Cliffbee.com: Bumblebee Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Bumblebee
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Espionage
Alternate Mode: Classic VW Beetle



CAR MODE
Height: 3cm Length: 5cm Width: 4cm

   A small yellow (or red) superdeformed, VW Beetle hatchback. While the Beetle isn't really a hatchback, Bumblebee is thanks to his superdeformed shape. He's got a black rear bumper, black windows, black trim on the bottom of the sides and a silver panel on the back. The tyres are rubber, with "Dunlop" moulded onto them and the wheels are chrome silver. The earlier Bumblebees had a silver Autobot symbol on the roof, later ones had a rubsign. Both my red & yellow ones have the Autobot logo. He has a tailpipe on the right side of the bumper and a yellow sticker on the back panel with red flower like pattern in the centre.

   The toy's play value is limited to rolling along on it's wheels. Without any axles, Bumblebee doesn't roll very far when simply pushed, but rolls fine when guided by a hand. The rubber tyres provide some traction, so you can make him do controlled cornering and other tricks. The level of detail is pretty good for a toy this age and size.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Identical to Cliffjumper, Hubcap and Bumblejumper. Pull out the front of the car and fold up to form the feet. Lift up the rear panel to reveal the head. Pull the wheels out from the sides to form the arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 8cm Width: 5.5cm

   A yellow robot with black arms & legs (but yellow feet). He's got a silver face, with good moulded detail, although the face has a mouthplate, unlike his cartoon and comic incarnations. He's got an Autobot symbol (or rubsign) on his chest and wheels attached to his arms. It's a fairly nice robot mode, although the face differing from the media versions is a minor gripe. Still, he looks like the show Bumblebee - and the toy came first anyway, technically.

   Poseability is limited to swivel joints at the shoulders, which is standard for the Minicars. He's not necessarily better or worse than the others of this design, but it's a pretty good design, and the robot mode works well.



VARIATIONS

   Released in yellow, but also very common in red - due to Hasbro buying lots of Microman excess stock and putting it in Transformers packaging. Both yellow & red look quite nice, although yellow is the media-accurate version. I prefer the yellow version, personally. There are very rare documented blue Bumblebees in the USA, although only one or two are known of. Available in about five different colours in Latin America, and he's the inspiration for about 15 later toys, including G2 Bumblebee, which is a repaint and Goldbug, different name but the same character.

   The 2004 Takara reissue, which is part of a Minibot set, has significant changes. The sticker on the back of his head panel is replaced by a simple rubsign, the rear bumper and tailpipe are yellow, not painted black and the tyres have no writing on them. The most significant modification is a show-accurate head. The mouthplate has been replaced by a proper face, complete with mouth, nose and separate eyes, the stubbly horns on the head are replaced by slender curved horns like the cartoon version had.

   The 2008 TakaraTomy Encore reissue, which is also part of a Minibot set, has more changes. His eyes have been painted blue, both bumpers and his headlights are painted silver while the taillights are red, and there's an Autobot logo stamped on his chest.

OVERALL

   This guy almost embodies G1, and he's worth getting just for that. I have one of the recent Fun4All Bumblebee Key Chains on my keyring. Aside from his ridiculously prominent position in G1, this is a cute toy. Both mode are cute, the colours work and he's one of the better Minicars. The red one is a fairly common variant, it's worth getting if you like Minicars (or are a Minicar completist as I am). The only real downside to Bumblebee is the face - but that's due to Sunbow taking poetic license when adapting him to the cartoon, which I can't really blame the toy for - 8/10


Want more on this toy? Read Goktimus Prime's Bumblebee Profile.

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.