Cliffbee.com: Movie Bumblebee (2008 edition) Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Bumblebee
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: 2008 model Comaro



CAR MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 14cm Width: 6cm

   A deep yellow (almost amber) 2008 Camaro with twin black racing stripes running down the bonnet and rear, Bumblebee has black plastic tyres with silver hubcaps and transparent blue windows (unlike the 1970s version of the same character, with painted windows). His taillights are painted red, the tailpipes silver, the grille is black while the headlights, fog lights and Camaro badge on the grille are silver. Aside from silver on his rear vision mirrors, I can't ask much more of an excellent colour scheme. The doors are painted yellow while the rest of the yellow is yellow plastic. The two shades are pretty much identical, you can just make out the blue plastic of the doors on the edges, but this just looks like door seams. I just noticed that the moulded "CAMARO" type on the front fenders is actually painted silver. A great colour scheme which sticks closely to that seen in the film. Oh, and there's no crap "damage" paint.

   As with most of the vehicles featured in the movie, this is a licensed vehicle mode - the likeness and realism are great here. The mould is great, Bumblebee has seams where he should have seams, doorhandles, grille detail, a fuel cap on the right rear fender and the aforementioned Camaro name on the front fenders. There are a few detractions - but nothing significant. There are a couple of small holes in the bonnet allowing for some flex during transformation and the robot feet are barely visible underneath the doors.

   There's no real play value here, other than the rolling wheels, but for a deluxe toy on the level of an Alternator, that's more than enough. The coolness of the car mode is fun in itself. The doors can actually open, but they reveal stowed robot arms so I'm not going to count that. I can just imagine kids re-enacting the chase scene between Bumblebee and Barricade (who also has a great car mode).

   A great car mode with flaws that are essentially trivial alongside all the good stuff. The paint job and sculpt are great, the realism is great and unlike the previous version, this version has transparent windows. The fact that there's none of that awful battle damage paint endears this toy to me even more. The best part? This is Bumblebee's weaker mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Open the doors, split the rear and remove the cannon from between the legs. Pull the feet back, which causes an automorph that a deluxe toy has no right to do. The rear panels swing up onto the back of his legs, pushing up the wheelbays. Meanwhile the rear window halves swing inwards. Pull the front fenders out to the sides, split the roof and pivot out to form his arms. The clearances around his arms are fairly slim, so you have to move everything in the right order - but nothing requires excessive force. The front swings down, the fenders (and doors) swing in the other direction - you need to do these at the same time, thanks to the narrow clearances. Again it's not actually difficult - not once you get the hang of it. Again there's a complex automorph - the front folding down as a chest actually causes the fenders to swing up as shoulders, while a panel swings up into the gap needed for the head clearance, making the chest nice and solid. The headlights are meant to pivot up a little, this step might need a little manual help.

   Both automorphs work well, and go beyond what you'd really ask of a deluxe sizer toy. Unlike the previous Bumblebee, there are no strong springs putting pressure on anything - nor is there a trigger waiting to break. Despite having two complex automorphs, Bumblebee's transformation is still satisfying.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 11cm

   A yellow and black robot, Bumblebee's chest is the yellow front of the car, the doors are yellow wings sticking out on a 45 angle behind his shoulders (similar to those in the film). The groin, feet and hands are largely black although there's still yellow on these pieces. The panel on his chest sports a stamped Autobot logo. His head is yellow with a black face and transparent blue eyes. The lightpipe is _excellent_ - continuing the theme of this toy improving on all the flaws of the previous version. There's a license plate on his waist (4NZZ Z454, as on the 1970s version) and the groin is painted a dark metallic blue. The rear wheels sit on the outsides of his ankles. The colours look great, I really love the lightpipe while the car elements in the top half of this figure work very well.

   The sculpt on his robot only pieces is great, and the arms come off very well thanks to yellow paint on selected details. The face is very similar to that seen in the movie, with slightly less prominent antennae. The hands are moulded in a loose fist. The doors are a great aesthetic feature while the Camaro front on his chest looks nice. The bodyshape is fantastic, without the awkward feet of the 1970s version. This is a fantastic looking robot mode.

   There's one gimmick here - of sorts. The black cannon, which can clip into either hand, resembling the arm cannon Bumblebee used in the movie. It opens up to reveal a transparent blue blade, which is a silly gimmick but not one that really puts any constraints on him. The blade is actually geared to the covers - it extends as you open the covers - which I guess counts as a third automorph. The poseability is good - although not perfect. The shoulders and neck are ball jointed while elbows are hinged with rotators above them. The waist rotates, and while the joint is restricted, the range of motion is pretty much the same as a human waist. His hips are ball jointed, the knees and ankles are only hinged, no rotators. The feet are quite long with useful heelspurs, so while the range of leg motion isn't great the stability is. I can forgive the restricted leg movement, mind you - the automorph needs everything lined up, and rotators or ball joints would ruin this.

   There are small yellow panels on the outside of his shoulders, and these pieces have a tendency to fall off. I find they reattach without any drama, although a friend of mine had one that was loose (he swapped it at the store). These panels would class as his only flaw of any note.

   Wow. This robot mode looks great, plays well and looks like the movie model. There are a range of nice poses - even with some restrictions on leg movement. His gun is good and even includes an automorph derived gimmick. The lightpipe is great and the car part placement is great.

VARIATIONS

   A later release saw "Allspark blue" elements added to robot-mode only parts of Bumblebee, there is also a "Premium" version with metallic paint and a resculpted head featuring Bumblebee's battle helmet. Stealth Bumblebee is a repainted version swapping the black and yellow, also sporting the battle helmet. movie Cliffjumper is a repaint of Bumblebee.

OVERALL

   Did I mention wow? As awful as the 1970s version of this character is, this toy more than makes up for it. Both modes are detailed, the Camaro is realistic, the paint job is great, the flaws of the (still fairly similar) previous version have gone - no breakable automorph, a kickass lightpipe and none of that ridiculous battle damage paint. The transformation is satisfying with clever automorph aspects while the weapon is great with an automorph all its own. Bumblebee is the best movie toy in my opinion - and by some distance. Buy this toy. 10/10

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