Cliffbee.com: Movie Bumblebee (1970s edition) Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Bumblebee
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: 1970s vintage Camaro



CAR MODE
Height: 3.5cm Length: 13.5cm Width: 5.5cm

   A canary yellow 1970s Camaro with black racing stripes and metallic blue painted windows. The wheels are silver and tyres black, while the bumpers and headlights are silver, the taillights red and the grille black. Which is all really good, except Hasbro decided to try for some battle damage and did an awful job. The right side of the roof, front left bumper and right rear fender all have black paint while the front right wheelbay has silver paint. In all four locations the paint fades to yellow. The front sections look okay, but the roof and rear fender look atrocious - since the blacker edges of the paint applications aren't carried over seams - the paint abruptly ends. Considering that they manage to line up the camo on Brawl, you'd think they'd have bothered making sure this paint mask works. So what should be a great look Camaro mode looks... poor. He's meant to be old and worn - as portrayed in the film - but most of the toy looks pristine, and then he has these... blotches. Blackout's grimey painted detailing works well, I fail to see why the same method couldn't have been applied here - on a smoother toy.

   Bumblebee's Camaro mode is licensed, and so the details are all pretty good (misplaced paint aside). The lights are all well sculpted, the doorseams and boot seam are all well defined and the racing stripes are well done. The missile launchers underneath are a little obvious from behind - but this is a minor thing. The play value here is limited to the wheels spinning, which works well enough - and since the car mode is designed to be accurate I can live without play value.

   Now before I go any further, I should mention that there have been quality control issues on this toy. Basically, there's a trigger mechanism for his automorph which is quite fragile. So fragile that it _broke_ on my Bumblebee about 3 seconds after I opened him - and before I'd even attempted to transform him. So now, the front wraps over underneath the car, revealing the robot head - and completely ruining the car mode. As you can probably guess, I'm not happy - and am taking this back to the store. The spring which causes the automorph to work is surprisingly strong, and I suspect that the spring had been placing a lot of pressure on the trigger in transit from the factory. As much as I'd like to ignore this facet of the toy in my review (for those who have unbroken toys), since I've heard of similar QC issues on others, I'm counting this is a major flaw in the design, rather than bad luck.

   What should have been a fantastic Camaro mode ends up being nice with an awkward paint job. If it decides to stay intact. The licensed Camaro idea is great, and the detail is well done. Whilst the Japanese version is meant to have transparent windows, the blue windows still look good. Having said that, the battle damage is a mess, which really hurts Bumblebee visually.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Press a button on the hood and the chest automorphs (or breaks!), revealing the head. Rotate his head, lift out the launchers and set aside. The automorph not only swings the front over to form his chest but also pushes out the bumper and headlights, which is interesting. There's an Autobot logo panel underneath the car which is meant to lift up and close the gap left by his head, but you may need to lift it up manually. Lift out the lower sections of his doors to form arms, open the upper doors and lift up to form wings behind the shoulders. Split the rear to form his legs, swing down the bumper to form his feet, which causes a second automorph where the roof sections swing down to form his calves. You can plug his launchers into either the hands of the front wheels, which sit on his shoulders, an an angle of about 60 (relative to their position in car mode).

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 13cm

   A yellow and black robot, whose general colour pattern resembles that of G1 Bumblebee, which I appreciate. The head, torso and feet are yellow whilst everything else is black - well other than the car panels on the outside of his arms and legs. His face is black with metallic blue eyes - I would have liked a lightpipe here, and there's a block of plastic at the back of his head - Hasbro cheaped out on that. The silver Autobot logo in his chest is quite nice, and there's a false number plate on his groin (4NZ-Z454), which is funny since there's not one on the car mode. In the end this is a nice colour scheme, even if the stripped out lightpipe really should have been left in.

   For the most part, this is a well formed robot mode. The tyres on his shoulders look good, the chest looks good, the groin works well. The only aspect that stands out are his feet, which protrude a long way forward - further than human feet. Bumblebee has big clown feet, although at least this makes standing him easy. The doors behind his shoulders make nice wings - although they don't quite sit in the correct position as seen in the film.

   The missile launchers don't work so well. For some reason the yellow missiles have a fur-like pattern - which mystifies me. They do fire fairly well, and are quite effective placed in either hand, but are really designed to sit on his shoulders - and the tyres actually stabilise, making the launchers stay in place (something I didn't realise at first). There aren't really any other gimmicks in this mode - not that I expect more from a deluxe with such a realistic vehicle mode.

   Bumblebee's poseability is fairly good, although the automorph in his legs has an unavoidable impact. The head, shoulders, elbows and hips are all ball jointed while the knees have hinges and rotators. His knees are a little higher than they should be - since they have to avoid the automorph. The ankles are hinged and his heelspurs fixed, which limits what you can do with his feet. Whilst it would have been possible to give Bumblebee ball jointed ankles, this would have made the automorph almost impossible to operate - and the last thing this toy needs is another automorph issue.

   A good robot mode (and mine still works in this mode), with good colours and good poseability. The car aspects on his robot mode (chest, wings) along with the colours are a nice G1 tribute. The missile launchers are mediocre, but do enough to work here. I don't like the shape of his feet and really don't like the removal of the lightpipe - the mould is ready so I'm not impressed that Hasbro couldn't spend what would likely have been a few cents more per toy to make it work.

VARIATIONS

   The Japanese one has transparent blue windows and missiles. There's also a gold version sold exclusively through the Japanese online retailer Lawson, which came with a ticket to the film.

OVERALL

   The idea of this toy is really good, and aesthetically the mould has few flaws (only his feet, really). The Camaro mould is great, but the battle damage looks terrible. The robot mode isn't as compromised by his colour scheme - although the lack of a lightpipe is a glaring omission. Overshadowing everything about this toy is the fact that about half of them are faulty - and this is the most prominent character in the film. I've since hunted down a second one, and I'm really satisfied with it purely because I was so frustrated the first time around. My opinion of the toy has risen slightly, but on the whole I can't really recommend this toy, purely for the common fault - 4.5/10. I picked up the 2008 edition toy at the same time (which effectively means I got it first) - and it's a _much_ better toy.

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