Release Date: October 2018
Price Point: $29.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: Entertainment Earth (Shared exclusive)
Accessories: Arm weapon, Spoilers x 2, Engine/hood cover, Air intake/hood cover, Running boards x 2, Bumper lip, Charlie PVC figure
Full Disclosure: A sample of this figure was provided to Ben's World of Transformers for review by Entertainment Earth. To pre-order/purchase your copy of this set follow this link and help support BWTF!
Official images and text in italics below from Entertainment Earth:
This Studio Series Deluxe Class exclusive features premium figures, each with movie-inspired scale, detail, and backdrop. Figures stand at a scale relative to their character's height in the movie and feature vivid, movie-inspired deco. Each package comes with a movie scene backdrop that can be removed to display the figure on shelf. Fans can use the backdrop and pose their figures in the scene with their own style. This Transformers: Bumblebee Studio Series 15 Deluxe Class Bumblebee and Charlie figures brings the movie action from the Highway Freedom scene to new dimensions. The figure converts from robot to 77 Camaro mode in 23 steps. Turn the classic Bumblebee car into a racecar with 8 included accessories for customization. Remove the backdrop included in the pack to showcase the Bumblebee and Charlie figures in the Highway Freedom scene. Bumblebee robot stands about 4 1/2-inches tall.
2017 was a milestone in Transformers history. The live action movie series was now ten years old meaning an entire generation of fans had grown up in an era where they had a live action Transformers theatrical film every other year to watch. In 2018 Hasbro launched the "Studio Series", a "Generations"-esque line of figured focused on the live action movies. The series boasted toys that were made in rough scale with each other using the CAD files from Paramount Pictures as the basis for the design. Part of the idea was also to fill in gaps in previous lines by making characters who had not appeared in the line previously.
The base sculpt used for this figure has already come out twice. Once in the first wave of "Studio Series" figures and then again as an SDCC 2018 exclusive. You'll want to check out those reviews to see my initial thoughts on those versions.
Bumblebee and Charlie are packaged in a wide box that borrows several elements of the standard "Studio Series" box designs. It has a black background, the red "Generations" Transformers logo on the side and a blue "Studio Series" logo along the bottom edge on the front. This box is significantly wider than the standard "Studio Series" packaging to accommodate the extra accessories. Bumblebee is in robot mode on the left while the accessories and Charlie are off to the right. Drawings of Bumblebee in robot mode are found on the sides while a drawing of the vehicle mode is in the front. Inside the box is an insert that serves as a background for the figure to use as a display setting. It shows a beach side road based on a scene in the movie (and seen in the trailer). Oddly, Entertainment Earth lists this figure as "Rebekah's Garage Bumblebee with Charlie Figure" (and so I have kept that name) but there is no indication of a "garage" anywhere in the set except maybe for the custom parts.
The back of the packaging shows off Bumblebee in both modes with some stickers applied. The Charlie figure is also shown off to the side. Meanwhile there are three different photos showing the various stickers and parts attached to the vehicle.
In an interesting footnote, the official photo of this set in box (see above) has a silver Toys 'R' Us exclusive sticker on the front window, indicating that at one time this was likely the exclusive that would have come after Voyager Class Thundercracker. However, the copy of this set that I received did not have that sticker. Nor have any of the other ones that have been found in the wild in the past month or so.
Charlie is the main human character in the "Bumblebee" live action movie. This PVC figure is a non-articulated one featuring Charlie standing with her arms crossed. Some have wondered if this figure is just a redeco of one of the PVC figures from the "Transformers Prime" NYCC 2011 pack. I can tell you it's not. This is a whole new sculpt. Charlie is not sculpted to really look like actor Hailee Steinfeld. Instead it looks more like an animated interpretation of the character.
Brown, black, white and blue paint are all used on this mini-figure. It is actually impressive to see how much they painted including a white Bumblebee logo on the chest.
Bumblebee's robot mode is based on the way the character appeared in the 2007 "Transformers" live action film with parts of his Camaro alt-mode showing on his chest and back. From a sculpting point of view this is the same exact figure as the first version with no retooling.
That said, there are some definite color differences between the two. Both seem very much alike, with a combination of yellow, grey, silver and black colors. However, there are some minor differences. For instance, there is no evidence of the racing stripes from the vehicle mode because they do not exist on this figure (more on that in the vehicle mode review). Also, the feet are unpainted on this figure while the first version had silver detailing on the top and front of each foot. Most of the details come from stickers included with the figure. More on that below in the vehicle mode review.
