Dark of the Moon Nitro Bumblebee Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Dark of the Moon, Deluxe, MechTech, Revenge of the Fallen

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: June 2011
Price Point: $12.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Cybertronian Boost Engine/Plasma Cannon

Images:

It's no surprise that Bumblebee toys dominate the Transformers toy line nowadays along with Optimus Prime. However, repainting the same figures over and over again can get quite dull, so now and then it's cool to get a brand new sculpt, and that's what we get with Nitro Bumblebee! Seemingly based on the outrageous yet awesome vehicle modes of "The Wreckers" in the "Dark of the Moon" feature film, Bumblebee has taken his Camaro vehicle mode and added additional technology to make him better than ever!

Mech Tech Weapon:
Since the Mech Tech weapons are critical parts of this toy line, I will review the weapons separately if they have some type of functionality. How they work with each figure will be discussed in the review of the various modes. I will make one general statement that will probably be replicated throughout several of the first (and possibly second) wave of deluxe figure releases regarding the Mech Tech weapons: they cannot stay in their "transformed" state without being held in place. Most Mech Tech weapons are spring activated, and when you release the switch that transforms them, the weapons automatically revert back to their previous form. This is important to note as the packaging clearly shows the weapons can maintain their alternative forms with no mention of requiring support (this could change in the future).

Is this disappointing? Absolutely. However, it must be stressed that this seems to only apply to the deluxe waves so far. Larger figures do have weapons that can "stay" transformed and who knows? A future deluxe wave may have figures that can stay in their alternate form. Also please note that in my photos, I had to use various tricks to make the weapon stay in its alternate form (including liberal use of paper and paper clips to keep them in place).

Nitro Bumblebee's Mech Tech weapon is a combination engine/weapon. Its default form is a gigantic looking engine that is meant to sit on the top of Bumblebee's vehicle mode hood. After doing a bit of googling, I found this hot rod engine which reminds me of this Mech Tech weapon. It has the large round filter on top with a wide camshaft section on top and a thinner crankshaft section on the bottom. It's a very fierce yet modern looking engine. There arne't rods and pieces sticking out everywhere. Instead it seems to have armor plating over each section to protect it, which makes sense since it doubles as a weapon and it's exposed in vehicle mode. Even without transforming the weapon, it still has some offensive capability. Right in the front is a weapon barrel with another tube under it that could be an extra weapon barrel or a targeting scope. The "default" mode of this accessory is already a cool looking engine, but it's neat to see it can act as a weapon too since you can't "lock" it into its alternate form.

Pull the hammer on the back of the weapon and the entire front section slides forward and down while revealing dual blasters simultaneously. Each barrel is nicely sculpted including a raised front sight at the top of the barrel. I find myself wishing again these weapons could hold their alternate forms since it looks really cool.

The engine/weapon is mostly cast in metallic gunmetal plastic, which looks really great. The gears and hammer pieces are cast in light grey plastic. A bit of paint is used on the sides of the lower section. There you'll find yellow paint that matches up nicely with the yellow color found on Bumblebee himself.

Vehicle Mode:
Bumblebee's "Nitro" vehicle mode looks like he saw the vehicle modes of the Wreckers such as Roadbuster and decided to emulate them while still retaining the core Chevrolet Camaro vehicle mode. Several of the Chevrolet design elements are still intact from Bumblebee's previous forms including:

  • The distinctive front end with its "V" shaped sections are intact, complete with the Chevrolet logo.
  • The design of the wheel wells follow the same rounded, sleek lines of the previous Bumblebee Camarao designs.
  • The rear section has the same curves as the Camaro and includes its dual exhaust pipes on either side near the bottom.
  • In a very unusual design choice, Bumblebee's license plate is sculpted with its letters and numbers. Specifically, it says "900 STRA", one of the many license plates used for Bumblebee in the first Transformers movie.
  • The center of the hood section retains the same arrow shape as the one from previous Camaro appearances in this line, but it is slightly modified to acocmodate a Mech Tech weapon.

Despite these carry over details, a lot has changed as well! Several details and parts appear on this version of Bumblebee that have not existed on previous ones:

  • On the hood, there is a raised section in the middle to accomodate a Mech Tech weapon.
  • The panels on the left and right sides of the hood have a honeycomb pattern on them that is reminscent of a similar pattern found on Voyager Class Optimus Prime. Part of me wonders if this is meant to be some type of alien looking armor or energy collectors, either way it's very distinctive.
  • The doors each have a strip of the "honeycomb" pattern on them.
  • The windows and windshield have been reinforced with a series of frames. The ones on the windshield look almost like eyes narrowing towards the middle, giving the vehicle a very aggressive appearance.
  • Running from the top of the vehicle to the back are raised wires leading to a pair of gigantic rocket boosters with a ton of layered panel details on top of them. These boosters look like they could send Bumblebee flying into the air and not just accelerate his speed on the road!
  • Connected to the aforementioned boosters are paris of wires running along the back of the vehicle and connecting to the boosters on the sides.

