#2775: B-127

B-127

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

While the majority of this year’s Studio Series offerings are based on Transformers: The Movie, there are still a few of the live-action film designs worked in.  For the most part, that’s not so much for me, but my one exception to that rule comes in the form of Bumblebee, the only one of the live-action Transformers movies I actually liked and would want own any real product from.  The film’s smaller cast means there aren’t a *ton* of potential figures, but the main robots from the film all have a few different looks to choose from.  Specifically, our titular ‘bot gets four notable looks.  So far, we’ve gotten his VW Bug look and his Jeep look, and the Camaro look’s been covered by other films, so the one notable one missing was his Cybertronian appearance.  So, without further ado, let’s look at B-127!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

B-127 is figure 70 in the Studio Series line-up, and is one of two figures in the latest Deluxe Class assortment of the line (the other one being Dino from Dark of the Moon).  He’s the line’s eighth figure based on Bumblebee, and will be shortly joined by the Cybertronian Starscream.  In his robot mode, B-127 stands 4 1/2 inches tall and has 16 workable points of articulation.  Structurally, B-127 is almost entirely re-use, as was sort of expected.  He’s a new head on Ciffjumper’s body.  Since Cliffjumper’s body was based on Bee’s Cybertronian appearance, it was something we all knew was coming, and also something that’s totally warranted.  It helps that it’s also just a rather nice mold.  The head gives us Bee’s armored up attack mode look, which pairs off nicely with the standard robot-faced Bee head we got on Offroad Bumblebee.  While for more of a screen accurate set-up, they should probably be reversed for the two modes, I’m personally pretty happy with how they’re set-up.  Also, they can be swapped, if you’re interested in such a thing. Bee’s alt-mode is the exact same Cybertronian car mode that Cliffjumper had, which again makes sense, since it was technically Bee’s first.  It’s not a bad design, and the transformation’s pretty easy to work with.  Like the other two derivations of this mold, B-127 includes a blaster attachment for his arm.  Nothing fancy, but it’s certainly useful.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to get this guy when he was first shown off.  I already had Cliffjumper and Jeep Bumblebee, so he’s a little bit on the redundant side, I suppose.  However, once I saw him in hand, I was pleasantly surprised by how nicely he’d turned out, and I especially like that new head.  Sure, he doesn’t turn into a Jeep, but I suppose I can’t hold that against every non-Jeep Bumblebee, can I?

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2698: Bumblebee & Spike Witwicky

BUMBLEBEE & SPIKE WITWICKY

TRANSFORMERS: BUZZWORTHY BUMBLEBEE (HASBRO)

Despite his increased presence in the franchise in the last few years, Bumblebee has been without any major presence in the main core line of the toys since the beginning of the War For Cybertron Trilogy.  He’s gotten a couple of figures in Studio Series, of course, as well as the one notable exclusive figure from Walmart for the main line, but that’s admittedly kind of minor given how many Optimuses and Megatrons we’ve gotten in that same span of time.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s at least a little bit aware of the seeming lack of Bumblebees, and they’ve got a whole subline of stuff dedicated to him.  Isn’t that nice?  I mean, I think so.  Most of the line is re-releases, but there’s one new item in the starting line-up, a Bumblebee and Spike Witwicky two-pack, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Bumblebee and Spike Witwicky are part of the Target-exclusive Buzzworthy Bumblebee line, specifically under the War For Cybertron branding.  Though dubbed as a two-pack, the focus of the pack is really the Bumblebee figure.  He’s part of the newly launched core-class size, which is a slightly smaller scale at an appropriately smaller price point.  In his robot mode, Bumblebee stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 9 practical points of articulation.  Design-wise, this Bumblebee is definitely G1-inspired, though not quite as 100% cartoon accurate as some of the larger scale WFC figures have been.  There’s a little more stylization to this mold, and it matches up pretty decently with the other G1 figures we’ve seen from the core-class line-up so far.  The kibble is a bit more intensive on this robot mode, since his smaller scale makes folding such things up a little more difficult.  He’s also got some more hollow and exposed portions in robot mode, again thanks to the smaller size.  Ultimately, he’s pretty impressive for the smaller size, and he’s a fun little figure.  Bee is packed with a small blaster pistol, styled after his G1 weapon, which is pretty nifty.  He’s also joined by Spike Witwicky…or at least Spike’s exo-suit from Transformers: The Movie.  Spike’s about 2 1/2 inches tall and he’s got movable arms, and that’s it.  The sculpt’s pretty rudimentary, and is designed in such a way that you can’t actually see anyone inside of the exo-suit.  Silver lining: that means it can just as easily be Daniel!

