"Generations" Studio Series Deluxe Bumblebee Toy Review

in 2018, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Deluxe, Generations, Movie (2007), Studio Series

Studio Series

Bumblebee General Information:
Release Date: February 2018
Price Point: $19.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Arm weapon

Official images and text in italics below from Amazon.com:
Reach past the big screen and build the ultimate Transformers collection with Studio Series figures, inspired by iconic movie scenes and designed with deco and figure scales that reflect the movie universe. In the Police Chase from Transformers Movie 1, Bumblebee faces off with Barricade as they fight to recover the map to the legendary Allspark. The loyal Autobot scout unleashes his skills in battle to stave off the evil Decepticon, while revealing himself as a visitor from above to his new human friends.

This Studio Series 01 Deluxe Class Movie 1 Bumblebee figure converts between robot and Chevrolet Camaro modes in 22 steps and comes with a weapon accessory. Remove backdrop from pack to showcase the loyal Autobot scout in the Mission City Battle scene.

  • 2017 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved.
  • 2017 Paramount Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
  • General Motors trademarks used under license to Hasbro.
  • Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

2017 was a milestone in Transformers history. The live action movie series was now ten years old meaning an entire generation of fans had grown up in an era where they had a live action Transformers theatrical film every other year to watch. In 2018 Hasbro launched the "Studio Series", a "Generations"-esque line of figured focused on the live action movies. The series boasted toys that were made in rough scale with each other using the CAD files from Paramount Pictures as the basis for the design. Part of the idea was also to fill in gaps in previous lines by making characters who had not appeared in the line previously.

When the live action Transformers movies began in 2007, it quickly became clear that Bumblebee was going to be the star of the film. Indeed, until "Age of Extinction", the character pretty much took center stage in the marketing of the films. This figure takes the character back to his roots, representing the first form we see the character in: a second generation Camaro. There was a figure representing this version of Bumblebee back in 2007, but the design was largely based on concept art of the character and not the finished CG model. Now, ten years later fans have a figure that is largely based on the CG model used in the film. I say "largely" because this figure is actually a heavy retool of "The Last Knight" Deluxe Class Bumblebee. However as you will see, the designers did a lot more than just slap on a new head and call it a day.

Packaging:
The Deluxe Studio Series figures are packaged in boxes similar in size to the boxes used for "The Last Knight". The boxes are vertical rectangles with a large window in the front. Instead of the lighter colors of "The Last Knight" boxes, this box takes a more "Generations" style approach, using a black background and a vertical "Transformers" logo to the right. Above that is the "Generations" logo. Reflecting the new, unified approach to the Transformers toy line both Hasbro and Takara Tomy's logos appear on the front of the packaging. Towards the lower part of the box is the logo for the specific film the character comes from. To the left is new package art with blue borders. The packaging also has package art on the side and a large collector number designated to each figure. In Bumblebee's case he is number 1. The idea is that you can line up all these figures on a shelf to show off the collection numbers. It's a neat idea and has kept me from tossing out the box so far.

The back of the packaging shows Bumblebee in both modes along with the logo for "Transformers". It also describes his transformation as having twenty two steps. Towards the bottom it shows you how you can take the cardboard insert from the inside of the packaging and use it as a display base and background for the figure. In Bumblebee's case, he comes with a background with showing the area where he fought Barricade in te original film. Next to that are the cosells for this figure: Ratchet, Crowbar and Stinger. Below that is all the requisite legal information for the figure.

Robot Mode:
Hasbro and Takara Tomy have become very skilled at retooling figures to take the basic engineering of one character or design and turn it into another. This skill comes into play with this Bumblebee figure. There are a lot of parts on this figure that share engineering from "The Last Knight" Deluxe Bumblebee, but the actual parts are different. For instance, "The Last Knight" Bumblebee has the car doors in the back as wing-like structures complete with a smaller, pointed piece on that points downward and wheels set over them. However the parts which make up this section are completely different sculpts than "The Last Knight" Bumblebee's. Other parts that have been replaced include the chest, the front panels on the lower legs and the panels that form the back of the robot mode.

Several parts are carried over from "The Last Knight" Bumblebee. These include the head, waist/hip area, thighs, feet and arms (though the upper arms are missing a piece of armor found on "The Last Knight" Bumblebee). The end result is a good looking figure that represents the look of the character well. However, keep in mind "Studio Series" figures are meant to (roughly) scale with each other. That means this Bumblebee is fairly small compared to some previous Bumblebee figures. He measures roughly 6 inches (about 16 centimeters) tall, which is not big, but he was never meant to be the biggest Autobot.

Bumblebee is cast in yellow, black and dark silver plastic (not quite gunmetal, but you could call it that if you'd like). The yellow makes up a large portion of the upper body while the other colors make up the rest. Yellow and black detailing is used to paint areas on the torso, arms and legs. Silver is used on the face and feet. His eyes and headlights are painted light, metallic blue. A tiny red Autobot symbol is painted on his crest. I do wish there was more color on the figure, particularly on the waist/hip area and the thighs, but if we were to accept this as a "clean" version of the character without his characteristic damage and rust spots from the film then he looks great.

