"Bumblebee" Power Plus Series Bumblebee Toy Review

in 2018, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Bumblebee Movie, Energon Igniters, Power Plus Series

Igniters

General Information:
Release Date: September 2018
Price Point: $12.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Target, Walmart, Amazon etc.)
Accessories: Energon Igniter Core

Bumblebee

*Images and text below from BigBadToyStore.com:
Energon, the lifeblood of Transformers robots, fuels the epic action on Earth and beyond. And in the Transformers: Bumblebee movie, it fuels an all new adventure as Bumblebee embarks on a journey to unleash the power within. Now imagine the power of this vital energy source is in kids’ hands with Energon Igniters figures.

Each Energon Igniters Power Plus Series figure comes with the Energon Igniter core needed to activate the awesome driving action in all Energon Igniters figures (each sold separately). Fans can collect other Energon Igniters figures and use the core to unleash the power within.

Product Features

  • 5 inches (12.70cm)
  • Made of plastic
  • Insert Energon Igniters core to activate driving action
  • Energon Igniters core also work with Speed and Power series figures
  • Box Contents
  • Bumblebee figure
  • Energon Igniters core

In September of 2018 Hasbro launched its "Bumblebee" toy line based on the live action movie. Much of this toy line was aimed at a younger audience, relying on the "Energon Igniter" gimmick. More complex and detailed figures for the movie would be folded into the "Studio Series" and "Masterpiece" lines instead. The "Energon Igniter" gimmick was spread across several classes of figures including the "Power Plus Series" which consisted of figures that were roughly 5 inches (12.70cm) tall with very simple transformations and the "Energon Igniter Core" accessory. Bumblebee was one of the first figures released in this group.

Packaging:
The Energon Igniter Power Plus figures are packaged on a bubble card. The backing card features artwork of Bumblebee on it regardless of the character packaged inside. The colors on the packaging use Bumblebee as their inspiration with the focus on yellow, black, blue, white and beige. The vertical Transformers logo is set on the right side with the "Energon Igniters" logo above it. The figure itself is packaged in robot mode with the Energon Igniter core accessory next to it. The insert set in front of the figure features Bumblebee in vehicle mode using the Energon Igniter to activate his weapon.

The back of the packaging has the instructions on the left (showing an 8 step transformation) and Bumblebee in his various forms. The lower part of the card features tons of legal information in various languages. The lower right hand corner has the official Volkswagon logo on it since this figure transforms into a licensed Volkswagon Beetle.

Accessory:
Bumblebee includes an Energon Igniter Core. This is a translucent blue and grey piece that features a rubber wheel on the bottom. When you press the grey piece, it preps the wheel to spin. Let go and the wheel spins, propelling this figure and others in the line forward in vehicle mode.

Robot Mode:
This sculpt is based on Bumblebee's appearance in the movie when he transforms into a Volkswagon Beetle. The CG model features a more curved design than previous versions. Many of the parts that were exposed in the previous films are covered up by curved armor pieces. Perhaps the most iconic design aspects are the front of the car forming the chest and the head design.

This figure reflects a lot of those design influences, but they have been simplified to accommodate a figure that is more focused on a gimmick than screen accuracy. For instance, on the CG model used in the film, parts of the vehicle's front end form the chest, but bits of it collapse in and disappear. Here, the entire front end forms the chest. Interestingly, his right arm is sculpted to feature his arm/blaster weapon. The left arm has a fist. The legs have curved armor pieces on the front and above that are some nice mechanical details like wires. The sculpt looks good (read: not great) for a simplified figure.

Unfortunately, the focus on the Energon Igniter gimmick and the simplified design result in a good chunk of the vehicle mode winding up as a "shell" on the back of the figure. This is going to turn off some fans right away and I totally get why.

This figure is mostly cast in a beautiful yellow color. Smaller parts such as the feet are cast in silver. Gunmetal grey and silver paint are used on the chest, face and arms for detailing. The eyes are painted light blue. An Autobot symbol graces the left shoulder.

There are two points of articulation on this figure: the shoulders. The left hand has a 5mm port, allowing him to hold weapons from other figures. Again, the focus on the gimmick in vehicle mode winds up detracting from the robot mode. I would have preferred at least one or two more points of articulation.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Swing the arms down.
  2. Swing the robot chest up and push it in.
  3. Swing the front panels on the legs up.
  4. Swing the heel pieces up over the legs.
  5. Clip the feet together in the middle.
  6. Connect the rear vehicle mode panels.
  7. Swing the arms up to form the sides of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
For a good portion of the film, Bumblebee transforms into a Volkswagon Beetle, the same vehicle form he had in Generation One. This is not the modern version of the Beetle. This is the retro one that was still relatively common in the 80's.

Like the real life Beetle, the vehicle mode features a round design on the front, middle and back. The front end has round headlights and a distinct, curved hood piece with a "handle" sculpted into the front and a Volkswagon symbol near the windshield. Both ends feature curved bumpers. The main difference from the real life vehicle in terms of the sculpt is the back end, where some bits of the robot heels can be seen.

This mode is yellow, silver and black plastic. The headlights and front bumper are painted silver. The windows are all painted metallic blue (even the rear one!). I do wish the sides of the wheels were painted but other than that I think the vehicle mode looks great.

This is the form where the Energon Igniter Core comes into play. Holding the Core so the small peg on it faces front. Push down on the rear of the vehicle and the panels that form that section will swing out to the sides, revealing a slot where you can attach the Core. This reveals two cylinders that can either be interpreted as cannons or turbines! For more fun, press the grey part of the core down and the wheel will spin, moving the vehicle forward! This is a fun feature and I do like the idea of the Core activating functionality on Bumblebee himself.

Final Thoughts:
As the name implies, this figure's play value is largely based on the Energon Igniter Core. The robot mode is basically a statue (though I can see some play value). Most of the fun to be had with this figure is with the vehicle mode. All that said, this figure is recommended for ages 6+, and I can imagine kids having a grand time with this toy.

Pros:

  • Nice sculpt in vehicle mode.
  • Fun action feature.
  • Energon Igniter Core can be used with other figures.

Cons:

  • Robot mode sculpt basically has a giant vehicle shell on its back.
  • Limited articulation in robot mode.