Transformers Prime Bumblebee (RiD) Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Deluxe, Generation One, Prime, Robots in Disguise

Transformers Prime

General Information:
Release Date: January 2012
Price Point: $12.99
Retailer: General release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Dual barreled blaster x 2

Images:

BumblebeeAfter a very limited run of "First Edition" figures, the "Transformers Prime" toy line kicked off 2012 with the release of its mass market toy line. Under the "Transformers Prime" banner, these figures took on the sub-title of "Robots in Disguise". Divided into traditional size classes such as Deluxes and Voyagers, this line serves as the "primary" line for the "Transformers Prime" brand.

One of the first waves of this line included Bumblebee, the heroic Autobot warrior heavily featured in both the live action films and the cartoon. What this figure is not is a redeco or retool of the First Edition Bumblebee. It is a completely new sculpt using the same root aesthetics of the character from the television show.

Vehicle Mode:
Bumblebee's vehicle is a fictional muscle car, something I went at quite some length about in my First Edition Bumblebee review. The vehicle takes inspiration from the Chevrolet Camaro from the live action films, but changes plent of details both avoiding licensing costs and making him nice and original for the show. Unlike the curved shape of the Camaro, this vehicle mode is much more angled on the corners and the front end of the vehicle is set rather high and looks plenty aggressive. The cabin section is set relatively low with the rear wheel wells set rather high. The entire impression of the vehicle's shape is a vehicle that rides low to the ground, almost like an animal ready to pounce!

So how does this vehicle form differ from the "First Edition" version? Well, the biggest difference you'll notice if you put them side by side is size. "First Edition" Bumblebee is larger by about 10% or so (that's just an eyeball estimate, not a scientifically measured out number). When you compare the two, "First Edition" Bumblebee is noticably wider and longer, but not by a lot. Some fans will stop right here and say "That's it, it's not worth it then!" and that'd be a shame since really, the figure does have something to offer as we'll see during this review.

Bumblebee is cast in yellow, translucent blue, black and silver plastic. The yellow makes up most of the front, back and side sections of the vehicle. The yellow used is a slightly darker shade than the one found on the "First Edition" figure, and honestly I prefer it. The cabin section is translucent blue. The silver is used for his weapons, which can connect in this form to the front end (unlike the "First Edition" version). Black makes up his wheels and a bit of the details sticking out the back.

Of course, just the plastic colors alone does not do Bumblebee justice. Paint decos are done in metallic yellow, black and gunmetal. The yellow paint is mostly used for the translucent panels such as the top of the car and part of the doors on theides. The paint color is a bit darker than the yellow plastic, so expect some conrast. The black paint provides detailing such as the grille and the series of stripes starting in the front of the vehicle to the back. The engine sticking out of 'bee's hood is painted gunmetal, though you can see the yellow plastic in the hole that connects to the weapons. It's not a terribly complex color scheme, but it represents the designs from the television show very well and it looks cool.

Functionally speaking I've already mentioned the weapons can attach to the engine. What's better, they can attach to each other, creating a quad-barreled weapon that isn't bulky looking. For a bit more fun, each of the weapons has a 5mm hole on it, so you could attach another weapon on top of the second one!

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Lift the cabin section.
  3. Swing the back section of the vehicle down.
  4. Separate the halves of the rear section from each other to begin forming the robot legs.
  5. Swing the robot feet down.
  6. Swing the car doors out.
  7. Swing the robot arms down.
  8. Swing the rear window in.
  9. Pull the cabin cover piece back and down.
  10. Now, holding onto the shoulder pieces (made up of the front wheel wells), pull those sections out which will cause an auto-transform feature that reveals the robot head and forms the chest.
  11. Attach the weapon to the hole on either forearm.

Robot Mode:
As you can tell from the transformation instructions, this iteration of "Transformers Prime" Bumblebee has a lot more intuitive movements and the transformation is aided by a neat "auto-transform" feature. This is one of those things you either like or you don't. Some fans will hate it, saying it's a "cheat". Others may be reminded of similar "auto-transform" features on other lines such as "Revenge of the Fallen" and happily welcome them. I fall into the latter category. I think that it not only aids the transformation in a visually appealing way, but it also adds a bit of "magic" to the figure, as if in that last step of transforming the body the toy is coming alive into robot mode.

Size wise if the vehicle mode is smaller than the "First Edition" Bumblebee, you better believe the robot mode is a bit shorter too, by about a head. That said, I find this version of Bumblebee has less fiddling necessary to get it to look like a solid figure. On "First Edition" Bumblebee, you really had to mess with his various chest panels to get him transformed correclty by the book. With this Bumblebee, the auto transform ensures several of the pieces that could have been difficult to fiddle with all fall into place properly.

So what of his aesthetics? Some folks have said that the detail level on these figures is diminished because of their smaller size and simplified transformation, and to that I have to say - no, not really. Sure some details are outright different, most notably the lack of a central, flat panel on his chest and a panel covering up his waist area. However, that doesn't make him any less detailed. His head sculpt looks fantastic and in fact, these eyes are less round than the "First Edition" version and are narrowed a bit, as if he's staring an enemy down. His torso and waist area still have the look of panels overlapping machinery and his legs have some of the key details from the CGI model including the spike shaped knee armor and hook like armor panel designs near his feet. If I had to call out one aesthetic "problem" (and I'm using that word loosely) it would be that part of the hood from the vehicle mode winds up sticking out from behind his head, something the CGI model doesn't have, and that the "First Edition" figure did not have. In all seriousness, this is the biggest strike against the figure in my book.

This form is still mostly yellow plastic, and again it is a deeper colored yellow than the "First Edition" and it also has some metallic flake in it, giving it a pearl like shine. Some of his smaller parts such as the mid-body and parts of his legs are cast in metallic silver while his fists, inner forearms and feet are black. Translucent blue is used for the light piping on his eyes and it looks quite nice along with the translucent blue headlights on his chest. A touch of yellow paint is used on armor pieces near his waist, and a bit of silver is found on his legs, but other than that he's a very "clean" looking figure, which fits with his CGI model. Thanks to the stripe details from the vehicle mode, he is not lacking in painted detail in this form as they appear on his upper body and "wings".

Bumblebee has seventeen points of articulation in this form, which is about average. It's not amazing, but nor is it bad. It's "just right" I think. Where they lack numbers the points actually count. For instance, his arms can bend at the elbows, but they can also swivel out at the shoulders. His hip joints are ball joints, but his thighs can rotate out and in as well. You'll have no problems posing this figure in cool action scenes, trust me. There are four points on each arm that allow you to attach standard 5mm peg weapons. On each forearm he has a hole on the outer armor and then his fists are in a curved position that can accomodate weapons as well. Since his own weapons allow other weapons to attach to them, you can easily have Bumblebee running around with six weapons or more!

Final Thoughts:
"Robots in Disguise" Bumbelbee definitely skirts the edge of what a "Deluxe" figure can be. Truth be told if he were any smaller I probably would be a bit down on the figure for it, instead I think the designers manage to hit just the right size for the figure to save the necessary costs while still delivering a strong figure. Recommended, but with some understanding that its size will cause issues with some folks.