Bumblebee Legend

Time for a new addition to the Bumblebee shelf. I found this one at Big Lots, a clearance store franchise I’ve mentioned before. You can find some cool stuff there. I’m told that this size class is “legends” but it’s frankly kind of small for the price. Bumblebee comes with “Blazemaster”, a helicopter that transforms into a robot and a gun for Bumblebee.

Now, I know that there are two figures in the set, but one is just a companion and frankly the two together do not equal one “scout” class that I can find at Big Lots for $5. Yes, the new figures are more expensive thanks to the current petroleum market (plastic comes from oil) but still, this is the price I expect in a “regular” store, not a clearance store. So I was curious to see if it was worth that much. Let’s find out.

Bumblebee Legend card

I know the toy collectors want to review the card, but frankly there isn’t a lot to see. It’s the toys in various modes. There’s also a character blurb for….wait, is that..?

Bumblebee Legend tech spec

It is! Actual tech spec stats! I wish it was closer to the text but still it’s a step back for the old tech specs. I also like how they write Bumblebee and Blazemaster’s characters. Bumblebee does the sneaking and Blazemaster serves as the distraction. That’s how you use competing personalities. If you’re a commander creating a team you want people who can work together, not having conflict because the writer thought it would make for character drama.

But enough about the package. This is a TOY report. Action Master Bumblebee, if you would?

Bumblebee Legend open

I took all the pictures before realizing how bad they were. The in-package pics I couldn’t redo for obvious reasons.

There’s another reason I broke this guy out. The gimmick for this series (Optimus Prime is a co-sell on the bottom of the package and I think Megatron had a figure as well) is that the classic Transformers now have a partner that is homage to the classic line. For example Optimus’ partner is Roller, the drone that came with the very first Optimus Prime figure. Only now he transforms into a robot or a weapon. For this one Blazemaster appears to be based on the helicopter pack that came with Action Master Bumblebee. It could be used as a handheld weapon and it isn’t hard to imagine it could be used as a drone to assist Bumblebee in his espionage and scouting missions. And that appears to be Blazemaster’s job as well.

Out of the package shots were easier to re-shoot.

Out of the package shots were easier to re-shoot.

Bumblebee is packaged in robot mode so we’ll start there. While he appears to be based on the body from the War For Cybertron game, he appears to be closer to his appearance in the early issues of IDW’s Robots In Disguise comic series. While they used the WFC body as a guide he turns into a sports car, as evidenced in this mode by the spoiler and the windows on the backpack. There aren’t a lot of paint apps on this figure. Just the Autobot symbol and the tail lights on the shoulder pads plus the face.

Articulation is average for a modern figure of this size. Hips, knees, shoulders, and elbows are all you get. Now this may be on my figure and not the rest of the Bumblebee Legends out there, but the left arm doesn’t want to stay on if you move it around. I don’t know if I’m just having trouble getting it all the way back into the socket but this is annoying when posing and especially for transformation so better me than some kid. Again, I don’t know if this is just mine or all of this mold.

To be honest, I’d rather see this at a larger size. The loss of head and waist articulation is disappointing as it looks like only the size is stopping the former. I also like how it transforms, which is hard for me to show. But before we look at Bumblebee’s vehicle mode let’s look at his new pal.

Bumblebee Legend BlazeCopter

Anybody remember than old movie Blue Thunder? They made a TV series from it.

Blazemaster comes packaged in helicopter mode. It’s…just okay. The primary mode is the gun mode, but it does look like a small helicopter. Only the windows are painted, The gun barrel would look nice with a bit of grey on it, but at this size I guess painting the windows had to be done and the rest was considered unnecessary. It’s not bad, it’s just not that great.

"Still want to stick me with that overdone car radio gag, Mr. Bay?"

“Still want to stick me with that overdone car radio gag, Mr. Bay?”

Weapon mode is the key part of this figure, and that’s where it shines. Golden paint for the barrel looks right. It’s hard to see the helicopter in this mode, and it helps that the blade can be plugged into Bumblebee’s arm-mounted wheel as a melee weapon. In theory he can hold the gun or mount the blade using either arm, but since the left arm on mine has issues I only have one option. As it is Blazemaster is pretty heavy for Bumblebee’s arm and yet loose in his hand. Finally, as easy as transforming to gun mode turns out to be it still finds a way to be unintuitive. Even with the instructions it took a few minutes to figure out what to do and I still have to figure out how I got the one section to move to form this mode. Kind of a pain.

"Wanna race?"

“Wanna race?”

If Bumblebee’s robot mode resembles the War For Cybertron figure his vehicle mode is closer to Hot Shots Bumblebee (reviewed here). I do like that whomever designed this form was trying to combine various aspects of Bumblebee. Here he’s a sports car, similar to the Bay films and Transformers Prime (reviewed the latter figure here) but still a smaller, shorter car in keeping with his more classic aspects. We also have the racing stripes on the hood, plus the headlights and grill colored. It all looks pretty good. I wish it rolled better, but that may be connected to the problems I’m having with the left arm.

With triple-changers, one mode tends to suffer. This is Blazemaster's.

With triple-changers, one mode tends to suffer. This is Blazemaster’s.

Among Transformers fans “brick” is used to describe a toy whose robot mode had little to no articulation, especially if it’s kind of brick shaped. (Rough definition, mind you.) Blazemaster’s robot fits that description. The only articulation is the arms that wouldn’t peg into place in vehicle mode. The head has some red on the eye, and there’s some continuation of the gun mode’s gold that give the illusion of a body, but the big problem is the legs. It’s all molded in  as one big “uni-leg” pretending to be two. The problem is that other figures near this size (like the Mini-Cons from the “Armada” line) could pull off the vehicle/weapon/robot mode with a much better robot even if it was still the mode that suffers. This feels like a step backwards.

"Need a lift?"

“Need a lift?”

During the first set of photos I noticed the hole in the car roof/Bumblebee’s back was the right size for the helicopter gun/gun mode handle to fit in there. The gun mode could actually make a decent anti-aircraft gun or you could have the helicopter fly off with the car. It stays in tight enough–short-term anyway. Then I noticed something else. Remember how I compared Blazemaster to Action Master Bumblebee’s helicopter jet pack thing?

Bumblebee Legend Action

Well, in helicopter mode or in gun mode it can become an escape pack similar to his Action Master form. “Gun” mode is better as you also get the jet booster (even though the original had two on either side), although the blade can’t move to different positions on the new guy. The instructions don’t mention this feature but considering the rest of it I find it hard to imagine this wasn’t an intentional further homage to the Action Master figure. This could also explain why the partner is called Blazemaster. If this is a flight or jump booster his weapon mode could be some kind of fire cannon.

Overall…I’m kind of disappointed. If the Bumblebee figure has been larger, they had worked a better robot mode into Blazemaster, or I paid closer to $7 clearance price (I’d accept $10 at the bigger store thanks to the cost of doing business) I might have accepted it better, but I’m not that sure. There are a lot of good ideas here. The left arm problem may just be mine but if it’s line-wide with this Bumblebee mold that’s further disappointment. It’s still a decent design but one ill-served at this size as it could be better somewhat larger. At the very least it’s not worth what I paid for it, but since it’s here it will make an acceptable addition to the Bumblebee shelf. I just have to remember the arm problem the next time I go to transform him. However, there are better Bumblebee figures to search for this Christmas.