"Authentics" Bumblebee (4.5 Inch) Toy Review

in 2018, Action Figure Review, Authentics, Autobot

Authentics

Bumblebee General Information:
Release Date: March 2018
Price Point: $4.99
Retailer: Alternative Channels (Family Dollar etc.)
Accessories: None

Official images and text below in italics are from Hasbro.com:
Transformers Authentics figures feature popular Transformers characters at a 4.5-inch scale. Experience the excitement of Transformers conversion play with this Transformers Authentics Bumblebee figure. It changes from robot mode to sports car mode and back in just 3 easy steps. Choose a side and collect other Transformers Authentics figures to stage epic Autobot vs. Decepticon battles (each sold separately. Subject to availability).

Bumblebee is a heroic Autobot scout who’s always ready to fight for the safety of his friends and fellow Autobots. He’s one of the most loyal bots out there, so his allies know they can count on Bumblebee to be there when they need him.

Transformers Authentics figures bring the exciting conversion play you can come to expect from a Transformers figure. Transformers Authentics figures are a great way to start any Transformers collection.

  • Includes: figure
  • Transformers Authentics figure
  • Choose your side: the heroic Autobots or the evil Decepticons
  • Awesome Transformers converting action
  • Convert from robot mode to sports car mode in 3 steps
  • Drive circles around the Decepticons with the Autobot Scout Bumblebee
  • Figure scale: 4.5 inches
  • Ages 6 and up

In 2017 word came through the online grapevine that a line of Transformers was being released known as the "Authentics". These figures are simpler, lower priced figures aimed at the "alternative channel" stores such as Family Dollar. In early 2018, the "Authentics" were released in "Family Dollar" stores. As of March 2018, these figures have only been found at "Family Dollar" stores but it is possible they will find their way to other stores as the year progresses.

"Authentics" are separated into two sub-lines of figures. One is a 4.5 inch (about 11.43 centimeters) size and the other is a 7 inch (about 17.78 centimeters). This Bumblebee figure is the 4.5 inch one. Size-wise this places it somewhere between a Legends and a Deluxe Class figure from "Generations".

Packaging:
"Authentics" figures come on a bubble card. The bubble is shaped like the figure and the insert. Each figure is packaged in robot mode with the insert showing its alt-mode. The card has a vertical Transformers logo on the right and the character's artwork towards the top to the middle. Overlapping the character art is a circle with numbers around it. The artwork used appears to be from the "evergreen" designs which feature classic characters in forms that are not unique to any particular toy line.

The back of the packaging is interesting because it illustrates some of the low cost philosophy of the "Authentics" line. Like many Transformers toy lines the figure is pictured on the back in both modes with a multi-lingual description of him as a "Brave Autobot Scout". It also mentions he transforms in three steps. The interesting thing is that the back is entirely black and white, which I am guessing saved on the costs of printing it in color.

Robot Mode:
Bumblebee's new form is a very classic Transformers design with elements from the original Bumblebee. The sides of the vehicle form the arms, the front forms the legs and the torso is designed to look like a compressed cabin section from the vehicle mode.

Some elements from classic Bumblebee designs appear here as well. His head has G1-esque horns and crest. His torso has a windshield towards the bottom and windows on the side, a design element going back to G1 Bumblebee. His forearms are thick with lines running across them and finally his thighs have lines running across them in a similar pattern to G1 Bumblebee's action figure. It is cool to see so many "classic" design elements worked into a new design.

Keep in mind that this figure is aimed at a lower priced market, so that means there are some clear cost cutting measures worked into the design. For instance, the upper arms are hollow, with only a small panel in the front, sides and back. The back of the lower legs are hollow with no panels covering them up to make them look "solid".

Bumblebee is cast in a beautiful metallic yellow and black plastic. Yellow is used for most of the figure while black is found on the wheels. Black paint is used on the torso, thighs and feet. The face is painted silver while his eyes are painted light blue. The Autobot symbol in the center of his chest is painted red. While the figure could definitely use more deco, this is a pretty good amount given the low price point of the figure.

There are five points of articulation on this figure. The arms move on ball joints and the lower legs can swing up at the knees. The head can also turn. There are 5mm ports in the fists but the sizing is not perfect. When I tried to attach various weapons to them, some fit snug while others would not fit at all.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  2. Swing each arm up, pushing them against one another.
  3. Swing the robot legs up to form the front half of the vehicle.
  4. Push the lower leg pieces together.

Note: Be careful with the lower legs. The are attached to ball joints and they have a tendency to pop off during transformation.

Vehicle Mode:
Bumblebee's vehicle mode seems to be inspired by his "Classics", Legends Class Bumblebee from "Universe" and the more recent "Titans Return" Bumblebee. Like those Bumblebee figures this vehicle mode has echoes of his classic Volkswagon Beetle mode but it is sleeker and looks more like a modern day hatchback with a spoiler in the back. There are some nice details sculpted into the figure including the grille in the front, panel lines on the sides and an exhaust pipe in the back.

Unfortunately, the sculpt has one major flaw which has to do with with the low cost edict behind the "Authentics" line. There are no side windows, and instead there are openings which give the vehicle mode a very "unfinished" look. No doubt the designers were asked to use only a certain amount of plastic with this figure, and this may have been a way to keep that amount of plastic down. It does not look great, but I get why it was done.

This mode mostly shows off the metallic yellow plastic. The wheels are black. The windshield is painted black. The grille is painted the same silver as the robot face. The headlights are the same blue as the robot eyes. The finishing touch is an Autobot symbol near the left side view mirror. I do wish the rims on the wheels were painted, but nowadays even pricier figures do not include that detail so I can hardly fault a low cost figure for not having that detail.

Final Thoughts:
I have respect for what the designers are trying to achieve here. They want to give parents and fans an opportunity to have a "main character" at a relatively cheap price. The figure is also larger than the Legion/Legends sized figures that have been the mainstay of "alternative channel" stories for years now, which adds to its perceived value. At the same time, the figure definitely has some drawbacks given its low price point, so things like the hollow arms and the missing windows in vehicle mode will likely turn some fans off. I'm also not fond of the legs popping off so easily. If you want a low price Bumblebee, you're better off getting the Legends Class one on shelves at stores like Family Dollar and Dollar General instead.

Pros:

  • Low price makes for an easy entry into the Transformers toy line.
  • Size gives the figure a more substantial appearance than Legion Class figures.
  • Some nice G1 inspired details in robot mode.
  • Nice robot mode deco.

Cons:

  • Many hollow parts (especially the upper arms, which look bad).
  • No side windows in vehicle mode.
  • Legs have a tendency to pop off during transformation.