"Age of Extinction" High Octane Bumblebee Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Age of Extinction, Autobot, Deluxe, Movie (2007)

Age of Extinction

Bumblebee General Information:
Release Date: May 12, 2014 (Online); May 17, 2014 (Stores)
Price Point: $14.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Missile

Images:

*Images above with asterisks(*) and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Hunted by forces that seek to destroy them, the Autobots have been forced to go into hiding. As their enemies scour the planet, looking for the Autobots in their familiar alternate forms, Bumblebee harnesses the skills mastered through years of battle and rescans to a new form, disguising himself as a classic sports car. He'll use stealth tactics to maneuver undetected. But if the Decepticons do find him, he's ready for them with a powerful plasma cannon that's charged for battle.

Bumblebee has been a feature character in every "Transformers" film so far. "Age of Extinction" is no exception. When we first catch up to Bumblebee he has taken the vehicle form of a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. Previously Bumblebee had taken the form of a 70's Camaro so this isn't his first brush with taking the alternate form of a classic "Muscle Car".

Robot Mode:
In the photos above you'll notice I used a "Dark of the Moon" Bumblebee figure to photograph with this figure. This was largely to give you a sense of the size difference between the standard Deluxe from a few years ago versus now. This by itself is not a negative indictment of the figure. Rather, I wanted to provide readers with realistic expectations of how much these figures have been sized down over the years. This is by no means something singular to "Transformers" as a whole. Toys in general seem to be shrinking in many action figure lines or losing articulation unless you pay for more "premium" figures (such as "Marvel Legends" toys). While talking to Hasbro at Botcon 2014, they made it very clear to me they understand the importance of keeping figures at their current size and not sizing down further, but even given that I know everyone may be a bit shocked when they first see just how much the figure differs in size from other Bumblebees.

In "Age of Extinction", Bumblebee starts out with a robot form akin to what we had seen in previous films. Among the key details you'll find familiar are the "springs" and round section with ridges on his waist area. His legs also have a familiar design if you've seen the previous movies including the armor panel designs on his legs and the rods coming out of his feet at angles in the front. There's also the design of the armor on his forearms, which overlaps the upper arms slightly. The head design is the same as previous Bumblebees down to the round eyes, the little antennae like ears and the mouth piece in the center under his nose. Even his overall outline is the same with the car doors forming "wing" like sections on his back and the front of the car forming his chest. It's a familiar form, but some of the shapes (like the front of the car) are different enough that he is distinct from the previous versions.

Instead of yellow being the overwhelming color in this form, he has a good balance of black and yellow. Gunmetal forms other parts, contrasting nicely between the black and yellow. It's found on parts like his arms and small joints at the hip. There aren't a ton of paint applications on this figure. Truth be told the figure doesn't need them since even in the CGI model used in the film he's basically black, gunmetal and yellow without a lot of embellishment. The color layouts are quite different however. Here there are some stripes on his chest, gunmetal tips on his feet and some on his face. His eyes are painted blue. Where he could use more detail is the waist section which is left yellow, but is gunmetal grey on the CGI model. There are also some car armor bits that wrap around the hips that are also left unpainted that could do with being painted black with yellow lines. It's funny, I think the figure looks good on its own, but the moment I begin to do a side by side comparison with his appearance on screen suddenly he looks plain. Perspective affects perception indeed!

Bumblebee has twenty one points of articulation in this form. There are five in each arm and leg. Interestingly the shoulder and hip joints are really tight ratchet joints which allows for a high level of stability, a plus in my book. His primary weapon is a missile launcher on his right forearm. You insert the missile and push it out the back, using the "marble pressure" type of action to launch it. His hands are in a curved, open position but the clearance is 5mm, allowing you to put any 5mm peg weapon into his hands.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Straighten out the arms.
  2. Push the robot feet up against the lower legs. This will move the pieces that form the rear of the vehicle down.
  3. Push the two legs together.
  4. Pull the top panel of the vehicle mode down.
  5. Swing the robot chest up.
  6. Fold the panels that were on either side of the head down to form the hood of the car.
  7. Push the two halves of the car's front end together.
  8. Swing the robot arms in so they are tucked under the vehicle. There is a tab on the missile launcher that should attach to the corresponding groove in the other arm.
  9. Connect the section that forms the top of the vehicle to the rear.
  10. Swing the vehicle doors back.
  11. Swing the wheel wells forward.

Vehicle Mode:
In this form Bumblebee is a 1967 Camaro. It may be a retro car, but its sleek lines and clean design give it a very modern day feel. Many of the key details from the real life vehicle were captured in this sculpt. This includes a vent detail in the front end, small ropes that hold on to a panel on the bottom half of the front end, the triangular spoiler and the distinctive curves on the wheel wells. Overall the design looks great and it's instantly recognizable as Bumblebee's alternate form.

The vehicle mode is mostly cast in black and clear plastic. The black makes up the front, sides and back (and of course the wheels). The clear plastic is used for his windows. Black paint fills in details on the clear plastic, forming a nice bridge to the black plastic pieces. Yellow paint is used on the spoiler and for stripes on the front end of the vehicle. A small "SS" is found on the sides towards the front (meaning "Super Speed"). These are all details found on the vehicle used on screen. An additional detail is painted on the sides near the front wheel wells: yellow Autobot symbols. Given that these are the only Autobot symbols on the figure I don't mind this bit of "screen inaccuracy".

Final Thoughts:
This Bumblebee figure surprised me in how small it was compared to previous Deluxe Bumblebees. I address that above but given that this is a character that most fans probably own several times over, I have a hard time suggesting anyone pay full retail for it. I'd definitely wait for a sale or something (maybe $12.99 USD tops). It's not a bad figure by any means, but between other figures like the Deluxe scale Dinobots and this one there are other figures that are more worthy of your dollars up front.