"Robots in Disguise" (2015) One Step Changer Patrol Mode Bumblebee Toy Review
Release Date: July 2015
Price Point: $9.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Official images and text in italics below from Amazon.com:
The 1-Step Changers are 2-in-1 speed-changers, and this Patrol Mode Bumblebee figure is one of the speediest! He's the same Autobot warrior as always, but he converts in just 1 step from robot mode to supercharged sports car mode and back. Take the fight virtual when by scanning his badge into the Transformers Robots in Disguise app (device not included). Can this Bumblebee figure's Decepticon enemies keep up with him? Not as long as he keeps converting back and forth! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
The end of 2015 saw the release of a new One Step Changer Bumblebee figure. There was a One Step Changer Bumblebee already in this line, but this one features a totally different sculpt. The basic concept behind the design is not new however. It was seen in the "Age of Extinction" toy line with both the One Step Changer Drift and High Octane Bumblebee figures. It was also used for "Age of Extinction" Prowl. More recently this basic design was also used to create "Robots in Disguise" One Step Changer Sideswipe. To be clear: this is a new sculpt with new parts, it only features the same One Step "gimmick/transformation" as the figures mentioned above.
Like the "Age of Extinction" One Step Changers, these are packaged in bubbles on small cards. Artwork is on the left side and the Transformers logo is on the right. The artwork is the basic Bumblebee art used on several promotional images, but with black used on several parts. The back does not feature any tech specs information, instead using the space for the instructions and multi-language legal information. It's a shame but Hasbro seems to be refocusing any efforts at more traditional packaging into the "Generations" segment, which I get since I'm guessing they're assuming most of the kids getting these will wind up just throwing out the packaging.
Bumblebee's vehicle mode is based on the one featured in the "Robots in Disguise" cartoon. However to accommodate the One Step Changer gimmick the vehicle mode winds up looking a lot chunkier than it normally would since it has to fit all the robot mode parts inside the vehicle mode. This has an interesting visual effect. On a purely visual level the vehicle winds up looking like a really tough, old style muscle car instead of a sleek, futuristic sports car. Most of this is due to how thick the vehicle looks now, especially on the front end. I'm okay with that, though sticklers for cartoon accuracy may have a problem with it.
Despite the thickness of the vehicle form, this figure does have many of the details from the animation model including the thin vertical and horizontal headlights, angled designs on the top of the hood and rear wheel well sections that angle upward to the back. He has a spoiler too, but it's an interesting design because it's basically the robot feet sticking up, but their shape works well enough to "fake it" as a spoiler.
This mode is cast in metallic yellow and black plastic. The yellow is a really nice color. It has a pearlescent shine to it that I really like. The wheels are cast in black. As you'd expect for a One Step Changer the paint deco is fairly light on this figure. Gunmetal grey is used for his front and back windows as well as the angled stripes on top of the hood as well as the center of the car's front end. The headlights are painted light blue. The finishing touch is a scannable Autobot symbol on the top of the cabin section. While the deco could certainly be better, it's not horrible and I have to say I'm very fond of this metallic yellow plastic.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
Unlike "Age of Extinction" Drift or Prowl, this figure is not really meant to transform using the flick of the wrist "switchblade" motion. I tried it several times and at most the opposite leg than the one I was holding swing out part way. Save yourself the aggravation and just hold on to the halves that form the back of the vehicle, then pull them apart and swing them together, allowing the cabin section plate to fall into place. Reverse this motion to transform it back to vehicle mode.
One of the things I like about this One Step Changer design is that it allows the robot mode to look somewhat normal and not all out of proportion. Like the vehicle mode, Bumblebee winds up looking somewhat bulky in this form, but it's not bad looking. Indeed he looks tough and ready for a fight. Some design changes were made of course to accommodate the transformation. For instance his shoulder armor doesn't reach high over his head, his legs are thicker than they would be on other incarnations of the design and the "doors" which wind up looking like wings really do look like wings in this form on his back.
Despite the changes mentioned above, he does have many design elements carried over from the animation model (and other toys). His torso has the same general design as the animation model, featuring a highly stylized vehicle front end, his forearms are wide in the back and narrow to the wrist and his feet have small designs on them similar to the animation model. I do see one missed opportunity however. There are no weapons included with this figure so it would've been cool to sculpt them into the arms (similar to One Step Changer Sideswipe).
This mode mostly shows off yellow plastic, with some black on the back. Most of the paint detail comes in the form of gunmetal grey on the crest, chest, waist and legs. Some silver is used in the face and mid-body area. It's very subtle but the eyes have a dash of metallic blue on them. Sadly like most One Step Changers these colors feel like the beginning of a deco but there are many more details which could have used some attention, especially around the chest. At minimum it would have been nice to see light blue on the faux "headlights".
Bumblebee has two points of articulation: the arms. Each fist can hold a 5mm peg weapon so you can have this guy borrow Warrior Class Bumblebee's weapon.
As One Step Changers go, this is a solid figure. It looks good in both modes and it's fun to play with. That said it could use more deco and there is at least one missed design opportunity by not having any weapons worked into the sculpt. Mainly recommended if you don't already have another One Step Bumblebee kicking around in your collection somewhere otherwise it's an easy skip.