Series: Generation 1
Function: Espionage Director
Alternate Mode: VW Beetle
Height: 3.5cm Length: 7cm Width: 4cm
Guess what? He's a gold bug. More specifically, Goldbug is a VW Beetle with black windows, black rubber tyres and white wheels. Like all of the Throttlebots, he's "cute", but the shape is more realistic for a VW than his alter-ego, Bumblebee. Whereas the Microman toy that became Bumblebee was intended to be a toy car that turned into a robot, Goldbug is meant to represent a real VW - hence the change in shape. Both gold and yellow are valid colour choices for a VW Beetle, although since every other version of this character has been yellow, Goldbug seems unusual. Ignoring the baggage of the character, the sheen of the gold plastic makes Goldbug's car mode attractive.
Goldbug is more realistic than Bumblebee, so it's only natural he has a better level of detail - including lights, air vents over the engine and a rear license plate. I wish the headlights had some colour though, since the big bug-eyes on the fenders are part of what makes the Beetle so distinct. The windows are all stickers, which makes Goldbug unusual amongst Throttlebots - most use a combination of coloured plastic, paint and stickers for the window colouring. The rear window has been left gold. There'll be an Autobot symbol on his chest, and if you have the original it's in the form of a rubsign while on the classic it's a straight sticker.
As with all the Throttlebots, Goldbug is built around his pull back motor - which is why he retained the rubber tyres during a period when others were losing rubber tyres (such as Rodimus Prime. He has front and rear axles and a pretty powerful pullback motor, allowing him to roll around 10 metres (30 feet) on a hard floor, and he'll roll straight, or close to it. While it's a pretty good pull back motor, once you've bent an axles, that's it - he'll veer to one side for the rest of his existence.
An interesting way to revisit Bumblebee, I like the fact they've gone for a more realistic vehicle mode, and the pullback motor somehow seems appropriate. The gold works really well, although it's kinda quirky for the character, which has since been revisited about fifty times in yellow. My only real complaints are the lack of colour on the headlights and rear window.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Fold up the sides to become the arms, fold the rear and cabin up, fold the rear itself down to reveal the head, push in the rear wheels. That's it.
Height: 7.5cm Width: 5.5cm
Unsurprisingly, Goldbug's robot mode is largely gold, with the addition of a dark blue head with silver face. The contrast between the blue and gold is immediately obvious, and works fairly well. While blue might seem an odd choice, it's something of a theme amongst the Throttlebots - Searchlight and Chase have blue heads of the same shade. Depending on the version, he'll sport either an indented rubsign or red Autobot logo on his chest.
Like all Throttlebots, his yellow legs are about 5mm long. This is more of a problem for me than it is with most of the other Throttlebots, because we have a basis of comparison - Bumblebee's black legs. His arms are the lined panels on the sides of his body, with fingers moulded into them, and his feet are the car hood with the wheels sticking out the back. As with his teammates, he has a hood formed from the rear of the car behind his head - which sticks up further on Goldbug than most, working against Goldbug. So not only are his proportions messed up compared to Bumblebee, they're actually bad for a Throttlebot.
Like all Throttlebots, Goldbug has zero points of articulation. He pretty much stands there looking like a mutant Bumblebee, unless you roll him backwards, of course. All of his play value is in the pullback motor sticking out behind his feet. The pullback mechanism works equally well in this mode, allowing you to send Goldbug scurrying along the floor.
He has a silver mouthplate, similar to that of the original Bumblebee toy, a feature that the cartoon Goldbug actually adopted (despite the cartoon Bumblebee having an actual mouth). The face is still recognisable as that of Spike's best buddy, despite the blue head.
While the colours are nice, and the face is now show accurate, the proportions don't really work too well. He was sold immediately after the Minibots were discontinued, too, so it's not like Bumblebee was a distant memory - he was fresh in the memory, making you aware of how poor this robot mode is. The pullback motor works well in this mode, which is really it's only selling point.
There's the original with rubsign and indent, and the Classic with no indent and a straight Autobot logo sticker. Neither is really superior to the other, although the Classic wasn't released in North America or Japan. I have the original.
Goldbug was actually the first character reuse in the Transformers toyline - Rodimus Prime and Hot Rod are different characters in the tech specs. He beat out Powermaster Prime to this honour by one year!
The beetle mode is in many ways an improvement on Bumblebee's, but in gold it's not quite Bumblebee. The robot mode is poor - even for a Throttlebot, and stacked up against Bumblebee's it really comes off badly. As a kid I passed on Goldbug because I had a Bumblebee, and even in red it was a better version of the character. I do like the Throttlebot idea, but would recommend any of them aside from Wideload over Goldbug - 5/10