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Classics Bumblebee Reviewed by Thunderscream
Don't Call Him "Goldbug"

The name "Bumblebee" is almost as synonymous with Transformers as Optimus Prime, Starscream, or Megatron are. Yet for the past two decades the name has been relatively absent from toy lines, any new figure limited to re-issues of his G1 incarnation. The 2006 Classics series brings the character back to a mainstream series and with style.


Altmode: Car

For this incarnation, Bumblebee's vehicle mode is one that has been identified as a Peugeot Xsara, though it's my opinion that he most resembles a tricked-out PT-Cruiser. His primary color is a bright shade of yellow with a pair of white stripes running from his windshield down his hood and ending above the radiator grill. There's a smaller set right in line with the first that runs from the bottom of his grill down to the end of his fender. There is a pair of small white stripes on his roof which bend at right angles away from each other, a white diagonal stripe on the back of each door, and a large splash on his rear wheel wells, trunk, rear bumper and the top of his spoiler. The radiator grill, spoiler braces, and hubcaps are all colored silver, the tires and trailer hook are molded in black plastic, and the vents under his front bumper are sculpted in gray plastic.

The car is fairly nondescript but there are a few features that are worth mentioning. His headlight covers have been molded out of clear plastic' a nice attribute usually reserved for the Alternators figures though these are not nearly as detailed. A look inside through his windows reveals a pair of seats molded in black with silver painted on the sides and headrest. There's not much else regarding details of the interior, but one can't expect a toy of this size have the same quality of an Alternator or Masterpiece figure. Perhaps most notably is the re-appearance of heat-sensitive stamps in the line; Bumblebee's is located on his roof. Just press a finger on the sticker for a few seconds, then remove and the Autobot insignia appears. This is the only way of telling which side he's on other than looking at his packaging as there are no insignias painted or sculpted on him anywhere. The vehicle mode's fairly clean in appearance; other than what's seen through the windows, there's no excess kibble that gives him away as a "robot in disguise." The only possible way of that happening is if he's turned over on his roof and since most folks presumably wouldn't display him in that manner it's not worth complaining about.

I do have a few small issues with this form. Considering that the manufacturers took the time to put clear parts in for his headlights, one would think they could have done the same for his tail lights. No luck there; those have simply been painted on. He rolls well over carpet and *most* smooth surfaces but his wheels have a tendency to stick when pushing him over certain surfaces. The heat stamp on my version is a little big for the "bump" it's affixed to and can be peeled off with ease. A smoother roof could have fixed both problems. *Note: reports of a variant with a larger vent knob to fit the rub sticker have begun to surface, so it's clear that Hasbro is aware of the problem and is fixing it. It is safe to assume that the upcoming Cliffjumper repaint will also bear this change.


Transformation

You'll definitely need the instructions the first time you transform him but afterwards it'll be a piece of cake. The process from vehicle to robot is smooth, simple, and uncomplicated, with none of his parts getting in the way. You may need the directions at least once to change him back but otherwise it's easy enough to do without them.


Robot Mode

Bumblebee stands a little over 4 inches in robot mode; five if one includes his "hunchback". He still bears most of his colors from his car mode; but now he has black showing on his upper arms, shoulders, legs, and fists. His forearms are a light shade of gray, his face is silver, and he has three small blue squares, one over each shoulder and a smaller one inside the crest on his helmet. His eyes appear to have been made from clear plastic parts, which is a nice touch.

If there are doubts about the identity of this character while in car form, the designers made certain it will be gone once the robot within was revealed. His head is a near perfect reproduction of Bumblebee's cranium as it appeared in the original animated series; it even bears his trademark horns on his helmet. His mouth seems to have been etched into a small, one might say sly, grin, like he just got away with the Decepticons' deepest, darkest secrets. It's an interesting little "Easter egg" that I believe is appropriate for him since he is supposed to be the Autobots' scout and spy.

Bumblebee has at least twelve points of articulation in this form. His head can turn from side to side and move up and down, his arms can swivel at the shoulders and bend at the elbows, his legs can swing at the hips, the knees bend and the shins can swivel from just below the knees. It's a bit of disappointing that his fists can't turn as well, probably because his doors are set on a rotating brace that aid in his transformation. In addition, the car seats and the hood come together at the knee and as such interfere with the movement of this joint. This could have easily been fixed had the seats been able to fold up under his chest piece but a there's tab behind them prevents them from doing so, no doubt to help hold their position when Bumblebee is in vehicle mode. In addition, while the clear optics is an interesting feature, it might have been better had they been molded from a piece that also went to the back of the head so that they could glow when held up against a light source.


Accessories

Bumblebee comes packed with a small flatbed trailer with a Jet Ski attached to its top. The trailer itself is colored gray with wheels that are the same color as those on Bumblebee himself. The Jet Ski is white with an orange stripe on the nose and orange spray around the rear of the seat, which is painted black. There's a clear "window" on his steering brace; a feature I've not noticed on any real life examples. A small hole in the front tip of the trailer allows for it to attach to the small hook in Bumblebee's back bumper so he can tow it anywhere he wants to go, most likely Maryland's Ocean City.

The trailer is able to transform as well and the process is simpler than on a Titanium figure - all it basically does is unfold. Once that's done, you can attach the piece to Bumblebee's "hunchback" via the Jet Ski. A serious collector might scratch his head and wonder what purpose this serves however kids (and kids at heart) would see it as a fancy jet pack, a weapons platform, even a high tech sensor relay, or perhaps all of the above. Transforming this piece back can be a bit confusing as it's easy to mistransform it; if the wings aren't turned exactly right, the braces fold in behind the trailer instead of under as they should.

It's an interesting and fun little accessory, but nitpicker that I am, it might have been nice if they could have found some way to turn this into Bumblebee's gun. Unlike his deluxe counterparts, he comes with no obvious weapon of his own, leaving poor Bumblebee in the awkward position to have to ask if he can borrow one from someone else. He can use just about any weapon from any post-Armada figure but he just seems naked without one of his own, to paraphrase the infamous Rattrap.


Final Thoughts

Bumblebee is a fine entry into the Classics line and despite the obvious flaws and general nitpicking it's good to have a new figure of him after so long. I highly recommend you pick him up; I'm glad that I did.

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