Cliffbee.com: FAB Bumblebee Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




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

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Bumblebee for this review.



CAR MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 15cm Width: 7.5cm

   A yellow Camaro with twin black racing stripes on the hood and spoiler, Bumblebee has a black grille, silver headlights and red taillights. His windows are painted metallic blue. There's a red Autobot logo on the hood - like a maker's badge. The tyres are black plastic with silver painted hubcaps. His colour scheme is essentially realistic and it's quite similar to that of the deluxe equivalent. The sculpt is actually pretty good - not as kiddie as most FABs, and aside from some obvious transformation hinges at the front of the doors, he's quite convincing. It's hard to fault this mode visually.

   Okay, so the shape of of the Camaro is wider and flatter than it should be, which does indicate that this is a younger kid's toy, but it still lacks the obvious simplification of some FABs. which is a good thing. There are some great finer details such as painted parking lights at the front, grille patterning, doorhandles and a fuel cap on the left rear fender. The robot feet are visible below the rear bumper - which also has two random yellow lumps on it (heelspurs), but otherwise it's all good news here.

   There's not too much play value in this mode, but then that seems to be a trend amongst movie toys in general - the play value is better in robot mode. He'll roll fairly well on his wheels and that's about it. The car mode holds together very well, which is worth mentioning.

   The feet are kibble on the back and along with the doorhinges are a result of the relatively simple transformation. Despite these issues, this is a good car mode with good colours, good detailing and it's still quite identifiable as a Camaro.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Extend the rear, unlocking the doors which fold forward. Stand him up, slide the rear (boots) back in and split the legs. Fold down the front, the head should pop up out of his chest and the roof flop down to form his back. Unfold the arms, attach the missile into the missile launcher that is his right hand and pivot down the halves of the grille section slightly to give Bumblebee his distinctive split grille chest. As far as I can tell (and I don't have Tiby's instructions here) the missile cannot stow anywhere in vehicle mode.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15.5cm Width: 10cm

   A yellow robot with black thighs, forearms and a black groin. Bumblebee has the black racing stripes and his Autobot logo on his chest while the face is black with some silver and blue eyes. The missile, the right wrist and his elbows are a cobalt blue plastic. There's also a silver paint application which resembles the license plate detail on the deluxe version - although the paint job is simplified here. The colour scheme is fairly good here, although the colour map feels too simple for me. Sure it's as complex as that of the Legends toy, but this is a much bigger and more expensive toy, so I find this simplification disappointing.

   This robot mode really feels like it has been dumbed down to appeal to kiddies. The chest is _very_ simple compared to the regular deluxe and he has an oversized head. The doors - which should really be on his back - sit awkwardly out the outside of his chest. I can deal with the fact that they're not wings, but they're ugly kibble where they are. His boots are also very dumbed down, to the point that they remind me of a Spychanger's boots - the fixed feet don't help matters.

   The play value here is okay, if not fantastic. The missile launcher in his right forearm is quite creative - you fire the missile by rotating the blue wrist piece, which triggers an internal trigger. The missile fires quite well, and this is the highlight of his play value. The poseability is somewhat disappointing, since there are a couple of limitations which really hurt the range of dynamic poses. Bumblebee's head is fixed and the waist is spring loaded - if you turn it to the left and release, it springs back. Which is rather pointless for a figure that lacks a melee weapon - I would have preferred actually articulation here. His shoulders swing and the elbows have hinges and rotators close enough to one another that they may as well be a ball joint, which is good. The left wrist rotates, and the right one rotates, but doing so fires the missile so we can't really count that. His hips are restricted ball joints while the knees bend and the feet are fixed. I really wish this toy had knee rotators to allow for dynamic poses, and wish the doors plugged in somehow. They tend to flop out, taking his arms with them. The latter ruins any chance of the spring-loaded waste being fun - as soon as you release the waist the right side door swings back, partially dismantling the robot mode.

   A frustratingly simple robot mode. Okay, so the FABs are aimed at younger kids, but Bumblebee feels like he's pointed at pre-schoolers. The ridiculously cute look doesn't look so good, the play value is at best stunted and the poseability is awful. With a little more effort in the arms, this could be a decent robot mode, but as it stands it's a somewhat poor effort which feels like the designer cheapened out.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   I don't understand why the FAB toy which should be aimed squarely at kids - the market with the shortest attention span - was released in the third assortment. This toy is only hitting stores around here five months after the movie was released. Surely it could have been included in an earlier assortment to cash in on the short-lived interest many children will have. Anyway, the car mode is pretty good all things considered but the simple transformation and even simpler robot mode bring this figure down. The robot mode has been simplified to the point that it hurts and the poseability is poor, which means it doesn't display well in any of its limited poses. I had higher hopes for Bumblebee compared to the other FABs, but he has just been dumbed down too much - 5/10

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