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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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numbat's review: Legends class Bumblebee

Name: Bumblebee
Allegiance: Autobot
Sub-Group: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Legends (Wave 1)

It seems somehow appropriate that my first review (and figure) from the Revenge of the Fallen toy line should be Legends Bumblebee. G1 Bumblebee was my first ever Transformer, and still with me to this very day, while my first figure bought and reviewed for the 2007 Movie was also Legends Bumblebee.

The Legends Class figures released for the first Movie line in 2007 were a very mixed bag – and while many were horrendous, very few shone (Megatron, Brawl / Devastator and Bonecrusher being the only real highlights that spring to mind – although I am personally partial to Starscream, I probably shouldn’t argue that he’s fantastic…). The first wave was a real step down from the design and quality of the Cybertron Legends moulds. While it is understandable that the Movie designs are exceedingly complex, rendering any pocket-sized interpretation tricky at best, some of the figures were just plain lazy (and awful – Jazz and Ratchet in particular!). While designs improved with later waves, Legends didn’t really regain their steam until the end of the Movie line and release of the 2008 Universe line.

When I saw the first, admittedly low quality photos of the Revenge of the Fallen Movie Legends figures, I have to admit, I was underwhelmed and ready to write-off a line of small Transformers – which is something, given wee Transformers are my passion! However, improved photos of Jetfire really inspired me, and when I finally saw the first wave in the stores, I had to grab them all. If the first wave is anything to go by (and, by all accounts, things should only get better from here!), there is little comparison in quality between the ROTF line and the original Movie figures. While the movie designs are still difficult to achieve at this scale (in some ways more-so, as Bay really pushes the limits further with this film), the designers have put a lot of effort into achieving a decent result.

The original 2007 live action film offered a number of versions of Bumblebee, but all were repaints of the same mould – the ’74 Chevy Camaro. This mould was a fairly poorly executed, but by no means among the worst of the line. The car mode had large hinges deforming the contours, while these same hinges crippled the robot mode’s arm articulation – and the head was a bit, erm, bizarre (perhaps due to having to work from earlier concept art for the character – and I expect there may be similar issues with new characters from ROTF). The first release lacked rear window paint applications, and which was irritating, although rectified with a repaint packaged with Scorponok that had a totally amazing paint job. This was an enjoyable figure – but not the best.

I was a bit miffed by the lack of a Legends Fifth Generation (now 2010) Camaro though. After all, this was the definitive form Bumblebee took for over half of the film. The iconic Movie Bumblebee, by all accounts.

It has taken a sequel for Hasbro to release this – a Legends Class Bumblebee Fifth Generation Camaro. And it’s so worth even the new extortionate price tags… (Well, that’s perhaps an exaggeration… they are really overpriced!)

[Note: Comparison photos have been taken with the Movie Legends Bumblebee available in a two pack with Scorponok – this figure has more paint applications than the original release, and is the definitive Legends Class ’74 Camaro Bumblebee in my view.]

Alternate Mode:

Bumblebee transforms in to a Fifth Generation modified 2010 Camaro. The front end has been redesigned to more closely match the production model, and the bonnet now sports a sleek air intake, but he is otherwise identical to the Fifth Generation ‘2008’ Camaro in the original Movie. Measuring just shy of 3” (7.5cm), the 2010 Camaro mode is slightly shorter than the 1974 Legends Camaro, and is around 1/64.5 scale (the Legends ’74 Camaro mould is around 1/60 scale).

The mould is simple – but so are the curves and angles of a 2010 Camaro, and they are represented here nicely. There are no obvious signs of the robot mode (and no protruding hinges!), with the exception of the bottom of the feet at the rear. The figure is moulded in deep yellow plastic, with small metallic flecks giving a rich lustrous finish appropriate for this car. The black racing stripes are still there, and every window is painted, unlike the original release of Movie 2007 Legends Bumblebee. Black picks out the details on the front, although no lights are painted (front or back). While this is a shame, it’s not surprising for a pocket-money (I use the term loosely…) figure. It is, however, surprising that the tiny moulded Chevrolet symbol is painted gold – a very nice touch indeed at this scale.

All-in-all, this is a very nicely executed Legends alternate mode, and a nice wee Chevy Camaro toy.

Robot Mode:

After a transformation equivalent to a modern day Spychanger (careful with those door windows – they catch a bit when I transform mine, and may be fragile!), we have the robot mode. Instantly, you notice how much more film accurate this figure is than the ’74 Camaro Legends mould. Then you notice how much better the articulation is, and you’re dancing!

Bumblebee stands 3” (7.5cm) tall – shoulder to shoulder with the ’74 Camaro mould. There is plenty of moulded detail to provide that complex Movie feel, and the head sculpt is phenomenal! The door windows still stick straight back, but given the size any hinging to allow these to be posed more film accurately would have weakened the toy and would almost certainly have resulted in hinges breaking up the beautiful 2010 Camaro mode. The only real failing is in the hands – for some reason he has been moulded with five fingers, rather than four. But, that’s a minor issue, and only noticeable if you scrutinise the figure at very close range.

More black is revealed in the thighs in this mould, but otherwise the yellow plastic is the main colour (quite rightly!). The face is silver, with perfectly painted tiny blue eyes and a miniature Autobot insignia on the brow. It’s really such a fantastic job at this scale, and showcases the excellent sculpt.

The only negative (to me) in this mode is the superfluous large Autobot insignia stamped on his right knee – it’s really utterly pointless, and looks like an afterthought.

Articulation is hugely improved from the ’74 Camaro Legends mould. Ball joints offer full range of motion at the shoulders and hips, allowing for better play and posability than the rigid ’74 Camaro Legends figure from 2007.

This figure doesn’t match up to the excellent standards of the recent Universe Classics Legends Minibots, but the Movie lines never could. The robot designs are too complex for larger figure classes, let alone Legends, and so compromises must be made, and short-cuts taken. With this in mind, ROTF Legends Bumblebee is a fantastic figure, and a great start for the line. I certainly hope that this quality will continue through later waves!

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 7 – It’s a glorified Spychanger transformation, but it works well for Movie Bumblebee, is simple and fun.
Durability: 7 – Bumblebee feels sturdy, but the door windows stick when you transform him – making me worry that they could snap off in time if I’m not too careful…
Fun: 8 – Legends Bumblebee is great fun – the transformation is nice to fiddle with, the robot mode well articulated and fairly Movie accurate, and the 2010 Camaro mode is very well done.
Price: 6 – Legends Class figures have skyrocketed in price lately, with the shelfprice now being just shy of £5 or $5 depending on where you live. However, Argos in the UK offer a four pack bundle deal for £12.99, that works out at £3.25 per figure – bargain! (If you do go for the Argos bundle, check that you don’t have any doublers before you head home – the first set they brought out to me consisted of two Springers and two Jetfires!)
Overall: 7 – ROTF Legends Bumblebee is a good wee Legends figure, and equal to the best of the previous Movie Legends line. He is well recommended for fun value alone! It’s just a shame about the steep individual shelfprice.
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