SEARCH REVIEWS    LIVING WITH LATE FEES    FEATURES    LINKS    BIO    MISSION    EMAIL    MAIN PAGE >


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 

“Human Alliance Bumblebee” Voyager Class

Transformers 2 Bumble action figure toy by Hasbro

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Guest reviewer J. Turchetta checks in tonight with a look at one of the new Revenge of the Fallen transformers - Bumblebee! Take it away, J!

First off a big thanks to Michael for allowing me to write this review and for all the great work he does on the site!

Tonight we are going to look at, what is, at least for me one of the best figures in the new Transformers movie line. Now, opinions on the film itself have been all over the place from the simple “fun,” to the more negative “atrocious.” I fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to the new flick. I didn’t hate the movie, but a week after seeing it...I am still not quite sure I liked it as much as the first movie.
 
Transformers Bumblebee action figure toy by Hasbro

Transformers Bumblebee action figure toy by Hasbro
Transformers Bumblebee action figure toy by Hasbro
Transformers Bumblebee action figure toy by Hasbro
Transformers Bumblebee action figure toy by Hasbro
Transformers Bumblebee action figure toy by Hasbro
Transformers Bumblebee action figure toy by Hasbro
Transformers Bumblebee action figure toy by Hasbro
Transformers Bumblebee action figure toy by Hasbro
Transformers Bumblebee action figure toy by Hasbro
Transformers Bumblebee action figure toy by Hasbro

As a filmmaker, I can't deny that Michael Bay has a fantastic eye for action…but as this movie and a few other of his outings have revealed, left to his own devices, Mr. Bay can get a little out of hand. Seen his Verizon “Awesome” ad? That pretty much sums up the entire viewing experience for ROTF.

Ok so the movie may have left a little to be desired, but Hasbro has done some phenomenal work on the toys. Its easy to just pull out the old molds and box up the old figures and make a mint. But the ‘Bro decided to re-engineer the figures literally from the ground up. You can tell they have learned a lot from the TF Animated line when it comes to the transformations and how the ‘bot looks once its fully transformed. For example, the new Optimus Prime is almost SPOT ON with his CGI movie counterpart. Once he is in robot mode there is very little wrong with that figure. I am not sure if Hasbro had access to the ILM files or not, but they did a damn fine job of capturing the look and feel of these characters.

And that brings us to the subject of tonight’s review. Human Alliance Bumblebee. As I said a few paragraphs ago, this was the ONE figure in the new movie line I was looking forward to the most. Why? Well it’s the FIRST Transformer to feature a human counterpart that can actually fit inside the vehicle AND is in scale with it in robot mode (AND in scale with Optimus and the other TF leader and voyager class figures). While other TF figures have had spaces for human figures in the past, when Hasbro imported the different figures from Japan, those human figures, were absent. Finally after 25 years, we get a figure designed for a Transformer and in this case it’s a mini Shia LeBouf as Sam.

So does Bumblebee make up for a less than stellar movie? Lets…(wait for it)...Transform…and FIND out!

Packaging - **1/2
You have seen this packaging before. It was featured in the first movie line 2 packs and is re purposed here. It’s a very attractive packaging, no doubt and shows off Bee in his Camaro mode and Sam standing next to him. Problem is, there is a TON of wasted space and of the 5 that were on the shelf I managed to get the only one that didn't look like Megatron had it in a death grip. These are no where near collector friendly and like usual, you almost have to destroy the box to get to the figures. There are only 2 twist ties holding Bee in, but getting inside that bubble is harder than finding Energon.

Sculpting - Bee ***(Camaro) ****(robot), Sam ***

I am going to break this down into two categories for Bee. One for his Camaro mode and the other for his robot mode. Both are extremely detailed sculpts but one scores a little hire than the other. Lets start with his Camaro mode first. As a vehicle, Bumblebee is VERY similar to the Alternators line from a few years ago.

