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numbat's review: G1 Bumblebee

Name: Bumblebee
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Espionage
Sub-Group: Universe Legends Wave 4

After a strange repaint of Legends of Cybertron Hot Shot as Bumblebee during the original Classics line back in 2006, the latest release of a Universe Legends Bumblebee blessed with an original mould is a huge relief! In fact, Hasbro seem to have at last realized what the Transformers fanbase has long understood – Legends Class is ideally suited as the modern successor to the G1 Minibots!

The 4th wave of Universe Legends features reincarnations of Bumblebee, Brawn and Beachcomber (three Autobot ‘B’s!). Of these, only Bumblebee has seen another release in a ‘Classics’ guise, as a Deluxe back with the original Classics series. This Legends Class figure reproduces the 2006 Classics design on a miniature scale, still avoiding the VW reference that has been prohibited by Volkswagen due to their (understandable) desire to ensure they are not associated with ‘war’ (although Bumblebee has to be the least warlike character in Transformers [bar G1 Beachcomber…], and certainly one of the most noble!).

The big question is – how does Bumblebee measure up upon his return to his original size class?

Alternate Mode:

As already noted, this version of Bumblebee transforms in to a miniature replica of the Classics Deluxe Bumblebee coupe – which is very similar in design to an MG ZR.

Measuring 2 ¼” (6cm) in length, this car looks great, despite the deceptively simple sculpting. The pertinent details are there, with headlights, wing mirrors, and radiator grill really giving an excellent impression of a ‘real’ car.

Of course, Bumblebee is yellow, and has sky blue headlights, metallic blue windows (every window is painted – unusual for contemporary Legends figures) with black wheels and other details. Oddly, there are two black ‘panels’ on the bonnet. These are parts of the robot mode legs, which, even more strangely, are moulded in yellow plastic, but painted fully black… And, stranger still is the fact that the panels visible in the car mode are not visible in the robot mode. Therefore, these panels could have been left yellow.

This, along with painted rear lights, would have made for a perfect alternate mode.

Still pretty spiffy though!

Robot Mode:

The transformation is a simplified version of he Deluxe Classics mould, and working through, you realise just how similar to the G1 Minibot this really is.

The resulting robot mode stands just over 3” (7.5cm) tall, he stands next to his G1 forebear nicely. It’s obvious straight away that the designers put a lot of effort in to creating a close likeness to the G1 cartoon character. The colour-scheme is perfect, excepting the solid black crotch. His arms and hands have even been painted black on yellow, with finesse, despite the doors on the outsides.

Unfortunately, his proportions are a little bizarre – he’s quite lanky, with a long body and rather short legs (with knees bend backwards). A splash of yellow on the waist would have improved the illusion of better proportions, but nothing could detract from this bar a remoulding. The head, also, while sculpted to resemble the G1 animation model, is quite wide and flat. It just doesn’t look quite right. Although the silver face and blue eyes have been precisely applied, which is great.

Articulation wise, he has ball joints at his hips, and his arms can swivel. An additional hinge joint at the shoulders improves poseability. Thanks to the shoulder hinge and hip ball joints, Bumblebee can be posed far less rigidly than his G1 counterpart and displays well, but is still limited.

Universe Legends Bumblebee is a great homage to G1 Bumblebee, and a welcome return to an appropriate size class. Whilst not the best of the new Legends Minibots so far on offer, he’s hardly the worst, and is great fun to play with.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 5 – Simple, but a fun and well thought out update of the G1 Minibot design.
Durability: 7 – A fairly solid Legends figure, the main concern I have is with the number of pin hinges – especially those wee shoulder hinges. I’m not so sure he has the staying power of the G1 original (my 1984 figure is still in perfect nick, and photographed alongside this, his great grandson!).
Fun: 8 – Bumblebee is a fun wee figure – not avoiding that! And a welcome return to a small size class. Although not highly poseable, he’s not consigned to rigid poses either, and will display well.
Price: 7 – Legends Class figures used to be the best value possible. Too good to be true, and so it has proven. Prices have recently jumped both in the States and in the UK (if you can find them). $5 or around £5 seems to be the new rule – as opposed to the long-standing price of under £3 that lasted from introduction of the size class in the 2005 Cybertron line, right through to the recent 2007 live action film waves.
Overall: 8 – Objectively, he’s a ‘7’, but deserves a mark up for the fact that this is effectively a modern Minibot release of the greatest of all G1 Minibots (well… he was my first ever Transformer, after all!). Still, as with his original, it is fair to say there are better contemporary ‘Minibots’ (such as Beachcomber!).
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