Alternate Mode: Sports Car
Height: 4cm Length: 17cm Width: 5.5cm
A small model sports car not dissimilar to the original VW Beetle. This is a more or less realistic sports car - far more so than the super deformed original. Whilst I'm not sure if this version is based on any particular model of car, there are elements that remind me of both the new Mini Cooper and the new VW Beetle - which helps this car work as Bumblebee. It's no surprise that this car is yellow, although the white rear end is perhaps unexpected. The windows are colourless plastic, the side windows are absent (wound down, I guess) and the headlights are also colourless plastic. There's a G1 style rubsign on top of his roof and red painted taillights. While the colour scheme isn't as simple as the original's, it's more vibrant and interesting.
Bumblebee comes with his own trailer - something we associate with trucks rather than sports cars. It's a small silver tray with black plastic wheels which are similar to the car's wheels but smaller. The trailer carries an orange and white jetski, which is permanently attached. The jetski is actually there to anchor as a backpack, which is why it's fixed in place. The trailer can be left aside if you prefer, it detaches from the tow bar without any drama, and the robot mode will still work without it.
There are no gimmicks in car mode, which I don't mind since Bumblebee is able to focus on being a car, without the need for slots or buttons. The play value is minimal - the six wheels all roll and the trailer can detach, but that's it. The level of detail is good, with stuff such as painted seats, pinstripes on the sides and pseudo-globes within the headlights. While this car might not offer too much play value, the details remind of G1, which is a good thing.
Somewhat simple yet elegant, Bumblebee feels like an update of the character. The car looks pretty good even if there's little play value. The trailer is kind of random, really, but can be easily left aside. The colours are more than we're used to, but work well enough.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Unclip the trailer and set aside. Pull out the doors, flip underneath the car, which will cause the rear wheels to pivot away, revealing the shoulders. Fold back the roof and rear, flip out the tow bar, swing the back of the car down until it clicks into place. Fold the roof back down to form his chest and flip out the head. Fold down the seats to form thighguards, pivot up the front of the car to form his feet, split the legs. Position his arms, rotate the doors and clip into the outsides of his forearms. Lastly, fold out the base of the trailer to form wings, clip the backpack onto his back and you're done.
Height: 13.5cm Width: 14.5cm
A yellow and black robot with some silver highlights that's instantly recognisable as Bumblebee. His boots, head and chest are yellow while his upper arms and fists are black. His thighs and forearms are silver, along with the face and wings. While the wings are something new for this character, the roof as his chest and front as the feet are traditional. The head and face are also very recognisable as Bumblebee. The colour scheme works well, the addition of silver keeps him aesthetically interesting without detracting from the tribute.
The rubsign, now central on his chest, is Bumblebee's only allegiance symbol. Visually this robot mode works very well, with quite a few car elements present. Along with the traditional chest and boots, the doors form armguards on the outside of his forearms, while the wings above his head are quite obviously the trailer, with wheels still visible on the front. Additionally, the thighguards, whilst still visibly the seats, have mechanical moulding visible.
Unusually for a modern Transformer, Bumblebee lacks a weapon. This is both unusual and faithful to the original toy. His fists do have standard holes, so Bumblebee could borrow another Classics weapon. Despite the lack of weaponry, Bumblebee is quite poseable. His ankles and knees are hinged, the latter also sport rotators. His hips, elbows and shoulders are ball jointed, along with the head (although the last one is very restricted). The only notable omission is the waist - it would have been possible to give Bumblebee a movable waist, but the joint would be fragile and with a single torso plate (the roof) there wouldn't really be much point.
An attractive robot mode that really works as an updated Bumblebee, to the extent that the lack of a weapon isn't much of an issue. The colours and layout work well for the character whilst the addition of grey and some finer details provide a modern toy. We've never had such a poseable Bumblebee toy, and while he's not quite traditional, you can leave the wings off if you prefer. My only complaint is that it would have been possible (and welcome) for the backpack to detach and double as a handheld weapon.
Takara's Henkai version does not a white rear section. Classics Cliffjumper is a repaint of Bumblebee.
A fairly straightforward toy without any gimmicks, Bumblebee focuses on being a good Transformer with two attractive modes. Granted, we don't get much play value but the robot mode is poseable and the trailer quite innovative. The colours, layout and choice of vehicle mode work well for Bumblebee, while the overall design is a nice mixture of new technology with G1 style - 9/10