Bot Shots Bumblebee Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Bot Shots, Movie (2007)

Bot Shots

General Information:
Release Date: January 2012
Price Point: $5.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

BumblebeeBot Shots are a new expression of the Transformers brand that focuses on interactive game play between figures. Previous attempts at this such as "Attacktix" had relied on missile firing mechanisms and point systems as the primary elements of the gaming system. Bot Shots are much more action oriented and factor the transformation of the toy into the play pattern (which Attacktix did not).

In general, all Bot Shots figures have a vehicle mode and robot mode. The transformation is triggered by "bashing" the front of the vehicle into another Bash Bot (or a wall, book...any solid surface really) causing a spring loaded feature to activate and transform the figure. This generally means revealing the robot head, arms angled out to the sides and feet along with robot mode details.

The key to the game system is a three sided hinged mechanism built into the chest. On each side is a sticker with one of three icons: a fist, a sword and a blaster - each representing a different type of combat. Presumably without your opponent seeing your selection, you turn the panel on the chest and then crash the two Bot Shots together and when the robot mode is revealed each player will know what "weapon" the other chose. The way the game works:

  • Blaster beats fist
  • Fist beats sword
  • Sword beats blaster

In the case of two Bot Shots getting the same icon each icon has a number on it indicating that character's level of that skill. Whoever has the higher number wins. It's a simple and fun system clearly developed for kids who enjoy a game element to their action figures (such as lines like Bakugan).

Robot Mode:
Even if you've only casually walked through the Transformers seection of your local toy store you'll know that in the past five years or so, Bumblebee has become a virtual institution of his own. The character has been represented in almost every size class of Transformers figure and on tons of licensed products - so his inclusion as part of the initial wave of Bot Shots is hardly a surprise. What is interesting to note is the design of the character, which is an interesting amalgam of Generation One and live action movie influences.

A bulk of Bumblebee's robot mode is based on his movie incarnation. His arms and legs each have sculpted sections that look like angled metal panels overlapping each other, a common theme in live action Transformers movie designs. Also, his chest is sculpted with parts that appear to be the two halves of his vehicle's front end, another distinctive feature of Movie Bumblebee. His primary G1 influenced detail is his head sculpt. Instead of the insectoid like head of the Movie Bumblebee, this head has large helmet section with horns sticking out from the top and a rather happy looking face complete with two eyes, a nose and a mouth. The shape of the helmet section matches up nicely with the G1 Bumblebee cartoon design, though instead of a crest on the forehead section of the helmet, there is a raised horizontal ridge pattern. I like this combination of Bumblebee designs. Given the "super deformed" proportions of the figure, I was appreciative that the G1 influenced head was given visual emphasis.

Bumblebee is cast in yellow and black plastic. The yellow makes up most of the figure while the black is found on parts like his wheels and the back of his head. Silver and blue paint provide extra detailing in this form. His face, inner arms and thighs are painted silver while his eyes are blue.

There is no articulation to really discuss and Bot Shots don't come with any accessories. The main fun in this figure is in the "crashing" play pattern and seeing how many of your friends you can defeat! For those curious, Starscream's scores break down as follows:

  • Blaster: 550
  • Fist: 110
  • Sword: 970

It is interesting to note that Bumblebee's numbers are somewhat consistent with his portrayal in G1 as one of the weaker Autobots and he was never shown as a heavily armed character, so the Blaster and Fist scores make sense (and are significantly lower than say, Starscream's numbers). However, I did find the "Sword" score interesting because that's really high perhaps indicating while not super strong, this incarnation of Bumblebee knows how to handle a melee weapon really well.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Swing the car hood on the back over the robot head, this will also cause the arms to swing in.
  2. Swing the robot feet up against the underside of the car.

Vehicle Mode:
For a vehicle with chunky proportions, Bumblebee looks like one powerful Muscle Car in this form. Based in part on his live action Movie counterpart's Chevrolet Camaro vehicle mode, he also takes some influences from other Muscle Cars in this design. Elements that are reminscent of this class of vehicle include a tall and aggressive looking front end, relatively large wheels with wheel wells that stick out to the sides a bit and a huge spoiler mounted on the back. Bumblebee is instantly recognizable in this form, even though it's a new "made up" form just for this figure.

Bumblebee shows off mostly yellow plastic in this mode while all four wheels are cast in black. His windows are all painted a dazzling metallic blue that looks awesome. However, I did find myself wishing there was an Autobot somewhere on the hood or perhaps the top of the car, but faction symbols seem to be something this line is staying away from (either from a design perspective, cost or perhaps both). At first, I thought it would have been cool to see black racing stripes running down the center of the vehicle like the live action Movie version, but the more I thought about it the more I like the simplicty of this G1-esque color scheme mixed in with a vehicle mode influenced by the movies.

Final Thoughts:
Bumblebee is a wonderful blend of G1 and live action movie influences. I will stress that my endoresement of this figure is purely within the context of the "Bot Shots" sub-line and not to be compared to figures from say, the Classics sub-line. I only subtract points for the lack of faction symbols, which bugs me personally but your mileage will vary.