"Bumblebee" Nitro Series Barricade Toy Review
Release Date: September 2018
Price Point: $19.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Target, Walmart, Amazon etc.)
*Images and text below from Amazon.com:
The lifeblood of Transformers robots, Energon fuels the epic action on Earth and beyond.
Now, imagine harnessing the Transformers energy source with Energon Igniters figures. Convert this Energon Igniters Nitro Series Barricade figure between robot and police car modes in 9 steps. Then plug the Energon Igniters core included in pack into the vehicle and push down to unleash driving action. This Barricade figure stands at a 7-inch scale with eye-catching detailing. The Energon Igniters core unleashes the power in all Energon Igniters figures (each sold separately).
Tricking Autobots always puts a smile on the face of Barricade. When he sees an Autobot or one of their wretched human friends, he converts into a police car to attack his prey when they least expect it. Harness Energon Igniters tech and unleash the power within.
2017 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved.
2017 Paramount Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
In September of 2018 Hasbro launched its "Bumblebee" toy line based on the live action movie. Much of this toy line was aimed at a younger audience, relying on the "Energon Igniter" gimmick. More complex and detailed figures for the movie would be folded into the "Studio Series" and "Masterpiece" lines instead. The "Energon Igniter" gimmick was spread across several classes of figures including the "Nitro Series". The "Nitro Series" figures are larger figures (about 7 inches/17.78 centimeters tall) with relatively simple transformations akin to the "Robots in Disguise" 3-Step Changers but with more steps and a different gimmick. The gimmick largely revolves around the "Energon Igniter Core" accessory. When you press the button on the top of the Energon Igniter Core down, it causes a wheel on the bottom to roll. This piece can be used on figures labeled with the "Energon Igniter" logo across size classes.
Barricade was introduced in the original 2007 live action Transformers movie. He was featured as the arch enemy of Bumblebee in that film and despite has apparent destruction, he would return for two different films later on. There were a lot of Barricade figures in 2007 and now it appears there will be plenty more. Interestingly, Barricade has not been shown in any of the trailers or promotional photos for the "Bumblebee" movie and there is a good chance he is not actually in the film. However, Hasbro needed to fill out the line and adding in Barricade in a hypothetical 80's form does feel like an appropriate way to do it.
The Nitro Series figures are packaged in a box that wraps around the figure but has most of it open with no bubble or protection around it. This is similar to the 3-Step Changer packaging from "Robots in Disguise". The background on the packaging has a large Decepticon symbol for Barricade. However the package art on the lower right side shows Bumblebee in a fighting pose. The right side features a vertical Transformers logo with the "Energon Igniters" logo near it. To the lower left side of the packaging is a render of Barricade in vehicle mode with the Energon Igniter Core attached. The packaging uses yellow, black, blue and light yellow colors, making it very distinctive from many other toys on shelves (including other Transformers figures).
Barricade includes an Energon Igniter Core. This "core" features a rubber wheel on the bottom. When you press the grey piece, it preps the wheel to spin. Let go and the wheel spins, propelling this figure and others in the line forward in vehicle mode. This piece is cast in translucent red and solid grey plastic. Some silver is painted on the sides (unlike the Energon Igniter Cores released with smaller figures).
Barricade's robot mode in the 2007 movie (which you can see versions of here and here) was an interesting one because it took the more traditional Autobot body structure and reinterpreted it through the lens of the live action movie aesthetic to create something creepy and formidable looking. Like the G1 Autobots, Barricade's vehicle mode front end formed his chest, the arms were formed from the sides of the vehicle and the rear of the vehicle became his legs. However he had a very top heavy design, with thinner, smaller legs set in a crouched position, causing him to hunch over a bit, looking more like a monster than a machine.
For this redesign of the character, Hasbro took Barricade's 2007 form and straightened it out quite a bit (making him similar to his "The Last Knight" counterpart). Sure Barricade's vehicle mode front end still forms the chest. Sure the arms are formed from the sides of the vehicle and his legs are the back of the car. However he stands up relatively straight and his legs are not bent in a crouched position. That said, this figure does have a slight "hunch" as he leans forward a bit, but it is not as pronounced as the original version.
