"Generations" Cyber Battalion Bumblebee Toy Review

in 2015, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Cyber Battalion, Cyber Battalion, Generations, Universal Studios

Generations

Starscream General Information:
Release Date: July 2015
Price Point: $32.95 (Estimated)
Retailer: Limited Release / Universal Studios Exclusive
Accessories: None

*Official images are from Amazon.com

In March of 2015, some interesting listings popped up on the Official Transformers web site for "Cyber Battalion" figures. These appeared to be simplified figures that resembled upscaled Legends Class figures. However, these figures were not present at both Toy Fair 2015 and they were not part of Hasbro's presentation at Botcon 2015. Still, sightings of these figures in countries like Brazil were popping up here and there online. In July of 2015, Ben's World of Transformer sponsor Bigbadtoystore listed several of these figures (including their larger "Cyber Commander" counterparts) and they sold out fast and a week later the listings were gone from the web site.

A couple years later, three of these "Cyber Battalion" figures were repurposed by Hasbro as Universal Studios Exclusive figures. Unfortunately as of this writing (April 2017) the figures are not available via their online shop. The only way to get them is to go to the park itself and pick them up in person. Fortunately I recently visited Universal Studios so I was able to snag this figure!

Packaging:
Unlike most Transformers packaging on the market nowadays, this figure comes in a rectangular box that has no window, so you can't see the toy inside. Instead the front has photography of the toy in both modes with a white and grey grid behind it and a Autobot symbol in grey. Cut in a triangular panel is artwork featuring Bumblebee. To the right is the vertical "Transformers" logo with the "Generations" logo above it. The back of the packaging features the figure and instructions along with a brief bio blurb in four languages (including English and Spanish). Towards the bottom is safety information.

Open the flap on the side and you pull out a cardboard tray with the figure attached by plastic ties. This explains why there's no window box. Basically money was saved by not having to print a fancy background for the tray. It's just plain cardboard. My guess is given the simple nature of the figure, the designers figured most folks getting this would ditch the packaging anyhow. What I like about the packaging is that it is reusable and easily fit onto a bookshelf. There's even character art on the side with the character's name so you can line them up!

Robot Mode:
This is an interesting interpretation of Bumblebee because it seems to take cues from several sources. His head looks like a more mature version of his G1 head design, complete with a crest in the center, horns on the sides and a face complete with two eyes, a nose and mouth (instead of a mouthplate of some sort). However his body looks more like something out of the live action movie era complete with the front of the car mode forming the chest and the rear of the vehicle mode forming his legs. Like many other versions of Bumblebee the sides of the vehicles form the arms including having the door panels on the sides of the arms. Overall it is a cool look for the character. It somehow manages to be both retro and modern looking all at the same time. There are some nice, smaller details on this figure. This includes knee armor that comes up over his thighs slightly as well as a symbol on his head that resembles the Chevrolet logo. This might be an artistic callback to the live action movie Bumblebee who transforms into a Chevrolet Camaro.

Bumblebee is cast in yellow, black and silver plastic. Yellow dominates this mode, making up everything from his head to his chest to most of the arms and legs. The silver is used on joints like the shoulders and hip ratchet joints. Glossy black paint is used on the thighs, which helps match it up with the black on the forearms. The face is painted silver with blue eyes, a very traditional Bumblebee look. The chest benefits from a lot of the vehicle mode's colors including blue headlights, silver on the grille and a red Autobot symbol in the middle. Given the simple nature of the figure some details were unfortunately left out. This includes a lot of the sculpted details on his legs and waist area. A bit of color on them would have helped bring out the sculpted detail.

There are twelve points of articulation on this figure. This includes two on each arm, the head and the hip joints. Unfortunately the knees do not bend, so this limits the poses Bumblebee can strike. Sure his arms bend at the elbows, his head can turn and even his feet move at the ankle joints (a side benefit of his transformation scheme) but his legs are constantly left looking a bit awkward since they do not bend at the knees which is a shame. In one nice feature, the fists have 5mm ports that allow you to attach weapons with 5mm pegs.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  2. Swing the feet up.
  3. Push the lower legs together.
  4. Swing the chest up.
  5. Swing the arms down to the sides and be sure the two halves that form the top of the cabin section are intact.

Vehicle Mode:
Bumblebee's vehicle mode is a futuristic looking sports car which seems to take some inspiration from the vehicle mode of his "Robots in Disguise" counterpart. The front end is long with some angled sections including the way the top of the hood section leads to the front wheel wells. Instead of curving from one section to the other, this vehicle has a definite "break" where it angles from one section to the other. The rest of the vehicle is also full of angles such as those on the cabin section, behind the front wheel wells and on the rear of the car. Some of the smaller details sculpted onto this vehicle include air intakes on the hood, rear lights, exhaust pipes and a license plate rectangle in the back. Overall, the vehicle mode sculpt looks very cool.

This mode is mostly yellow plastic with black plastic found on the wheels. All the windows except the rear one are painted light blue. This is sort of a callback to the G1 Bumblebee's animation model which also had blue windows in vehicle mode. The hood has two black stripes on it (showing some live action movie influence). The front end retains all the details seen in robot mode including the blue headlights and silver grille. Overall it's a cool deco, but I did find myself wishing the rear section had been painted and that the sides of the wheels were painted.

Final Thoughts:
The hard-to-find nature of this figure really skews my thoughts on it. Had this been released at mass retail and sold at its original MSRP of $14.99 I would have recommended it for younger fans who are transitioning out of the "Rescue Bots" phase and towards the "Robots in Disguise" level of play.

However whether you buy this at Universal Studios or have someone outside the United States pick one up for you it is going to run you at least $20-30 (possibly before shipping). At that price this figure basically becomes a curiosity more for hardcore collectors. The exception is of course if you are at Universal Studios on vacation or something and you do not mind shelling out extra to buy the figure for a younger fan. I like this figure, but not enough to tell everyone to run out and spend $20-30 on it.

Pros:

  • Nice sculpt that represents many iterations of the character.
  • Not just a retread of a previous design.

Cons:

  • Lack of knee articulation.
  • No accessories.
  • Difficult to obtain at a non-premium price.