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

Name: Bumblebee
Allegiance: Autobot
Sub-Group: Movie Legends (Legends of Cybertron [LOC] Series 7)

The Legends Class figures came into being during the Cybertron line. In a sense, they represent a continuing line in-and-of themselves, with each wave having a series number which runs concurrently through to the latest Movie offerings (Series 7).

However, the Movie Legends mark a departure from the previous style found with the Cybertron releases (and subsequent Classics repaints). Whereas the original Legends figures were small representations of figures also available in larger size classes, right down to maintaining as similar a transformation as possible, the Movie Legends are entirely unique figures. Although they do represent characters available in other size classes, they no longer attempt to reproduce the transformation or detail.

My interest in Transformers toys is wide, but has always been heavily focused on the smaller transforming figures. I was very impressed with the original Legends Class offerings – they were a fine balance of size, value, and detail. Of course some were worse than others, but in general the line was a great achievement. Given this, I was rather disappointed when I saw the Movie Legends figures in-store. They are not really comparable to the original Legends, but are, rather, a blend of G1 Minibot, Spychanger and Legends.

Certainly, some look positively awful in my opinion (Ratchet and Jazz in particular), but it’s not a total loss.

Bumblebee may look awkward in the package, but, being a fan of the little tyke, I couldn’t resist picking him up in a buy-one-get-one-half-price offer with Barricade. I am pleased to say, the toy surprised me when I tore through the irritating plastic…

Alternate Mode:

Bumblebee takes the form of a ’74 Camaro, in his major return (3 ¼” [8.5cm] long in this Legends version). This is a big departure from his G1 VW Beetle, but luckily we’ve all been cushioned by the Classics release. Of course, a Camaro is considerably larger than a Beetle, and I’d imagine the Classics coupe as well.

Although he is still yellow (a paler yellow similar to the original G1), Bumblebee now sports black stripes (as opposed to the stark opposite white of the Classics version, and none in G1). The stripes are lengthwise, rather than crosswise like your standard bumblebee in the garden though. Black also picks out the wheels, while metallic blue highlights some of the windows, and silver the radiator grill and two headlights. Molded detail is decent as well, with mirrors and door handles, along with far more lights than are painted. Which is the real failing in this mode, really. Not even all of the front windscreen is painted! The edges at each side are not touched by the metallic blue, nor is the rear window at all (although the black stripes do continue straight over it!). Poor show on the paint front really.

Proportions are rather forced, but that is to be expected at this scale with a realistic vehicle. A bit irritating is the fact the nose of the car is wider than the rear two thirds, with an obvious hinge and ball joint both protruding just before the door. Plus, the molding of the fists can be clearly seen under the bumper.

All in all, the flaws in molding mean Movie LOC Bumblebee reminds me very much of Spychanger X-Brawn – but the paint job on the windows does knock him down a notch, which is a shame.

Robot Mode:

The transformation, as noted before, bears little resemblance to the larger size classes beyond necessity. In fact, it is very simple, but not without its charm.

The resulting Bumblebee stands 3” (7.5cm) tall (a good size to go alongside your G1 Bumblebee!), and is rather awkward in appearance. Yellow is still the main colour (as is fitting for Bumblebee), while black picks out his upper legs and the stripes running down is sloping chest. The metallic blue makes a return on his knees, and eyes, while silver highlights facial detail and is used for the Autobot insignia below his chin.

Sculpting is interesting, with details hinting at the Movie design’s complexity, while remaining close to the more traditional Transformer angles. The fists are chunky, with fingers molded – but nowhere near level of finesse found in many Cybertron Legends Class figures.

The face does creep me out a little, as, somehow, the over-cute Movie design has translated into something resembling a skull here, despite the fact that it is the only part of the toy that has received a decent level of detailing.

Articulation is rather poor – and given the oversimplified transformation compared to many LOC figures, there is really no excuse. The shoulder ball joints have limited use – especially given the door-wings, while the elbow hinges left over from the transformation are rather high to work sensibly. The legs are the only saving grace, with excellent hip ball joints. It is possible to pose him standing rather naturally (if stiff), but action poses are out of the question.

All that said, somehow, the toy is really quite fun. I don’t know how, but I find myself tinkering away with him when doing my paperwork after a day’s surveying rather than Barricade. I think his design is quite pleasing, despite the obvious flaws, and reassuring – it reminds me of G1 toys with a little more articulation. Plus he has a great center of balance for a LOC figure.

I do feel that these figures could have been easily better, with simple changes even, if not more attention to detail. Particularly, a better design for the shoulder joint would have greatly improved the alternate and robot modes, while blue paint applications to the sides of the windscreen and the rear window would have gone down a treat.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 3 – Very easy, but the arms take a little pressure to unfold from the Camaro mode.
Durability: 9 – Bumblebee seems solid, with most major joints re-attachable (except for the elbows). The plastic may be a little light in the long run, though.
Fun: 7 – Surprisingly fun! Not the best display piece however, and a disappointment compared to previous LOC figures.
Price: 9 – At £2.99 or so (and no doubt around $3 in the US), he is a good deal, but offers less for money than previous LOC figures have.
Overall: 7 – Collectors of wee Transformers will probably come away with Bumblebee and Barricade from the first wave, but there are better small Transformers out there for the less hardcore fan, and better versions of Movie Bumblebee.

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