Bumblebee’s alt mode isn’t the usual G1 VW Beetle, and is instead a more generic tiny little car.  Given the lower price point on this guy, the VW licensing probably wasn’t going to be worth it.  This is an okay alternative.  It’s generic, but not a terrible look.  It’s also a pretty easy transformation, and pretty fun to swap back and forth.  Spike’s also got an alt-mode…in theory.  You lay him down on his front and flip one panel over.  Boom.  He’s a…thing?  It’s a different thing, I guess?  I don’t know.  Hey, he’s pretty much an accessory; anything extra’s cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kudos go to Max for setting me up with this set.  I’m not in dire need of any of the Core Class stuff, and I was content with just the Walmart Bumblebee, but the inclusion of Spike’s exo-suit made this set a bit more worthwhile for me.  Ultimately, he’s not the star of the set, and he’s pretty basic, but the price point on this set is also low enough that it doesn’t really hurt too much to pick it up.  The Bumblebee being a nifty figure on his own helps things out too.

#2667: Soundwave & Ravage

SOUNDWAVE & RAVAGE

TRANSFORMERS: BUMBLEBEE DLX (THREEZERO)

So….remember about two weeks ago, when I was discussing the oxymoronic nature of non-transforming Transformers?  Man, aren’t they just a crazy concept that will never catch on?  Certainly I’m not going to be backing that horse any time soon, right?  …Yeah, about that… Despite only really being a moderate Transformers fan, and also recently finding myself grouped with the people that think maybe Transformers should transform, I may have well gone and bought a rather pricey non-transforming Transformer for myself.  Look, in my defense, it’s Soundwave.  Also, it’s from Bumblebee.  Exactly how was I supposed to say no?  And, while we’re all on the topic, this isn’t a completely transformation-less Transformers release, for reasons I shall get into in the review itself!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Soundwave & Ravage were released as part of ThreeZero’s Transformers DLX line, which has so far been dedicated to designs from Bumblebee.  This marks the fourth release in the line, following Bumblebee, Prime, and Blitzwing.  Soundwave’s definitely a little more of a reach than the others in terms of his role in the film, but he’s freaking Soundwave, so it’s not like it’s super hard to figure out why they’d choose to release him, and bundling in Ravage is just pretty straight forward stuff, really.  The packaging is pretty adamant about referring to both of the figures included here, but make no mistake, Soundwave’s the main deal, and Ravage is really just an accessory.  Soundwave stands about 11 1/4 inches tall and has, like, a lot of articulation.  Getting an accurate count’s kind of tricky, because so many of the joints are really just there to aid other joints in the posing process.  What I’m getting at here is that posing Soundwave is a pretty darn involved process, which requires you to really want to know how you’re posing him before jumping in.  He’s designed with lots of lifting and moving plates, in order to ensure the best posability, while also keeping him movie accurate in the sculpt department.  It takes some getting used to, and if you’re not careful you might end up with some breakage, so reading through the instructions and learning what lifts and how is a good idea.  I myself wound up accidentally popping the glue on one of his front waist panels when I moved his hip forward incorrectly, so I know first hand the need to be careful.  The figure’s sculpt is dedicated to recreating the movie-interpretation of Soundwave’s G1 design as closely as possible, and based on what I could see from his brief appearances in the film, they’ve done a very nice job of capturing that design.  His internal workings make use of some actual metal parts, which makes him both sturdy and hefty, and it’s all sort of wrapped in an outer shell made up of a lot of separate plastic plates, which are responsible for making him look all Soundwave-y.  The detailing on those plates is all very sharp and they look properly machined.  For the most part, they also stay in place very securely.  The body beneath those plates is likewise quite nicely detailed for the most part, though I was somewhat surprised to find that the internal detailing for the torso isn’t actually sculpted, and is instead a decal. I get the why, ultimately, but it does feel ever so slightly like a step down compared to the rest of the figure.  Soundwave has no alt-mode, of course, but that’s something he share’s with his movie counterpart since Soundwave, like a lot of the Cybertronians we see early in the film, wasn’t actually designed with one in mind.  That does make his lack of transformation a little less egregious than the three prior figures, I suppose.  Soundwave’s paintwork is quite impressively handled.  The base colors are nice and bright, and eye catching, and there’s quite a lot of detail that’s been put into making all of the plates and such look worn in and damaged.  There’s a lot of simulated wear and tear, and it looks quite convincing, and is quite certainly of a higher caliber than, say, Siege.  Soundwave includes a light-up feature for his visor.  You’ll need to provide two button cell batteries of your own, but it’s a very nice effect, and adds just a little extra pop to him when on display.  Soundwave is packed with a decent selection of extras.  There are quite a few extra hands, 9 of them to be exact, in fists, open gesture, open relaxed, and trigger finger pairs, and one two finger gesture hand for the left side.  He also gets a blaster rifle, a display stand, and most importantly…

