Cliffbee.com: Lawson Bumblebee (1970s edition) Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Bumblebee
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: metallic gold 1970s vintage Camaro



CAR MODE
Height: 3.5cm Length: 13.5cm Width: 5.5cm

   A metallic gold repaint of the 1970s version of Movie Bumblebee with transparent blue windows and none of that awful battle damage. He still sports black racing stripes and silver wheels with tyres black. Bumblebee's bumpers and headlights are silver, the taillights red and the grille black. The gold looks really nice, and while it's not movie accurate, he still looks much better than the yellow original, since there's none of Hasbro's stupid paint gradient battle damage. The gold paint looks really nice, and the deep blue windows look good, making this a great colour scheme.

   Bumblebee's Camaro mode is licensed, and so the details are all pretty good - with well sculpted lights, grille and door seams. Whilst the gold might not quite bee the correct colour, this Camaro looks much better than the original. There's a Goldbug feel about this colour scheme, although I'm not sure if that's intentional.

   There was a well-known quality control issue with the original toy, and my Lawson Bumblebee (at least) appears to use the earlier, trouble-prone, version of the mould, although I haven't heard any horror stories about this version breaking. Strangely, the only canary yellow plastic on this entire toy is the trigger - which is kinda scary - the rest is a gold plastic (which is painted gold as well). I find myself being very careful with this toy.

   Due to the fragility of the mould, I'm pretty much going to leave this toy in car mode. The robot mode does still look good, but the car mode is the star anyway. The gold paint - over plastic - is really nice and the windows look awesome. More than anything else, I wanted this figure because it lacks the battle damage paint which I hate with a passion, but even aside from that I'm impressed. It's already a great mould, and this paint job really does it justice.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Press a button on the hood and the chest automorphs, revealing the head. Rotate his head, lift out the launchers and set aside. The automorph not only swings the front over to form his chest but also pushes out the bumper and headlights, which is interesting. There's an Autobot logo panel underneath the car which is meant to lift up and close the gap left by his head, but you may need to lift it up manually. Lift out the lower sections of his doors to form arms, open the upper doors and lift up to form wings behind the shoulders. Split the rear to form his legs, swing down the bumper to form his feet, which causes a second automorph where the roof sections swing down to form his calves. You can plug his launchers into either the hands of the front wheels, which sit on his shoulders, an an angle of about 60 (relative to their position in car mode).

   That yellow trigger makes transforming this guy nerve-wracking everytime. He survived (c8

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 13cm

   A gold and black robot, which now is more akin to G2 Bumblebee than Goldbug now, thanks to his gold rather than blue head. Having said that, the blue is still very prominent - perhaps moreso now. The head, torso and feet are gold whilst everything else is black. The panels behind his legs, which are yellow on the regular toy, are now transparent blue. The doors and windshield sit behind his shoulders, forming a wonderful transparent blue set of wings. The missiles are also transparent blue. His face is black with metallic blue eyes - I would have liked a lightpipe here, and there's a block of plastic at the back of his head - twice now we've missed out on a lightpipe. The silver Autobot logo in his chest is quite nice, and there's a false number plate on his groin (4NZ-Z454), which is funny since there's not one on the car mode. This mode doesn't really fell that much like Movie Bumblebee, thanks to the colours, although it's still quite nice. I'm not a huge fan of the transparent blue behind his legs, although I appreciate that it needs to be there for his transparent windows, so I'm not complaining.

   For the most part, this is a well formed robot mode. The tyres on his shoulders look good, the chest looks good, the groin works well. The only aspect that stands out are his feet, which protrude a long way forward - further than human feet. Bumblebee has big clown feet, although at least this makes standing him easy. The doors behind his shoulders make nice wings - although they don't quite sit in the correct position as seen in the film. As I mentioned, the transparent windows on his wings look great - especially if there's ambient light (sky is best) behind them.

   The missile launchers are improved thanks to the smarter use of blue for his missiles, rather than the tacky yellow on the normal version. It even hides the fur pattern in their sculpt. They fire fairly well, and are quite effective placed in either hand, but are really designed to sit on his shoulders - and the tyres actually stabilise, making the launchers stay in place. There aren't really any other gimmicks in this mode - not that I expect more from a deluxe with such a realistic vehicle mode.

   Bumblebee's poseability is fairly good, although the automorph in his legs has an unavoidable impact. The head, shoulders, elbows and hips are all ball jointed while the knees have hinges and rotators. His knees are a little higher than they should be - since they have to avoid the automorph. The ankles are hinged and his heelspurs fixed, which limits what you can do with his feet. Whilst it would have been possible to give Bumblebee ball jointed ankles, this would have made the automorph almost impossible to operate - and the last thing this toy needs is another automorph issue.

   A good robot mode although the repaint has really focussed on giving us a good Camaro mode, so it's not as nice as the car mode, and not really close to the movie version. The colours are still nice and the poseability good. I don't like the shape of his feet and again they've missed the lightpipe, but the transparent blue missiles and wings are awesome.

VARIATIONS

   A variant of a variant. The original Hasbro toy lacks any blue plastic, whilst TakaraTomy's standard toy swaps in the transparent blue windows and missiles. This toy was sold exclusively through the Japanese online retailer Lawson with a movie ticket, and swaps most of the yellow plastic for gold, with gold paint on the car shell, and no battle damage.

OVERALL

   Whilst this figure sacrifices movie accuracy, I much prefer it to the yellow version simply because the Camaro mode isn't compromised. The car mode is the reason I got this toy, pure and simple. The gold looks great, the transparent blue really enhances the car mode, although it does muddle his robot legs a little. As far as I can tell, the fragile trigger piece is not an issue on this toy - but then I don't plan on putting it through a durability test. If you can obtain this version, I would recommend it, because the combination of an unspoiled car mode, gold bling paint and the transparent blue plastic makes an enormous difference. Having said that, being so exclusive does mean this toy will be out of reach for many fans. Ignoring prices on the secondary market (I was able to secure one direct), 8/10

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