Transformers Movie (2007) Bumblebee (Concept Camaro) Review

in 2007, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Movie (2007)

Transformers Live Action<br />

General Information:
Release Year: September 2007
Retailer: General release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $9.99
Accessories: Cannon/blade weapon
Difficulty Level: 3


Tech Specs:
Before he came to Earth, BUMBLEBEE could have cared less about his appearance. As long as his alternate mode kept him hidden, and protected his plasma cannon from the weather, he was content. But now, on Earth, he has found friendship for the first time in as long as he can remember, in the person of Sam Witwicky. At Sam's urging, he scans a sweet new vehicle form. Now, he's still ready to fight to the end against the DECEPTICONS, but he sure hopes nothing too bad happens to his paint job.

Strength: 6  Intelligence:Speed:Endurance: 5
Rank: 5  Courage: 10  Firepower: 3  Skill: 9

Bumblebee starts out in the Transformers movie as a classic Camaro but shortly before the other Autobots arrive on Earth he changes his vehicle form to mimic a 2009 Concept Camaro. This figure represents that form which Bumblebee has straight to the end of the movie.

Vehicle Mode:
While Alternators all but disappeared in 2007, that does not mean Transformers based on licensed vehicles went away completely. Bumblebee represents one of the toys in the Transformers line based on a real life vehicle, in this case the 2009 Concept Camaro with Saleen customized parts. This updated vehicle has lines evocative of its classic predecessor combined with modern day styling. Its shape is much more streamlined and it looks a bit thicker, giving it an air of toughness while its sleek lines serve as indicators of its potential speed. Gone is the W shaped front end, in its place a streamlined curved end that comes to a slight point in the front. As with the classic version, the hood raises slightly in the center. The sides angle inward slightly on the lower portion of the doors, forming a very distinct point seen on the real life vehicle. The back end is curved as well with the back coming up slightly, evoking the more extreme curve on the rear of the classic vehicle. Each of the wheels has been sculpted with the distinctive wheels used on the Camaro with spokes that angle outward and widen as they reach the edge.

As with the Alternators line, careful attention has been paid to the smaller details on the figure. The Chevrolet logo features prominantly in the center of the grille. Four circle lights are mounted on the front, evoking the round lights on the front of the classic Camaro. On each side behind the front wheels is the word "Camaro" sculpted into the plastic, something that surprised me since you could easily do that with a simple tampograph. On the curved section right in front of each rear wheel are three vent lines sculpted into the plastic, another detail that could have easily been neglected. The rear section has the Chevy logo sculpted into the middle along with the license plate and twin exhaust pipes.

Bumblebee is cast mostly in a dark shade of yellow. It probably would have been a bit more accurate to give him a metallic yellow color, although part of me suspects this may be done in a future redeco. If you put this figure side by side with its predecessor, you'll note the yellow is much darker. This makes sense since the real life vehicle is darker in color than its 1976 counterpart and Sam mentions more than once that the paint is "faded" on the classic Camaro. The window sections have been cast in dark, translucent blue which is much more preferable than the metallic blue painted windows on the first Bumblebee figure from this line. The famous racing stripes are painted in black, running across the hood and then reappearing on the back. Unlike the 70's Camaro, this one does not have the stripes on the roof, so this is accurate to the movie depiction of the vehicle. Red is used on the lights in the back, and silver is used to paint the ends of the tailpipes and the sides of the wheels. My only regret is that the license plate was not given any detail since this is quite accurate to the real life vehicle. Overall, this vehicle mode looks awesome and is a great representation of the real life car.

The vehicle rolls on the four tires very well and you can open each of the doors. That's about it for play value in this form, but it's the robot mode where things get more fun.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing each door open.
  2. Split the rear section in half and remove the weapon, set it aside for now.
  3. Rotate the panel with the vent lines on it up on each side.
  4. Pull down the robot feet and the lower legs will automorph.
  5. Split the roof section in half.
  6. Pull each front wheels out to the sides.
  7. Swing the front of the car down. This will automorph the car doors back and the arms up.
  8. Swing the car doors all the way back.
  9. Rotate the arms and straighten them out.
  10. Rotate the roof panels on each arm around.
  11. Swing each side portion of his chest section up.
  12. Attach the weapon to one of his fists.

