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Knightdramon's Review: Masterpiece MP-21G Bumble G2 Ver.

Name: Bumble G2 Ver.
Function: Cybertron Espionage
Sub Group: Autobot carbots
Size Class: N/A

It's fair to see that Bumblebee has been steadily enjoying the best decade of his life in the franchise. Many have fond memories of G1 Bumblebee [he was the kid-friendly mascot in the early seasons, which meant that he did show up almost in every single episode] but he pretty much vanished from the franchise after G1 ended.

Beast Wars didn't have a Bumblebee archetype [Cheetor comes close, but he's more Hot Rod than 'Bee] and it's only since 2007 and the first live action movie that he's back into the spotlight.

He's been enjoying his turn on the stage ever since, with pretty much every iteration since then [Movie, Animated, Prime, now RID] having him as a central character, and his prominence is also reflected in the number of toys he has.

Despite being popular in G1, he did not have many figures back then [moreso due to the fact that there were not multiple releases of the same character in various size classes back then]; he numbers at 3, with his G1 Minibot toy, his later Pretender figure and an Action Master figure. The original Minibot toy had many variant recolours in a variety of countries but that is the subject for a different review. The same Minibot toy was reissued during Generation 2 featuring gold chrome.

Once the MP line introduced a smaller scale the doors were open for many characters who might not have been likely to have a release before; Sideswipe, Prowl, Wheeljack and Bumblebee were the first four carbots in the new scale, all fully licensed. This is the first time that VW has licensed a Bumblebee toy; the previous attempt in 2004 for the Binaltech line did not go through.

This review focuses on the second, chronologically, release of the MP mould; the G2 version. Released approximately 7 months after the G1 cartoon version, G2 Bee was met with a lukewarm response, which unfortunately intensified on the next repaint, the Red body version. Unlike G2 Sideswipe before him, who came repainted and with a plethora of other accessories and a new headsculpt, G2 Bee did not feature any remoulding and traded a hefty accessory for a relatively minor one. Let's take the magnifying glass and have a look at this release...

Car mode

G2 Bee is a copper gold repaint of the G1 version, debuting as a Volkswagen Type 1 car. Unlike his contemporaries, this is the first car release that isn't a flashy sports/muscle car.

Every surface of his car frame has been painted in a glossy copper gold tone, which is perfectly consistent throughout the car [opaque plastic parts do not differ to the clear painted plastic in this instance]. That is his primary colour, with black used on his [plastic] wheels and front/rear benders. His side mirror [which needs to be cut from a sprue and plugged in] is also cast in black, as well as his rear license plate. Clear plastic is used for his head and taillights [cast in clear and red respectively], and the roof and back section of the car is a transparent dark blue plastic that is painted over in the same copper gold. A nice tone of silver is used to pick up details---the frame of his front lights, the bonnet handle, the door handles and his hubcaps, which sport the VW logo. His turning indicator lights are also painted in silver with a tiny dab of orange. The windshield wipers and the VW badge on his hood are also painted in the same silver tone. Overall paint apps are clean, with no blemishes or overspray on my copy.

Bumblebee has enough detailing on to make him interesting; the characteristic VW bonnet is replicated faithfully thanks to sharp moulding and a thin layer of paint that brings out the details. His tail lights and front lights stand out and the rear of the vehicle has enough vent lines to break away the goldness of it all. The G1 version had glossy, thick paint all over which took away from the finer mould details. The one thing that detracts from the overall presentation is that his doors [non functional] are made up of multiple panels and the seam lines are very obvious, as is the seam line that breaks up the top of his bonnet. The VW logo is crisp and sharp on his hubcaps and hood.

Bumblebee is a bit on the small side, being marginally close to 11 cm from front to back, 4 cm to the top of his roof and roughly 5 cm at his widest point. He can fit in Prime's trailer just fine and scales just about right with the other cars, if a little bit small.

There are not many gimmicks in this mode. He rolls just fine [plenty of clearance]. No doors or bonnets open. You can store his gun at the bottom and can also clip on the spare tire cover over it--and he still rolls fine! Alternatively, you can unplug the black license plate cover from his back, revealing a peg hole. The license plate can clip on the spare tire cover's underside, and that can clip on the rear of the car to replicate the G1 cartoon look--albeit in a more real-life accurate way.

None of his other accessories come into play in this mode; I will discuss the sticker sheet [which has some relevance] towards the end of the review.

