"Transformers Universe 2.0" Bumblebee Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: December 2008
Price Point: $4.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
Team up with the AUTOBOT alliance and take on the DECEPTICON forces! This quick-conversion figure is ready for action and prepared for whatever adventure is in store! Battle even the mightiest opponents in robot mode and then convert the figure to street racer vehicle mode and prepare for battle!

As an old skool fan who went through many years of Transformers series that ignored his favorite character, it is really fun for me to see so many figures released as of late based upon Bumblebee. While he gets flak from many, I've always loved the little guy, and when he was given a new form in 2006's Classics line, I thought "That's it, they never have to make another one again." Little did I know that he would be a central character in the live action movie and explode onto the scene with dozens of toys. One of the more recent is the Legends Class version of Bumblebee in the Universe line which represents yet another interpretation of the character while being part of a wave utilizing the Legends Class as a way to bring out new versions of several classic G1 Mini-Bots.

Robot Mode:
Since the designers had to stay away from using any licensed vehicles, Bumblebee has not been a VW Beetle in some time. However, the idea of him transforming into a small, roundish compact car has remained. As part of this G1 homage, Bumblebee's basic form generally breaks down to the front of the car forming his feet, the vehicle canopy forming his upper body and the sides of the vehicle forming his arms. In that respect, the designers do not disappoint with this figure. His feet are indeed formed by the halves from the front of the vehicle mode and the canopy is part of his uper body. His arms are also formed from the sides of the vehicle mode and his head has a central crest and horns on it. There is no doubt who this figure is supposed to represent.

Despite no longer being a VW Beetle, many of the sculpted parts here are heavily influenced by the G1 Bumblebee's animated design. His head has a central crest and wide "helmet" section with horns around a face with two eyes, a nose and mouth. His chest is formed by the top of the vehicle's canopy and his arms have squared off/rectangular segments leading up to fists. The legs also resemble the G1 animation model's legs with curved edges on the upper legs leading to a wider and more rectangular shaped lower leg.

Bumblebee is cast in black and yellow plastic, iconic colors of the character. The yellow makes up most of the body with black being used for areas such as the waist/hips and legs. Black, silver and light blue paint can be found on this figure. Black is used for other small parts such as the shoulder and upper leg and the grille. The robot face is painted silver with light blue eyes, another G1 staple. A red and white Autobot symbol is tampographed ont his chest.

Bumblebee has six points of articulation, including a few ball joints allowing you to move the parts up and down and at different angles (to a degree).

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Connect the two feet together and swing them down.
  2. Swing the piece on his back up.
  3. Rotate the robot arms and push them into the sides.
  4. Swing the hip section back to connect the front end of the car to the back.

Vehicle Mode:
While the Movie Bumblebee used a sleek, updated and most importantly licensed vehicle as his car mode, Universe Bumblebee doesn't quite have that luxury. In what seems to have been an effort not to repeat themselves, the designers chose to give Legends Bumblebee a slightly different vehicle mode than his larger Classics counterpart (but the two look like they could be related). His new form appears to be some type of hatchback vehicle that could be the cousin of a Honda Fit or Mazda 2 concept. The front is fairly long for a car of this type and slopes down at a very slight angle into a inset front grille section. The headlights are thin and vaguely oval shaped, giving the front of the vehicle a rather insectoid appearance. The middle section has a rounded canopy and fairly large doors (both vertically and horizontally). The back end curves downward at a pretty steep slope with curved tail lights to boot, giving the back end an appearance reminscent of a VW Beetle.

There are some neat details in this form including sideview mirrors sculpted by each side window, horizontal line patterns on the front grille and a layered detail running along the sides of the vehicle.

No new deco patterns appear in this form, but you get to see his metallic blue windows more and his light blue headlights get the spotlight. Truth be told, Bumblebee is not one of those characters that needs a whole lot of colors painted on in this form, so he looks fantastic the way he is.

Final Thoughts:
Just as I find the Mini-Bot updates of Beachcomber and Brawn brilliant moves on Hasbro's part, I'm really happy to see Bumblebee in the mix as well. This is a fantastic, compact and cheap version of the character. Highly recommended!

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