"Generations" Buzzworthy Bumblebee - Bumblebee & Spike Toy Review

01/03/21

General Information:
Release Date: December 2020
Price Point: $14.99
Retailer: Target Exclusive (US)
Accessories: Blaster, Spike Witwicky mini-figure

Official images and text in italics below are from Target.com:

  • BUZZWORTHY BUMBLEBEE: You've probably heard the buzz, but Bumblebee is kind of a big deal. And now the bodacious bot is making his mark with a line of some of the most buzzworthy Bumblebee products for fans of all ages
  • CORE CLASS: Fans can add this Bumblebee figure to their collection, inspired by the original G1 toy design, released in our new 3.5-inch Core Class scale!
  • G1-INSPIRED MODE AND WEAPON: Bumblebee figure converts into hatchback car mode in 11 steps. Comes with a blaster accessory
  • SPIKE WITWICKY: Pack includes a Spike Witwicky mini figure in his exosuit, inspired by the G1 animation. Convert figure into rover mode in 1 step.
  • BUMBLEBEE-THEMED PACKAGING: Special Buzzworthy Bumblebee collectible packaging

You've probably heard the buzz, but Bumblebee is kind of a big deal. And now the bodacious bot is making his mark with a line of some of the most buzzworthy Bumblebee products for fans of all ages. See what all the buzz is about, only at Target.

This 2-Pack includes a Bumblebee figure inspired by the original G1 toy design, released in our new 3.5-inch Core Class scale, and a Spike Witwicky mini figure in his exosuit. Bumblebee figure converts into hatchback car mode in 11 steps and Spike Witwicky figure converts to rover mode in 1 step. Comes with a blaster accessory.

Buzzworthy Bumblebee figures feature special Buzzworthy Bumblebee collectible packaging. Collect more Buzzworthy Bumblebee figures, only at Target (each sold separately, subject to availability). Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

  • Includes: 2 figures, accessory, and instructions.
  • Figure scale: 3.5 inches
  • Ages 8 and up
  • Warning: Choking Hazard - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.

In early December 2020 it was revealed that a new Bumblebee figure would be coming out with a Spike mini-figure under the sub-line called Buzzworthy Bumblebee. At the time it was uncertain just where this line would wind up, but late December 2020/early January 2021 has revealed this to be a Target exclusive line of Bumblebee themed figures. Out of the entire assortment, this figure and Spike are the only two brand new figures revealed so far. While this figure was intended for a January 2021 reset at Target stores, some leaked out in December 2020 ahead of time.

Packaging:
Bumblebee and Spike are packaged using a bubble card. The two figures sit in a tray in robot/human modes. The card back features artwork that looks like it was meant to be released alongside Kingdom packaging. The background has a combnation of red and yellow colors. Both characters are seen running into the battlefield with a rock formation behind thim. The insert inside the bubble features the "Buzzworthy Bumblebee" logo with a generic drawing of Bumblebee's head next to it. This appears to represent the "Evergreen" design for Bumblebee instead of the more G1 inspired design in the package art.

The back of the card features Bumblebee in both modes calling out an 11 step transformation. Spike is next to him in both modes with a 1 step transform (he lies down basically). Both figures are set against a honeycomb shaped background (a bit on the nose). Interestingly, above the names "Bumblebee" and "Spike Witwicky" is the "War for Cybertron Trilogy" logo, indicating this 'bee is part of the current main Generations line.

Accessories:
Bumblebee includes one accessory and a mini-figure (which arguably is just a glorified accessory). The blaster is a small one based on the appearance of the blaster G1 Bumblebee held in the opening moments of the original "More than Meets the Eye" mini-series. It features a cylindrical back piece with a barrel that widens towards the end. The peg is a 3mm peg similar to those once used by the old Legends Class figures from the days of Transformers Prime. This piece is cast in black plastic with no paint applications.

The other accessory is a Spike Witwicky mini-figure. The figure is designed to look like Spike wearing his Exo-Suit as seen in the 1986 theatrical film. Distinctive details include his oval shaped helmet section, the two circles on the chest and arms featuring a middle section that looks like it is made out of flexible material to allow him to bend his arms while wearing the suit. The forearms have blasters sculpted on them, a callback to the ability of the forearms to transform into weapons and fire. This was used by Daniel Witwicky in the film to save several of our heroes. For those curious, this is not a simple redeco of the Titan Master Leinad figure. This is larger and a different sculpt altogether.

Spike is made up of white plastic. Silver, yellow and light blue paint is used to fill in details. While I would have loved an actual Spike head sculpted inside the helmet, that's pretty unrealistic for this price point so I get the use of silver on the helmet. The blue and the yellow look great, contrasting nicely against the white plastic.

