"Generation 2" Rumble Toy Review
Intended release date: 1995-96
In 1995 the last gasp of "Generation 2" was released, mostly going on discount at retailers such as Kay Bee Toys. While "Generation 2" had helped keep the Transformers brand on life support, Hasbro had decided to radically change the brand into what became known as "Beast Wars Transformers". However, in that transition there were several planned figures that never made it into mass production.
Among these unreleased figures were six "Go-Bots", small Hot Wheels sized vehicles that transformed into small robots with limited articulation. Years later, four of these figures would make it into mass release in two packs as Daytonus and Side Burn and Prowl 2 and Side Swipe. Two other sculpts never made it into production in any way (possibly due to the tooling being lost).
Over the years, early production samples of these figures made it onto the collector market via a former Kenner employee who sold them off many years before. In 2017 I was able to purchase a set of these figures at a (relatively) reasonable price so of course I had to be sure to write up reviews of these rare pieces. This review will take a look at one of the sculpts that did see release eventually as "Robots in Disguise" Side Swipe and later a "Spychanger" version of the G1 character Bluestreak (then called "Silverstreak"). In its original form however this figure was meant to be the Decepticon Rumble. Fun note: the package art for this particular figure was shown in the "Transformers Legacy: The Art of Transformers Packaging" book released in 2014 (and still available via Amazon.com).
Rumble's vehicle mode was a modified fourth generations Chevrolet Camaro. This includes the distinct hood shape and the sleek spoiler section in the back. Since he was meant to be a race car this car has an exposed engine in the middle of the car's front end.
The deco on this version of the sculpt is very different from the mass release versions that came later. It is mostly white plastic with black wheels. Red paint is used in an interesting pattern that starts in the back and curves to the front until it forms a triangle on the hood that comes to a point in the front. The windows are all painted black and his wheels have vacuum metallized silver on the sides.
Rumble is meant to look like a race car with sponsor logos on him. The top of the windshield has the word "Transformers (tm)" in white. The front end is painted orange on the edge with the words "Rumble" written in red (and that is how we know the identity of the character). The driver's side door has the words "Vinny's Pro Stock" written in black, with the word "Pizza" in white over the rear wheel well. "Vinny's" is most likely a reference to former Hasbro employee Vincent D'Alleva who worked on the brand at the time. On the passenger side the word "Jerry's" is over the rear wheel well and the door has the words "Motors Pro Stock" in black. "Jerry" likely refers to Jerry Palmer who worked on both the "Generation 2" and "Beast Wars" lines. This is a super fun and meta deco that I really wish had seen mass release. I am also appreciative of the sheer amount of paint on the figure given its price point.
Go-Bots were created with "high speed axles" designed to allow the vehicles to roll super fast in smooth surfaces such as Hot Wheels tracks.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Flip the figure over and detach the blaster.
- Pull the back of the vehicle back to form the legs.
- Pull out the doors to the sides to form the robot arms.
- Swing the front of the vehicle down to form the torso.
- Attach the blaster to one of the hands.
Keep in mind that this is an early production sample that did not go through full quality control checks yet. As a consequence, there appears to be one aspect of the design that had not yet been perfected: the way the front of the vehicle swings down to form the torso. This relies on the torso piece being connected to the main body by two hinges. Unfortunately the way they fold down they are a bit tight, so there is a "snap" that occurs which skirts the edge of my comfort level when transforming figures. Unfortunately after two transformations the left side hinge piece wound up getting a crack in it, showing the danger in this unrefined figure. Since later releases of this sculpt did not have this issue it was clearly corrected for the two other releases of this figure.
When many of the Go-Bots were given new decos using G1 character names, in general it was almost random with no design callbacks to the original character. This is mostly true for this figure as well. Nothing about the engine on his chest or the torso or leg design says "Rumble". But it is a nice set of details including raised circles on the knees, rectangles with ridges under that and some rectangular and square shapes on the feet. Underneath the chest/torso panel made from the vehicle mode's front half is a panel on the chest with a cross hatch pattern on it. Where a hint of G1 Rumble's design can be found peeking out is the head. The head has a central crest and two flat panels that stick up on either side. This calls back a bit in design to G1 Rumble's head design. However that is where it ends. The eyes look like goggles set over Rumble's eyes. Whether this design aspect was meant to call back to G1 Rumble may never be known, but even if it is a coincidence it's a fun one.
There is still plenty of white plastic in this mode, but some black and teal plastic is throw into the mix too. The chest and head panel is black plastic. His legs and blaster are teal plastic. Teal is one of those colors that got a lot of use in the 90's, so it is no surprise to see it here. It is interesting just how different the colors in robot mode are versus the vehicle form.
Go-Bots in general have two points of articulation: the arms. On my copy of this figure the weapon can fit in either fist without a problem.
This is an unusual review in that I am not recommending anyone seek this figure out given how expensive and rare it is. Instead, I will say that had this figure been a mass release for only a few dollars I would definitely tell anyone who wanted to round out their "Generation 2" collection to add it to their army. I am very happy to own this odd piece of Transformers history and even happier that unlike some of its fellow "case mates" it has a clear cut identity. There was also a Go-Bot Frenzy that did see mass release, so it would have been cool to have his "brother" released as well.