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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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numbat's review: Human Alliance Bumblebee

Name: Bumblebee & Sam Witwicky
Allegiance: Autobot & Human
Sub-Group: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Human Alliance Wave 1

Rarely do I buy a Transformers figure there and then on impulse (and without shopping around for the best price). But, when I saw Human Alliance Bumblebee, I caved – he looked so awesome! And I bought him.

But let’s backtrack – why hadn’t I checked out this toy online? Why wasn’t he firmly on my budget-driven Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (ROTF) purchase list? Well…

Human Alliance anyone? The little leaked info or official press for this class of figure that I had seen suggested to me that it was similar to the 2007 Movie Screen Battles sets – Deluxe Class figures with tiny humans (glorified army-men). This new class would certainly have benefited from better publicity, as this is far from the mark. In actuality, Human Alliance figures are massive – Ultra Class equivalent – robots with 2½” (6.5cm) tall articulated human action figures!

And I cannot express how much fun Bumblebee is! Everyone is talking about Leader Class Optimus Prime being the real highlight of the ROTF line (although his complexity may limit his overall appeal). Human Alliance Bumblebee stands equal to Leader Class Optimus Prime for me – he is easily one of the best Transformers I have ever had the good fortune to own (and, although he is exceptionally movie accurate, with a nifty transformation, he does not share Prime’s complexity issues).

This is the definitive movie Bumblebee!


Alternate Mode:

As for half of the previous film, Bumblebee transforms in to a Fifth Generation modified (now 2010) Camaro. The front end has been redesigned to ‘more closely match the production model’ (although I actually think the production model more closely resembles the previous design…), and the bonnet now sports a sleek air intake, but he is otherwise identical to the Fifth Generation ‘2008’ Camaro in the original Movie.

The Camaro measures 7¼” (18.5cm) which puts it in at pretty much exactly 1/26 scale. That means he displays well alongside Alternators and Binaltech, as well as Leader Class Optimus Prime (either film release). (And Sam does fit inside Binalts – some better than others though…).

Bumblebee is very nicely detailed, and well proportioned. The moulded detail is highly realistic, down to the fuel cap, embossed ‘CAMARO’ on either side (painted silver), and Chevy emblems (black, with red outline on front, gold on rear). The real lights are all painted red, while the front lights are silver. Both door handles are also painted silver. The only niggle on the outside of the car is that part of the rear window framework has not been painted yellow, and remains transparent blue, as with the windows.

Oh, and, of course, Bumblebee is mostly yellow, with black detailing, silver alloys, transparent blue windows and black racing stripes.

The doors open – in this case deliberately, and not just as part of the transformation!

The interior is not as realistic as a Binalt. The seats are bright yellow, as is the steering wheel. And , for that matter, the steering wheel is as far as controls go. But, it’s a great improvement over Deluxe figures, where arms, legs, heads or other body parts are visible through the windows! And, of course, Sam can be seated inside – but more detail on interaction with the Sam figure is provided later in this review.

The main negative to the Camaro mode are the robot feet. Unfortunately, the front of the feet protrude beneath the rear of the car. It’s a shame, as these could have been designed to fold up, parallel to the underside of the car – but, then, robot mode stability may have suffered. Also, the missiles are stored beneath the doors, and can been seen on the underside. Still, this is hardly noticeable, and you don’t have to store the missiles. However, I am always a fan of Transformers that allow you to store weapons and ammunition in the alternate mode, so I’m rather pleased!

The Camaro mode is fantastic – there is certainly no better toy of this car in the Transformers Universe! And it will fit nicely on a shelf, amongst Binalts or Movie figures, with Sam inside!


Robot Mode:

As mentioned, Bumblebee has a totally new transformation. While not particularly difficult, it is extremely well engineered (watch those car front parts – they’re spring-loaded, and can be fiddly until you get the hang of them! Do take them out early though, as it makes the arm transformation much easier!), and results in practically no kibble (bar the car roof and windows which fold neatly on his back, and those somewhat irritating seats that hang off his arms…). Unmentioned on his instructions is the fact that there is an additional joint in the door-wings that allow you to angle them as desired, and that the panel that reveals his head can be folded back down afterwards (resulting in a far more film accurate configuration – at long last lacking that piece backing the head that has so long cursed poor Bumblebee!). I note that the arm panels could be folded down also (not mentioned in the instructions), but that the movie CGI model actually has these, so it’s more accurate to keep them up/

Bumblebee stands a cool 8¼” (21cm) tall in robot mode (from toe to door-wing). And he is awesome! How many times can I say awesome in one review?

I normally go overboard with my detailed descriptions of figures, but that would take way too much text this time. Instead, suffice it to say, this figure is extremely film accurate and nicely detailed. The head sculpt speaks for the rest of the figure – it is phenomenally detailed! Two shades of metallic grey are used on the face, as well as black and yellow. The eyes have exceptionally effective blue light-piping, and there’s a tiny Autobot insignia printed on his crest. Plus you can slide down the battle visor, just like Bee in battle (although the visor feels a little fragile)! Totally ace!