On the outside, Hasbro did a phenomenal job capturing the look of the new Camaro while making all the spots that accommodate the transformation, feel organic and a part of the car. Nothing feels junky or odd in car mode and all the seems are tight with very little gaping along some of the major transformation points. The biggest hit this mode takes is the interior. You may recall one of the cooler aspects of the Alternators was a fairly detailed and well sculpted interior. Here, there is a sculpted steering wheel, small dashboard and two seats, that’s it. There isnt anything inside that feels like this is a car. It works for the intended purpose, I am just not sure it was executed the best way. Due to the interior being made up mostly of compressed parts to form the robot, Sam has a hard time fitting in the car and some of the sculpt of the robot interferes with how well he sits in the drivers seat.

The robot mode, is another story and in a category all its own. I have collected a lot of Transformer toys since I was a kid. I am by no means a super fan, but I do have at least ONE figure from every line from G1, on. Most of those figures are Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. Time has been kind to ‘ole Bee and every incarnation is getting better and better. Enter 2009 and THIS version. He is, hands down my FAVORITE version of Bee ever. Not only does this figures robot sculpt NAIL how he looks in ROTF, but he also has all the little details that just make this figure stand out. One of the pluses for this figure, is its size. Next to the “Ultimate Bumblebee,” this is the largest figure of Bee we have gotten. This allowed Hasbro’s designers to sculpt in all the wires and hoses and brake calipers, rivets, bolts and yes…even springs and shocks for when he is vehicle mode. There are so many small little details here that it would take a day to describe them all,  small things like his shoulder cannons that flip out and detail up and under his torso, so I will try to just focus on the big ones. First off, Bee’s face looks great. It’s a perfect design match to his CGI version and the sculpting is sharp and clean. He also doesn’t suffer from the pin-head disease that many, many, many TF figures have suffered from over the years. The proportions of his head seem right witht he rest of his body. In addition to the sculpting on his head, Bee’s battle mask (which is also moveable, more on that in articulation) also has a great sculpt, looking just like it did on screen. Bee also has a poseable left hand and thumb and all the small details are there. On his right hand is his plasma cannon and it too is a sharp well defined sculpt. His torso and legs have a great design and ALL of the sculpted pieces work perfectly with the articulation. There are also several small hidden spots that are sculpted to handle carrying Sam while Bee is in robot mode. Like on his arms, hand and on Bee’s back.

Sam also is a well sculpted figure. Keep in mind he is ONLY 2 inches tall. Smaller than most Star Wars figures. He strongly resembles LeBouf and has small details such as the stripes on his kicks.

Paint - Bee- **, Sam- *
This is the only category that really holds these two back. Oddly enough for totally opposite reasons. Bee doesn’t have ENOUGH paint…and Sam has too much SLOPPY paint. 

Bee is mostly cast in the color of the respective part. All his yellow is done in a thinner than normal plastic which when lit from behind is sort of translucent. Some paint here would have helped make it look a little less “toy-ish” and more realistic. The paint that Bee does have, his racing stripes, the silver highlights and all the little details like the Chevy bowtie are all well done and there is no bleed into the other areas. Bee’s big issue is lack of paint. As I said earlier most of his parts are cast in color. But there is no wash, or any highlights on him, which means there are some really cool details that are very hard to see, because they aren’t highlighted enough.

Sam does have a fairly passable paint job and only up close can you see the slop and thick paint. His hair is a solid brown with nothing to give any definition or texture. His eyes are clean and straight, but they are only small brown dots. His shirt and jeans are done in a glossy paint making him look very much like an action figure and less "human."

