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ganon578's Review: Generations Deluxe Class Goldfire

Name: Goldbug (Goldfire, Bumblebee)
Function: Not-quite Cybertron’s Leader?
Subgroup: Generations
Size Class: Deluxe

His new armor may be resistant to the laser fire of the Decepticons, but beneath it, Goldfire is the same robot he’s always been. Once known as Bumblebee, he had the chance to lead Cybertron to a new golden age, but now it looks like that chance has passed. With all that he’s built seemingly collapsing around him, all Goldfire can do is keep fighting to save all that he can.

Goldbug has somewhat of a spotted history in the Transformers toys, fiction, and cartoons. Late in the Generation 1 cartoon series (towards the end of Season 3 in the US ~ 1987) Bumblebee was reformatted into a more powerful version of himself, and dubbed ‘Goldbug’. It's a ‘clever’ way for Hasbro to make more money on an existing character, but also infusing the toy with the ‘Throttlebot’ gimmick. The toyline and cartoon faded in the US shortly thereafter, and Goldbug went into relative obscurity.

Recently, IDW seems to be resurrecting several peripheral characters, or in some cases shoehorning them into various stories to help sell new toys and/or repaints. In the IDW-verse, Bumblebee has been trying to lead Cybertron in a time of 'peace', but everything basically falls apart around him. Succumbing to the weight of leadership, he collapses. Rebuilt by Fixit, Bumblebee received new ‘Goldfire shielding’, thus creating this version of Goldbug. Oddly, everyone in the comics still calls him Bumblebee.

Prior to purchase, I had heard the IDW Bumblebee mold was quite sub-par, and likewise, so should the Goldfire repaint/remold be. The only true reason for me to get Goldfire was because I had the original Goldbug Throttlebot back when I was a kid. This was more of a nostalgia trip for me, and some of it is good, but most of it has been disappointing. Honestly I was hoping for something a little better.

Alternate Mode:

Goldbug’s alternate form is a stylized version of a 2013-2014 Dodge Charger. For the most part, the aesthetics are right on for the car design. It’s a curious choice by IDW/Hasbro, since the movie lines have built Bumblebee’s popularity using the recent Chevrolet Camaro design. I’m surprised they didn’t stick more closely to the Camaro, but the two cars do have some similarities.

The main detailing of the alt mode is done with metallic gold plastic, which in some light comes off as more of a spicy mustard color. It’s not bad, and I suppose it’s rather faithful to the original. The plastic itself looks good, but the metallic flake is swirled in, instead of a homogeneous metallic flake. There’s some black detailing on the grill and sides of the car, which also wraps around to the back and the spoiler. The headlights are done in silver and the taillights in red. The front and side windows are in clear blue - apparently Goldbug doesn’t need a rear windshield, so this is left as gold plastic. I guess being on Cybertron means no humans need to drive you, and therefore you don’t need a rear windshield anyways. Overall the car mode is pretty standard – nothing flashy or truly eye-catching. The lack of detailing makes the mode somewhat bland, but you can spice it up by pegging some really odd looking guns to the sides (more on those later). The real fault I have with the car mode - and this could be strictly the toy I have - is the robot chest pokes out far enough on the underside of the car so that one of the front wheels does not touch the ground. Put him on a nice flat table, and you’ll hear the sweet sound of that chest plate scraping across the surface. It’s quite a letdown; even if a figure’s robot mode is sub-par, at least the car mode should be rather difficult to mess up, right? It’s a rather unfortunate problem that I personally don’t know how to fix, short of disassembly and some filing to get it to fit tightly. None of which should be required of a brand new toy.

Robot Mode:

Normally I’m a complete sucker for the robot mode. Most of my purchases get fiddled with quite a bit when I first buy them, transformed back and forth, then left in robot mode on display. Goldbug’s transformation scheme is nothing noteworthy. If you’ve bought Classics or Generations figures within the last 7-8 years, you won’t find anything unique here.

Standing still, Goldbug is quite fine. He looks good, robot detailing is done well, and the mix of minor paint apps and colored plastic is enough to keep things varied while not being a mish-mash of bad taste. There’s a bunch of blue plastic that appears in robot mode, which does a nice job of lightening the black and gold. The head mold is done really well with great detailing. The aesthetics of the head are a great melding of Goldbug’s G1 face with the newer looks of Movie Bumblebee. The result is a solid offering that contains features of both 'bots. At first I was put off that the eyes were painted over instead of using traditional light piping. However, they’ve been painted with a light metallic blue that looks nice and is noticeable in all sorts of lighting conditions. Oddly enough the top of the light piping on the back of the head has also been painted this shade of blue. Weird.

The only real aesthetic issues I have with the mold are the top of the car hanging off his back and his shoulder doors. The first issue is nothing new; car backpacks haven’t been done before, but Goldbug’s shows up like a little tail or phallic appendage hanging down in between his legs. And there’s nothing you can do about it. On top of that, the doors attached to the shoulders look great straight on, but once you shift the arms into firing position, those doors point downward, and are hidden from veiw. It’s not a deal-breaker, but a different engineering choice to leave the shoulders independent from the doors could have made a big difference.

Goldbug has decent, if somewhat hindered articulation. The shoulders swivel as well as raise and lower, but all of this is hindered slightly by the bulkiness of the front fenders. Elbows twist in two directions giving a good range of motion, but the wrists are static. The waist swivels, and he’s got ball-jointed and swiveled hips. The knees bend well and the ankles have a bit of motion, but are hindered by the shins. The elbows and knees are both on ratchet joints, but don’t feel too tight as to wear thin. Overall Goldbug can get into some decent positions, but there are hindrances are here and there, and the figure isn’t the most balanced. Thankfully Goldbug has some damn big feet, so that helps.

Goldbug has some pretty unwieldy weapons. I don’t care for the design at all – it’s kind of a hint of Animated Bumblebee’s stinger weapons, but the design is just so over the top that it almost looks comical. I don’t really get the clear blue plastic coming out of the ends, and when combined, it looks like a giant megaphone. Having them apart almost looks worse. I would have preferred if they had given him a set of normal (even Cybertronian) pistols or an assault rifle like he has in the Dark Cybertron comics. As an accessory, this weapon fires blanks.

Overall, I’m not upset that I purchased Goldbug. I’m glad to have a new version of a nostalgic figure in my collection. I am disappointed that the figure isn’t better than I was hoping. There could have been a few different design choices that would make this figure so much better.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 5. Not frustrating, but basically like every other Generations-type car mold. Tabbing in the doors is a pain.
Durability: 9. Goldbug is solid. The gold and black paint on the doors may chip over time.
Fun: 5. It’s an OK toy, but the guns are ridiculous and the chest plate grinds the ground in car mode.
Aesthetics: 7. Looks good in both modes if you don’t move it too much. The car mode is kind of bland.
Articulation: 6. Not bad in the joint department, but the total range of motion is lacking.
Value/Price: 5. I paid full US retail for him, which I don’t think is a deal at $15. Maybe I would feel better about it had I got Goldbug on sale.
Overall: 5. There’s too many problems with him to earn a full recommendation. I like him for nostalgia, and we don't get Goldbugs very often. Howver, there is absolutely nothing about him indicating you should hunt him down. For these reasons, Goldbug earns a solid ‘average’.
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