"Generations" Studio Series Deluxe Bumblebee (Movie) Toy Review

in 2018, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Bumblebee Movie

Studio Series

General Information:
Release Date: September 2018
Price Point: $19.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Amazon, Target, Walmart etc.)
Accessories: Blaster arm, Blade weapon, Battle Mask

Special thanks to the folks at Hasbro and Rogers & Cowan for providing Ben's World of Transformers with this figure sample for review!

Bumblebee

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 Charlie garage scene from Transformers: Bumblebee, Charlie tunes up her beat up old VW Beetle and tunes out the world -- but her new car is more than meets the eye.

This Studio Series Studio Series 18 Deluxe class Transformers: Bumblebee -- Bumblebee figure converts between robot and VW Beetle modes in 22 steps and comes with 3 accessories. Remove the backdrop from pack to showcase the upbeat Autobot Scout in the Charlie garage scene.volkswagen trademarks, design patents and Copyrights are used with the approval of the owner, Volkswagen AG.

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.

In late 2018, the "Studio Series" line started to look forward instead of backwards with its character choices. While this figure's release was around October 2018, the actual movie this version of Bumblebee appears in would not actually be released until December 2018. This version features Bumblebee transforming into his more traditional vehicle mode of a Volkswagon Beetle, differentiating it from all the others which become Camaros.

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 this Bumblebee's case he is number 18. 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 22 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 this case the background features Charlie's garage as seen in the trailer for the film. Next to that are the cosells for this figure: Shadow Raider, Ratchet and Jazz. Below that is all the requisite legal information for the figure.

Accessories:
Bumblebee includes three accessories:

  • Battle Mask: In the trailer when Bumblebee goes into battle a mask slides over his face. This mask represents that "battle mask". There are nods to the G1 Bumblebee face design with thin eyes and a mouthplate with severe angles. The top features two "antennae" angling towards the back. This piece is yellow with the eyes painted blue.
  • Arm Blaster: Like the first Studio Series Bumblebee you can swap out the right forearm for an arm that has "transformed" into a weapon. This looks different than the previous versions, featuring what look more like a series of small barrels instead of one giant one. This piece is cast in yellow. Part of it is painted black with the barrels painted silver.
  • Blade Weapon: The movie series often features characters with both blaster and melee weapons. In Bumblebee's case he has a blade weapon which attaches to the top of the arm blaster. The blade is serrated, looking extra dangerous. This piece is cast in yellow with silver paint on the blade and middle section.

Robot Mode:
In many respects, this new Bumblebee model features many of the same general design elements as previous movie versions. The front of the car mode becomes his torso section, the car doors and front wheels wind up on his back and the legs are formed from the rear section of the car.

That said, many of the actual parts have very different designs as the Camaro-based Bumblebees. Perhaps the most obvious difference is the chest which features distinctive Volkswagon Beetle headlight sections. Also, the legs feature distinct, curved armor sections (along with curved feet) instead of the more thin, angled leg designs on the Camaro-based 'bees. On top of all that the doors on his back are more curved and higher than the ones on the Camaro-based 'bees. Overall you can see the lineage between this and the "future" Camaro-based 'bee designs and I really appreciate that visual continuity.

"But wait, Ben! What about those doors on his back?" you may ask, and it is a fair question. The CG model in the "Bumblebee" film does not feature doors on his back. However, rumor has it that during the early stages of film development, companies holding the licenses to produce "Bumblebee" movie products were shown a model with the "door wings". Of course, this has not been stated officially by Hasbro or Paramount so take this with a grain of salt but it is as good of an explanation as any.

Bumblebee is cast in yellow, silver, black and clear plastic. These are all iconic Bumblebee colors so they make perfect sense. Silver and yellow paint details help fill in most of the smaller details such as the insides of the arms and the area around the headlights. A couple beautiful touches include the blue eyes and red Autobot symbol on his head.

