Deluxe Class Bumblebee (War For Cybertron)
Review by jRex
It always begins with the same old song and dance. Optimus Prime and his heroic Autobots are pitted against Megatron’s ruthless Decepticon forces in an epic battle of good and evil. In all the dozens of iterations of that tried and true formula, we always manage to get a cast of our favorite transforming robots based off the familiar character archetypes first introduced to us way back in ‘84 with the beginning of G1. They may not have the same names in all the series, but in one form of another we always get the loveable oaf, the by-the-book cop, the genius technician, the seasoned veteran, and sometimes we are treated to a few laughably evil villains that just can’t seem to catch a break. Perhaps the most infamous of these archetypes is the inevitable yellow kid appeal character. Young, hotheaded, brash and quirky, this character gave something children to relate too, and as such, became somewhat of a staple in the jumbled, glorious multiverse of Transformers mythology. In Beast Wars we had Cheetor and in The Unicron Trilogy (Armada, Energon, and Cybertron) we had Hotshot, but one such character started it all in G1. A character that, up until the end of G1 and its subsequent sequels and spin-offs, we didn’t see much of at all. It seemed that this beloved robot had been all but forgotten.
Then Transfans, along with the rest of the world, were given the blockbuster live-action film Transformers, and what do you know… good old Bumblebee was back.
In the ensuing cyclone of what was to be known as the Movie toyline, Bumblebee came full bore in terms of merchandise. Roleplay accessories, Halloween costumes, RC cars, lunchboxes, pencil erasers, birthday balloons, and anything else a kid would want came in the flavor of Movie Bumblebee, and of course the toys. Along with the 13 inch feature-packed monstrosity that was Ultimate Bumblebee, we also had toys of him in the form of two deluxe class figures, one in his 1977 Camaro mode and one in his 2007 Camaro mode, which may be (correct me if I’m wrong) the most retooled, re-decoed Transformers figure ever.
The reason for the Bumblebee madness? Simple. Children new to the franchise had a relatable hero in the movie. Older fans felt a resurgence of nostalgia and fondness for their childhood friend. Regardless of the reason to love the Bee, fandom and public rejoiced in the Bumblebee Advent.
Another movie, another toyline, and a beloved Animated series later, Transfans fond of videogames were treated to an action-packed retelling of the initial chapters of the battle between Autobots and Deceptions in Transformers: War for Cybertron. Front and center of this battle, along with his fearless leader Optimus Prime, was everyone’s favorite transforming yellow robot: Bumblebee
Hasbro continues its beloved foray into the extended Transformers universe with deluxe class War for Cybertron Bumblebee. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Cast in his familiar bright yellow hue, War For Cybertron Bumblebee is an interesting take on the classic design of the iconic character. First impression of his robot mode is a good one. There’s no denying who this character is, especially taking into consideration his head sculpt. You have the classic Bumblebee helmet, complete with horns, electric blue eyes, and that signature friendly smile. Sculpting on the helmet is refreshingly understated, maintaining clean lines broken up by the occasional vent or exhaust port. A crisp silver faceplate and protruding chin block complete the look.
His torso is a series of curved, pronounced lines sweeping down a considerable length outward from the body and culminating in the glowing neon orange trapezoidal maw of what appears to be a Cybertronian vehicle grille. The entire chest section comes off as clean and unmuddled due to the fact that detailing here is reserved only for a few well-placed panel lines and geometric shaping. Contrasting the clean lines and bright colors of Bumblebee’s chest armor, we are treated to an intricately sculpted abdomen section. Although black and unpainted, the aesthetic wealth of this section is undeniably excellent. Miniature pistons and overlapping triangles crisscross over vents and exhaust ports to give the feeling that underneath the smooth yellow armor, the black frame of a detailed robot exists. The shoulders are held at an interesting angle. Coming outward from the top, they seem to almost fan out and widen at the bottom, replicating the round juxtaposition of sharp angles that has become a signature of the character. His arms follow in the same suit as the rest of his armor, with sparse but pleasing detail scattered over smooth armor. On his forearms are what appear to be shields made up of the front section of his vehicle mode, the wheels of which are molded in a pleasing translucent pink to break up the yellow. In a welcome touch, his hands are molded with open fingers.
From the rear, Bumblebee actually has quite a large bit of backpack kibble made up from his vehicle mode’s rear. The rear view can seem appalling at first, but from the front, due to the way the vehicle roof folds into the backpack, it gives Bumblebee a substantial amount of girth, adding to the warrior aesthetic.
Armaments include a small yellow and black pistol which can be held in either of his hands or stored in his backpack via a small clip. Perhaps one of the most interesting and pleasing features of robot mode are small translucent pink swords that ratchet out from either of his forearms. They are molded with sharp angles and triangular detailing.