Sadly this figure suffers from the same issues as its predecessors. The windshield piece still pops off if you look at it funny. Worse, this version of the figure has legs that are more loose than the other versions I have, making posing the figure a bit challenging. Also, the black sections on the elbows that hold the forearms when you swap them out are loose. Swapping out the "hand" forearm for the blaster forearm was tough because the black pieces kept popping out with them.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Swing each hand in against the forearms.
- Pull the robot feet out to the sides a bit, then swing them down and extend the ankle piece.
- On the back of each leg are the parts that form the rear of the vehicle and the rear windows, swing the window pieces out.
- Swing the robot feet and ankle pieces up over onto the back of the thighs. Connect the tab on the feet to the corresponding slot on the back of the thighs.
- Swing the piece with the feet, ankles and rear wheels up against the sides of the lower legs.
- Swing the sections that form the rear of the vehicle down.
- Push the robot legs (now the halves of the vehicle mode's rear section) together.
- Swing the back panel up.
- Swing the chest section up.
- Swing the robot arms in.
- Swing the hood piece forward, fitting the front of it in between the headlight sections. If it doesn't fit, be sure to tilt them outward slightly.
- Extend the windshield/cabin cover piece out.
- Swing the front wheel wells forward. This will push the doors back. Fit these pieces into place.
- Fit the windshield/cabin cover piece into place.
The transformation is relatively simple in theory, especially if you have transformed past Bumblebee figures from the movie line. Unfortunately the windshield/cabin cover piece has a tendency to go flying off during transformation. Unlike my first copy of this figure, no wheels went flying off as I transformed it. The transformation is a bit fiddly if you do not know exactly what you are doing (okay, even if you do it's a bit fiddly), but having parts come off really just makes the transformation process unpleasant.
With most Transformers figures the robot mode is the main show when it comes to the play factor. With t his figure however it is really the vehicle mode that is the focus. First off there are all the accessories to customize the vehicle mode. Here's a rundown:
- One hood piece features a th in air intake. This snaps right on top of the center of the hood.
- The second hood piece features a giant engine that attaches to the center of the hood.
- There is a bumper lip/car splitter that attaches to the underside of the vehicle's front end. This extends the front end out a bit adding some sleek detailing.
- One spoiler is a wide and thick one with two vertical panels on the sides.
- The other spoiler is a thinner one with vertical sections on the sides.
- Two thin running board pieces attach to the sides.
All these accessories are a nice addition to the figure. I appreciate that there are two spoilers and two hood pieces, allowing a variety of combinations. For those curious, all these parts can be attached to the other versions of this sculpt.
Aside from parts, the other customization aspect of this figure involves a sticker sheet included with the figure. This sticker sheet has a ton of stickers which are basically separated along two lines: a white and blue stripe pattern and a more traditional black stripe pattern. There are a lot of extra little stickers including Autobot symbols, bee symbols and even stickers with the word "Autobot" on them. There are no instructions that tell you exactly where to put the stickers, but many are obvious including the ones that go on the spoilers and doors. I would recommend taking a good long look at the stickers and planning out where you want them before taking any of the stickers off the sheets. For those wary of stickers because of "Power of the Primes", fear not. These stickers are printed on clear plastic and they stick well to the figure so far. I have not had any issues with curling corners of bubbles.
It may not look like it at first, but this base figure has a different deco than the first release of this figure. This figure is mostly yellow plastic in this mode with black wheels. Like the first release, the front end is silver but the grille is painted black instead of silver. Also, this figure does not have racing stripes printed on it, giving you a blank canvas for the stickers.
Sadly, this figure's robot mode is still an exercise in frustration. Parts fall off far too easily and with the loose hip joints the figure is not as stable as its predecessors. That said, the customization play pattern with the car add-on parts and stickers are fantastic and really make for some fun play. This is also a very different play pattern than what we normally see in the Transformers toy line. I really love the look of the stickers and I am appreciative of their quality. The Charlie figure is a nice addition (and likely the only version of the character we will get in toy form for now). If you're into customizing the vehicle mode (with both parts and stickers) and you do not have any other versions of this Bumblebee I do recommend this set. Otherwise I would say focus on getting the Volkswagon Beetle "Studio Series" version of the character instead.
- Good sculpt in both modes.
- Extra car parts are really fun to play around with.
- The stickers are high quality and look fantastic.
- The Charlie figure is a nice addition.
- The background included with the figure is beautifully painted and larger than the typical "Studio Series" backgrounds.
- The windshield/cabin cover piece falls off constantly. This is not only annoying on its own, but it makes the transformation process very annoying.
- Some parts are more loose than previous versions of this figure.