"Age of Extinction" 1 Step Changer Bumblebee Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Age of Extinction, Autobot, Movie (2007), One Step Changer

Age of Extinction

Bumblebee General Information:
Release Date: 2014
Price Point: $9.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: None

*Official images above and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Bumblebee is back, and he's faster than ever! This Bumblebee changer fights his Decepticon enemies every time he can, and he converts so fast they'll never be able to keep up. Slide him to convert him from mighty robot mode to sports car mode in just 1 step, then convert him back again when the battle calls for it! Decepticons will never be able to handle your fast-changing Bumblebee figure! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Packaging:
The "Age of Extinction" One Step Changers were packaged in bubbles attached to a small backing card. The card featured a close up of the character art with the "Age of Extinction" logo to the right (if you are facing the packaging). Right under that is the vertical Transformers logo. Inside the bubble the figure is in vehicle mode. Overlapping that is an insert showing a drawing of the "one step" transform. The back of the card shows the figure in both modes. The right side says "Slide to Change!" again showing drawings of the figure transforming. To the left side are cosells for Dinobot Slash and Crosshairs. Interestingly the packaging does not have a ton of foreign languages on it (which other figures do). Thishelps the packaging look a lot less cluttered than a lot of packaging on the market nowadays.

Vehicle Mode:
In "Age of Extinction" Bumblebee transformed into a 2014 Camaro Concept vehicle. The fun part about licensed vehicles is that the vehicle forms usually have to have key details from the real life vehicle, and Bumblebee is no exception. Here are some of the details from the real life car that wind up on this figure:

  • The front of the vehicle has a Chevrolet symbol in the center.
  • The headlights are thin and angled on one side.
  • The grille in the front winds up underneath the Chevrolet logo and headlights.
  • The hood has indentations set at angles on the sides instead of being a smooth, flat piece.
  • There are small Autobot symbols on both sides of the vehicle right behind the front wheel wells.
  • The small windows on the sides have small, raised circles on them.
  • The rear has another Chevrolet logo on it.
  • Each side of the rear section there are two exhaust pipes right next to each other.
  • The rear has a curved spoiler on the back.

From a sculpting perspective I will give the designers credit. While they are not all painted, there are plenty of sculpted details.

Bumblebee is cast in a yellow and black plastic. The yellow color is really gorgeous. It is a deep yellow that has a bit of an orange tinge to it and I really like it. The wheels are cast in black. The windows are painted metallic blue while a thick black stripe runs from the front of the car to the back (with a thin black outline around it). On the right door there is a huge Autobot symbol in black. This is perhaps the biggest deviation from the live action car.

Transformation to Robot Mode:
Pull the front windshield piece back and push it in and this will activate the spring loaded transformation. The car will unfold with the front of the car forming the torso. Rotate the forearms around, then swing out the fists.

Robot Mode:
In "Age of Extinction" Bumblebee's design was changed, giving him sharper and more streamlined elements. Some of this is reflected in this sculpt. The head for instance has a crest that comes to a point in the center rather than looking like a more traditional Transformers crest (which often look like rectangles). He retains the round eyes and "re-breather" type mouth from previous films. There are also some angled details on the top of his chest borrowed from the the CG model, where several parts of the vehicle's front end form his chest. Finally, the legs also have several pointed sections on them, especially around the knees.

All that said, because of the way Bumblebee transforms his torso is mostly just the panel that forms the hood of the car, so you go from a very heavily detailed head and forearms to a very flat looking section and then it gets detailed again on the legs. The result is a bit odd looking and serves as an example of a gimmick overwhelming aesthetics.

This mode is mostly made up of the same yellow color as the vehicle mode. There are a lot of deco points on this figure for a 1-Step Changer figure. The black detail from the vehicle mode hood runs right down the torso in this form. Black details can also be found on his head, arms, thighs and lower legs. His face is painted silver and the eyes are painted blue. This is a very intricate deco for a One Step Changer and I have to admit after not having looked at this figure since I bought it two years ago, I was surprised. I am so used to seeing 1 Step Changers with very little deco that this was a pleasant reminder of what once was.

Bumblebee has two points of articulation: the arms. They can move up and down and that's it. Unfortunately Bumblebee has no 5mm ports to hold weapons. Also, in a really odd issue, whenever I move the left arm up it tends to pop off. It snaps back on easily enough but it kept falling off no matter how much I pushed it back in.

Final Thoughts:
When you are dealing with a 1 Step Changer you have to set your expectations accordingly. By their nature they are not the most complex figures and there are always design sacrifices made for the sake of the gimmick. Even by those standards however this figure is not great. It has nice detail and a surprising amount of deco but the transformation sacrifices a bit too much aesthetic for my tastes and the left arm popping off so easily is a big minus. Not recommended.

Pros:

  • Good sculpt in vehicle mode with some nice robot mode detail on the head and legs.
  • Really nice deco for a 1 Step Changer.
  • The actual 1 Step Changer mechanism is fun.

Cons:

  • The left arm consistently falls off when being moved up.
  • The torso section just being the front of the car sacrifices far too much of the aesthetics for my tastes.