Transformers Prime Bumblebee Toy Review

in Action Figure Review, Autobot, Deluxe, First Edition, Movie (2007), Prime

Transformers Prime

General Information:
Release Date: October 2011
Price Point: $12.99
Retailer: General release in Asia, Release outside Asia TBD
Accessories: Dual barreled blaster x 1

Images:

BumblebeeWay ahead of its release in the United States, select markets in Asia have begun to receive shipments of "Transformers Prime" action figures. Specifically these are the waves that represent the "First Edition" series of figures, which include the San Diego Comic-Con Optimus Prime and the set recently released at New York City Comic-Con. Thanks to this early release, BWTF can begin to bring you readers reviews of these figures.

At this time, BWTF sponsor Big Bad Toy Store has stated that the "First Edition" figures will see only a limited release within the United States, so it will be interesting to see how this pans out in the coming months.

Bumblebee is one of the key characters in Transformers fiction. He was very prominent in Generation One, and when time came for a character to be used as a focal point of the live action films, Bumblebee was one of them. With this in mind, it only made sense that he would be a featured character in the "Transformers Prime" television show. He is also one of the first figures to be released in this line. I previously reviewed this sculpt already in my New York Comic-Con set review. Most of this text will repeat from that review, but the sections about the deco will focus on this iteration of the figure.

Vehicle Mode:
Bumblebee's official description has his vehicle mode listed as a generic "muscle car". It borrows some inspiration from the live action movie Bumblebee's vehicle mode, a Chevrolet Camaro. I has a wide body with some nice, curved lines running along the sides and the back, but the front and back have flat areas that give the vehicle an aggressive appearance befitting a muscle car. This is no Camaro clone however. It is very much an original design all its own. The front end is angled and comes to a wide "V" shape in the center. The headlights have four sides with the insides angled towards the grille. The grille is split into two sections with horizontal lines on it. Also on the front is a bit of an engine design sticking out of the vehicle's hood, implying more power than your standard car. The wheels on the back of the vehicle are actually larger than those on the front, and this creates a nice illusion of the vehicle being lifted up in the back which adds to its aggressive appearance. Much of these larger details and some smaller ones (such as the two cylinders under the headlights in the front) carry over directly from the CGI model, and in that respect Bumblebee is very accurate to his on screen appearance.

Bumblebee is cast in three primary plastic colors: yellow, black and translucent blue. The most prominent color is yellow of course, but what surprises me is how light this shade of yellow is. If you put it up against a strong enough light, you can almost see through it. I don't ascribe that to cheapness of plastic in any way (it feels no different than the plastics used on "Dark of the Moon" figures) but rather I think the designers wanted something "bright" to give the figure a more "animated" look. Compared to the CGI model however, I wonder if a better shade would have been between this one and the NYCC release. The black plastic is found where you'd expect it, on the wheels. The translucent blue plastic is found on the headlights and his windows. It's a nice color combination, and I really like the use of the translucent blue instead of the grey color used on some of the pictures found online of Bumblebee's vehicle mode from the television show.

Paint decos are done in black, gunmetal, orange and silver. Since this deco is heavily based on the live action movie version, black dominates. However, instead of just two simple "racing stripes" going from front to back there are several black lines on the vehicle starting from the front, but then angling out to the sides and over the top of the car. It's a more complex pattern than the one of the movie Bumblebee but it still retains the same design sensibility. The gunmetal color is found on the engine that sticks out of the hood. On either side of the headlights in the front are orange stripes overlayed by black stripes, giving the appearance of fog lights or something along those lines. The silver is used for the sides of the wheels (which I was glad to see since sometimes wheels are just left black). Finally, there's an Autobot symbol tampographed on the front of the hood.

Overall, the colors on this figure look great, though I do confess I get a bigger kick out of the New York Comic-Con version (but that's mostly because I'm a New Yorker). I do imagine there may be a darker colored version released down the line, but time will tell.

