]…)
Overall: 10 – This figure is too good to pass up!

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