I wasn’t able to get the second new Bumblebee for the Bumblebee shelf, but I still have this one. From the “Transformers Prime” line, which actually debuted in animated form on the Hub some time ago, Bumblebee’s character design and personality is based on his appearance in the Michael Bay movies, only instead of talking through his radio he just makes noises. His personality is still Bumblebee as I’ve come to know him, but this bit is starting to get old. Anyway, we’re not here to discuss the show. We’re here to discuss the toy.

This first edition figure is the dominant figure of the line, currently shipping with Starscream and Arcee. The other two are harder to find according to reports I’ve heard. So how does this new Bumblebee stack up to his predecessors?

Meet some of my friends.

First off I have to lament that there are no tech specs or other kind of character profile on the package. This has been kind of disappearing slowly for years thanks to international packaging requirements (where you would see three languages–English, Spanish, and French–on the packaging) but this version is all English.

As a first edition, as clearly emblazoned on the front, this is going to be worth some money to collectors years down the road. Not enough that I could afford to send someone to college, and it will be a long time coming, but it’s still a future collectors item. Not as much as the New York Comic-Con exclusive version, but still enough…

War For Cybertron Bumblebee, if you would do cut this puppy open, please?

…that somewhere right now some “mint in package” collector is going to cry in pain! BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAAAAA……

Unless your in the toy collecting game, folks, you don’t understand how much it is to mess with the MIP collectors. You really don’t.

"I feel exposed."

You can click on most of the images to get a larger version. Here you see Prime Bumblebee from four angles. While there are some betrayals of the robot within from underneath, how often are you really going to see that side? It’s a car, your going to have it on the ground whether your playing with it or displaying it. You can see some things through the windows (this is why I don’t like clear plastic windows) but they’re mostly ignorable. Since Prime doesn’t have the same licensing as the movie toys, Prime BB is loosely based off of a Camero, keeping a few aspects of his movie form that are homage at best. (Although some portions of his transformation are also in keeping with the various Movieverse figures from the three films.) So we can blame Michael Bay for this, as Bumblebee is traditionally a Volkswagen or at least some kind of small compact car. Still, it is a nice design and does resemble the cartoon’s vehicle mode.

Speaking of the transformation, it’s rather complicated, with certain parts having to be in the right spot to keep the vehicle mode in place and lots of piece maneuvering to allow the toy to match both the car and robot computer models, so I can see kids having trouble with it, at least at first. How well they get to the final product will depend on how patient they are. I know as a kid (and even now as an adult) I preferred my transformations to be fun, but quick (so I could go as close to the speed of the show as possible) but I can get used to it. Right now it’s rather frustrating, especially trying to put it back into vehicle mode. The question is, how is the resulting robot mode?

"I'm ready for my closeup."

Quite good, actually. While some versions of the design are hard to replicate (the car parts hanging off of the feet, which hides the heel spurs), it very much looks like Prime‘s version of the yellow wonder. There are some extra molding details to liven up the design (the show’s computer character models are somewhat plain, but after the Movieverse I’ll take it) and while some have noticed a couple of areas missing a silver coat from the toon it really doesn’t bother me. When everything is positioned right (more on that in the next paragraph) he looks a bit “beefy”, but that’s the show’s fault, not Hasbro’s.

That’s not to say there aren’t some faults on the figure. While it’s very posable, the right arm on mine is a bit loose. Also, the shoulders and chest at various points don’t stay pegged into place, meaning if I want to keep Prime BB looking like his show model I have to keep putting things back in position when I move things around. There are these two panels in his chest that are supposed to move slightly open to replicate the show look, but at least on mine they barely move and don’t stay in place anyway so I just ignore them. Also, the show version has a big cannon that forms from his arm, just like the Movie version. Here we get an arm cannon that just doesn’t match up. At least it stays in place very well, and you can switch arms if you so choose. (One guy took the cannon from his NYCC version so he was packing double firepower. Made me wish he came with two, but there’s only room for one where it’s stored in vehicle mode anyway and it barely stays put as it is.)

"Top of the world, ma!"

Bumblebee (and I assume the other two Prime figures) comes with one more accessory, a display stand. It’s made of a cheap cardboard and mine sags a bit where the flap ends but that’s hidden by the display front and I can still set him up there. It’s too bad that it doesn’t have the Bumblebee logo that the packaging has, but that’s easily remedied by cutting the logo off and putting it on there. It’s not like the stand is really that essential but it is a nice touch. I’m considering designing my own for all my other Bumblebees but with the holidays coming I’m going to be rather busy.

The heel spurs help with posability, as does the relatively high level of articulation. His head, neck, elbows, shoulders (when they stay in place), waist, hips, and knees all move and will stay there. The mold of the lower arm armor is the closest thing to restricting. The hidden heel spurs I mentioned before keep Bumblebee standing stable and the car parts help a bit as well. While the wrists only go left and right, the lower arm does turn giving you some compensation. The loose right arm on mine makes appearances now and then, but you can convince it to work with a little strategy. Outside of the lower arm armor, nothing restricts movement and even the arm isn’t that bad. The car parts stay out of the way, showing in some ways how far transforming toy design has come.

FINAL ANALYSIS: (Because there’s no “decision”, it’s a new toy.) The transformation is frustrating, especially to vehicle mode, and the upper body doesn’t stay in place as well as I’d like. That aside, it’s a good lookalike to the show model. Still I think this is more a display toy than a play toy and I’d rather see something with a good balance of both. If it ends up on your kid’s shopping list try to show him a video review or two off of YouTube that demonstrates the transformation and make sure he knows what he’s getting himself into. I find it a good addition to the Bumblebee shelf.

Speaking of Christmas, it’s December starting next week. I’m going to try and do a few reviews but don’t be surprised if I don’t have time to post anything major. Between work, Christmas shopping, and other projects, I’m going to be very busy. You can look back to my Christmas decoration reviews to pass the time.

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