Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Bumblebee (2014) Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Beast Hunters, Deluxe, Prime, Prime

Beast Hunters

Bumblebee General Information:
Release Date: March 2014
Price Point: $15-30 (Depending on country and retailer)
Retailer: Limited Release (Primarily in Asia and Europe)
Accessories: Sword

Images:

As part of the last wave of "Beast Hunters" action figures, several toys from the Legion Class were "upscaled" into Deluxe Class figures. This was a bit of an experiment, to see if there was market appeal for "Transformers" figures with simpler transformation schemes. A similar philosophy was applied to the "upscaled" version of the Commander Class Optimus Prime figure as a Voyager Class figure. Bumblebee was one of the Legion Class figures that received this treatment. I do recommend reading Legion Class Bumblebee's review before this one since it will cover the figure's design in depth. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

It should be noted that distribution of these figures was somewhat limited due to them being sandwiched between the Christmas season of 2013 and the upcoming "Age of Extinction" toys. These figures were found in various places including the UK and parts of Asia. My particular set came from Singapore courtesy of fellow fan Brandon Masagung. BWTF thanks Brandon for his efforts in getting me these figures.

Robot Mode:
When it came to upscaling Legion Class figures from "Beast Hunters", it seemed at first the Autobots were not the ideal candidates for this treatment. Bumblebee had plenty of good detail for a Legion Class figure sure, but for a Deluxe? Not so much. Apparently the designers agreed with this sentiment because this Deluxe Scale Bumblebee features not only different types of joints (just like Deluxe Scale Twinstrike), but he also features parts which have modified pieces that provide more detail than his Legion Class counterpart. Here's a rundown of the design changes made to the figure for this release:

  • The ends of the cannons that flank his head are hollowed out slightly whereas the Legion Class cannons are filled in at the ends.
  • On the chest section, there is a row of details under the headlights and grille such as areas carved out in an "L" shape on both sides. The Legion Class figure does not feature these details at all.
  • The insides of the robot arms have some additional details that do not appear on the Legion Class Bumblebee's arms. These are most noticeable on the section under the forearms, which now feature overlapping details and horizontal rows of lines.
  • The insides of the legs features some more open gaps than the Legion Class figure.
  • The shoulder joints have been modified. Instead of the Legion Class' ball joints, the shoulders on this figure have two components. One is a swivel joint that allows the arm to move up and down. Separate from that is another joint with a rod going through each of the shoulder sections of the arms, allowing the arm to swing out to the sides and down.
  • The hip joints are no longer ball joints. Like the shoulders, there are now two points of movement, one for the leg to swing forward and back and the other allowing the leg to swing out and into the sides.

The additional details on the figure are welcome and do help enhance its appearance, but because of the way the arms are designed, they wind up as flattened details against the sides of the car doors. The result is that unless you're looking right at those details, the arms look a bit thin and plain. Add in the lack of articulation on the legs and the result is a figure that (unfortunately) clearly looks like it was originally designed for a different size class.

Bumblebee is cast in yellow and black plastic. The yellow makes up most of the figure with black used for smaller parts like his shoulder joints and wheels. The paint colors used on this figure are metallic blue, red, silver and black. The metallic blue is found on the "blades" on his shoulder armor and the robot eyes. Unfortunately, because of how deep the eyes are set into the head, a bit of the blue paint got on the face, making Bumblebee look like he's got bags under his eyes or something. The red color is found on the top of his chest (next to the cannons), the sides of his arms and on his lower legs. The silver is used for the cannons, headlights and face. Finally his waist/hip area is painted with a very glossy black color. Overall, Bumblebee winds up looking quite different than any previous incarnation (Deluxe, Legion or otherwise). I really like the use of the glossy and metallic colors. However, I really found myself wishing for more paint applications. As it stands, a lot of parts are left without any color detail including the thighs, feet and parts of the chest. Since a lot of these details are "upscaled" details from the Legion Class figure, it would really benefit from using paint applications to draw out those details, but here with so much "blank" space on the figure it winds up looking surprisingly dull given how bold the colors that are there look.

Bumblebee's blaster weapon from the Legion Class figure has been swapped out with a sword. The sword has an interesting design, with the blade angling upward to a point instead of just being a straight blade. It is reminiscent of Megatron's sword, but shorter and wider. There are lots of nicely sculpted line details running along the blade. It's a cool accessory and I'm glad a new accessory was created for this figure. The sword is cast in yellow plastic with the blade painted metallic blue and the top of the hilt is painted black. Functionally, Bumblebee has all the same weapon connection points as the Legion Class figure, the two fists, the sides of his arms and one point in the back for weapon storage. Of course, the 3mm ports from the Legion Class figure have been "upscaled" into 5mm ports, allowing Bumblebee to use additional weapons from other figures (generally on the Deluxe scale and up). There are eight points of articulation on this figure, but effectively they just replicate the same four points of movement from the Legion Class. It is good the joints were redone however as this makes them much more stable given the larger size of the figure.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon if connected and set it aside for now.
  2. Swing both feet up.
  3. Connect the lower legs together in the middle.
  4. Swing the robot chest up.
  5. Rotate the robot arms and push them in to form the sides of the vehicle.
  6. The weapon can be attached to the top or sides of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
The vehicle mode features far less design changes than the robot mode since basically the "shell" of the robot parts just collapse into the vehicle. All the major details are the same including the huge engine sticking out of the hood, the raised panels on the back of the vehicle and the armor over the windows that looks like something out of a "Mad Max" film. It's a cool looking vehicle for sure, and upscaled it is a nice base sculpt. From a design perspective, the biggest change to the design is sadly a step backward, namely the wheels. On the Legion Class figure, the wheels were held on by metal rods, a standard in "Transformers" toy design for decades. However, in 2013 there were many vehicles released where the wheels were just snap on pieces that, frankly, looked quite cheap. Unfortunately this upscaled Bumblebee revives that to the figures' detriment. It simply looks bad and cheap. Worse, the wheels are unpainted, so the clip on portion is very obvious.

Deco-wise, a lot of the red and black detail comes together here. In fact, the front and middle sections look pretty great, with the windshield painted black, there's a lot of red/black/silver contrasting going on. The left side of the vehicle has a black Autobot symbol painted on it as well. Then you get to the back and everything kind of falls apart from a visual perspective. The entire rear section is unpainted. This is a bit more forgivable in a small Legion Class figure that's aimed at a lower price point, but once you get up to "Deluxe" scale, I think it's time to up the ante with deco and this fails in that respect.

This mode has three connection points for 5mm peg weapons. Two on the sides and one on top. Instead of a round port like the Legion Class figure has, these are hex shaped, allowing for better grip of the weapons.

Final Thoughts:
It's sad to say, but I really think this sculpt was not a good candidate for the "upscaling treatment". The added detail in the sculpt could only do so much to help it and the lack of additional deco to the figure really sets it back visually. Using the clip on wheels was also a mistake in my opinion. There are some nice colors used here and I dig the new weapon, but that's not enough to make me recommend this figure, especially given that it's not particularly easy to find.

What I find myself wishing is that they had taken the original Legion Class Bumblebee and upscaled that and given him a show accurate deco (and no, I'm not really counting Shadow Strike Bumblebee as "show accurate"). At least then we'd have a figure that better represented "Beast Hunters" Bumblebee as he was seen in the animated series. The closest we've had is Night Shadow Bumblebee, but even that doesn't really match how he looks in the show. I'm sad to say this piece is best collected as a curiosity for older collectors, though I do think younger kids would enjoy it (assuming they don't already have the Legion Class figure).