Overall, Bumblebee's details are absolutely fantastic. He looks tough, slightly alien and yet a bit familiar all at the same time. After seeing tons of Bumblebees coming out left and right, it's great to see a cool variation on the Camaro vehicle mode.

Bumblebee is cast in his well known colors: yellow, black and translucent dark blue. The yellow makes up most of the vehicle mode with his wheels cast in black. The windshield and side windows are cast in translucent blue. Gunmetal grey, black, gold and pink of all colors are used to provide paint details. The gunmetal is used on the "honeycomb" patterned sections as well as the reinforcement frames on the windows and the details leading to his rocket boosters. The black paint is used to color the front end of the vehicle where the headlights and front grille are located. Gold is used on the front and back of the vehicle. The Chevrolet logo in the front is painted gold as well as the rocket boosters in the back. The pink color is found on the insides of the rocket boosters, which surprised me as it is not a color you often see used for boosters. Most of the time it's a dark color or it's a red/orange type color. Personally I like to think of the pink color as a bit of a callback to the pink color used to represent Energon in the original Transformers series.

Like many of the Deluxe Class figures in the "Dark of the Moon" toy line Bumblebee is designed to accomodate extra Mech Tech weapons in this form. In total you can connect five weapons to him in this mode. There are two peg holes on the sides (towards the back), two on top of the vehicle and one on the hood. When fully loaded, Bumblebee looks insanely well armed, resembling the NASCAR based Wreckers in their vehicle forms. I'm sure this was not coincidental.

This vehicle mode is a really nice piece of work. I really like the way new elements were incorporated onto the Chevrolet Camaro's base body and the deco looks great!

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon if attached.
  2. Swing the front wheel well panels back on each leg.
  3. Pull the rear of the car back.
  4. Flip the vehicle over and you'll see the robot legs.
  5. Pull the robot legs/the rear of the vehicle back.
  6. Split the legs from each other.
  7. Swing Bumblebee's feet outward.
  8. Now swing the entire grey piece on his legs (with the tires/robot feet attahced) out to the sides and down.
  9. Rotate the car doors/front wheel wells so they form part of the back.
  10. Swing each robot arm up.
  11. Straighten out each arm and rotate the forearms around as necessary.
  12. Swing the front of the car down, revealing the robot head. Be sure to place the move the side sections up to break them up from the middle one.
  13. On the back, fold the middle hood panel piece down, then push the hinged section against the back. It doesn't connect flat, instead there's a tab on the panel with the windshield that connects to a notch on Bumblebee's lower back.
  14. Place the weapon in Bumblebee's hand.

Robot Mode:
If you only looked at his vehicle mode, it would be easy to think that Nitro Bumblebee is just a retooling of an existing Bumblebee toy, but after transforming him and taking one look at his robot mode and it's immediately obvious he is a brand new sculpt. He definitely retains a lot of the basic Bumblebee design elements from the movie including the "car front as chest with car door wings on the back" configuration. His head sculpt is the same as previous versions with the central crest, small antennae on the sides of the head with round eyes and his speaker-like mouth piece. The arms have shoulder armor similar in shape to previous versions of the figure and his legs have the same basic design as other versions including armor coming to a point at the knees and rod coming out at an angle on his feet. However, the doors on his back sweep backward instead of out to the sides and as you'll see below, a lot of details exist on this version of Bumblebee that were not on previous ones.

What really impresses me about Nitro Bumblebee is the large amount of details sculpted into the design. This includes his back where several parts connect the main body to the back panel that have really nice detailing including tubes and pistons. The area at the center of his body and waist have more mechanical looking details. His forearms have also been redesigned with blasters sculpted right into the top of each arm. These resemble the thrusters he has in vehicle mode, offering some continuity between the two modes.

Bumblebee still has a lot of yellow color in this mode, but dark grey plastic offers some balance on his arms, waist, thighs and feet. The paint colors used are gunmetal grey, gold, black, yellow and blue. The gunmetal grey is used on the top of his chest to paint in the "honeycomb" patterns and you'll see it on his face, which looks really nice in contrast to the yellow plastic that formms the "helmet" section of his head. Gold is used for the middle sections of his lower legs. Black is used on his chest for the grille areas. A bit ofyellow is used on his shoulders to paint the armor's outer edges and finally his eyes are painted blue, which contrasts very strongly with the gunmetal grey on his face.

There are fifteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes three on each arm and four on each leg. Each of his hands is designed in a slightly open palmed position, but he can hold Mech Tech weapons very well. Each of his forearms has a hole in it that allows you to attach more weaponry and you can attach one to the panel from his car hood piece behind the head. Additional weapons can be attached to the sides of his legs where the holes from the sides of the vehicle mode wind up in this form.

Final Thoughts:
It may shock some to hear that I'm getting a bit worn out by the flood of Bumblebee redecos. It feels like almost every single Deluxe Scale Bumblebee figure has been given at least two new decos at any given time. That said, it is very refreshing to finally get a new Bumblebee sculpt on this scale that isn't necesarily a version we've seen on screen, but one that is consistent with the character and themes in "Dark of the Moon". I like this figure a lot for its detail, fun design and functionality. Highly recommended!