…Ravage!  Soundwave wouldn’t be much good without one of his cassette buddies to keep him company, now would he?  Of course not!  Ravage got a whole bit of focus in the movie, so there was this whole fully rendered model there to use as well, so I guess that does sort of make the whole thing easier.  Ravage is about 4 inches long, and has 17 workable points of articulation.  The articulation’s not quite as involved on Ravage, largely because Ravage isn’t as posable as Soundwave.  He’s still got all the basic movement he’ll need of course, and on top of that, he’s got all the movement he needs to, what’s that, actually transform?  Wait, is there an actual Transformer here?  Why, yes there is!   For Ravage isn’t just permanently in panther mode, but is able to also be folded up into the movie’s approximation of a cassette mode.  Said cassette mode can be stored in Soundwave’s chest compartment, as seen in the movie.  The transformation’s a little bit nerve wracking, if I’m honest, but I’m certainly glad it’s there, and it gives both Ravage and Soundwave a little bit of extra fun factor when messing around with them.  To help facilitate this transformation, Ravage also gets a few accessories of his own, as the side mounted rockets and the cannon for his back are removable parts which can be added to the figure when he’s in panther mode.  Pretty dope.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It all started a little over a year ago, back before Transformers R.E.D. was even a thing on my mind, and therefore a thing that was well and truly getting me thinking about non-transforming Transformers.  We’d seen the first three DLX figures, and they were certainly cool, but not enough for me to really jump on the bandwagon.  Then Soundwave got shown off, and Jason from All Time Toys was looking at possibly placing an order, but really only if I was interested in picking one up.  I’m no stranger to high-end toys, but I’d not yet jumped down this particular rabbit hole with Transformers.  But…it was Soundwave, and it was also like a year away, so I had plenty of time to save up for him.  Good thing, too, since that year was 2020, and, well, we all know how that went.  Needless to say, he arrived, and I was quite happy to finally pick him up.  He’s definitely very different from anything else I own Transformers-wise, but I was definitely expecting that.  He’s certainly more collectible than toy, and isn’t really meant for fidgeting with the same way as other Transformers, but I still had a lot of fun messing with him once I took him out of the box, and he’s a tremendously impressive piece when sitting on the shelf.  I certainly wasn’t expecting to have *two* non-transforming Soundwaves in the space of a month, but worse things have certainly happened.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2543: Blitzwing

BLITZWING

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

“Blitzwing interrogates Bumblebee about the whereabouts of the Autobots”