Like his 2007 counterpart, this Barricade transforms into a police car. Of course, "Bumblebee" is set in the 1980's so Barricade transforms into a car styled after police vehicles of the time. That means a lot of boxy and rectangular sections on him including the chest, lower legs and parts of the arms. There are some classic Barricade design elements however. Most notably he has the 2007 Barricade's head, which looks like an exaggerated version of the Decepticon symbol mashed up with an insect head. he also has four clawed fingers on each hand with some mechanical details sculpted into the forearms and mid-body area. In another nice design addition Barricade has cannons on either side of his head. This is especially great because he does not come with any weapon accessories.
Barricade is cast in dark blue, grey, silver and white plastic. The blue makes up much of the upper body and arms while the grey is found on the forearms, mid-body and thighs. White is heavily used on the back panel and lower legs. There is silver paint used on the head and chest. The eyes are painted red. Meanwhile blue, black and red colors carry over from the vehicle mode on the legs. It is not the greatest color scheme every, but it does look good and the silver and white colors help give the character some nice contrast to the darker blue and grey colors.
There are seven points of articulation on this figure. This is not a lot and it is no shock for a figure that is intended for a younger age group (6+ according to the box) and focus on a gimmick more than anything else. That said, it mystifies me as to why the figure was not given hip joints that could swing forward. Doing so would not affect the transformation, and it can swing out to the sides, just not forward and back which basically makes him look rather stiff no matter how much you mess around with his lower legs and arms. I do have to admit however that I was surprised his head could actually turn side to side. Each fist has a 5mm port in it, allowing Barricade to hold 5mm weapons from other figures.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Rotate the fists in.
- Swing the chest section up.
- Swing the panels with the cannons on them together.
- Push the robot head down.
- Swing each arm forward and in to form the sides of the vehicle.
- Point the toes down.
- Push the two lower legs together.
- Swing the legs up over the thighs.
Barricade's vehicle mode is a bit of a mash up of influences. After a bit of google image searching it looks like it has a bit of the Mustang LX highway patrol vehicle (especially in the front with those square headlights) and the boxy shape of the Dodge Diplomat (which was used by the New York City Police Department for a good portion of my childhood). There are some nice, extra touches that add to the aggressive look of the vehicle. This includes cages over the front and back of the vehicle and some extra armor over the top of each wheel well. Part of the hook of the "Bumblebee" movie is evoking nostalgia in G1 fans and this vehicle really does do the trick. It reminds me of police cars I saw in service at the time I got into Transformers in the 80's and even if it does not appear in the film, I appreciate the nod to another era.
The vehicle mode is mostly white plastic with black used on the wheels. There is a copious amount of dark blue paint on the front, sides and back. This includes some nice stripes running along the sides. There is also a lot of gunmetal grey paint in the front, over the wheel wells and the sides of the wheels. Surprisingly, each window is painted black, something I did not expect for a figure aimed at younger kids. In recent years the rear window is usually left "blank" to save money. Red and blue paint are used on the lightbar on the top of the cabin section. The finishing touch is a blue Decepticon symbol on the hood. I am very surprised by the sheer amount of deco in this mode and I think it looks great.
To attach an Energon Igniter Core, push it up through the bottom of the vehicle's front end. This will push the cannons from the vehicle mode up and out. Be sure the core is locked in place and then press the button and the wheel will pull Barricade forward! If that was not enough, you can also attach an additional weapon from another figure to the top using the 5mm port in front of the light bar.
Overall Barricade succeeds in being a simplified figure that represents the character nicely in both modes. Even if he does not appear in the film, you can imagine if he was running around Earth in the 80's, he could have looked like this. I am also impressed by the amount of paint on this figure (given its target audience) and I find the Energon Igniter Core feature in vehicle mode rather fun. Most older and more discriminating fans will likely want to avoid this figure and instead invest in "Studio Series" figures but for those looking for a fun figure that is a bit larger and chunkier, Barricade fits the bill.
- Great sculpt in both modes.
- A surprisingly high amount of deco.
- Fun "Energon Igniter Core" feature.
- Lack of hip articulation for the legs in robot mode.