Cliffbee.com: Animated Bumblebee Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Bumblebee
Series: Animated
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Speedster
Alternate Mode: Sports Car

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Bumblebee for this review



CAR MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 11cm Width: 6.5cm

   A bright yellow sports car with transparent blue windows and a black racing stripe offset to the left along the top. Bumblebee has black tyres with metallic blue hubcaps. There are odd transparent blue and silver boosters on the sides, towards the roof, which look more like the "fatboy" bomb than rockets. There's a red strobe on top of the roof - on the stripe, delineating Bumblebee as an unmarked police car. The idea is decent enough, and fits into the Bumblebee concept, but the yellow is ridiculously bright. Not only is he doused in lemon yellow, there are two distinct shades - a milkier plastic and a brighter paint over transparent blue plastic. There are some regressions compared to the promotional pics (which I've used above) - the tips of the boosters are silver, not painted red and the two shades of yellow diverge far more than the promo pics suggest. Additionally, the headlights are painted a very faint silver, whereas they're painted a solid silver on the prototype. The end result is a conceptually good colour scheme that's very half-assed - and he looks bad as a result.

   Bumblebee's shape is essentially realistic - because his shape ends up similar to say, the Honda City. Having said that, the sculpt of headlights suggest he's actually meant to be a sports car. The sculpted detail is very sparse, which only helps to push the ugly yellow shades to the fore. There's a silver Autobot logo stamped on the back of the vehicle, on the left - not really what I'd call an ideal location. Considering that there's so much space on the yellow, this placement is poor.

   There's no play value here other than rolling Bumblebee along, and removing the rockets. I don't really expect more at this size, but considering how cheap the paint job is, I really would have liked some action.

   A disappointing car, and most of the problems are related to the visual aspects. The car shape itself works, but with so little detail and so much yellow - in two distinct shades, it just doesn't look good. The loss of painted details doesn't help, and I get the impression that they went purely to cut costs

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   I won't got through every detail, because it's quite hard to describe. It's quite clever and is easily the best aspect of this toy. The doors end up as his arms, the front ends up as his boots - but swap sides - while the roof becomes his heelspurs. The chest is actually a false roof, which is a clever way of reducing the size of the roof during the transformation. The stripe ends up on the other side, as the legs swap sides.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 7.5cm

   A yellow robot with some transparent blue on his eyes, a silver face and charcoal false windows on the torso. There's a silver Autobot logo - on the chest this time. The stripe on the right side is inconsistent - it's on his foot and chest but not the thigh or shin. The promotional picture has a stripe on the shin, as well as a few more (badly needed) black paint applications to break up the flood of lemon yellow.

   Bumblebee's proportions are ridiculous, with a huge head - we're talking gigantism here, and large floating blocks for feet. The shins have a weird concave surface which just looks wrong next to the floating feet. I don't so much mind the stylised face, even if it's not to my tastes, but his head is as large as his chest - which ruins this robot mode visually, for me. I understand what the designer was aiming for with the overall shape, but the flaws ruin the stylised shape.

   The poseability is good, which is probably the only saving grace here. The head sits on a ball joint while the base of the next is a hinge. The shoulders and hips sit on ball joints, as do the feet themselves. The elbows have two hinges each while the knees are hinged with rotators below. The heelspurs are very useful - Bumblebee has a really good range of poses available.

   Sadly, the rockets do nothing but sit on his back here, so Bumblebee doesn't have a true ranged weapon. There are two transparent blue pieces which flip out from inside the forearms, clipping together to form a drillbit, which is a good idea for a melee weapon, except that it only protrudes a few millimetres beyond his open hands. The cartoon portrays the drill halves as guns, but they really don't look like they can fire.

   As awesome as the poseability is here, Bumblebee's eyesore colours, freaky Ken Griffey proportions and underwhelming weapons really limit this robot mode. The poses are impressive, but I'd be much happier if he could wield the rockets as some sort of weapon. He's more of a gymnast than a warrior, I'm afraid.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although Elite Guard Bumblebee is a repaint of Bumblebee. There is a vastly superior Activator Bumblebee.


OVERALL

   Well, the car mode has a lot of potential, but Hasbro got cheap with the colours and the end result is an okay car with badly mismatched, overly bright colours. The level of detailing is far too low to support such a simple, bright colour scheme. The transformation is very well engineered, but the robot mode at the end isn't worth the effort. The huge head, floating feet and concave shins looks weird, and again the paint job is too sparse. The poseability is good, but with his odd proportions I don't find the poses really dynamic, and the weapon can't really be wielded in a threatening way. Despite the engineering, I can't help but feel extremely disappointed by a toy which tries too hard to achieve a stylised look but doesn't bother with a proper paint job. Not a toy I can recommend - 3/10

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