There are two points of articulation on Spike: the arms. They can move up and down and that's it. To transform him, straighten out the arms, lay the figure down and then swing the panel on the back out and back. This forms his vehicle mode including "blasters" mounted on the back panel that you can attach Blast Effects to, making Spike look like he is firing weapons behind him or using boosters. It is not 100% screen accurate as that would have required the arms facing forward, but for a glorified accessory this will do just fine. This is a cool mini-figure and I dig the classic pairing of Spike with Bumblebee.

Robot Mode:
Bumblebee is a Core Class figure like Rattrap and Vertebreak from Kingdom. He is just a tad over 3 inches (about 7.62 centimeters) tall. From an appearance standpoint this puts him roughly in scale with how he was portrayed in some G1 episodes where he was almost human sized compared to larger Autobots like Prowl or Optimus Prime. The Spike figure is about 2 inches tall (about 5.08 centimeters) to give you some perspective on how the two contrast in size.

Bumblebee's general design is based on his G1 appearance. The head sculpt is perhaps the most "G1" element. It looks like the animation model from the 80's complete with the "horns", large central crest and a face with beveled edges. The head sculpt is absolutely beautiful and I love it. The rest of his body takes design cues from G1 as well. The torso is made up of the cabin section of the car, the front of the car splits to become his feet and the arms have "coiled" sections on them in the middle. Overall, this figure is instantly identifiable as Bumblebee.

Where this Bumblebee differs from his G1 counterpart in that his vehicle mode bits are clearly not based on a Volkswagon Beetle. Instead the edges of the vehicle mode parts are more angled, and as we'll see in the vehicle mode review these not only get away from the need for a VW license, but it also references a different character from the past! Interestingly the designers decided to have the rear wheel wells swing back. This winds up making Bumblebee's arms lose some bulk which is a bit of an unfortunate design decision in my book. I would have preferred the pulled out over the shoulders like armor or something.

Bumblebee is made up of yellow and black plastic. Unfortunately, my camera made the yellow look like a bright yellow whereas the color actually is a slightly darker tone so please keep that in mind as you browse the gallery. Paint colors include black, red, silver and metallic blue. The color distribution is pretty much what you would expect including the metallic blue on the windows and silver on the face. He looks good and I love the giant red Autobot symbol boldly printed on his chest.

There are eleven points of articulation on this figure including two in each arm and three in each leg. The two points on the arms are both ball joints so the range of motion is good. His fists have ports allowing him to hold his blaster. For those curious, you can attach Blast Effects to the end of his weapon, which is always a huge plus in my book!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon and set it aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Push the feet together.
  4. Point the feet down to form the front of the car.
  5. Swing the back piece up and over to cover up the robot head and form the back of the vehicle.
  6. Swing the back panel out so it forms the middle section of the vehicle's back end.
  7. Swing the waist piece under the cabin section, bringing the feet in so the front of the vehicle is flush against the windshield area.
  8. Tuck the arms in to form the sides of the vehicle.
  9. Swing the rear wheel well panels down.
  10. Flip the vehicle over and you will see a small port to store the weapon.

Vehicle Mode:
Bumblebee's vehicle mode is not a Volkswagon Beetle, but it is a callback to some of the early days of G1. Specifically, this vehicle mode is based on the G1 toy/character "Bumper". Originally this was a carry over Microchange toy that wound up on Cliffjumper (and possibly Bumblebee) cards even though it was a distinct sculpt. Fans online called him "Bumblejumper" for years and official Dreamwave fiction eventually named him "Bumper". His vehicle mode was a Penny Racer style car which basically means a sort of cute, super deformed vehicle. Part of what made some of the G1 Mini-Bots distinctive was the inclusion of a panel in the back where the penny would have been placed on a Penny Racer. This Bumblebee figure actually has such a panel (though you cannot attach a penny to it). Also, the angled windows and front end are very similar in shape to G1 Bumper. Another similarity is a beveled section on the hood of the car. I absolutely love the use of Bumper as inspiration for this vehicle mode and I really hope that means one day an official Bumper (with a new head) can be made from this sculpt!

This mode has all the same colors as the robot mode. The only "newly revealed" piece is the rear window which features metalic blue paint on the window. Sadly, the "penny racer" plate on the back is not painted. I say sadly because it is full of sculpted details and they are based on the sticker found on Bumper. It would have been great to see color there to bring out the detailing.

Final Thoughts:
Core Class Bumblebee is not the best version of the character ever but he is a really cool for the price point. I like the aesthetics and the reference to Bumper's vehicle mode is an outstanding design choice. The Spike figure is a fun accessory and I am very glad they actually gave Bumblebee a weapon (based on G1 animation to boot!). Recommended!

Pros:

  • Good sculpt.
  • The "Bumper" reference in vehicle mode is awesome.
  • Includes a blaster weapon, which Hasbro could easily have skipped to save money.
  • Nice deco.

Cons:

  • The arms are a tad too lanky looking for my taste.
  • I would have liked some paint on the "penny racer panel" on the back.