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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Clay's review: Premium Bumblebee

Name: Bumblebee
Sub-group: Premium Series

Like a handful of other figures, Bumblebee has been re-released at the end of the movie toy line as part of the "Premium Series." The gist of the series involves giving the figures more detailed paint jobs, with attention paid to things like turn signals, license plates, etc. Bumblebee is a bit unique even in this small subset though as the figure includes a new head depicting the "battle mask" seen in the film and concept artwork.

Alternate mode:

Bumblebee's car mode is that of the new Camaro. Unlike the first release, the premium version includes smaller yellow pinstripes inside the larger black stripes, a painted bumper, and other small bells and whistles. The car itself pretty accurately depicts the Camaro: it has most of these smaller details molded into the plastic. It's only with the premium release that these details are incorporated into the deco.

Robot mode:

Bumblebee's robot mode is noticeably different from the previous release because the parts that were cast in black prior are now gray. Aside from this major change, a few minor details have been filled in: the centers of the shoulder guards are now painted gray, as well as the interiors of the legs.

The primary draw for collectors is of course the new noggin. It's not entirely accurate to the CGI design because of the vents over the eyes, but it does have a certain character of its own. Whether or not that 'character' is Bumblebee is in the eye of the beholder, however.

The design of the figure itself is flawless. None of the dangling car parts get in the way of articulation, and most critically, the waist is mounted on a ball / socket joint at an angle. While this sounds like a minor detail, it actually allows Bumblebee to be posed using the principle of contrapposto. Rather than standing perfectly straight like, well, a robot, Bumblebee can slouch off-center like the human frame Transformer robots are based on.

Also, the doors swing off the back like bumblebee wings. I think that's cool :-)

Transformation: 10. For a toy with two different modes that look nothing alike, swapping it back and forth is completely intuitive.
Durability: 9. Bumblebee is sturdy and nothing should break, but the shoulder pads aren't glued down and could get lost.
Fun: 10. It's like he just walked out of a movie...
Price: 10. For the retail price of $10, Bumblebee is well worth it.
Overall: 10. This toy of Bumblebee gets my vote for best transforming robot toy ever produced. Bumblebee has an accurate and detailed car mode, an enjoyable process to swap it to and fro, automatically-transforming parts that work properly, and a great amount of useful joints that can strike natural poses. The only deal breaker is perhaps the head, and whether you prefer it over the "normal" head. Even so, the extra detailing for the car mode should compensate.

I really like the little guy, and you probably will too.
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