Color-wise, aside from the obvious yellow, there is a lot of black used to break up the lines visible primarily in the biceps, abdomen, thighs, hands and feet. We also get shiny black paint apps on Bee’s forearm armor, shoulders, and chest. In a very interesting technique used to emulate the glowing orange lines of the War for Cybertron aesthetic, there are neon pink lines all across his back and arms, as well as on his front chest grille. We get small blips of silver on his knees, hips, and face and even shiny gold paint on the outsides of his leg wheel housing.
In robot mode, Bumblebee is equipped with a wealth of articulation. His head is double jointed, with the neck being a combination of ball and hinge joints. Ball-jointed shoulders, bicep swivel pegs, double jointed elbows, and ball-jointed wrists give the arms a full range of motion. For the lower part of his body, we get a much welcomed hip swivel, along with thigh, knee, and ankle joints. The ankle joints, due to the transformation, are somewhat limited, but have enough give to pull off some great, dynamic poses.
My opinion of Bumblebee’s robot mode is a good one. There is a nice balance of G1 roundness and Movie detailing. It really looks like he is a black inner frame covered in yellow armor. In terms of overall looks, this iteration of Bumblebee comes off less as stocky and cute and more lithe and dynamic looking. The thinness of the lower area (hips, legs, and feet) and the sheer length of the lower leg make him look swift and ready for action. I love the wheel-housed-in-leg design and how it is used here. It fully integrates parts of the vehicle mode into the robot mode, eliminating that “tacked-on” stigma that a lot of figures are burdened with. It also makes a lot of sense story-wise. Transformers are on Cybertron, so why should they be disguised? Rather, their “true” vehicle modes are as much a part of them as their robot modes, having no necessity to conform to a foreign aesthetic. The upper area (head, chest, and arms) is bulky, but in a good way. Designers made good use of negative space on his chest, which stocks out considerably far and houses the highly detailed abdomen. The shoulder pads are done very nicely, and the forearm armor made up of the two wheel pods in vehicle mode give an armor look similar to Megaman. In terms of accessories, the blaster is nicely detailed, and the flip our swords are an awesome touch. I’m a sucker for toys that not only come with some sort of projectile weapon but also melee options. A major weakness of this is toy is the four-inch wide block of backpack kibble on his rear, but as I mentioned, it helps fill him out from the front and is no hindrance to posing, albeit giving minor balance issues.
At first, transformation to “Cybertronian Courier Mode” can be an ordeal. Folding tightly into place, the main challenge of transformation is lining up the panels of the roof to lock into position. Armor folds and tabs in, wheels are freed from their housing and locked into place, and the bottom is filled out with the compacted remnants of the legs. Eventually, when all the clips are clipped and the tabs are locked, you are treated with what looks like it could have been the Lightcycle’s four-wheeled cousin.
Vehicle mode is smooth and clean, swept over by round angles and sharp lines. The wheels are done in translucent pink, but are painted over in yellow and rimmed with black, giving the appearance of a reddish glow forming a ring inside the wheel. Smokey grey windows make up the sides of the vehicle, but are lined at the seams with neon pink lines. The front end is an obvious homage to Cybertronian G1 Bumblebee’s “manta ray” hovercraft mode. Finally, the rear end features more neon pink panel lining and bright orange honey-comb patterned lights. In vehicle mode, Bumblebee is about four inches long and two and half inches wide. He rolls freely on four wheels.
I really am in love with “courier mode”. As fidgety and difficult as its transformation is, it’s really very cute and representative of the Bumblebee look. The paint apps here really sell the vehicle mode, making it look both dynamic and functional. Despite looking like a cross between a Lightcycle and a wireless mouse, it is very Cybertronian looking and matches nicely with WFC Prime’s armored truck form.
As much as I love this figure, it does have one gigantic flaw. In my opinion, and this may sound very silly, Bumblebee is far too… tall. Such was the case when I was comparing him to WFC Prime. Together, the toys are about equal in stature, but for my taste, his robot mode is just too big to be a completely satisfying Bumblebee. This does not mean, however, that it is not a completely satisfying toy. He’s just not stocky or chunky enough to be the ideal Bumblebee.
In closing, if you see this toy, grab him. Height gripes aside, his robot mode is uber-posable and armed to the teeth, his vehicle mode is cute and functional, and I haven’t seen Hasbro handle paint apps this well since Classics came out back in 2006.
Plus, his blaster fits very nicely in Classics Bumblebee’s hand.
And who isn’t going to love that?
|Posted 14 July, 2010 - 07:44 by jRex|