Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Battlemaster Class Bumblebee Toy Review

in 2013, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Battlemaster, Beast Hunters, Prime

Transformers Prime Beast Hunters

Battlemaster Bumblebee General Information:
Release Date: October 2013
Price Point: $39.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Dual Barreled blaster, Beast Hunting Bow

Images:

*Images with asterisks and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Bumblebee is fully armed and ready to take on the Predacons. The battle between Autobot and Predacon is never over and this electronic Talking Bumblebee figure is the next generation of awesome beast-hunting action. He's a hardcore Autobot with a beast-hunting bow and a blaster pistol. His Transformers trash talk and battle sounds will make the action more real. You can convert him from robot mode to sports car mode. Keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever his Predacon enemies dish out. Electronic Talking Bumblebee figure says phrases and makes battle sounds. Converts from robot to sports car mode. Beast-hunting bow. Blaster pistol included. Figure comes with accessories.

Last year, a large scale Bumblebee was released in the "Prime" line as Weaponizer Bumblebee. Roughly a "leader class" figure, the Weaponizer proved somewhat unimpressie in my estimation, but when it comes to almost any figure, sculpts need to be reused to make up for the costs of developing the figure, and Weaponizer Bumblebee is no exception. For "Beast Hunters", this sculpt has been retooled and given a new deco to match his appearance in the television show. The result is a new class of Transformer: the Battlemaster. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release. Definitely check my previous review to see what I thought of the first iteration of the figure.

Robot Mode:
As retools go, Battlemaster Bumblebee has had some significant work done. Instead of just a new head sculpt, his entire chest piece and head sculpt are new. The head is very similar to the first one, but in an effort to emphasize the "talking" nature of the figure, there is a thin mouth sculpted into Bumblebee's face now. This look makes the face much less alien looking than the previous one. It's friendlier looking and since it represents "Beast Hunters" Bumblebee it looks more like what we see on the show as he (finally) talks.

The chest piece has been completely redone as well. The mechanism that would reveal machine guns with the pull of a tab has been removed. In its place, there is a plate covering the top of the chest featuring engine and mechanical details. The chest also has a soundbox built into it now. When you push Bumblebee's head down (or push down the middle piece of the front bumper) any one of the following phrases will play:

  • "On it!"
  • "Yeah! Now we're talking!"
  • "Just watch me!"
  • "One target down, courtesy of Bumblebee!"
  • "Yeah! Ready now!"
  • "Ready to fight!"
  • "Okay, let's get moving!"
  • "Here, special delivery!"

All these sound clips were recorded by Bumblebee's voice actor Will Friedle (also known for shows such as "Batman Beyond", "Ultimate Spider-Man" and "Kim Possible"). The sound quality is sharp and the volume is loud enough that you can easily understand what is being said. Friedle definitely threw a lot of enthusiasm into the phrases. They seem a bit exaggerated, but let's face it, the idea is to get kids jazzed as they play with this figure and I can totally see these phrases doing the trick. Also, I'm frankly relieved that 'bee can finally talk!

In addition to the changes mentioned above, Bumblebee now comes with a "Beast Hunting Bow", an echo of the "Eagleshot Bow Missile" weapon included with the Deluxe "Beast Hunters" Bumblebee. This is one solid piece, not a missile launcher of any sort. It is cast in the shape of a bow with a pointed end that is shockingly not cast in soft plastic. The bow is cast in yellow with the "arrow" tip painted silver. His original dual barreled blaster is also included, and that has been cast in gunmetal grey.

Bumblebee's primary plastic colors are black and silver, with black making up most of the figure. Smaller parts like his feet and elbows are gunmetal grey. Yellow lines are painted on several parts including the lower legs, shoulders, chest and head - echoing the design of the CG model in "Beast Hunters". The plate on the top of his chest is painted gunmetal grey along with his waist section. His face is painted silver and his eyes are translucent blue. Overall, this color scheme and sculpt combined make this the closest you can get to the "Beast Hunters" TV Show CG model in toy form available at this time. All the other incarnations of Bumblebee in the "Beast Hunters" toy line have focused on his updated look with armor on (based on the Deluxe figure).

Functionally the figure keeps a lot of the same elements as the mold it is based on. Aside from the changes detailed above, the figure still has 5mm ports in the forearms so you can attach his weapons. There's even one on the top of his chest! He also has two holes on the sides of each lower leg, giving you the chance to attach additional weaponry. The only problem I've had with the figure are the hip joints. The joints there are loose. Not the ratchet joint that allows the legs to move out and in, but the actual joints that attach the legs to the waist section. If I pick up the toy and move it side to side a bit the legs flop around a bit, which then sometimes impairs his ability to stand and be posed. If youre spending $39.99 (or more) on a figure, you shouldn't have to worry about it standing properly.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing up the ankle armor pieces.
  3. Swing the back piece out.
  4. On the back piece, pull out the center of the hood (a thin piece) and swing up the windshield. You're essentially flattening out the back piece.
  5. Swing each arm back part way, just enough to detach the shoulder joint from the front wheels of the vehicle.
  6. Swing the robot head back.
  7. Swing the lower robot body back.
  8. On each arm, swing out the panels that form the rear of the vehicle.
  9. Swing the back panel up.
  10. Swing each arm back and connect the two pieces from the arms.
  11. Push the back piece down, completing the front of the vehicle, the top of the cabin section and the back.
  12. Close each door.
  13. Attach the smaller weapon to the hole near the back of the vehicle.
  14. The bow can be attached to the front of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
In vehicle mode the major change to this sculpt is the same as the robot mode. Focusing on the front end of the vehicle, there isn't any machine gun gimmick anymore - which really removes a lot of its appeal. The bow is a cool looking weapon, but it looks rather obtrusive in the front instead of being a neat "hidden feature" like the previous machine guns that flipped out in this form. Sadly, I was reminded as I transformed this figure that there are no side windows. I guess you could imagine that they're rolled down or something, but unfortunately the result is that his robot arm parts inside stick out like a sore thumb from a visual perspective. The figure literally looks "unfinished" without windows there and I wish the designers had taken the opportunity to add in a mirror piece with all the retooling.

Most of this mode is black, with yellow stripes painted down the middle and on the sides, similar to the pattern seen on the TV show. I do wish the lines on the sides had the thin trim lines with them as the CG model does instead of just being bold, solid lines. The engine on the hood is cast in silver and gunmetal grey is painted on the front grille. The windshield and headlights are translucent blue. An Autobot symbol is tampographed onto the top of the vehicle in red with white borders. Like its predecessor, this vehicle's rear lights are painted red, which stands out nicely against the black plastic. The colors match up nicely with the television show's CG model and like the robot mode, this is the closest you're going to get to the TV Show's vehicle mode model in toy form.

You can activate the voice gimmick in this mode by pushing the engine down. It says all the same phrases.

Final Thoughts:
I wasn't very fond of the first iteration of this sculpt, and sadly I can't heartily recommend this one either. I was almost there, but among many nit picky things the floppy legs are where the toy lost me. Mind you, if the price point of this was lower, say, $29.99 instead of $39.99 I would probably feel more generous towards it, but even a very cool "talking" feature can't save this figure from its deficiencies at that price. If you are going to hunt this figure down, I highly recommend you aim for a sale price of some sort.