Series: Movie tie-ins
Alternate Mode: 2008 Camaro
Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Bumblebee for this review
Height: 2cm Length: 7cm Width: 3.5cm
A yellow Camaro with two black racing stripes on the hood and spoiler, Bumblebee has black windows and a visible black IR receiver sticking out of the rear window. His tyres are black rubber while the hubcaps are silver, his grille is black with silver headlights while the taillights are red with a tiny silver Chevrolet logo between them. While a lot of detail is lost at this scale, the paint job is fairly detailed.
The car shape isn't quite right, but there's enough in the sculpt and paint job for this to be recognisable as Bumblebee in his 2008 gear. The car is slightly smaller than a GoBot/SpyChanger, with different wheels. There are some nice sculpted features, such as side mirrors, doorseams, doorhandles (painted silver), a petrol cap and grille detailing, a lot of which is better than you find on SpyChangers. The IR receiver is a detraction, but necessary for the gimmick of this toy.
The remote is a big gun-shaped affair, roughly 17cm long and 9 tall. It's yellow with some painted black detailing and has "Bumblebee" with an Autobot logo on either side. The remote mould is identical for all three IR movie toys, although Barricade & Prime get their own paint maps and the names are in different fonts. Bumblebee, in car mode, can clip onto the top for storage/transport.
The gimmick is... reasonable. The performance is what you'd expect of an IR remote controlled car, with range of a metre or so. He travels is a straight line forward and curves left backward, allowing you to turn, which is typical of the lowest end remote control cars. What disappoints me is how slow the car travels - it really takes the fun out of the concept, especially when you consider how far and fast a SpyChanger will go on a flat surface (albeit with a push off).
The car mode itself is nice considering the scale, and if it were priced as a SpyChanger I'd be really impressed. While the IR mechanism obviously adds to the production costs, as a Transformer I don't think this vehicle is worth the price (3 times that of a Spychanger, at least in Australia). There's some novelty in the idea, of course, but the overall package here is disappointing.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Same as a SpyChanger - extend the rear to form legs, flip the hood over to form his chest and pull the sides out to become doors.
Height: 6cm Width: 3.5cm
A yellow and black robot, but not one that looks much like the deluxe version of the same concept. The head is battle masked, with black eyes while the chest is just the hood. His arms and legs are black with silver shins and fists. The colours are Bumblebee, but the layout is just a generic SpyChanger colour map, so the semblance to movie here is pretty weak. Having said that, I can see why the emphasis was placed on vehicle mode, when the gimmick is entirely used in that mode.
The thing that really wrecks this mode for me is the dimensions. There's about 0.5cm of thigh, which you'll only see if look up under the chest from below. The shoulder struts are also very short, there's barely a gap between the chest and arms. I understand that there needs to be space for the mechanisms, but if the toy was maybe a centimetre longer (in car mode) there would have been room. A smaller remote would have easily offset the extra cost, giving us a far more viable robot mode. This one, while based on a SpyChanger, is well below SpyChanger standard.
Play value is minimal - the shoulders swing, albeit very loosely. Unlike the SpyChangers, Bumblebee does not come with a gun and cannot hold one.
A disappointing robot mode, not so much because of the weak character semblance, which was inevitable, but because of a poor robot shape in general. Bumblebee's a lump with a head, ranking well below the worst of the SpyChangers. There's basically no play value, which is to be expected, but that does mean there's just nothing going for this robot mode.
None that I'm aware of.
While the idea has merit, there's a cheapness to this toy that really prevents me from appreciating the end result. The car mode looks nice and is clearly a 2008 Camaro, but the gimmick is fairly underwhelming, so for the price you're paying he needs a good robot mode - allowing the gimmick to be a bonus to the Transformer rather than the only reason for buying it. The robot mode is terrible, with short thighs and little resemblance to the character in the film. If Bumblebee was sold at a similar price to a SpyChanger, I could look past the shortcomings, but at the lower end of deluxe pricing, he just doesn't have much to offer. There's still novelty in the concept, but I could only recommend picking up one of these toys, not three (which would be Prime, by the way) - 3/10