In reviewing the latest Transformers, especially the movie figures, the following criteria come to mind:
- Accuracy of look and of transformation
- Accessories that are usable in both modes
Bumblebee scores well on all these points, even if he cheats a bit. He could probably be described as a shell-former, at least more-so than any other member of the first wave figures (not counting the protoforms!) and he buys poseability using the same methods applied by the old RID line – lots of ball joints on spindly limbs, with panels attached that clip together when curls up tight. His transformation is reasonably complex but nowhere near as much as RID Sideburn for example. His paint job is also significantly less creative or detailed as one would have found on that line. On that 8 year old line.
CGI renders of Bumblebee show he is equipped with shoulder mounted grenade launchers, and the figure too has shoulder mounted weapons although they are significantly longer here presumably due to the safety requirement. A great touch though is that these rocket launchers form the exhausts in car mode.
On the down side, a barely token effort is made on the paint job to ‘age’ Bumblebee’s alt mode, a couple of smudges of black almost appear to be an intentional part of the striped paint job at first look. It’s a different matter with the mold itself, where some effort has been made. Although sadly not painted to bring it out, the wheel hubs are rough to the touch, presumably textured to suggest rust and dirt, and patches of ‘rust’ are molded into the body work at the places one might expect.
Bumblebee also has ridiculous feet. Clown sized feet. If only he had an extra joint at the ankle, even if that meant no automorph on the legs, he’s look a lot less silly. As it is, he has to lean forward knees bent to look remotely in balance, and he doesn’t look comfortable like that.
More significant than any of those other complaints though is a really really big problem with this figure – it’s design is broken. Mine came straight off the card and went crack before I even touched it. I don’t know exactly how the fault is happening, I can’t see anything that’s snapped or otherwise looks broken, but the hood refuses to lock into place, leaving me with a totally duff Bumblebee. I’ll be returning it to Hasbro – they’ve promised to replace it – but how long they’ll take remains to be seen.
Seriously, if this fault is as widespread as early reports suggest it is, we could be looking at a mass recall.