Robot Mode:
Before writing the robot mode reviews of most of the movie characters, I spend time looking at the CGI renders of each one beforehand to get a feel of how well the figure replicates the CGI model. In the case of Bumblebee, I really did not expect much. The first Bumblebee figure was a good approximation of the movie model, but most people have to admit that it's a tough form to get into a deluxe priced figure. With this in mind, I was amazed to see just how well the design elements from the CGI model carried over to this figure and wound up finding myself very impressed.

Starting with the overall shape, Bumblebee carries over a good 90% of what the movie model has. His doors swing to the back in a very G1 style design, the front of the car becomes his chest and a lot of the car parts wind up automorphing out of the way so there is a minimal amount of car kibble on the mid-body and legs in this form. Differences also exist from the CGI model he is based on. While his car doors do form "wings" on his back, the movie had extra armor pieces hanging off his lower back, resulting in very insect like "wings" hanging off his back (and further solidifying his bond to the name Bumblebee). Also, the armor pieces on his arms are shpaed differently, looking sharper and more jagged in the CGI model. His feet are also a bit different than the CGI model, with the rear tires on the sides of his ankles rather than being set inside the middle section between his front feet and heel pieces.

Where this figure impressed me the most are the small details that it does share with its CGI counterpart. The head design is almost the same as the CGI model with the central crest, "antennae" on the top of his head and rebreather-like mouth. The chest section is broken up into sub-parts, with the sides raised up and the middle set into the chest deeper. This gives the multi-layer look of the movie model. A lot of the details sculpted into the arms can be found on the movie model as well including L shaped armor pieces near the shoulders and the bits of armor attached to the side of each upper arm (though it is more pronounced in the CGI model). Since the middle of the body is mostly hidden in vehicle mode, it allows for a good level of sculpted detail work that matches the movie. The most prominant of these details is the license plate, bent into a V shape on his waist. Above that are angled pieces of armor also forming a V shape. Underneath those pieces are tubes sculpted to look like springs leading to the legs. He even has his round hatch that features prominantly in the scene where Bumblebee takes the liberty of lubricating Simmons from Sector 7!

Some of the design details on the legs differ from the CGI model a bit, but the overall structure is the same. The knee armor angles upward and has a triangular point coming forward. The lower legs have oval shaped sections on them with three sub-sections extending outward and finally the feet each have a small column like piece extending upward.

Bumblebee shows a lot more black plastic here, mostly from the newly revealed robot parts. In reality, the CGI model was more of a metallic grey (not exactly silver) but I can see how the black works better as a contrast against the yellow. Personally I would have preferred the metallic grey. Yellow deco is found most prominantly on the arms and the mid-section of his body. The license plate uses a white background with black test and a red V shaped stripe over the plate number. A bit of silver dusting is used on the head and the silver from the front of the vehicle mode is much more prominant now. Dark blue is used on his waist piece which is a bit of an odd deco point since it doesnt appear on the CGI model. On the chest piece a small Autobot symbol painted in black. The deco is pretty minimal, and truth be told I wish there was more. He doesn't look bad, just slightly unfinished.

Bumblebee has eighteen points of articulation. This includes four in each arm, waist articulation and four in each leg. I'm not sure if this is a line-wide issue, but the ball joints that connect my Bumblebee's legs to the waist piece are rather loose. They don't flop around, but they make him quite difficult to pose properly with ease. A bit of clear nail polish on the ball joint will do the trick to tighten the ball joint if you're inclined to 'fix' this problem.

Bumblebee's weapon is a vast improvement over the missile launchers from the first Bumblebee figure. In the movie, Bumblebee's right arm converts into a cannon, and this weapon is shaped very similar to that cannon. The central cannon has a lot of raised details including vertical lines, lines etched into the circle around the cannon barrel and even a smaller scope on top. While the weapon does not convert into Bumblebee's arm, but it does transform. Separating the top and bottom of the barrel, swing them back and a translucent blue blade extends out to form a blade weapon. It's a fantastic touch that really adds to the figure's play factor.

Final Thoughts:
Bumblebee is an impressive figure. The vehicle mode looks awesome and while the robot mode could have had a stronger deco (and tighter ball joints on the legs), it's still an incredibly sculpted deluxe sized figure with some great play value. The deco and the ball joints are the only points keeping this from being highly recommended.