Bumblebee fell into the same sort of territory as X-Men: First Class and Batman Begins, as a film that was really a reboot, but was pitched as prequel of sorts to a prior series of movies, just in case it didn’t quite work out in its own right.  Since it was designed as a prequel, most of its characters needed to be characters not already used in the pre-existing franchise films, resulting in a slightly more eclectic selection.  Rather than one of the more prominent jet Decepticons, like, say, Starscream, the film instead made use of the slightly less prominent Blitzwing, a former triple-changer repurposed into Bumblebee’s first foe, who bears an uncanny resemblance to another robot with a real history of being all back-stabby.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Blitzwing is figure 65 in the Studio Series line-up.  He’s a Voyager Class release, part of Wave 10, alongside Constructicon Skipjack and a re-pack of Scrapper.  He’s the second of the Bumblebee figures at this size, following Optimus.  Blitzwing is specifically designed to pair off with the previously released Offroad Bumblebee, as they both feature in the same sequence of the movie.  In his robot mode, Blitzwing stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 24 workable points of articulation.  He’s got a slightly higher articulation count than Cliffjumper, befitting his larger size.  He’s a touch more limited on range on the neck, torso, and legs, but the arms are pretty decent.  Notably, he’s got a joint in the middle of his right hand, but *not* his left.  This facilitates him being able to pick up Bumblebee as in the movie, but it’s kind of odd it’s only on one hand.  Presumably, it didn’t cost out for both hands.  Blitzwing’s mold is an all-new affair, and it’s honestly not quite as solid a recreation of his film design as some of the other more recent Bumblebee figures.  He’s not *majorly* off, but his general robot mode appearance is a little more clunky and rudimentary than the film’s design. The torso in particular is a fair bit boxier than the movie appeance.  Probably not aiding in his accuracy in robot mode is his alt-mode.  In the film, Blitzwing turns into an F-4 Phantom II, but much like Shatter, Blitzwing’s alt-mode isn’t an officially licensed recreation.  So, he’s a bit of an approximation of things…sort of.  It looks about the same if you squint, I guess.  At the very least, it has a pretty good, generic “fighter jet” sort of feel about it.  To the untrained eye, it’s really not bad.  The transformation process is also a pretty intuitive one again, making it a pretty easy, and not too fiddly transformation.  Also, no really obvious undercarriages either, which is always a plus.  Blitzwing is packed with both a gun arm attachment and a spike blade to swap out for his hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much like Cliffjumper, Blitzwing is one of those figures I’ve been hoping to get since pretty much as soon as I saw the film.  Then began the waiting game until he was actually released, which only ramped up after I’d gotten the Jeep Bumblebee.  Ultimately, he’s not quite as sleek or polished as some of the others I’ve picked up recently, but he’s still pretty strong, and certainly a fun figure in his own right.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2542: Cliffjumper

CLIFFJUMPER

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

 

The Bumblebee movie did a lot to actually get me invested in Transformers movies (and honestly Transformers as a whole).  While the film proper has a pretty streamlined core cast of characters, and we still got a lot of very G1-sequel designs, and a couple a really cool smaller roles for some fan favorites.  I’m a pretty big Cliffjumper fan, and I’ve always been really fascinated by his reputation as a Bumblebee repaint, so seeing him pop up with a small but important role was really nifty.  Him getting a figure out of it?  Even better.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cliffjumper is figure 64 in Hasbro’s Transformers Studio Series line.  He’s a Deluxe Class offering, hitting in the same assortment as RotF Soundwave, Topspin, and refreshes of jet Shatter and Jeep Bumblebee.  He’s also the seventh Bumblebee-based figure to join the line.  In his robot mode, the figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 16 workable points of articulation.  At his core, Cliffjumper is based on the same body as Jeep Bumblebee.  Given the similarities between the film models for the  two of them, it’s not a huge shock, nor is it a bad idea on Hasbro’s part.   It certainly helps that Jeep Bumblebee was a really good figure in his own right, so I really don’t mind seeing those parts again.  He gets a health helping of new parts to differentiate him, the most obvious being the head, of course, which is a good match for his film model.  He also gets a new chest plate, as well as some other tweaked exterior panels.  These are largely to accommodate his new alt model.  Rather than a Jeep or Beetle, Cliff turns into a Cybertronian car of some sort.  We don’t actually see Cliff in his alt mode in the film, so he’s actually using Bumblebee’s from the opening scene.  Given the similarities between their robot modes, the two presumably share a Cybertronian mode in-universe, and this is a good way of getting both the mode and the character in the line.  I’m curious if we’ll see it re-decoed into Bee as well.  Whatever the case, it’s a pretty decent transformation, and like Bumblebee, it’s not too fiddly.   Cliffjumper is packed with the same blaster attachment as Bumblebee, which works out pretty well for him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The oddity that is my ability to fixate on small things I want toys or meant that I pretty much wanted a Cliffjumper as soon as seeing his scene in the film.  I wasn’t really expecting a quick turnaround or anything, and I didn’t really get one, so that’s good.  It’s nice to actually have him in figure form.  Sure, he’s not  exactly innovative or anything, but he’s fun, and I’m glad to have him fill out the cast.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2379: Offroad Bumblebee

OFFROAD BUMBLEBEE

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

“Bumblebee goes toe-to-toe with Blitzwing in a canyon-shaking battle.”

