TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)
You know what was a really good movie? Bumblebee. As someone who couldn’t make it through more than one of the prior live action Transformers films, I was quite pleasantly surprised by how thoroughly enjoyable a movie Bumblebee turned out to be. It was fun, it was coherent, it had a cool ’80s backdrop, and it had a runtime that didn’t urge me to say goodbye to my loved ones before departing for the theatre. It also revisited its title character’s design, returning him to the car he had been at the beginning, a VW Beetle, and by extension removing the perceived need to make him “cooler” that had been added by prior films. And what do you know, all that change actually prompted me to buy a toy. Please, try to contain your shock and awe.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Bumblebee is one of the Deluxe Class releases from Hasbro’s Transformers: Studio Series line, which is a whole line devoted to producing slightly more movie accurate figures from all six movies in the series. He’s figure 18 in the line, and started showing up in October/November of last year. In robot mode (ie, the mode he’s in right out of the box), he stands 5 1/4 inches tall and has 19 practical points of articulation. Bee’s robot form is represented pretty well here. There were clearly some changes between when the figure was designed and when the final movie arrived in theaters, as well as some additional changes necessitated by the figure’s actual transforming features. On a whole, the figure is a little boxier, and not quite as polished as the Bee of the film, but he’s certainly recognizable, and he keeps the important changes from this design compared to earlier ones. The implementation of the articulation is solid for the scale and the concept. I might have liked some side to side movement on the wrists, but the hinge at least provides *some* movement. I was quite happy with the movement on the head; that balljoint has a nice range to it. Bee’s alt-mode is, of course, the Volkswagon Beetle, a major selling point, given how finicky Volkswagon is with their products. The car mode is pretty decently handled. The Volkswagon design is nicely rendered, and well captured, and there aren’t too many consolations that have to be made to make it work. The transformation between the two modes is a little tricky, at least for me, a Transformers-pleb. The biggest trick is folding up the hood and roof of the car behind him for the robo-mode. It felt a bit like I was going to break it getting it in place there. Similarly, getting everything locked into place for the car mode can be a little nerve wracking. Ultimately, I was looking more for a cool robot figure that has the potential to turn into the car, not a car that can sometimes be a robot, so I’m okay with leaving him in the robot mode most of the time. Bumblebee is packed with a few extras, all meant to accent the robot mode. There’s the battle-mode faceplate, which swaps out for the regular one. The first swap was a little tricky, but they generally go back and forth with relative ease. There are also two weapon attachments: a cannon arm that swaps out for his right forearm, and a blade attachment, which can be plugged into either of the arms. All this allows for a nice coverage of Bumblebee’s looks from the movie. There’s also a cardboard backdrop, for them that want such things (I’ve never been much into them myself).
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I eyed this guy up a few times before seeing the movie, because I did just really like the design, but held off because I was trying not to get hooked on Transformers. I really, really was. But then, like a fool, I saw the movie. And I really liked the movie. So, then I *had* to have a Bumblebee. And maybe some others, but more on that later. Fortunately for me, my friends at All Time Toys were happy to set me up with one. I’ve seen some negative opinions of this figure, but I myself am pretty darn happy with him. He’s a fun little toy.