The wheels by Bumblebee’s wings even have the drive chains that’re present on almost all of the Autobots in the films.

Needless to say, Bumblebee is predominantly yellow in his robot mode as well. His chest breaks at an angle on either side, resulting in a more film accurate look than either the Deluxe toy or Ultimate Bumblebee (that Ultimate Disappointment). Gunmetal plastic is used on the legs, arm cannon and drive chains. Other details are picked out with a lighter silver. While the actual Camaro registration plate is totally hidden by the knee transformation a faux, warped registration plate is reproduced on his crotch, at the same scale as in Camaro mode. Absolutely perfect!

His right arm is permanently a cannon (with a powerful spring-loaded launcher), while his left arm has a hand with three fingers cast together on one hinge, and the thumb separate. Had the fingers been provided with a lick of yellow paint on the first section, and the thumb been cast the same colour (rather than darker gunmetal), this would be perfect. Similarly, a lick of yellow paint on a panel on each foot would make these totally film accurate (although he has the two rear ‘toes’!). Still, these are minor niggles – it’s still a great job!

Bumblebee is super articulated, and has excellent poseability. He has a limited ball joint in his neck, full range of motion in each shoulder, an additional two joints in each arm, jointed left hand, twisting waist, full motion in each hip, three more joints in each leg and a jointed ankle.

The car seats hanging from under each arm are a little frustrating, after all this effort in producing such an otherwise perfect figure – a hinge allowing these to be folded down (as on Alternator Dodge Ram Optimus Prime) would have totally solved this, and would have been so easy to include. The missile storage can be as obvious as you like (through removing the missiles and folding the holders back).

However, overall, this is a superbly detailed and bulky figure. There is no more film accurate Bumblebee figure available, and this is one heck of an achievement!

I seriously cannot express how cool this figure is! I love it!

Hasbro have finally gotten it right (for me) – they’ve dropped the annoying electronic gimmicks in favour of two great modes!


Sam Witwicky:

The 2½” (6.5cm) tall Sam action figure that comes with Bumblebee understandably lacks much detailing. Wearing jeans, a black long-sleeve t-shirt, and what could well be black and grey Adidas trainers, Sam wears a look of perpetual confusion that could double for panic. That’s fine – as these seem to be the two general states for Sam in the films. Does it look anything like Shia Labeouf? As much as any mass market 2½” (~1/28 scale, so a little small…) figure is, sure.

The figure is remarkably articulated however, with a full range of motion provided by a two joint system in each shoulder and hip (providing the motion of a ball joint, but without the danger of the tiny parts popping off), hinges in the knees, ball joint in the neck and, erm diaphragm (for the purposes of posing him in a seated position, the designers clearly had to choose between waist or midriff articulation – given one of the best things this toy can do is sit in a car, I think that they made the right call). He has sockets in his back and feet that allow him to be securely pegged into various positions on the robot mode or in the Camaro.

There are a number of ‘stations’ where Sam can interact with Bumblebee’s robot mode. These include the seats on each of his arms (one of which includes swing down guns for Sam to man) – and, thanks to the clever articulation on Bumblebee, you can swing his arms round to a natural position with these seats revealed. There is also a station behind Bumblebee’s head, with a hidden rocket launcher and guns.

At the end of the day, though, I would be happy for these ‘stations’ to be lost for better film accuracy on the arms. But I bet kids will love the features.

For me, the fun is having a wee human character that can be posed alongside the robot, or in the car, where he can be posed so as he grips the steering wheel.

Hasbro have been missing a trick for years – but they’ve finally realised it. So many of us have wanted human characters from the various TV shows to place in the Autobots (particularly G1, where so many had this possibility remaining from their Diaclone origins – although Impossible Toys have recently released unofficial G1 Spike and Sparkplug Witwicky figures to place in your G1 Autobots – or Decepticons, if they’re unlucky…). The Human Alliance line fills that niche at long last, and does it well.

Human Alliance Bumblebee is superb – get out there and buy him. Endless fun awaits! (If you can afford him – seriously, forego three Scout Class figures and buy this guy, he’s so worth it!)


Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 9 – Bumblebee’s transformation is very well thought out, and results in two excellent modes, while allowing a human action figure to be placed in the interior. Top job. I have to dock a mark for the lost opportunity of having the car seats fold down on the robot arms though – that would have made this figure absolutely perfect!
Durability: 9 – Bumblebee feels solid, and is well made. There is a slight niggle with the thin battle visor, and Sam’s various tiny joints are a worry. However, these are probably just baseless concerns. There is nothing obvious that is particularly brittle or fragile, and they both survive drops fine (oops…).
Fun: 10 – This is what I have been waiting for my whole life (in Transformers terms) – a transformer that comes with a wee human figure that can drive the car mode! What’s more, it’s my original favourite character, Bumblebee! The first Transformer I ever owned! And, to boot, this is a live action film version! Perfect! (And the figure is actually extremely detailed and very poseable – something more level headed folks may wish to consider before splashing the cash.)
Price: 8 – The Human Alliance figures are marketed at around £29.99 or $29.99. Prices have gone up lately, and considering this set includes an Ultra Class robot and a tiny articulated human, this seems less of a price hike from the old £25 shelf price for Ultras than the hike from £20 to £25 for Voyager Class figures. Still, Ultras were always pricey, and you can’t fool yourself that you’re paying an extra fiver for Sam. You can get the set for as low as £27.99 though, which is more reasonable. At the end of the day, Transformers cost a lot more now, and the Human Alliance line is priced more reasonably than some other figure classes.
Overall: 9 – Human Alliance Bumblebee is a ‘10’ for me. He’s the transformer I have been waiting for for 25 years. He’s suitable for adults and kids, unlike many of the other ROTF figures doing the rounds just now. But, the price is higher than you might like, and a tiny detail could have made his transformation perfect, but was omitted. Still, an objective ‘9’ ain’t too shoddy! Seriously, this is one of the best figures going. If you can afford it, you should add it to your collection (well worth the price of three Scouts…).