Okay, let’s wrap up this week of Transformers reviews with two things Ethan’s actually got a handle on: Bumblebee and Jeeps.  Over the course of Bumblebee, the title character picks up a few different alt-modes.  While the one that sticks for most of the film’s run time is Bee’s classic VW Beetle mode, his first mode upon arriving on Earth is a Jeep that he scans while evading Agent Burns and Sector 7.  I’m a bit of a Jeep geek, so I was certainly hoping to see this variant pop up in at least one of the toylines.  Given that Bee’s the main character, it’s not a huge shock that one eventually surfaced, and as part of the Studio Series to boot!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Offroad Bumblebee (who I’ve been affectionately referring to as Bumblejeep) is figure 57 in the Studio Series line-up.  Like Dropkick and Shatter, Bee is a Deluxe Class release, and hit shelves alongside the aforementioned Shatter, as well as Roadbuster from Dark of the Moon.  Bumblebee has been one of the most frequent characters in the Studio Series, with this particular version being his seventh unique variation in the line.  As I noted in the intro, he’s based on the scene where Bee arrives on Earth and tries to escape Sector 7, and ultimately ends up battling Blitzwing.  In his robot mode, Bee stands just shy of 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  Like Shatter, the overall articulation count’s a bit lower here, but in Bee’s case, the joints all have a pretty impressive range, so he’s got a lot of posing capability.  That said, the hips are a bit loose on mine, so that’s something to keep and eye on.  In my figure’s case, it doesn’t have an impact on his ability to stay standing, though, so I’m not horribly bothered by it.  At a casual glance, you might expect this figure to use a healthy helping of parts from the VW Bee, but Bumblejeep is an all-new, far more film accurate sculpt.  His scaling is a little better relative to at leas the other Bee film figures, and he loses a lot of the extraneous pieces (notably the door wings) which were present on the prior figure.  In general, he’s just a very accurate recreation of Bee’s model from the movie, and is a far more solidly constructed figure in his robot mode.  He includes a blaster attachment for his arm (which works pretty much the same way as Shatter’s, rather than being a whole swapped out thing like the previous Bee), which is cool.  He does *not* include an arm blade or his battle-mask.  The blade’s okay, because he can actually use the one from the VW release, but the mask is a bit of a shame, since that’s not a piece that’s cross-compatible, and he actually made prominent use of the mask during the scenes with this mode.  Bee’s alt-mode for this release is a fully-licensed Jeep (as you can tell by the properly shaped grill and headlights).  It’s a far less fiddly transformation than the VW one, and the final product stays together a bit better.  It was still a little tricky to get everything to tab together just right, but the actual transformation process itself really wasn’t bad.  The only downside to the final product is how obvious those arms are under the vehicle, but the had to go somewhere, I suppose.  They’re on balljoints, so you could remove them if they really bother you.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I said in the intro, this is a design I’ve wanted in toy form since I saw the movie, because I just really like Jeeps.  I was really excited when this guy was shown off, and he was at the top of my list for upcoming Studio Series figures.  I was admittedly a little bummed when All Time only got in Shatter for the time being, but I managed to stumble across this guy while on a supply run to Target, which made me quite happy.  He’s easily my favorite Studio Series release to date, and I may actually be trying to track down a second, because I really want both modes on display.

