Cliffbee.com: Pretender Bumblebee Toy Review

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Individual Review




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



BEETLE MODE
Height: 3.5cm Length: 7.5cm Width: 4.5cm

   A yellow VW Beetle with black windows, bumpers and plastic tyres. Unlike the original, this bug isn't deformed, rather a regular beetle. He still has a robot head visible at the back, this time without a chrome panel to conceal the shape of his head. There are some black panels on the car itself, around the rear wheels and on the bonnet. Bumblebee has headlight stickers (over moulded headlights) and a mount on his roof for a gun. While this is a higher quality mould than that of the Minicar, I wish they'd covered the random black pieces - the colour layout should be better than the original but isn't.

   Bumblebee has ridged plastic tyres this time around (rubber tyres were long gone by this stage in G1), which roll fairly well, making noise as they go. The handgun which plugs into the roof looks kinda weird on a beetle, but I'm glad we have the option. The paint on his front bumper wears out rather easily - most Pretender Bumblebees I've seen have worn bumpers to some degree, and this bothers me far more than the black outbursts - although the two shortcomings combine to give us a toy that's yellow where he should be black and black where he should be yellow.

   This is a frustrating car mode. The VW is a better beetle than the original and while it's not quite as good as Goldbug, it could have been better with a little care. The main issues here are colour-related and are a result of cut corners - something that bothers me. While this is a straightforward vehicle almost by definition, most of it is done well, and Bumblebee does have one of the best Pretender vehicle modes.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Based on the original, which some improvements, Bumblebee's transformation isn't simplified like those of the other Classic Pretenders. Extend the front fenders and flip up too form his feet, folding the centre of the bonnet underneath. Lift the rear wheels out to the sides to form arms, flip up his head and give Bumblebee his gun.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 8.5cm Width: 7cm

   Again the colours are essentially the same as the Minicar version. The torso, head and feet are yellow while his arms and legs are black. Bumblebee has a silver face loosely based on the cartoon face which is fairly well sculpted. The colour scheme is simple and faithful to the original, while the black aspects that shouldn't be black on the car should be here. The front bumper is now his toes, so any worn paint will still be visible here.

   The car mode's shape improves but the robot mode doesn't. There's a groin of sorts which is a plus, but the change in car shape means that the roof is highest at the bottom of his torso - Bumblebee looks pregnant. The arms and legs are a little short, although not enough to really hurt the overall look - only the pot belly does that. I do like the gap between the feet we have now - which comes about from the fenders forming his feet (rather than the entire front).

   Bumblebee's poseability is all in his arms, which swing and pivot back and forth. He can hold and aim his gun, and while the bodyshape might prevent him from looking very dynamic, I appreciate the arm poseability which is more than a lot of Pretenders managed.

   Ok so it's a little awkward and not as neat as the original, but this is a reasonable attempt to fit Bumblebee into a realistic Beetle. The pot belly is kind of annoying and had this idea been tried earlier in g1 (without a pullback motor), this robot mode would have been stronger. This is a better robot than many Pretenders got since it's focused around a real vehicle and that alone makes Bumblebee a good inner robot.

The Pretender Shell

   A yellow Caucasian humanoid with light brown hair and eyes, the shell has red thighs and feet along with a red waist. The arms are white and there are some cherry red aspects here and there. While many Pretender shells look nothing like the inner robot, the colour theme here fits Bumblebee quite well, since this shell is largely yellow.

   The shell comes with a large black gun that suits it quite well and a white helmet which also fits well (since it matches his arms). The small handgun can also be carried in one hand, and it actually looks better being held by the shell than by the inner robot. The only poseability Bumblebee has is swinging arms, but then that's standard for a Pretender shell.

   A good if uneventful shell that matches the character and inner robot quite well. As silly as it may seem I _like_ the fact they matched the principle colour, it gives this shell a real Bumblebee feel - not an easy thing for a humanoid figure.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. The inner robot was sold on its own in K-Mart USA as a store exclusive.

OVERALL

   While there are some lazy elements on the inner figure's colours and Bumblebee ends up with a pot belly, he's one of the most focused Pretenders. The shell is quite good and the VW Beetle is probably the most realistic alt mode of any Pretender. While I'd recommend the original over this toy if you're purely after the character (maybe even the reissue Minicar set), this figure did feature in the Marvel comics and is one of the better Pretenders. If you like Pretenders or have an interest in the Marvel comics, I'd recommend Bumblebee - 7.5/10

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