"Transformers Universe 2.0" Bumblebee (Animated) Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: January 2009
Price Point: $3.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
Get ready to roll out with this mighty AUTOBOT ally figure! Convert the detailed BUMBLEBEE figure from powerful robot to reveal his sports car alter ego in vehicle mode!

"Transformers Universe" was created as a division of the Transformers brand that could touch on any timeline/generation. As part of the fourth wave of "Transformers Universe" Legends Class figures, the assortment focused on the "Transformers Animated" series. What makes this a bit odd in terms of categorization is that unlike the other lines that "Universe" covers such as "Cybertron" and "G1", "Transformers Animated" is still running and it is interesting Hasbro chose to make "Animated" a segment of Legends rather than having these Legends Class figures fall under the "Animated" banner (card design and all). One of these entries into this small sub-line is Bumblebee, easily one of the most popular Transformers characters.

Robot Mode:
Since this Bumblebee figure was released hot on the heels of the G1 inspired Bumblebee from the previous wave of Legends Class figures, it would have been really easy for the designers to simply replicate that figure's design with "Animated" designed body parts. However, the designers chose to create a figure that is a bit of a reinterpretation of the Bumblebee design from "Animated". For the most part, his design comes directly from the "Animated" model. This breaks down to several parts:

  • Head: Bumblebee's head design is based right off the animated model, with the oval shape, outer head design with the horns and crest. His face has eyes set high and a nose that comes down from the top portion of the helmet. His face even has his mouth off to the side in an upturned smirk, a design similar to that of the deluxe version of this character.
  • Torso: The center of Bumblebee's body has a smaller chest design, which essentially shrinks down the cabin section of his car mode into a raised, rectangular piece. There is even a window sculpted into the piece on the top, but not on the bottom.
  • Arms: While the sides of the vehicle seem to overwhelm the arm designs, they in fact borrow quite a bit from the animated model. The shoulder sections have the rear tires on them, and if you look inside they are shaped with the tube like upper arms and more angular lower arms used on the animated model.
  • Thighs: The design of the thighs definitely takes a cue from the ultra stylized designs of the animated model. It is angular and curved all at the same time, and the middle/knee sections have an extra five sided, raised piece that I'm guessing acts as knee armor.

Where the figure diverges a bit from the animation model is the back and the lower legs. The back portion is actually the cabin section of the car, so it looks like he has a back pack on. It's hardly a big deal, it's just a notable design difference. Since Bumblebee employs the all too familiar "part of car flips out to become the legs" trick used in many Legends Class figures, his legs wind up being a bit of an upside down version of the animated model's legs. Instead of the front of the car forming his feet, the windshield section forms his feet. However, since this is such a common Transformers design, it looks just fine and functionally having the windshield portion extend up in car mode forms feet here that help stabilize the figure. While it does lose some show accuracy points, these differences hardly make this a bad figure.

Bumblebee is cast in black and yellow plastic. Yellow makes up a bulk of his parts including the head, arms and lower legs. Black makes up smaller parts such as his shoulder joints and waist. Paint applications are done up in blue, black and silver. The silver is used for parts such as his face and windshield, including the faux window on his chest. Black can be found outlining his face and for the black stripe on his chest and leg. However, due to the way he transforms, this stripe winds up on the opposite side of the body than it does in the animation model (specifically, it is on the right on the figure, but on the left in the TV show). Light blue paint is used to color his eyes, keeping consistant with the TV show look. Finally, an Autobot symbol is tampographed onto his chest, right next to the black stripe. Overall, the figure's color scheme looks nice and balanced. While not super show accurate, it's fair to note that even the larger scale deluxe sized figure didn't get the deco 100% correct.

There are seven points of articulation on this figure in robot mode, which is quite a bit for a Legends Class figure. His head can swing on a hinge to look up and he has ball joints on his shoulders and hips. He can also bend at the knees thanks to his transformation scheme.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Push the two lower legs together.
  2. Swing the lower part of the body down at the waist.
  3. Rotate Bumblebee's arms so they are pointing straight up.
  4. Rotate the chest piece around.
  5. Push the robot arms in.
  6. Fold the robot lower legs back to form the front of the car.

Vehicle Mode:
While his robot mode was reinterpreted a bit from the animation model for this figure, Bumblebee's vehicle mode is pretty much dead on from the TV show. The general shape of the vehicle is the same, with a sloped front leading up to a hatchback type vehicle complete with an end sticking out that somewhat resembles a spoiler. The rear wheels are larger than than the front with a curved piece of armor over them. Small details were paid attention to as well including his siren, door handles, sideview mirrors and his headlights.

The only new paint color to enter the picture here is red, used on his siren. The metallic silver from his chest in robot mode forms most of the windows in this form. This time, the black stripe is on the correct side to match up with the animation model (the left). I do have to say that I appreciate all of Bumblebee's windows being painted. Sometimes larger class figures will paint every window except one (usually the rear window) and it just looks odd. Kudos to the designers for a great vehicle mode.

Final Thoughts:
If you've been loyally following Animated, there's a chance you own Bumblebee in some form about two times already (not to mention all those movie versions kicking around since last year). If you are looking for complexity, this isn't the figure for you. If you want a good interpretation of Animated Bumblebee that you can just slip in your pocket and have along the ride with you you'll enjoy this figure. The only drawbacks are that I wish the head had been designed to move from side to side in robot mode, but it's a small quibble in an otherwise excellent figure. Highly recommended!

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