#2343: Dropkick

DROPKICK

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

While Siege has so far been my primary focus of my Transformers collecting, the thing that actually broke me into this whole Transformers scene was 2018’s Bumblebee, a really enjoyable soft reboot of the movie incarnation of the franchise.  I kicked off my collecting with the film’s version of its main character, and over the summer I picked up the movie’s updated version of Optimus Prime, and now, another seven months later, I picked up a third figure.  This time, it’s one of the film’s two primary antagonists, Dropkick!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dropkick is a Deluxe Class-sized Studio Series offering, and is figure 46 in the line-up.  In the film, Dropkick and his fellow antagonist Shatter are triple-changers.  That’s all well and good for the film, which uses multiple models for the characters, or even the more cartoon-based toy lines, where they can fudge some details.  However, for the Studio Series, which prides itself on the accuracy of the alt-modes, that’s a more than slightly tricky prospect.  In that regard, the line splits Dropkick into two distinct figure, one that turns into his car mode, and one that turns into his helicopter mode.  This one is the car mode version, which is actually technically screen accurate, since Dropkick is just a car for a brief portion of the film, before he acquires the helicopter mode.  In his robot mode, the figure is just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 15 workable points of articulation.  He’s a little more restricted in terms of poseability than some of the other ‘formers I’ve looked at, but he’s still got enough to get some decent poses out of him.  Dropkick’s robot mode is a pretty decent recreation of his pre-triple-changer form. It’s not accurate to how he looks for most of the movie, but it’s certainly a lot closer than the Helicopter Dropkick figure was.  Dropkick’s alt-mode is a 1973 AMC Javelin muscle car, and the transformation into it is actually a pretty smooth process, honestly the smoothest of the Studio Series figures I’ve picked up so far.  Typically my Studio Series figures only get transformed into their vehicle modes so that I can get the photos and then go back to their robot modes essentially permanently, but I’ve been swapping Dropkick back and forth since getting him, which is a pretty good sign of the alt mode’s strengths.  Dropkick is packed with his liquifying cannon, which his hand folds out of the way for, allowing it to be arm-mounted like it is in the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I did really like Bumblebee, I’ve been slowly picking up some of its toys, which, I know is a crazy concept for me.  I saw Helicopter Dropkick many times, but I didn’t really care for the changes they made to his robot mode, so I always passed on him.  When this one was announced, I was interested, but I never ended up seeing one in person.  Fortunately for me, one got traded in at All Time, making picking him up quite an easy feat.  I like this figure quite a bit, and it’s probably the most I’ve enjoyed a Studio Series figure, which is certainly not a bad thing.

As I noted above,  I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys, and while he wasn’t part of it, they’ve recently acquired a pretty decently sized Transformers collection and a lot of it’s still available here If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2116: Optimus Prime

OPTIMUS PRIME

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

Okay, so I usually do a better job of spacing out the Transformers reviews, but…well, I have a lot of Transformers these days, and they’re piling up ever so slightly.  I know, what a terrible problem I have.  How can I free myself of the terrible shackles that are this problem?  And how in god’s name do I now own three separate Optimus Prime figures?  That’s the realest question right there.  For today’s review, I’m going back to the thing that broke me into Transformers in the first place: Bumblebee.  I picked up the title character in his movie form, but had as of yet not gotten anyone else, preferring to stick with the Siege stuff for the most part.  Nevertheless, here I am looking at another Optimus Prime figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Optimus Prime is a Voyager Class release, as part of the Transformers: Studio Series line-up, where he’s figure 38.  He started hitting shelves right around April/March, arriving with the comparatively far less in-demand Constructicon Rampage.  In his robot mode, the figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 22 practical points of articulation.  Optimus is an all-new sculpt and is certainly heavily inspired by his G1-based design from the film’s opening battle on Cybertron.  He’s not a pitch-perfect recreation of the final film design, generally being a little boxier than the one seen on the screen, but he’s not too far removed, and it’s certainly clear which version they’re going for, especially in the robot mode.  Where the Siege Optimus was going for an animation accurate model, this one instead serves more to upgrade the original toy, albeit with some more movie-ized details, making him look a fair bit more “real-world.”  He’s not as clean or sleek as the Siege Optimus, and he has a few more spots of kibble, with the back and forearms being the most prominent.  The back doesn’t bug me quite so much, but the forearms are a little frustrating, especially since they aren’t as clean as the corresponding kibble on the Siege figure, and they have a tendency to start unfolding during posing.  That being said, the overall appearance of the robot mode is pretty cool, and he makes for a solid action figure.  Optimus’ alt-mode is the source of even more inaccuracy compared to the film because while Bumblebee turned into an officially-licensed VW Beetle, Optimus instead settles for an unlicensed equivalent to the Freightliner he turns into in the film.  It’s not quite accurate, but it’s admittedly not a bad design all things considered.  Additionally, while it’s definitely very fiddly and packed with false shell pieces for the final mode, the transformation’s not too bad on this one, making transforming back and forth pretty easy going.  Optimus is packed with his Ion Blaster he’s seen using in the opening battle, which is a nicely scaled piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, this Optimus is officially my “patience is a virtue” Optimus.  As one of the most demanded and sought after Studio Series releases, this guy came and went pretty quickly at All Time Toys, my usual spot for Transformers.  As such, I didn’t get one at the time of release, and in fact gave up the chance to grab a re-stock later down the line so that another customer could have him.  When a loose figure was traded into the store a few weeks back, the owner handed him over and said “your patience paid off.  Happy Birthday,” and just like that, I had an Optimus.  Like I noted when I reviewed Galaxy Force Optimus, the Siege Voyager remains my go-to, but there’s a lot I like about this figure.

