Because the anime virus hasn't spread far enough....
Monday, June 27, 2011
Dark of the Display Case: DotM Deluxe Bumblebee
What better way to kick off a week of Transformers-related reviews then by taking a look at one of the movie's most recognizable characters? It was thanks to the 2007 Transformers movie that the Autobot known as Bumblebee was brought back into mainstream TF media and was made into one of the most recognizable TF characters to date. While he may not turn into a Beetle or have little horns on his head, movie 'Bee is still a very characteristic robot and as a result has had a metric ton of toys. Today we'll be looking at one of the newest Bumblebee figures from the new DotM line. Will it be worth the money or worth a pass?
Bumblebee's vehicle mode is a slightly modified version of the sleek and sexy 2010 Chevy Camaro. The modified parts include new rims, a lower front bumper, window nets, a slightly newer stripe job and a spoiler. The car looks slick and streamlined, something just about every toy of Bumblebee has been able to capture close to perfectly. The combination of the golden yellow and jet black that Bumblebee is now known for is pleasing to the eyes. Always has been, always will be. Hasbro also made sure to add little details in order to make sure the toy matches up as close as possible to the actual car, with things like the Chevy emblem on the front of the grill and trunk and "Camaro 55" embossed on the left front side near the wheel well. If there were one downside to this mode, it would have to be the noticeable foot kibble underneath the tailpipes. This problem was also present on the Battle Blade mold, one of, if not the best, Bumblebee molds ever released and the mold this 'Bee is mostly based on. Expect it to be compared to it a bit more when we talk about the robot mode.
Transforming 'Bee from vehicle to robot or vice versa is surprisingly easy, quick and fun. The transformation scheme is very similar to Battle Blades 'Bee, but has been improved slightly, making annoying steps such as lining up the top half of the car and folding up the legs less of a pain by adding much needed pegs and holes to secure everything. I hope any future renditions of movie Bumblebee use these improvements if they consider reusing the Battle Blade transformation.
Robot mode borrows heavily from the Battle Blade once again, but that's far from a bad thing. But even though it borrows from it, it still lacks a few design choices that would have made the figure a bit better. The way the hood, roof and truck area fold up isn't as good as the BB mold, which included a little slot on the back for the kibble to attach to. The overall paint scheme isn't as good looking as the BB mold either, which had more grey on it to help break up the yellow and make it closer to the actual CG model. The head also doesn't quite look as good as Battle Blade's head, which had fantastic light piping and a flip-down battle mask. That said it does improve on one major hindering point in the BB mold's articulation; the arms. Battle Blade Bumblebee suffered from what we in the fandom call "Barbell Arms". This is when the arms of a figure that lacks wrist movement bend inwards towards the body, similar to how a weight lifter bends his arms when curling. This choice of articulation tends to limit the poses you can put the figure in. This Bumblebee completely fixes that, allowing the elbows to bend more naturally, letting you achieve better poses. Everything else on the figure is what you'd expect from current Transformers, including a balljointed head, shoulders and hips, cut thighs and arms and even a cut waist. Overall, the robot mode falls a bit flat when compared to it's predecessor, but does enough to make it one of the best Bumblebees out of all the movie lines.
The DotM line features a new play feature called the MechTech Weapons System. Each figure comes with a BFG (big f**king gun for the ill-informed) that can attach to either the vehicle or robot mode via MechTech ports. These weapons are interchangeable with each other and can also transform into a secondary mode, either becoming bigger, incorporating a melee weapon into itself, etc. Bumblebee comes with a blaster based on the one he uses in the films, only not actually integrated into his arm. Pulling the scope on the top of the gun pushes the smaller gun barrel up, revealing a larger barrel underneath. While this feature is a pretty good concept, there is one problem, mainly with the deluxe weapons. While the Voyager and Leader MechTech weapons allow you to lock them into their secondary form, the deluxe figures are spring-loaded. This means that in order to use the second mode you have to hold the lever back. To put it bluntly; that sucks hard. It is possible to open up the guns and remove the springs, but Bumblebee's is constructed in such a way that it's almost impossible to do it without knocking out some additional pins or breaking pieces off. In my case I ended up breaking off the scope. It's not a bad concept, not in the slightest, but the addition of a spring inside the weapon keeps it from being a really good accessory.
So what is Bumblebee's final judgement? Well, I can see a lot of people passing up this figure due to the fact that we've already gotten a slew of Bumblebees before, which is sad because in my opinion this is one of the best deluxes of the Dark of the Moon line so far. Both modes do their job and do it well while also improving on a few design choices from previous figures. I wouldn't ignore him just because he's another Bumblebee. In fact, he may just surprise you! Definitely consider picking him up.
That's one review down. Four more to go! Tomorrow we'll be looking at one of Bumblebee's fellow soldiers. A fast and furious fighter who's light on his.....wheels?