For years, Bumblebee has been the friendly point of contact by which a human character enters the world of Transformers. He used to be a tubby little guy, before evolving into slightly different forms, colors, and characters. The idea of a yellow Autobot (or hero) has been central to most subsequent franchise turns (Cheetor, Hot Shot) with Bumblebee generally being some sort of rounded, vaguely cuddly character. In recent years IDW has given the entire cast a New 52/Ultimate facelift and Bumblebee gets to be a new sports car that has slightly more in common with the movie aesthetic than the block-o-tron look that was chic in 1984.
The 5-inch tall robot has about 16 meaningful points of articulation and has no problems standing or holding his weapons - it's a miracle! The character is intact, but the thinner look gives a much sleeker robot with a flatter face than you may be used to. A silver chest with a red Autobot symbol is flanked by two black stripes, which is basically par for the course since the movie in 2007. Fake tail lights on the figure's feet are a nice touch, recalling parts of the car mode that aren't actually there. The rear bumper hangs off the robot mode knees. It's a strange - but charming - design decision.
Bumblebee's head looks like a mix of the original cartoon design and some of IDW's recent aesthetics (read: Drift) - the vents on the side of the head combined with the painted silver crest give the toy a slightly more serious and less chubby look. These areas seem slightly more pronounced and a little darker when put against the bright yellow plastic, so while this toy reeks of Bumblebee I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the body repurposed with custom heads into other, new creations someday.
The "wings" and increasingly bug-like look strikes me as strange given most non-movie takes on the character, but the evolution resulted in a pretty nice toy. The robot doesn't do much other than stand there so you can pose him, but that's what most collectors seem to want these days. His stingers can be combined into a large weapon, held in his fists, or mounted on his forearms. You've got options, is what I'm saying.
I transformed this guy without cracking open the instructions and the toy was, in my sample, pretty much free of frustration. It was easy to figure out and there were no "I'm going to break this by accident or smash it with a rock" moments of frustration preventing me from getting the most out of the toy shortly after cracking him open. It's fun, it's satisfying. You'll like it.
The vehicle mode is acceptable - it looks nice, and you can plug the stingers into it. The car mode seems a little tricky on my sample, because sometimes the robot chest plate drags on the ground in car mode. The wheels roll, but not terribly well - there's a higher amount of friction on the rear wheels. The front wheels spin quite nicely and are mounted on a metal axel, while the back wheels are just plugged into place and are functionally slightly better than being ornamental. (This has been happening a lot lately.) Still, for most adult buyers the car's ability to roll around on a table isn't the selling point.
While I had absolutely no desire to own another toy of this character, I can say it's a fun chunk of plastic to futz with on the couch. There's nothing particularly remarkable about it, but these days any time you can transform a toy without having to engage brute force or experience frustration at panels not fitting together precisely, it's generally a worthwhile purchase. You don't need another Bumblebee, but I'm pretty certain that you'll enjoy this one.
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