BUMBLE BEE & HOT SPOT
TEEN TITANS (BANDAI)
You know, I hate on Mattel a lot, especially in regards to their DC Comics-related output. Believe it or not, there was a time I didn’t consider them the worst company in possession of the DC license, thanks to good ol’ Bandai America. For reasons no one was ever really able to explain, Bandai picked up the license for the Teen Titans cartoon of the early 2000s, and they put out a selection of figures that were….less than stellar. That said, some of their figures remain the only figures to date of certain characters, including both of the characters I’ll be looking at today, Bumble Bee and Hot Spot!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Bumble Bee and Hot Spot were released as a two-pack in the fourth series of Bandai’s Teen Titans line. As far as I know, the pair never interacted on the actual show, so it’s an odd pairing, but Bandai seemed to pick the pairings at random for just about every set in the line.
Bumble Bee is probably the more prominent of these two, being the de-facto leader of the Titans’ East Coast branch, and getting a prominent role in several episodes over the show’s run. The figure is a little over 3 ½ inches tall and she has 5 points of articulation, due to Bandai deciding to cut articulation on later series of the line. Because the figures didn’t have enough stacked against them! Bumble Bee had a unique sculpt, which actually isn’t too bad. The proportions are a tad off in some spots (especially the arms), but the figure does a decent job of capturing her design in the show. She’s certainly a lot better than other figures from the line. Bumble Bee’s paint work is actually not terrible. She’s got all the proper colors, and none of her sculpted work has been left unpainted. Her paint has also stood the test of time pretty well, which is a nice change of pace for this line. BB’s prototype showed her holding one of her stinger weapons, but the final figure is sadly lacking them. She does, however, get a set of removable wings. It would have been cool if they’d been articulated, but I guess it’s just good they were actually there.
Hot Spot was never much more than a minor character on the show. Of his four appearances on the show, only one of them actually had him do anything of substance. Still, the dude had a pretty cool look, so you couldn’t leave him out of the toyline! He’s right at 3 ½ inches tall, which makes him a little shorter than BB. Since they never interacted on the show, I can’t really say if it’s accurate of not. He seems to be in a slightly different scale going by the size of his head, but it’s hard to say. Like BB, his sculpt is unique, and it’s a pretty good approximation of his look on the show. The bent elbows are kind of an odd touch, since most of the other figures avoided such posing. The slight pre-posing of the legs can also make him a bit difficult to stand. Hot Spot’s paint is a bit of a letdown. The biggest thing is that he’s flat out missing painted details to match up to the sculpted ones on his legs, which is annoying. Also, it’s more of a personal preference thing, but the decision to go with solid yellows and reds on the head and hands robs the figure of a lot of the character’s visual interest. Hot Spot was packed with…ummm… I’m actually not sure what it’s supposed to be. Maybe it’s a flame blast or something? I don’t know, I lost mine. But hey, at least he’s got a permanent gripping pose on his right hand! That’s totally accurate to the character…
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I picked this pair up from Target back when they were still new. I was still pretty excited for the line at the time, what with the show still being on the air. These were two of my favorite characters on the show, so I was happy to get them. I have to admit, they aren’t as bad as I had feared, at least based on the others I’ve reviewed from this line. They aren’t the greatest figures of all time, but they’re still pretty fun, and they’ve managed to age pretty alright!