Robot Mode

As a repaint of the G1 version in the MP line, Bumblebee's robot mode strives hard to be accurate to the G1 cartoon version; short, with rather generic-looking limbs, and the car's roof and windows as the chest. In order to achieve this, the MP mould copies over and perfects some of the engineering of the Alternity toy of a few years ago, uses some fake parts and adds a few satisfying touches.

The legs swing down, extend and wrap the front part of the vehicle around them, with the top of the bonnet disappearing into a cover that is off-set by default and swings up to be hidden inside his torso. The back sides of the vehicle swing around and the arms are unfolded from them, with the top part of the rear swinging down and around to conceal all the folder parts of his back and lock it in place via a tab. The end result presents you with limbs that are not obstructed by any kibble and the characteristic body shape with the tire cover on the back. The front wheels tuck under his feet which does away with any accidental rolling around/out of a pose.

Bumblebee is the shortest MP robot mode bar Soundwave's minions, standing a bit below 12 cm in height. This puts him at more or less an accurate cartoon scale when standing by other MP robot modes, but makes him shorter than a typical mainline deluxe! He is actually shorter and less bulky than his 2006 Classics toy!

There's only one new colour introduced; the blue of his eyes/visor [more on this later] and, if you opt to, the red of his faction sticker. The colour segregation has thankfully changed; he is still mostly copper gold, but there is a lot more matte black on his legs, fists and upper arms to balance it out. His face [or mask] is the same silver as his hubcaps His eyes/visor are painted in a baby blue tone. There's a bit more clear plastic visible; since the back section of the car ends up on his back, there is a fake rear window at the top of his pecs area. There is some painted black on the sides of his torso and there are unpainted gold sections surrounding those black sections.

Sculpted detail is relatively simple and mostly obscured from view, as the eyes focus on the gold sections which are mostly vehicle mode parts and shun the moulded detail on the black limbs. The are panel lines and cuts on his front and sides of his upper and lower legs; the back has more mechanical details sculpted in. His shoulders have got some nice lines to take away from the blocky sculpt and his biceps are moulded in the tubed/circular pattern based on the cartoon. The wrists have got some great circular detailing and the fingers are individually sculpted in a fist [non-articulated]. The head is a nice amalgamation of the cartoon and comic design. The helmet is relatively plain in the front, with a lot of layered details on the back. His horns are blunt [test shots showed somewhat thinner ends].

G2 Bee is the only version of the mould that has all headsculpts/face plates available in the package. There are two humanoid faces [based on the cartoon], one smiling and another in a static expression, as well as a toy-accurate visor and faceplate version. The cartoon faces are a bit...chubby, although the face is painted silver which brings out the details far, far better than the gloss white paint that with the G1 version. Removing the faceplate is easier said than done, as you have to slide the front part of his mohawk out while simultaneously prying out two pegs on the backside of his face. The visor face was an Amazon exclusive on the G1 version and just absent on the Red Body version.

G2 Bee has some basic but very nice articulation on his frame. He is surprisingly lithe for a short and kind of stocky guy! His ankles have got an impressive amount of inward tilt and the feet/car parts can swivel slightly back and forth. In addition to that, he has a single knee joint of about 90 degrees. You can cheat and do away with the lock to take advantage of the transformation joint for 180 degrees, but it breaks up the sculpt. The legs swivel at the top of the thigh and have got unrestricted movement on the vertical and horizontal axis. The waist can rotate 360 degrees, and if you unlock some transformation tabs on the back you can take advantage of a slight ab crunch [bending upwards instead of downwards!]. The shoulders are on a ball joint with a generous cut for outward movement, and can swivel downwards slightly on the transformation joint. He has a bicep swivel and roughly 95 degrees of an elbow bend. His wrists/fists can rotate inwards a bit due to the transformation joint. His head can rotate a full 360 and look up and down [downwards movement is ample!] and due to the neck sculpt it looks natural no matter the angle.

The basic figure's accessories end at a G1 cartoon accurate handgun. The gun has some nice sculpted details on the side but is moulded entirely in black [G1 release had parts of the gun in a nice deep blue] so the detail is lost. The gun slots nicely into either fist but had no storage in robot mode. The G1 version also packed in an additional figure, which was a fully transformable and poseable exosuit [possibly Daniel, although the headsculpt is tiny and very basic] that was slightly smaller than Bumblebee. This accessory/figure is absent from this release.