#1981: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS: BUMBLEBEE (HASBRO)

Alright, I’m gonna level with your guys: you might want to get comfortable with the Transformers reviews.  Because there’s probably going to be a substantial uptick in them going forward. Read them at your own peril.  It’s okay, though, because I’m going to ease everyone into them, you see.  I’m not just jumping into Transformers willy-nilly. I’m going to be placing a lot of focus on the one Transformer that’s not odd to see around these parts: Soundwave!  Yes, he’s without a doubt my favorite Transformer, and as with all of my favorite characters, I’d like perhaps to own every version of him.  A man can dream.  And chipping away at that dream is today’s figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave is part of the overarching Transformers: Bumblebee line that came out of December’s Bumblebee film, in which Soundwave made a brief appearance.  He’s from the Energon Ignighters Power Plus Series‘ third wave, which just started showing up in the last month or so.  It features this guy here, alongside Autobot Ironhide.  He’s ostensibly based on Soundwave’s look in the film, but it’s a much looser interpretation than others.  I’ll touch on that in a moment.  Unlike most of the Transformers I’ve looked at on this site, where it’s a robot figure that turns into a vehicle, this one is kind of an inversion.  The vehicle mode is the real focus, with the robot mode there as more of a gimmick.  In the film, Soundwave doesn’t have a vehicle mode (that we know of), so this one makes one up for him, settling on a van that’s actually a pretty sensible choice if you don’t want to go for the classic cassette player, since it still kind of keeps that music theme going.  It fits the overall retro feel of the rest of the Bumblebee stuff, to be sure.  In van mode, Soundwave measures 4 1/2 inches long, 2 inches wide, and 2 inches tall.  All four wheels are actual, working wheels, and the back doors of the van are designed to spring open when the top of the van is pressed down, revealing some impressive looking speakers.  Paint on the van-mode is mostly pretty sparse, but he does have a decal in particular that I love: the mural on the side.  It features a cheesy ’70s-esque painting of a jaguar and a bird, homaging Soundwave’s usual companions, Ravage and Laserbeak, which I just think is the coolest thing.  Soundwave includes an “Energon Ignighter” piece, which is the gimmick for the whole line.  It drops into place through the roof of the van, activating the spring-loaded doors and allowing for a motorized pull and release movement.  Fitting with the overall theme of this release, the ignighter is shaped like a boombox, which is another fun touch.  Soundwave’s transition from van to robot is a fairly simple process, largely consisting of turning him over so that you can see the hidden robot that was under the van.  His appearance is certainly inspired by the classic Soundwave look, just like the movie, but I can’t really say the two designs are all that close.  If I had to guess, I’d say he was probably patterned after early designs for the character.  Whatever the case, he’s still pretty recognizeable as Soundwave, which is the important thing.  He’s not particularly poseable; you can pretty much only move him at the elbows, though there’s some slight shifting to be had in the shoulders as well.  Like I said, the robot’s not really the main focus of this release; he’s more a gimmick than anything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: this is Max’s fault.  No, really, I swear it is.  See, he preordered one of these for himself on Amazon, but then found one in-store, and decided to grab that, but was unable to cancel his order.  So, boom: extra Soundwave.  Shame he doesn’t know anyone who would want a Soundwave… In actuality, I had actually wanted to track one of these down, because I dug that sweet van art.  It’s gimmicky, and not going to be anyone’s #1 version or anything, but for a Soundwave fan like me, he’s a fun addition to the collection.

#1932: Bumblebee

BUMBLEBEE

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.