TLK Bumblebee

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TLK Bumblebee

Post by Skyquake87 »

Name : Bumblebee
Allegiance : Autobot
Function: Courageous Scout

Bio: Bumblebee is one of Optimus Prime's most trusted lieutenants. Although he is not the strongest or most powerful of the Autobots, Bumblebee more than makes up for this with a bottomless well of luck, determination and bravery. He would gladly give his life to protect others and stop the Decepticons.

Badly damaged in battle, Bumblebee lost the ability to speak verbally, though he can still communicate over inter-Autobot frequencies (in a fashion that seems somewhat akin to instant messaging, a usable but more distant and less personal means of interaction). He can also communicate with the Autobots' human allies by playing audio clips from popular media on his radio. Though he has these stable forms of communication, Bumblebee would love nothing more than to finally get his voice back someday.

As the battles on Earth have raged on and more of their old friends have perished in the fighting, Bumblebee has found himself forced to step up as acting Autobot leader whenever Optimus isn't around. This stint at leadership isn't exactly going that well, as not only are there barely any surviving Autobots around to lead, not many of them respect his authority. Bumblebee's trying his best, but he shows all the signs of a young 'bot forced to grow up too fast, with his impulsiveness sometimes giving the Autobots as much trouble as their adversaries.

He is also known as N.B.E.-02, ZB-7, or B-127, and has operated under the codename Goldwheels. He is also partnered with the Dinobot Strafe and is brothers-in-arms with fellow Autobot Hot Rod.

I love the movies' take on Bumblebee, he's way less wet and annoying than his original counterpart. I'm pleased this take on the character as a competent and effective solider has bleed through into subsequent takes on the character. I do find his function of Scout a bit inappropriate. He seems much more capable than that. I guess it's through constantly being one of the junior members of he Autobots. I think I'd have preferred him to retain the original's function of Espionage which fits this Bumblebee better. The original lived up to his function maybe once. In a Ladybird book.

Anyhow, a good onscreen character has not translated well into toys. I'm still struggling to find one I'm happy with. I'd previously had a frustrating time with his Studio Series figures, and this one was on clearance, so I thought I'd have a go. What could possibly go wrong..?

Robot mode: On face value, the robot mode is pretty nice. There's a decent amount of bulk and shaping to fill him out to make him look less skeletal and lanky than some of his other figures. On closer inspection, his arms do look a bit skinny, although they are well proportioned. The big problem, is as ever the bonnet chest. Being unable to collapse in the same way it does on film leaves Bumblebee with this enormous shelf with his head bobbling around on it. You'd get the same effect putting a ping pong ball on a tea tray. That the bonnet is painted up black really draws your attention to it too. The feet are incredibly messy due to a flaw with how they work for transformation – they're on a sliding pin, but don't properly peg in or lock into place for his robot configuration, so you pick him up and these things tend to flop about loosely. He also comes with an interchangeable blaster arm, but its not an easy switch out and requires some force applying to the mushroom joint housing to get the limbs swapped out. I did it once for these pictures. I won't be doing it again. Looks wise, there's enough of a mix of black and yellow plastics, plus some silver paint to make him look quite lively. I'm no fan of the boring grey plastic used for some parts, but it's not too heinous here. Top marks for the excellent paint job on his face.

Alternate Mode: Bumblebee gets a new spin on his Camaro alt-mode, based on a 2017 concept model. It's kind of nice, adding a bit of additional shaping to the familiar looking muscle car. The only thing I don't like is the huge black colour placement over the boot, roof and bonnet. I just don't like the blanket use of black against bright colours. It just doesn't work for me. The vehicle mode is a mess of panel lines and popped out parts, so it doesn't look as slick as it should. It manages to roll pretty well though.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation design: I'd sold on my Studio Series Bumblebees because I found the transformation a right royal pain. This one has the exact same sequence (bar some rougher parts such as the feet, which were smoothed out somewhat for later releases). On paper, I can see that this is brilliant and gets away from the sort of top heavy toys of previous years. In practise, there's a lot of parts to get tucked just-so into the shell of the car and they all feel like they're pushing against each other. It's a real fiddle-fest and not a rewarding one. Parts lined up down one side will cause misalignment elsewhere. The bonnet/ windscreen/ roof doesn't have enough range of movement to fully fold out and clip securely in place, so you're left with this raised section of the bonnet. The doors and rear side windows don't property peg in and secure themselves, so again you're left with parts pushing against each other. There's just not enough room at this scale for the engineering to be free enough to achieve the desired effect, so you're just left with this messy looking vehicle mode. It's just too ambitious for the size of the toy and the materials used. 3/10

Articulation: Fairly standard Deluxe engineering. He can move his arms and legs all he wants and has a waist swivel. The feet knacker Bumbebee though. They're just way too loose. 4/10

Durability: Despite being so fiddly and horrible, nothing feels like its going to break. There's just not enough reach or give in some of the mechanics for this to do what it needs to do. 7/10

Fun: Sadly, Bumblebee is no fun at all. He gets a point for trying. 1/10

Value/ Price : £9.99 on clearance. I am glad I didn't pay full wack for this. He's never going to be a figure I play with a lot, so I can't really say I've got my money's worth either. 5/10

Overall: I can see the potential in the design and execution of this figure and that's what frustrates me the most. Just that little more give in certain areas would really have made this a great figure. As it is, it's just a mess. Avoid. 4/10
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