Review: Transformers AOE Deluxe High Octane Bumblebee

 

It’s the week of Transformers: Age of Extinction, and in celebration of Michael Bay’s latest big-budget dumbed down bastardization of our beloved character-driven robot franchise highly successful big screen robot smashfest, I’ll be taking a look at (most of) the first two waves of the Age of Extinction offshoot of the Generations toyline. To start with, we’ll take a look at everyone’s favorite bleep-blooping radio-talking one-man franchise himself, Bumblebee, High Octane version.

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Vehicle Mode

Bumblebee’s vehicle mode is nice. He’s still a Chevrolet Camaro, only this time a ’67 SS. I actually like that he’s had four different bodies over the course of the films (not counting the slight variations from Movie 1 to ROTF to DOTM), and yet every one of them is a different model of Camaro. That’s commitment. Bee is a bit small for a car, but that’s more or less par for the course these days. The entire vehicle mode is a lovely matte black that I can’t actually tell is paint or simply the plastic color. The yellow details are painted on well, and even his wheels are painted dark grey, though it’s hard to tell without looking at them under a bright light, so why bother? I really wish his windows weren’t clear plastic, and a lot of paint budget could’ve been saved if they had cast the parts in black plastic and not clear. He rolls nicely.

 

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Transformation

There hasn’t been a whole lot of variation in ‘Bee’s transformation scheme in the past seven years. Despite Hasbro designer’s attempts to make the process interesting with each toy, they all still follow the same general concept. It is a bit odd, given all the different ways to transform the same Optimus Prime design. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I guess. High Octane Bumblebee’s transformation reflects the somewhat simplified design of DOTM Deluxe Bumblebee, and is a generally smooth transformation. His car-front boobs can be a bit tricky to properly align, and I’m not sure if there’s a correct way to fold up the car roof on his back. It always looks a bit off.

 

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Robot Mode

Like Evasion Mode Optimus Prime, Movie 4 Bumblebee has the same basic design of his “original trilogy” self sculpted all over his robot mode, though not to the crazy extent of Optimus. It’s most obvious in his abdominal area and forearms. His overall look is actually pretty neat, with the majority of his robot mode being yellow with the black largely coming from the car parts. Unfortunately, his long and skinny legs are pretty much a solid chunk of yellow, which makes them look even more long and skinny. The shins really could have used some black paint, as seen on the Takara release. His headsculpt is nice enough, nowhere near as good as Battle Blades Bumblebee, but on par with DOTM. It’s really just the creepy, pale blue eyes that throw it off. Why couldn’t they just apply some clear blue paint to preserve the light piping?

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As far as articulation goes, ‘Bee has a ball jointed neck with plenty of range, a hinged transformation joint in his shoulder that allows for more upward range, very tight faux-ratchet joints in his shoulders and elbows, swivel biceps, nothing for the wrists, universal pin-disc joints for hips, and simple hinged knees and ankles. The lack of a waist joint is expected, and I don’t think he needs it. His pressure launcher is permanently attached to his arm, which is really just dumb, but with the missile in it doesn’t look too bad. Better than having a grey block stuck to his arm.

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Overall

For the obligatory Wave 1 Bumblebee, High Octane ‘Bee fares rather well. There’s nothing really special about him aside from the cool altmode, and he pulls off the standard Bumblebee transformation and robot mode totally okay. His backpack is a little big, his robot mode could use some more paint, and his gimmick is kind of dumb (and he’s a Bumblebee), but I kind of like the little guy. I feel like a lot of fans are ignoring him just for being Bumblebee, but I’d say give him a chance. He won’t surprise you, but he’s probably just about what you’re expecting.

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