With no Decepticons on deck, the Transformers Metallic Bumblebee figure - along with Optimus Prime - seem to be about all we're getting in terms of molds for this line. There are some clever colorways, but the Cliffjumper and Bugbite figures haven't made it out yet - or maybe never will. The figure borrows heavily from the cartoon design of the 1980s, with a big, friendly face and blue eyes on top of a somewhat eerie skewed robot smile that has more in common with Hasbro's current logo than anything I remember from the show.
With 3 points of articulation there's not a lot to him beyond deco. The body is supremely inspired by the animation design with his boxy black shoulders and VW-inspired feet. The head is a little rounder than the chunky, angular head seen on the original cartoon but it does look good for this format of figure. The limbs all move nicely, and there's no gun to lose. Were this not an expensive toy with high-quality paints for collectors, kids that aren't disgusted with the classic show would probably dig this. It's a nifty sculpt.
While the deco on most of the other figures is good, this one can be rounded up to excessive. They did a bang-up job with metallic yellow fading in and out to a silvery color, plus every piece of the toy is slathered in pigment. The feet have silver bumpers and wheels, the fists fade into the yellow arms, and the windows are a decent grey color - the only thing that could be better is some sort of reflective window tint or the blue of the cartoon. The overkill comes from the panel lines. While they do help bring out some detail, they seem a little blotchy in spots and almost feel like an afterthought. When hand-painting mass-produced art toys, this sort of thing is bound to happen - it looked a little cleaner on the promo images, and I should note those lacked an Autobot symbol on his chest. This has one. It also has a unique back sculpt design which matches the original toy from 1984 a bit.
Optimus felt like some weird lost relic, and Bumblebee seems like a modern incarnation of some lost relic. It's good - but the head sculpt and panel lines do make it feel like a more modern take on a classic cartoon character. Some toy elements are included, but this is clearly a tribute to the fun attitude that the show seems to have passed on to its fans. Little details like silver knuckles make it far better than it needs to be, which is good given the price point. On the other hand, if I could make those panel lines go away, I totally would. For cheaper secondary market prices this is a no-brainer - $20 or less, and you're a fool to skip it. At $30, give it a thought - $50 for this particular model is pretty pricey, but given that I don't know what the future holds for this kind of product it might just be worth it. My sample has a small hair scratch on the face and a tiny speck on the side of the head, so you might want to spring the extra few bucks and buy one in person to ensure it's the best. Unless you're just going to repaint it, in which case, go nuts.
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