In this mode, Bumblebee can roll on all four wheels. If you flip him over, you'll also see where his weapon is stored. The dual barreled blaster weapon has a series of empty slots along the sides (on both barrels) that can then be clipped into corresponding tabs located on the top edge of his robot feet (which you can see on the underside of the vehicle). It does hold well and you can roll the vehicle around with the weapon clipped, but I warn that it's best to make sure you really push it in securely or the weapon will pop out pretty easily.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon and set it aside for now.
  2. Push each of the halves of the vehicle's rear section out to the sides to begin forming the robot legs.
  3. Swing the rear sections (now split for meach other) down.
  4. Swing out the robot feet and heel pieces.
  5. Swing the doors out to the sides, you should now see the robot arms tucked into the underside of the vehicle.
  6. Fold the top sections of the cabin down behind the side windows.
  7. With the bottom of the vehicle facing you, swing down the panel in the middle.
  8. Pull out each arm and swing it out to the sides.
  9. Unclip each section with the headlights on them and pull them out to the sides a bit.
  10. Swing the middle section (with the robot head attached) up, then rotate it around.
  11. Rotate the middle section of the vehicle mode's grille.
  12. Turn the head around so it is facing front.
  13. Swing the entire front section of the vehicle down to form the upper body.
  14. Swing the center section down.
  15. Swing the part in the middle section up against the middle section with the grille piece on it.
  16. On each section with a headlight, pull the bottom half of the piece down.
  17. Push the side sections in, carefully positioning each of them onto the clips in front of Bumbleee's head on either side.
  18. Swing the curved panel on the upper arms against each front wheel and connect them together.
  19. Push the windshield on the back down.
  20. Swing the shoulder joints out so the shoulder armor is facing forward.
  21. Rotate the forearms so they can move up at the elbow joint.
  22. Attach the weapon to one of the holes on his forearms.

Note: You may have a bit of difficulty with step sixteen. The bottom half of those sections do not come down quite as much as the instructions imply, but you will notice a small gap.

Robot Mode:
Just as Bumblebee's vehicle mode is based on his live action movie counterpart, so is his robot mode. The overall design and look is heavily based on his movie appearance, with no real call backs to his G1 namesake other than his color scheme. He has the classic Autobot shape where the front of the car becomes his chest, the doors of the car wind up o his back and the rear of the car becomes the legs/feet. The head sculpt is even inspired by the movie. Instead of the more angular and horned head from G1 Bumblebee, this one has a round helmet section and he has large, circular eyes with a cover over where his mouth would be. Some of the details are also inspired by the movie model such as the way the chest piece represents several of the vehicle mode's sections broken up into separate areas. His forearms have curved armor on them that come to points at the end. This design choice of course makes sense since kids are going to be most familiar with the movie Bumblebee at this time, and it jives with the extent that Optimus Prime resembles his live action movie counterpart as well.

Bumblebee isn't just a clone of his live action counterpart however. There's a very distinctive style to the figure overall. While his vehicle mode is very angular in design, his robot mode has a design that leans towards curved sections and points. I already mentioned his forearms come to points at the end (near the elbow) and he has other designs that do similar things. His knee armor for instance comes up like a spike over his legs and on his lower legs are designs right above his feet where there are arrow shaped designs. There are a lot of curved designs including the thighs which are cylindrical in shape and his waist area, which is very curved. Together with his movie-based designs, he really winds up looking fantastic as a blend of the movie style and something current. More to the point, his design is very accurate to his CGI model as well.

In this form Bumblebee's colors are a lot more broken up than the more unified look of the vehicle mode. The yellow is still the main color, making up his chest, forearms, most of the legs, the head and the door/wings on his back. What breaks it up however are the grey and silver parts that make up his waist, upper arms, thighs, hands and feet. This color distribution is very similar to the CGI model. Most of the color detail in this mode comes from the ones you se ein the vehicle mode, including the stripe details on his door/wings and chest. The only newly revealed color details are silver on his lower legs and mid-body. On his face is black paint, offering a sharp contrast from the yellow "helmet" portion of the head and the translucent blue eyes.

Bumblebee has twenty four points of articulation in this form. I'm including smaller movements such as his wrist being able to move in and out as well as the ability of his feet and heels to move. I was happy to see this articulation included the ability of his waist to move side to side and six points of articulation on each arm. His weapon can be attached to either forearm and if you wish, you can attach 5mm peg weapons (such as Energon and Mech Tech weapons) as well. You can also put weapons in his hands, which are set in a curved position.

Final Thoughts:
Bumblebee is a fun figure to transform and quite posable. His deco is not 100% what I expected, but the figure still looks great and represents the CGI model well. Highly recommended, but if you're outside Asia I wouldn't go nuts and pay a premium for him. Just wait for a domestic release (whatever that means for you).