Instead, exclusive to this version is the backpack that Bumblebee used in Dinobot Island to fly around. The backpack can be used with any version of the mould and requires some parts-forming. You have to take the spare tire cover [or license plate] from Bumblebee's back; that's a spare part to the side. Once you plug the backpack in, you then need to move the arms around and attach the two black rubber plastic pieces on the backpack and clip them on the figure's sides and shoulders. The connection is very secure but I'd be wary of stressing those black rubber pieces over and over to fit and detach from the backpack/figure.

The backpack has got nice moulded details on and is cast in black. The entire outer section is painted in silver with the sides picked out in gunmetal gray, and the booster ends left black. Paint apps are great; no detail is washed out. The side pieces are just black rubbery plastic with straps moulded on.

While a nice addition, the backpack is also a bit of a cheat. It's moulded and cut to fit Bumblebee's back, resulting in the boosters only being 2/4ths of an actual booster, they are more like an open cup on the inside, as if the sculpt run out suddenly. The fact that you are left with a spare [bear with me] spare tire cover, and you basically have to assemble the backpack on the figure each time you want it is a let down.

Much like G2 Sideswipe, this figure comes with a G2 Sticker sheet containing two G2 Autobot Emblem stickers, two G1 Emblem stickers, two yellow/white G2 Autobot symbols with the word Autobot next to them, two front license plate stickers [I -heart- NY] and two additional stickers that can be placed on his forearms, spelling "180 Deceps" and "I -heart- Cybetron" based on a comic strip and/or the 1986 movie script.

Those stickers are optional; Bumblebee's flip around torso panel has been remoulded so that both sides are flat, meaning that you can adourn one side with a G1 or G2 sticker, with the smaller logo sticker ending up on his toe.

Overall, this is a very mixed release. From July 2015 to roughly December of that same year he was the cheapest Autobot MP car in terms of retail price, a title he only lost to his red re-release. At the same time, you are not really getting much with this release. The backpack is, as mentioned above, a bad trade off from the Exosuit, essentially as you are trading a fully transformable and articulated figure for a parts forming half-moulded accessory.

At the same time, paint apps are far cleaned on this release, with the paint applied evenly, bringing out the lively details of the sculpt, especially on those face sculpts! Furthermore, he has the rare and elusive Amazon mask as a standard accessory.

There is no mould degradation. No joints are looser [if anything, the opposite holds true!] although that rear bumper will pop off every.Single.Time you touch it.

Overall, everything that was good on the original release is just as good on this one. The transformation scheme is innovative, the base figure is very fun to handle and pose and it looks great as a standalone figure or part of a larger MP collection. If you have the option I would go with the G1 version, the Exosuit is clearly a better accessory and the mask/visor gimmick, while neat, is not that fun to swap around and can lead to breakage if you are not careful. This release is also better than the Red Body release.

Transformation Design: 8. Everything flows together very nicely, with no joint refusing to move. There are multiple locking points on the feet and main body for either mode, which is a perfected step up from the Alternity release [which looks like a prototype for this figure's leg transformation]. The top part of the bonnet sliding in to the main body cavity while the waist flings forward is very smart.
Durability: 9 for the main figure. Only losing a point due to the damn rear bumper popping off all the time. All the joints are pin joints except his shoulders, but he is so light with a very good centre of gravity so it does not look like he'll get looser with time. The backpack is fiddly to put on and take off and the rubber plastic straps worry me a little.
Fun: 7. He can transform, he can be posed...and then you can do the same with the G1 version, and also get another poseable figure with it.
Aesthetics: 9. He -looks- very nice in either mode thanks to the striking gold paint. The black and gold colours compliment each other very nicely, with the silver accents topping off a gorgeous package.
Articulation: 7. Good stability thanks to the massive and articulated legs, has got all the joints it needs with nothing excessive or fancy.
Price/value: 6. He is very cheap for MP standards, but that's for a scout-sized figure with a gun, three plastic DIY backpack pieces, three faces and a sticker sheet. He has gorgeous paint all over him though, but you are paying leader class prices for a tiny thing.
Overall: 6. Regular release would get 7-8, but this one feels like a lighter package. The base figure is still great, but overpriced for its size. The Red Body would get a 5, seeing as it has no additional accessories. Good if you want a G2 shelf theme or a striking Bumblebee in your collection, but you might want to shell out some extra cash and get the regular version for the best value.
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