Unlike many Deluxe figures in the "Generations" line, Bumblebee is small. Since "Studio Series" attempts to scale the figures in the line to each other, a Volkswagon Beetle Transformers figure is going to wind up being fairly small (and in the trailers you can see he is not that much bigger than a human). The figure stands at about 4.5 inches (about 11.43 centimeters). Shoulder to shoulder he is less than 3 inches (about 7.62 centimeters). I personally do not mind (understanding that some Deluxes in the line are larger), but some fans may not feel the same.

Not including moving the doors, there are sixteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes three on each arm and four on each leg (including an ankle tilt!). You can swap out the right forearm with the "arm blaster" accessory. Then you can attach the blade weapon on top of the arm blaster. You can also attach the blade weapon to the arms without the blaster. In order to attach the "battle mask", you actually have to remove the face plate on the face. I had to use a knife to pry the face off, so be careful when making the switch.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons (if attached) and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing the two panels on each "door wing" out.
  3. Swing the back panels out.
  4. Swing the headlight sections on the chest area up.
  5. Swing each arm out to the sides, then rotate them forward so the shoulder armor faces up.
  6. Swing each arm in to flank the head.
  7. Swing the front wheels (near the shoulders) in.
  8. Swing each front half of the lower legs up.
  9. Rotate the lower section around at the waist.
  10. Push the legs together, connecting them in the middle using the tabs and corresponding slots.
  11. The tabs on the knee armor fit into slots on the silver section (part of the robot mode's back).
  12. Swing the rear car panels (including the license plate and rear lights) up.
  13. Swing the arms up into the bottom of the car.
  14. The battle mask can attach to the bottom of the opening behind the front fender.
  15. The blade weapon can be attached to one of the arms.
  16. The arm blaster can attach to the silver tab in the middle.

There is a good amount of panel-forming involved in this transformation. You pretty much have to make sure all the robot parts are tucked inside just right otherwise the panels won't hold in place. Also critical are tabs on the insides of the doors connecting to slots in the robot arms.

Vehicle Mode:
Once you struggle a bit with all the panel forming on this figure he transforms into a really beautiful version of a Volkswagon Beetle. This figure has a ton of the details found on the real life vehicle. These include:

  • The front fender has two rails running horizontally with two small vertical pieces on either side.
  • The headlights are round and sit on raised, rounded sections in the front. On top of this rounded section are two small orange lights.
  • The hood piece has a distinctive outline on either side. Towards the front is a small handle detail and towards the top is the Volkswagon logo.
  • The wheels have smooth hubcaps with the Volkswagon logo in the center.
  • The door handles are sculpted to feature the distinctive handle section separated from the button you press to open the door.
  • The rear section features two oval shaped rear lights and a cover for a light over the rear license plate.
  • There is a distinct rear fender with two tailpipes sticking out from the bottom.

Keep in mind that it was not that long ago that fans were not even sure we would ever see Bumblebee as a Volkswagon Beetle again. Now sure, the "Bumblebee" movie mainline toys have plenty of Volkswagon Beetle Bumblebee figures, but none of them have the complexity or articulation of this version. I think the sculpt looks fantastic in both modes.

This mode shows off all the same plastic colors as the robot mode, but the clear plastic winds up making most a lot of the top of the car. What I was very impressed by is the use of yellow paint on the clear plastic. It blends very well with the yellow plastic and I was very happy to see that. Smaller details are painted as well including red on the rear lights and black on the windshield wipers.

Final Thoughts:
There are a lot of Bumblebee figures currently in the "Studio Series" line both released and coming soon so it would be very easy to hit fatigue on the character. However, this figure manages to be different enough from what has come before that I think it is a great addition to your collection. Even better, it does not have the same problem as the first "Studio Series" Bumblebee which had parts flying off left and right during transformation. Recommended!

Pros:

  • Good sculpt in both modes.
  • Good deco in both modes.
  • Fun accessories.
  • Good articulation.

Cons:

  • The transformation is very nit picky without a lot of room for error. This will definitely frustrate some fans.