Articulation  - Bee- ***1/2, Sam ***
Both figures get a nice score here. Bee is extremely well articulated. As I stated above in the sculpt section, his articulation works well with his sculpt. There is so much here. Ball jointed neck, his shoulders have several joints and at the hood section is a pin to move it up and down, and then the arm has a pin/post style ball joint. Cut upper arms, pin elbows, a pin and post wrist that allows for a swivel and a forward and backward movement of his left hand and cut joint at his thumb and pin joint at his fingers. He ALSO has a cut waist, pin and post style hips, cut thighs, double pin knees and a pin joint at his shin which is used for his transformation, but also helps in posing him in some deep stances. PLUS (yes there is more!) pin ankles. OH and since his Battle Mask is also able to slide up and down add that. WHEW…count all that and you get around 31 points of articulation that’s HUGE for a transforming toy! Bee can take some serious battle stances and looks amazingly natural just standing straight. I only have two small issues with the articulation. The first one is Bee’s head. Yes it’s a ball joint, but it doesnt have a huge range of movement. He can tilt SLIGHTLY forward and back and side to side. It operates mostly as a cut joint, but gives you enough options to make Bee look cool. My other issue is the fact that in order to accommodate his action feature we lose Bee’s right hand. (see more on that below) Those two issues drops him half a star.

I do want to make note of something on his articulation. Recent TF figures have been using ball joints where if enough pressure is applied the piece is designed to pop off and on easily. Bee moves away from that trend. The only joint that pops on and off is his head. The rest are securely attached with metal pins or other screws and will not pop off. While his joints are designed in a way to make his transformation easy, with enough pressure applied the wrong way, they COULD break. The upside to this is that he has VERY tight joints and can hold some great stances with no fear of him toppling over. Just keep that in mind.

Sam also has some pretty damn good articulation. Keep in mind he is only 2 inches tall, but has a ball jointed head (it is a ball joint and he does have side to side movement but for all intent and purposes it works as a cut joint), pin/post shoulders, cut torso that allows forward, backward, left, right and side to side movement, pin/post hips and pin/post knees that also allow them to swivel . So for a 2 inch figure you are looking at around 10 POA. That’s WAY more than ANY of the 5 inch Dark Knight Figures and ALMOST on par with the larger GI Joe figures. His arms have no articulation but it isn’t really missed and he doesn’t have ankle articulation, but he is able to stand just fine on his own.

Accessories - *
I guess you COULD count Sam as an accessory to Bee, OR Bee as an accessory to Sam. But since the selling point is to have BOTH of these figures the only real accessory are the two missiles for Bee’s plasma cannon which have a hiding place on his arms.

Action Feature - *
I hate action features. I think they are un necessary and ruin the overall fun of a figure. Thankfully Bee’s action feature is small and un obtrusive BUT it does mean we have to live with one hand permanently in plasma cannon mode. The feature is a spring loaded gun and fires like you’d expect it to.

Fun Factor - ****
There is no denying this is a fantastic toy. Its well constructed, well designed and will give kids (ok, ok I admit AND adults) hours of play time and it doesn’t loose that all important “wow” factor after its out of the box. In fact, that continues the more you transform and pose him.

Value - **1/2
Man this is a hard category. I went back and forth here. Bee and Sam are not cheap. Around 35 bucks at most places. That’s pretty damn expensive given the current economy. And while we DO get two figures, is the sculpt and articulation enough to justify almost 40 bucks? Make the price on this guy 25 bucks, and its four stars. But at 35 bucks it is a bit on the expensive side for Transformer. Especially considering that the Leader Class Optimus Prime with electronics is 40 bucks at most places. If you can find Bee and Sam cheaper, don’t think, just buy it.

Overall - ***
Hasbro has done a fantastic job here. There is a great balance of engineering, sculpt and articulation. I wish there was more paint on Bee and that he was about 10 bucks cheaper and those two points bring the overall score down. Oh and as a side note to the good folks at Hasbro: The Sam figure in this set PROVES that in a 2 inch figure you can provide above average articulation for a mass market toy, and do that articulation well. Lets keep up the innovative, good work!

SCORE RECAP:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpting - Bee ***(Camaro) ****(robot), Sam ***
Paint - Bee- **, Sam- *
Articulation - Bee- ***1/2, Sam***
Accessories - *
Action Feature - *
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
These should be on shelves all over now. I found mine at Toys R Us.

Thanks for reading and in the words of Optimus Prime…Till all are one!

Transformers Bumblebee action figure toy by Hasbro


Figures from the collection of J. Turchetta

This page copyright 2000 - 2008, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour Hosting.com