So far so good right? Well, here's where things go downhill. While the figure looks good in this mode on a shelf, functionally it's a bit of a nightmare. The first time I took one of these figures out from the packaging, a piece fell out. It took me a minute to realize this was one of the back pieces which forms the windshield and part of the vehicle mode's cabin section. At first, I thought a metal pin was missing that would have kept this piece in so I exchanged it. When I opened the next Bumblebee, the same thing happened. Looking closer I realized that this piece was designed to stay in just using pressure via a couple nibs that attach into slots on the back armor piece. The thing is, this doesn't work. I have lost count of how many times that piece fell off while looking this figure over for this review. All I would have to do is pick up the figure, move it a bit and the piece fell off repeatedly.

Remember, this happened to two different copies of the same figure for me. Really, it is just a bad design choice. A pin may have raised costs a bit, but given that these figures now retail for $19.99 (well above the $16-17.99 for a "Generations" Deluxe) and given that this is a retool I think the tiny bit of cost a pin would have involved was justified to keep this piece from falling out repeatedly. It seems like a small point to make so much of a big deal out of, but it is clear that the original design had a slot for a pin but this was changed as a cost cutting measure. It is not fun to play around with a figure and have a part fall off constantly.

There are eighteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes four on each arm leg. Each hand is partly open, but there is a 5mm port on each. This allows him to hold weapons from other figures. Bumblebee includes an extra forearm that is "transformed" into the weapon mode. Slide out the right forearm and slide this one into place to form the "transformed" arm.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  2. Swing each hand in against the forearms.
  3. Pull the robot feet out to the sides a bit, then swing them down and extend the ankle piece.
  4. On the back of each leg are the parts that form the rear of the vehicle and the rear windows, swing the window pieces out.
  5. Swing the robot feet and ankle pieces up over onto the back of the thighs. Connect the tab on the feet to the corresponding slot on the back of the thighs.
  6. Swing the piece with the feet, ankles and rear wheels up against the sides of the lower legs.
  7. Swing the sections that form the rear of the vehicle down.
  8. Push the robot legs (now the halves of the vehicle mode's rear section) together.
  9. Swing the back panel up.
  10. Swing the chest section up.
  11. Swing the robot arms in.
  12. Swing the hood piece forward, fitting the front of it in between the headlight sections. If it doesn't fit, be sure to tilt them outward slightly.
  13. Extend the windshield/cabin cover piece out.
  14. Swing the front wheel wells forward. This will push the doors back. Fit these pieces into place.
  15. Fit the windshield/cabin cover piece into place.

The transformation is relatively simple in theory, especially if you have transformed past Bumblebee figures from the movie line. Unfortunately the windshield/cabin cover piece has a tendency to go flying off during transformation. Also during transformation one of the front wheels somehow popped off (though this does not happen every time). The transformation is a bit fiddly if you do not know exactly what you are doing (okay, even if you do it's a bit fiddly), but having parts come off really just makes the transformation process unpleasant.

Vehicle Mode:
From a sculpting standpoint, Hasbro has created good representations of the 1970's Camaro before, so it is no shock that the sculpt is spot on. It has the classic, sleek lines fans of the first film will be familiar with. The headlights feature two circles on either side and a "V" shaped grille in the center. The back is raised slightly to represent the spoiler and the rear bumper extends out in a thin line.

The deco on this mode represents a "clean" version of the vehicle, which is quite different than how the character appeared in the film. His main plastic colors are yellow, black and clear plastic. Grey paint is used on the wheel rims and black is used for the distinctive racing stripes seen on the vehicle in the film. The doors and cabin cover are clear plastic, so they rely on yellow paint to fill in details like the doors. The yellow paint is slightly too light to match up with the yellow plastic. Light blue is used on the headlights and a bit of red paint is used on the rear lights. Silver is used to paint in the grille and rear bumper.

So far so good right? But that's it. To me, for us to truly see this as the definitive (non Masterpiece) version of this Bumblebee it needed two more deco elements. First the license plate should have been tampographed in (as it had been on previous Bumblebee figures). Second, the vehicle needs some wear and tear deco including rust marks. Without these it does not look like the beat up, used car Sam Witwicky gets in the film but rather how the car looked decades before Sam ever saw it.

Final Thoughts:
I am not one of those fans who puts down movie-related products automatically or who demands Masterpiece level toys on a "Generations" budget . However, with parts falling off the figure there is a simple failure to deliver what I would expect from a Legion Class or One Step Changer, no less a $20 USD Deluxe Class figure. Also keep in mind this is a retool and the previous version of the figure did not have any of the issues this one does. If you really want this figure, I would highly recommend you wait for some type of sale. I was sadly very disappointed with it.

Pros:

  • Good sculpt in both modes.
  • Retooling was significant.
  • Transformation is fairly intuitive.

Cons:

  • The windshield/cabin cover piece falls off constantly. This is not only annoying on its own, but it makes the transformation process very annoying.
  • Deco could have been better.