Rescue Bots Heroes Bumblebee Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One

Rescue Bots

General Information:
Release Date: July 2011
Price Point: $11.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

*Images with asterisks and text in italics from Transformers.com:
Your BUMBLEBEE figure is ready to join the rest of his RESCUE BOT friends on another rescue mission, and all he needs is you! Convert him to vehicle mode in one easy step and back again. No matter what dangers await, your BUMBLEBEE figure is ready to be a hero! Ages 3 and up.

As long as Transformers have been around, there have always been sub-lines of toys dedicated to a younger age group than the main toy line. In 2011, the "Rescue Bots" line takes this role. Focusing around Transformers working with humans on rescue missions using equipment ranging from helicopters to rocket packs. Unlike previous attempts such as "1-2-3 Transformers" and "Go-Go-Gobots" however, this line actually includes Generation One inspired characters in it. This line is firmly aimed at the younger set (ages 3-6 according to the packaging), so I'll say right away that older collectors may find it a bit lacking by their standards.

I think it's fair to say that Bumblebee is a dominant force in Transformers nowadays. Almost no toy line passes by without at least one Bumblebee making an appearance, so why should Rescue Bots be any different? Indeed, considering Bumblebee was the seminal "Young Transformers that buddies up with a human" character, it would almost be odd if he didn't appear in this toy line.

Robot Mode:
In his robot mode, Bumblebee has obvious design influences from previous iterations of the character. His head design is very much influenced by his G1 head design, with "horns" on the top of the head, a central crest and vents on either side of the head. His face however is very much a cute, exaggerated take on Bumblebee smiling with a huge smile (I mean, we're talking super happy here) making him more akin to "Animated" Bumblebee than any other recent version. Like other Bumblebees of the past, his torso design has a large portion of the vehicle mode's cabin section on it, and on his arms and legs are the vehicle mode's wheel wells. Since there are no real "evil" robots in this toy line, it's a safe bet that Bumblebee is unlikely to get a new deco as an evil Decepticon, so a large Autobot symbol is sculpted onto the center of his chest.

Bumblebee gets additional details in the form of armor paneling near his hips, on his knees and his vehicle mode spoiler is designed to do double duty as his robot feet.

Three primary plastic colors show up in this form: yellow, light grey and black, all colors that you find on almost all Bumblebee toys. Several paint colors are used to complete the deco: black, silver, light blue, red and white. The black is used on his torso and legs. The torso has two bold racing stripes on it (a callback to the Movie version of the character) while his legs have black paint on the sculpted details including the spoiler. Silver is used to paint hte robot face as well as the hubcaps on his wheels. Light blue appears quite a bit. It is of course used for his robot eyes, but it's also found on his torso and legs, where it paints the vehicle mode windows. You've probably guessed that red paint is used on the Autobot symbol, but it's also found on the vehicle mode's rear lights located on the bottom of his feet. White paint is the least used color, but it certainly has quite an effect. On the Autobot symbol, all the lines in between the main portions of the Autobot symbol are painted white, which serves to bring out the red color even more. White is also used on his big old smile, drawing even more emphasis to it. Did I mention he looks super happy?

In terms of posability, there is none to speak of. Being able to pose the figure simply isn't part of the Rescue Bots design philosophy on this scale of figures (the larger electronic figures do have posability to a degree). More on this when I discuss the transformation. What Bumblebee does have however are holes in his fists designed to accomodate a "mini" vehicle that include a human figure in the line. Many of these human partners are color coordinated with the character they are meant to work with. In this case, Axel Frazier with his "Microcopter" appears the be the first of these smaller figure sets meant to interact with Bumblebee.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
Holding Bumblebee's legs together with one hand, use the other to slide his vehicle mode's front panel over the head and push the two halves of the vehicle together. To transform him back to robot mode, just pull the same parts away from each other.

This simple type of transformation has a lot to do with the design philosphy behind the Rescue Bots. The idea of each of these figures is to have a child focus on using a certain set of motor skills, but not overly complicated to the point where they're folding panels around and swinging limbs left and right. Here, the motions being emphasized are pulling and pushing, and in that respect the figure is very succesful. The gear system that is behind the transformation works very smoothly.

Vehicle Mode:
If you took the Movie universe Bumblebee and hit him with a ray of ultra cuteness in vehicle mode, you would get Rescue Bots Bumblebee's vehicle form. Instead of being a VW Beetle inspired car, here he's clearly meant to be a Muscle Car on the order of a Camaro or Challenger. The overall shape is wide and chunky (allowing younger kids to grip it easier) but several design elements are very aggressive looking. This includes the front grille and headlights, which look almost like a set of teeth with eyes on either side. His hood has air intake vents on them while his windshield has a support bar coming down the middle. On the back he has vent like covers on the rear windows and an angled spoiler. Two exhaust pipes can be seen sculpted into the back as well. In the world of Rescue Bots, it looks like Bumblebee is ready to tear up the road!

Additional details that look fantastic are his rear lights, which are horizontal in design with raised horizontal lines. His license plate has an Autobot symbol sculpted into the middle, which is something I always dig seeing. His wheels each have raised sections on the tires, giving the impression of a vehicle meant to be able to handle off-road conditions.

Yellow dominates the color scheme in this form, but black definitely makes its presence known. I commented on the black colors in the vehicle mode, but here you really see them come together. The stripes now start on the hood of the car, go up to the top, the continue to the back all the way to the spoiler. This design is based on the movie version of the character, and if you consider that this is the version most kids are familiar with nowadays, the design makes perfect sense. Silver paint is used to color the front end of the vehicle as well as the sides on the wheels. In thi smode the red color on the rear lights is much more obvious. Sadly, the Autobot symbol on the license plate is not painted, though I expect the eventual redeco of this figure may do that.

Final Thoughts:
Bumblebee is one ultra adorable package of Transformers cuteness. In addition, the functionality of the figure accomplishes what it seeks out to do in terms of motor coordination skills. However, I think the deal breaker for most older fans (read: anyone older than seven possibly) will be the lack of articulation, especially if you consider the price point. Truth be told, had the figure at least had elbow articulation or something I would have given this figure a "highly recommended" grade, especially since his arms are designed to be at his sides in a downward position. However, I do suspect that if I were three to six years old, I probably wouldn't care about this at all. I do genuinely like this figure a lot, and find the articulation issue its only flaw.