Savannahtron's review

Name: Bumblebee and Sam Witwicky
Function: Human Alliance Team. Bumblebee functions as an Autobot Scout, and Sam Witwicky functions as his partner.

Bumblebee and Sam were best friends almost from the moment they first met face to face. As they learned more about one another, that connection grew deeper and deeper. Now, whether same is behind the wheel, or standing side by side with his friend, they work together as a team. Against Bumblebee and his human friend, no Decepticon stands a chance.

Human Alliance Bumblebee stands out as one of the best quality Revenge of the Fallen toys so far. This version of Bumblebee is highly detailed, highly articulated and very good representation of the movie character. Sam Witwicky and Bumblebee make a great team, much like I remember Spike Witwicky rolling out with the G1 Bumblebee. Generations change and the continuity has evolved, but this coupling is a great addition to the Transformers!

Alternate mode:

Bumblebee is a Chevy Camaro concept car. Canary yellow, with black trim, Bumblebee's alternate mode could easily interchange as a Binaltech or Alternator toy with the exception of rubber wheels and metal parts. Highly detailed, the seats and steering wheel are perfect sized for Sam Witwicky to fit in snugly. Sam has a peg hole on his back that fits the peg in the seat, securing him. His hands are also cupped so that they fit on the steering column. Although the Camaro is very detailed, the doors have such a tight fit that they are a bit awkward to open for Sam to get in and out of the vehicle. The box comes with a little diorama with Megatron chasing the pair as seen in the picture.

Robot mode:

Robot mode is where Bumblebee really takes the cake. He is highly detailed, and has several unique features designed specifically for Sam Witwitcky to use. First of all, he comes with a plasma pulse cannon (which also fires a missile). The arms have chairs that Sam can sit on for battle mode. The plasma pulse cannon arm has an open chair, while the other arm has a robotic hand with a pullover double blaster that Sam can use. Sam can also ride on Bumblebee's shoulders as well.

The problem with the seats is probably the only aesthetic issue that Bumblebee has. The seats do not fold over they are very distinct and looks like car seats on his forearms. This minor distraction does not take away from the overall figure, but it is worth mentioning. Over Bumblebee's right shoulder is a flip over missile launcher (sans working mechanisms or actual missiles) as well as a flip out cannon that fires over Bumblebee's head. One last cool feature is that Bumblebee has his battle mask. The battle mask sits atop of Bumblebee's helmet, and flips down looking great.
Bumblebee has tons of articulation points and looks great.

Sam Witwicky:

Sam Witwicky is the unsuspecting teenager in the first movie. In Revenge of the Fallen, Sam is off to college leaving both Bumblee and his girlfriend Mikaela Banes behind. Sam promises to keep in touch with Mikaela, refusing to say the forbidden "I L**e you" to keep his young girlfriend in suspense. When Sam misses his first video chat date with her, Mikaela heads up the campus to find out what is going on. Bumblebee couldn't stay away either. Enough with the spoilers; time to continue onto the figure.

Well, the Sam Witwicky figure is tiny! He is only about 2.75 inches tall or about 6.985 cm tall. He has really decent detail for such a small figure, with a decent face, hair, and body type for Sam Witwicky's character. His head, shoulders, hips and knees have articulated joints as well as he has peg holes on his feet for a stand and his back has a peg hole to sit inside of Camaro.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 8. I am not giving this an 8 because it was difficult, Human Alliance Bumblebee gets an 8 because he has such a good transformation and both forms look great.
Durability: 8. Bumblebee is very sturdy and has good joints. Sam Witwicky is small, but has really good articulation considering the figure's size, and together, the interactive parts seem durable.
Fun: 9. I have always been a Bumblebee fan. I love the character, I love the addition of Sam Witwicky in the Human Alliance, and I love this toy. I was determined to find and purchase one as soon as I found out about the release.
Price: 7. I paid $32 which was a little higher than normal for a voyager sized figure. The quality of the toy quickly justified the additional cost and getting Sam Witwicky was just a bonus.
Overall: 9. Human Alliance Bumblebee is a great addition to my collection. As either a Chevy Camaro concept car or in robot form fighting side by side with fellow Autobots, Bumblebee rocks out. Sam Witwitcky is a cool figure.
 
 
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