Cliffbee.com: BotCon Bugbite Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Bugbite
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Operations Commander
Alternate Mode: Sports Car

Thanks to kup for loaning me Bugbite, making this review possible.



CAR MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 17cm Width: 5.5cm

   A very pale lilac hatchback sports car which bears only a passing semblance to the original Bugbite Transformer. The original was an off-white Bumblebee repaint, and Bugbite is a repaint of Classics Bumblebee. There's a fairly complex pattern on curved purple lines on the sides, bonnet and roof, which are a little random but I guess help differentiate Bugbite from Bumblebee and Cliffjumper. I'm not sure if this version is based on any particular model of car, there are elements that remind me of both the new Mini Cooper and the new VW Beetle. The windows are colourless plastic, the side windows are absent (wound down, I guess) and the headlights are also colourless plastic. There's a G1 style rubsign on top of his roof and red painted taillights. I'm not totally sold on the purple shades here, and the lilac paint on the roof doesn't quite match the lilac plastic. It's not a bad colour scheme, but it's not as focussed as many recent BotCon repaints have had.

   Bugbite comes with his own trailer - something we associate with trucks rather than sports cars. It's a small black tray with black plastic wheels which are similar to the car's wheels but smaller. The trailer carries a purple jetski (fading to white at the back), which is permanently attached. The jetski is actually there to anchor as a backpack, which is why it's fixed in place. The trailer can be left aside if you prefer, it detaches from the tow bar without any drama, and the robot mode will still work without it.

   There are no gimmicks in car mode, which I don't mind since Bugbite is able to focus on being a car, without the need for slots or buttons. The play value is minimal - the six wheels all roll and the trailer can detach, but that's it. The level of detail is good, the patterned lines are well placed while there are details such as pseudo-globes within the headlights. While this car might not offer too much play value, the details remind of G1, which is a good thing.

   A good mould and a nice repaint overall - but it's not quite Bugbite for me. Granted this is the first time the character has been produced in the Anglophone line, but he's based on the eHobby Minicar which I own. The idea is nice, and I do like the fact that this vehicle mode feels different to both Bumblebee and Cliffjumper.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Unclip the trailer and set aside. Pull out the doors, flip underneath the car, which will cause the rear wheels to pivot away, revealing the shoulders. Fold back the roof and rear, flip out the tow bar, swing the back of the car down until it clicks into place. Fold the roof back down to form his chest and flip out the head. Fold down the seats to form thighguards, pivot up the front of the car to form his feet, split the legs. Position his arms, rotate the doors and clip into the outsides of his forearms. Lastly, fold out the base of the trailer to form wings, clip the backpack onto his back and you're done.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13.5cm Width: 14.5cm

   A light lilac and black robot with a white head featuring a silver face and dark red eyes. His boots and chest are light lilac while his arms, wings and thighs are black. The black wings and purple lines give Bugbite something of a bat-theme, although I don't think it's deliberate. While I do like the simpler black limbs (compared to the two plastic colours used on both Bumblebee & Cliffjumper), I really dislike the white head which just looks misplaced against the lilac chest. There are shades of Machine Wars in this white head - for all the wrong reasons. Other than this glaring problem, it's a nice colour scheme.

   The rubsign, now central on his chest, is Bugbite's only allegiance symbol. Visually this robot mode works fairly well, with quite a few car elements present. Along with the traditional chest and boots, the doors form armguards on the outside of his forearms, while the wings above his head are quite obviously the trailer, with wheels still visible on the front. Additionally, the thighguards, whilst still visibly the seats, have mechanical moulding visible.

   Unusually for a modern Transformer, Bugbite lacks a weapon. This is both unusual and faithful to the original toy. His fists do have standard holes, so he could borrow another Classics weapon. Despite the lack of weaponry, Bugbite is quite poseable. His ankles and knees are hinged, the latter also sport rotators. His hips, elbows and shoulders are ball jointed, along with the head (although the last one is very restricted). The only notable omission is the waist - it would have been possible to give Bugbite a movable waist, but the joint would be fragile and with a single torso plate (the roof) there wouldn't really be much point.

   If the head was lilac I'd love this robot mode. It's a good mould and the colour theme, whilst not quite Bugbite, works well otherwise. The purple lines look nice, the single plastic colour on his limbs is more faithful to the Minicar mould than on his Autobot counterparts. Again, Bugbite just falls short of the high standards of modern BotCon toys.

VARIATIONS

   Bugbite was available exclusively at BotCon 2007, and was likely limited to a single production run, making variants unlikely.

OVERALL

   It's a good mould, and the character had already been established by Takara, but while the potential is here, he's just not quite up to the usual standards of convention repaints. The lilac is nice although it misrepresents him a little. What compounds this is that the only white on the toy is on the robot head, and while I would have preferred white to lilac, it really needs to be one or the other. Considering that the head piece would be the same colour plastic as his boots, this odd colour is a deliberate choice. The end result is a hard to find toy that's not as interesting as the original. One for the completists - 7.5/10

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