Generations: IDW Bumblebee Toy Review

in 2013, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Deluxe, Generations

Generations

General Information:
Release Date: August 2013
Price Point: $14.99 (Depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Stinger Blasters x 2

Images:

*Images with asterisks and text in italics from Amazon.com:
Rebuilt into a new, more powerful form, Bumblebee attacks life – and the Decepticons - with a newfound confidence. His enhanced speed, armor and strength all combine to make him the warrior he's always wanted to be, but he remains devoted to his human friends and the Autobot ideal of freedom. The battle between Autobot and Decepticon is never over and this Bumblebee figure is the next generation of awesome Transformers action. Your Bumblebee figure has new weapons and better armor and his stinger blasters combine for even more firepower. When he has a need for speed, convert him to speedy sports car mode. Keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever his Decepticon enemies dish out.

In Summer of 2013 a wave of "Generations" figures was released featuring several characters as they have appeared in the IDW series of comic books. One of these releases was Bumblebee, shown in the form he used during his time on Earth as he led the Autobot forces.

Packaging:
The new style of "Generations" packaging features a card back with the G1 inspired "grid" pattern and a small "Transformers Generations" logo at the top. Most of the "art" in the background is provided by a cover of a comic book exclusive to this toy. In this case it's the "Spotlight Bumblebee" comic book with a printing created just for this release. On top of that is the figure in robot mode with its accessories. It's a nice packaging design, but I think it would've been better if the "Transformers Generations" logo was larger on the card or even printed right on the comic book.

Robot Mode:
In this new incarnation, Bumblebee appears to be a bit of a mash up of influences including his live action movie counterpart and the more recent designs (particulary the head). This is no rounded, Volkswagon Beetle here. This Bumblebee is actually a sleek looking and evokes designs like Sideswipe where the body is thin but shows off various parts of his car mode. Being based on the comic book version of this character, there are several details that carry over from the comic page to this toy including:

  • The head design has Bumblebee's signature crest, horns and vents by his mouth. This design is a bit less rounded than others, looking more "mature" (which I'm sure is the point).
  • His chest has panels on it from the car hood and a more mechanical section in the middle.
  • On each shoulder are halves of the car's front end with the doors in the back set like "wings".
  • The lower legs have parts of the car forming armor including the exhaust pipes, which stick out to the sides a bit by the knees.
  • The feet each have round "lights" on them, similar to those you would see on the back of the vehicle mode.

The overall design looks great. I admit I wasn't in love with it in the comics, but the way it looks here in 3D I like it. I especially dig some of the callbacks to previous Autobot designs such as the "door wings" and the front of the vehicle forming parts of the torso.

Bumblebee is cast in yellow, silver, black and translucent blue plastic. Yellow is Bumblebee's iconic color for sure, and I have no problem with that but the yellow used here is a bit too bright for my tastes. There's something slightly "knock off ish" about the color. In contrast with the silver and black parts, it's simply too bright. I think a more subdued yellow like those used on other Bumblebee figures would have served this toy better and helped it resemble its comic book counterpart more. The translucent blue plastic is used for the ends of his weapons and the eyes on the head.

The good thing is, there are quite a few paint applications. Silver and black are used on the upper body to fill in details like the middle of his chest and the stripes respectively. His lower legs feature a variety of colors including gunmetal grey, bright orange, blue and dark red. In the center of his chest is a red Autobot symbol. I like the paint work on him, though to balance out the bright yellow I find myself wishing for a few more paint touches here and there like on the waist area.

Bumblebee has eighteen points of articulation in this form. This includes four in each arm and five in each leg. He even has waist articulation, which is refreshing to see. His weapons are his "stingers" which are relatively large weapons cast in silver with yellow paint on them. The ends look like energy or flames in translucent blue. These weapons can be held in two ways: either in his hands or attached to the holes on the underside of his forearms. You can also combine the weapons into one large one that resembles the weapon used by Bumblebee on the cover of the comic book. I like the combined form as it looks very imposing, but it's neat they can separate as well. I dig the variety created out of two weapons.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons if attached.
  2. Pull the chest/torso/doors section up, covering the robot head.
  3. Straighten out the doors on each of the shoulder armor sections.
  4. Pull the middle section of the vehicle mode up from the back.
  5. Straighten out the arms so they are behind the doors and swing each arm up to connect to the middle section from the last step.
  6. Point the robot feet down and push them up, connecting them to the sections with halves of the rear windows.
  7. Swing the lower legs forward and slide the feet under the cabin cover piece.
  8. Connect the rear halves of the vehicle together.
  9. Push the sections with the rear lights in.
  10. The weapons can be attached to the holes on the sides near each rear wheel well.

Vehicle Mode:
To go along with his updated robot mode Bumblebee has adopted a powerful looking vehicle form that resembles a Ford Mustang muscle car. This is in contrast to the live action movie version which was based on a Chevrolet Camaro. Instead of having an angled front end, this front end is angled forward and flat. The wheel wells are rather high and all this leads back to the sides, which are a bit more squared off than the lines on a Camaro. The front end detail matches the comic book drawings quite a bit, including the unique shape of the headlights and grille. On top of the hood is an air intake, just like the way the vehicle was drawn in the comic book. It's a really aggressive and fun looking vehicle.

There are some design aspects that differ from the vehicle shown in the comic book. There are air intakes on the sides of the vehicle near the back of each side window. This figure also has a spoiler at the very back of the vehicle with a gap in the middle that evokes memories of "Armada" Hot Shot's design. I actually like these additional details and I think they add some nice complexity to the design.

Bumblebee's yellow color dominates the vehicle form of course, but there are some translucent parts on the cabin cover. The wheels are cast in black. Black lines are painted on the hood, leading to the top of the cabin cover. This is of course directly inspired by the design of Bumblebee from the live action movies. The rear windows are painted metallic blue and (thankfully) the rims on the wheels are painted silver. There's some additional red and gunmetal detail at the rear of the vehicle. Silver is used on the front to paint the headlights and gunmetal is used on the grille. I do like the color scheme of the vehicle form. The yellow plastic is still a bit off putting, but that doesn't mean the deco is necesarily bad.

As mentioned ealier, you can attach Bumblebee's weapons to the holes near his rear wheel wells. This can be any weapon with a 5mm peg.

Final Thoughts:
Bumblebee has a solid sculpt and it does a great job replicating the look of the comic book character. I actually like the design, but find the yellow color really off-putting. I suspect the "Goldfire (aka Goldbug)" redeco of this will look much better. Recommended for a solid sculpt, but be warned about the rather bright yellow color.