Cliffbee.com: Stealth Bumblebee Toy Review

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Individual Review




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

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Stealth Bumblebee for this review



CAR MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 14cm Width: 6cm

   A black 2008 Camaro with twin yelow racing stripes running down the bonnet and rear, Bumblebee is essentially a colour-swapped version of what we saw in the film. He has black plastic tyres with silver hubcaps and transparent blue windows while his taillights are painted red and the tailpipes silver. The grille is unpainted black, along with the headlights although the fog lights and Camaro badge on the grille are silver. The colours are striking but the detailing is just below that of the yellow version. The doors are painted black while the rest of the black is black plastic. The two shades are essentially identical. As on the original, the word "CAMARO" type on the front fenders is painted silver. While it's a fairly simple concept, this repaint does look good, even if it's not something seen in the film.

   As with most of the vehicles featured in the movie, this is a licensed vehicle mode - the likeness and realism are great here. The mould is great, Bumblebee has seams where he should have seams, doorhandles, grille detail, a fuel cap on the right rear fender and the aforementioned Camaro name on the front fenders. There are a few detractions - but nothing significant. There are a couple of small holes in the bonnet allowing for some flex during transformation, which are barely visible against the black - and the robot feet are barely visible underneath the doors.

   There's no real play value here, other than the rolling wheels, but for a deluxe toy on the level of an Alternator, that's more than enough. The coolness of the car mode is fun in itself. The doors can actually open, but they reveal stowed robot arms so I'm not going to count that.

   A great car mode with flaws that are essentially trivial alongside all the good stuff. The realism and sculpt are great, the paint job is also good, aside from the unpainted headlights. This is actually his weaker mode, which is saying something. The repaint itself is striking and attractive.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Open the doors, split the rear and remove the cannon from between the legs. Pull the feet back, which causes an automorph that a deluxe toy has no right to do. The rear panels swing up onto the back of his legs, pushing up the wheelbays. Meanwhile the rear window halves swing inwards. Pull the front fenders out to the sides, split the roof and pivot out to form his arms. The clearances around his arms are fairly slim, so you have to move everything in the right order - but nothing requires excessive force. The front swings down, the fenders (and doors) swing in the other direction - you need to do these at the same time, thanks to the narrow clearances. Again it's not actually difficult - not once you get the hang of it. Again there's a complex automorph - the front folding down as a chest actually causes the fenders to swing up as shoulders, while a panel swings up into the gap needed for the head clearance, making the chest nice and solid. The headlights are meant to pivot up a little, this step might need a little manual help.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 11cm

   A black robot with extensive yellow highlights, Bumblebee's chest is the black front of the car while much of the robotic elements are actually a glossy anthracite colour, with the yellow limited to detailing. The doors are wings sticking out on a 45 angle behind his shoulders (similar to those in the film). The panel on his chest sports a stamped Autobot logo, against an "AllSpark" blue background. His head is anthracite and yellow, and has been resculpted. The license plate on his waist is unpainted now. The rear wheels sit on the outsides of his ankles. The colours look good, although they don't quite evoke the character from the film.

   The sculpt on his robot only pieces is great. The hands are moulded in a loose fist. The doors are a great aesthetic feature while the Camaro front on his chest looks nice. The bodyshape is fantastic, without the awkward feet of the 1970s version. The head has been resculpted giving Bumblebee the battle mask we saw in the film, rather than the regular face. This means he loses his lightpipe. There's surprisingly little AllSpark blue here compared to most later movie toys - aside from that spot on his chest, it's only on his wrists. From this perspective you can tell that much - but not all - of the vehicle mode shell is actually black painted over yellow plastic - it's evident on the roof panels behind his forearms and the front fenders behind his torso.

   There's one gimmic here - of sorts. The anthracite cannon, which can clip into either hand, resembling the arm cannon Bumblebee used in the movie. It opens up to reveal a transparent blue blade, which is a silly gimmick but not one that really puts any constraints on him. The blade is actually geared to the covers - it extends as you open the covers - which I guess counts as a third automorph. The poseability is good - although not perfect. The shoulders and neck are ball jointed while elbows are hinged with rotators above them. The waist rotates, and while the joint is restricted, the range of motion is pretty much the same as a human waist. His hips are ball jointed, the knees and ankles are only hinged, no rotators. The feet are quite long with useful heelspurs, so while the range of leg motion isn't great the stability is. I can forgive the restricted leg movement, mind you - the automorph needs everything lined up, and rotators or ball joints would ruin this.

   There are small yellow panels on the outside of his shoulders, and these pieces have a tendency to fall off. I find they reattach without any drama, but it would have been nice to see this flaw fixed by this stage - the mould had already been used for Bumblebee and Cliffjumper.

   A great robot mode with good proportions, details and colours, Stealth Bumblebee has good poseability and a useful weapon. The placement of car elements is good, but the loose shoulder pieces should have been addressed by this point. The repaint itself looks good, but this version never appeared in the film. The resculpted head, with battle helmet, is a nice idea and works quite well.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although this is a repaint and retool of the original 2008 Bumblebee, as mentioned.

OVERALL

   A great mould that doesn't get old for me - both modes are detailed, the weapon works well, the Camaro is realistic, the paint job is great while his transformation is satisfying with clever automorph aspects. The use of AllSpark blue is fairly light which I also appreciate. I'm not sure that I'd recommend this version if you have the standard or premium versions, but the new paint job is attractive and the resculpted head is a plus. If you don't have any other versions of this mould, then I'd recommend Stealth Bumblebee - 9/10

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