Cliffbee.com: Slumblebee Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Slumblebee
Series: Plushies
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Sports Car



CAR MODE
Height: 9cm Length: 19cm Width: 11cm

   Exact dimensions will vary, since he's soft and the shape shifts slightly. Anyway, Slumblebee is a soft toy that's designed to resemble a yellow VW Beetle without actually stepping on copyright. The shape clearly resembles the VW and many of the screen printed details are designed to resemble those of Bumblebee (in one incarnation or another). The windows are blue, the bumbers black and the license plates have "BB1" printed on them and the tyres are black with silver hubcaps.

   The detailing on this toy is pretty good. There's shadowing on the windows and across the yellow body of the car, while there are diffusion lines on the lights and air intakes on the sides. The tyres are formed quite well and are specifically padded, which is nice. They don't roll, of course - it's not really possible to make plush axles. In fact there isn't really any play value as such - squeezing doesn't count. Nor does cuddling the toy in bed. Whether or not Slumblebee lies flat on the table will really depend on where the various robot bits end up inside the toy.

   A decent effort overall, even if it's a slightly uneven lump painted as a car. Considering that he transforms, I'm willing to give this car mode some slack. Plush toy inanimate objects often struggle to capture the object they're attempting, and Slumblebee does a decent job of being a sports hatch. Yeah he's lumpy, but he has a bunch of limbs mashed inside and still looks like a VW Beetle.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Open the velcro underneath, push down on the roof and everything will basically spill out. Stow the car cover in his torso and seal the (different) velcro up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 26cm Width: 21cm

   A yellow and black robot as you'd expect. Slumblebee has yellow boots, forearms, chest and head while his fists, groin, thighs and upper arms are black. There's a red Autobot logo on his chest and his face is silver. The colours very obviously Bumblebee again, and he's clearly based on the cartoon Bumblebee now. There are faux-tyres on the outside his boots, which resemble the front of the car. The boots and chest are designed to mimic the car details now hidden inside his chest. The face is a pretty good match for the cartoon face.

   Amazingly, Slumblebee can stand up. Considering that his thighs are soft and his feet rounded, I'm really impressed with this aspect of the toy. The arms and legs are pre-stuffed, whereas the torso (and the entire car) is crammed with other mode bits. The head is also pre-stuffed, and sports antennae and a crest - which don't quite look like Bumblebee's, but then they squish in car mode, so they're never going to stick out as much.

   There aren't many details here which are distinct in shape - most of his details are painted, which is to be expected. The horns are the about the only detail which are separate pieces of fabric. While the fists, thighs, elbows and the like are all sewn together, the detailing such as facial details, digits, car seams (well, pseudo car, since it's all stowed away for car mode) are all painted. The details do a convincing enough job for a plushie, and if the design were too complex transformation would be a lot trickier.

   A pretty good robot mode, all things considered. Slumblebee is perhaps the most poseable Transformer I've encountered that has zero points of articulation. Okay, so he cheats on that one - but his ability to stand up really raises my opinion of this mode. Even if the whole concept is really something of a novelty, the fact is that this robot mode is impressive.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   The whole concept of a plush Transformers toy is unusual enough that Slumbebee's worth the price of admission purely for curiousity. That said, the designer has taken the task seriously, making sure that the Bumblebee character is recognisable in both modes. Both modes form quite well and while they rely on painted print to work, the print does what it must to make this toy work. The design is quite clever - that the limbs stow so well in car mode is testament to that. And of course, he's able to stand up - something many quadrupedal plushies barely manage. Whilst I'm not sure that the idea would hold for an entire line (Softimus Prime is the other), a small sample adds a new, unexpected, welcome, addition to the Transformers line - 8/10

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