I had an incurable urge to buy a toy since the day I was emancipated. I bought a laptop for school last Sunday which didn’t help. Today, I ended up spending some more money on a Deluxe Class Bumblebee and a Leader Class Optimus Prime. Anonymous on a certain board on the internets advised on other characters such as Sideswipe, Depthcharge or Ransack, but I couldn’t find Sideswipe at the department store I went to and ended up digging through the shelves for Bumblebee. I like the Bayformer shredded-metal look on some of the characters so the movie toys appealed more to me than the other Transformers toy lines.
Package views. This is the Hasbro version (not the rebranded Japanese Takara Tomy one). At first I was a little disappointed that after opening the toy I would have to discard the package but then again I get to save a little bit of storage space in the long run.
Character biography. I missed out the specs sheet but here it is.
Bumblebee in his plastic prison chock full of twist ties.
Rear view. On to the vehicle mode. I didn’t take pictures of every step of transformation because I was struggling with it myself. The manual is a little unclear sometimes so I may have did the transformation slightly incorrectly.
Vehicle mode. I didn’t take any action shots because the toy was disappointingly difficult to pose with all the kibble in the way. The wheels rotate individually but one of them seems to be mounted at a skewed angle and doesn’t turn as freely as the others. Oh well.
Rear view. Getting the toy into vehicle mode was also quite stressful with the bits and pieces straining against one another. You can see in the photo above the rear windscreen looks dented. Everything is forced together tightly. Despite the apparent straining, the entire vehicle holds itself in one piece.
Top view. The go-faster stripes on the bonnet are marred by the panel gaps. I have this twisted impression that it has an NT-D mode and when activated they will move apart to reveal a glowing pink psycoframe beneath. As the entire door/window panel is made of clear blue plastic, the doors are painted yellow and a slight difference in colour results between the paint and the yellow-molded plastic.
Being a mass-produced toy aimed at kids, don’t expect the production quality to be exceptional. Here Bumblebee gets a little crazy-eyed. The toy has numerous points of articulation. The head sits on a ball joint allowing some slight up and down motion and unrestricted rotation. The spring beside the head is for the Automorph gimmick. When the bonnet is folded down to form the chest, the Autobots emblem folds down, the head appears and the rest of the bonnet folds backwards to form the back.
The shoulder joint is a ball mounted on a swivel joint (a bit like a newer Gundam model) but the front wheel gets in the way occasionally, reducing the range of articulation. Due to the transformation, the shoulder is to be pulled outwards from the centre of the torso. After some meddling with the toy I found that it can be pulled out pretty far with some effort and has a diagonal notch for the front wheel/door assembly to fold backwards. In these pictures, they weren’t pulled out enough resulting in the wheels impeding the shoulder joints. The upper arm rotates, and a single ratchet joint for the elbow gets restricted because of the kibble mounted on the lower arm. The left hand, in a fixed pose, is mounted on a ball joint.
A blaster is mounted on the right forearm, replacing the hand. It shoots a piece of orange plastic as an excuse for a missile.
Bumblebee has a waist joint which many Transformers toys lack. It’s a well-concealed ball joint that allows the torso to rotate and bend up and down too. The legs are jointed to the hip on a ball joint. Unfortunately the upper leg does not rotate along its length. The knee is a single joint.
The feet are on swivel joints instead of ball joints due to the second Automorph gimmick. Pulling the yellow toe out shifts the rear windscreen to the inside of the leg and the vehicle panel upwards onto the calf. The feet bend at the toe. The little yellow flaps on the heels fold slightly but they don’t seem to affect transformation.
For the nitpicky individual, the paint job does not exactly match the box photograph. The most prominent “mistake” would be the red-outlined Chevrolet emblem on the intake grill. Package photos show it as being the official gold. I’m fine with such things since they can be easily fixed with some paint.
Overall, I like the figure as it has a balance between a decent-looking humanoid silhouette and the chunks of vehicle bits plastered all over the body. Articulation is great if you have the patience to move panels out of the way when posing it. The Automorph gimmicks are sturdier than I expected. I have an Ironhide from the 2007 movie of which its Automorph gimmick was a little imperfect with gears skipping and required assistance when transforming.