"Legends" Bumblebee with Exo-Suit Spike Toy Review

in 2017, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Legends, Legends, Mini-Bot

Legends

Bumblebee General Information:
Release Date: December 30, 2017
Price Point: 2400 Yen (Takara Tomy suggested retail price)
Retailer: Japanese Exclusive
Accessories: Headmaster Spike figure

Translation below by Doug Dlin:
Reconnaissance
Having fulfilled his heavy responsibilities as Throttlebot captain, Goldbug views being able to return to his Bumblebee form and come back to Earth as a member of the Minibots as a chance to bring back his freewheeling character once again.
In addition, reuniting with Spike and reforming their famous duo will likely lead to them expanding their field of activity as Autobot warriors, as well as the bonds of their deep friendship.

When Takara Tomy decided to release the "Legends" Bumblebee figure they did not release it alone. Instead, a new Headmaster figure was created to represent Bumblebee's longtime friend, Spike Witwicky as he appeared in the Generation One cartoon! You can check out my "Titans Return" Bumblebee review for my original thoughts on the figure. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release and of course, the Spike figure included with Bumblebee. Note: While traditionally Takara Tomy's name for Bumblebee has just been "Bumble", I will refer to him by his "full" name of "Bumblebee" for the purposes of this review.

Packaging:
The "Legends" packaging is a combination of modern and Generation One elements blended together into a box. Unlike the "Generations" versions of these figures the "Legends" figures are packaged in boxes. The box is square and very compact. Bumblebee is packaged in vehicle mode with Spike in the upper right hand corner. The packaging uses a vertical Transformers logo on the left side of the box (if you are facing it). On the other side is package art for the character and a grid background, a detail inspired by G1 packaging. Spike is labeled as a "Head Master" (two words, not one). The back of the packaging shows the figure in both modes. If you are into saving your Transformers boxes, this one will not take up much room on your shelf at all.

Excelsuit/Exo-Suit Spike

The translation of Spike's full "title" in this set is "Excelsuit Spike" but clearly it was meant to be "Exo-Suit" Spike. This figure is meant to represent Spike in the Exo-Suit we first saw him wearing in 1986's "Transformers: The Movie" animated film. It is important to note that this is not a redeco/retool of the "Leinad" figure included with "Titans Return" Arcee figure set. It would be easy to confuse the two as they have similar dome shaped heads, but even these parts are different from each other. The Leinad head looks like the dome shape from the animated series with flat panels behind it. On the other hand, this figure has pieces with notches on the back and there is a face sculpted behind the dome cover.

Taking a look at the body, you can see more differences between Leinad and Spike. Leinad used the base body of Hyperfire with a new head. Spike's design is entirely new, featuring details right from the animation model for the Exo-Suit in G1. These details include:

  • The dome shaped head is made out of clear plastic, and behind it you can see a tiny face, representing Spike's head inside the dome.
  • The chest has two distinct circles on it.
  • There is a small, raised vent near the shoulders on the sides of the arms.
  • The waist/hip area has a distinct indented line running down the middle.
  • The lower legs feature rectangular designs that meet up at an angle towards the lower part of the leg.
  • The feet have distinct notches in the middle towards the top.
  • The ankles have circles on the sides.

The sculpt is pretty fantastic, and outside of the Spike and Daniel Masterpiece figures, this is the closest fans have gotten to a "mainline" representation of the Exo-Suit based on the animation model.

Spike is cast in white and clear plastic. Light blue paint is used on the shoulders, fists and lower legs. The sides of the arms and the back have grey paint for the head mode.

Speaking of the head mode, this too firmly places this version of Spike into the American continuity (in Japan, Spike was not a Headmaster). The head sculpt represents the head of Cerebros, who transformed into the head of Fortress Maximus. Now, fans have already seen Spike given this treatment via the "Titans Return" Fortress Maximus figure, which came with a Titan Master that was based on Cerebros' head design. However, this is not just a reuse of that head sculpt. Instead, this is a whole new sculpt! When you put the two side by side the differences are clear. "Titans Return" Cerebros' crest is much larger and the piece that sticks out int he middle of his mouthplate extends out more than the one on this figure. Indeed, even their eyes do not quite line up in the same place. There is nothing "wrong" with either sculpt. They are just different interpretations of the character. To me, this sculpt is actually closer to the animation model than the Hasbro sculpt.

Bumblebeee

Vehicle Mode:
The "Titans Return" version of this figure was based on a modern interpretation of Bumblebee, complete with black stripes running along the sides. However, Takara Tomy's aim with "Legends" was to use the G1 animated series as inspiration instead. To that end, "Legends" Bumblebee is a much deeper yellow than the "Titans Return" version. Also, the piece that makes up the cabin section cover has translucent light blue windows instead of black paint over them. Even better? The yellow paint on this section matches up with the yellow plastic on the vehicle much better than the "Titans Return" version. Silver paint is used on the front grille, headlights and the small cross hatch pattern in front of the rear wheels. Silver is also used on the sides of the wheels. Meanwhile the back section has red paint on the rear lights and black paint on the rear bumper.

Overall, I have to say I like the deco on this version of Bumblebee much more than the "Titans Return" version. The yellow paint match with the yellow plastic and the silver on the sides of the wheels really send this figure over the top. I also appreciate the use of the deeper color yellow than the "Titans Return" version.

You can still lift the cabin section to have a Head Master or Titan Master figure sit inside in vehicle mode.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  2. Push the feet together.
  3. Swing the feet down to form the front of the vehicle.
  4. Rotate the forearms in so the yellow panels face outward.
  5. Swing the robot head and the arms (all connected on one series of panels) back.
  6. Swing the torso piece forward and swing out the panels inside of it.
  7. Swing the head/arms section back to where it was.
  8. Swing the arms up and push them in on the sides. There are small tabs on the piece that forms the back of the robot. These should line up with the notches on the forearms.
  9. The piece that forms the back of the vehicle should clip in between the two robot mode shoulder pieces to form the entire rear section of the car mode.

Robot Mode:
When comparing the robot modes of "Titans Return" and "Legends" Bumblebee the two look very similar. Of course, the shade of yellow is different, but the placement of colors is roughly the same. This includes black on the forearms, black plastic on the legs and the platform that the head is connected to. This mode also helps show off another interesting change in the deco: the upper arms. On "Titans Return" Bumblebee these sections are yellow plastic with the windows painted black. Here this piece is translucent blue plastic painted yellow. This allows these sections of the windows to match up with the side windows and windshield. This mode also shows off the red Autobot symbol on the chest, which has much thicker lines than the one on "Titans Return" Bumblebee. Finally, the face is painted light grey with light blue eyes.

All the joints on this version of Bumblebee are just as tight as the original.

Final Thoughts:
"Legends" Bumblebee is a definite step up in almost every way from his "Titans Return" counterpart. His deco is better, he comes with an exclusive Head Master and even his packaging is cooler. Of course, he'll cost you about $20 as opposed to $10 for the "Titans Return" version so you need to factor that in if you decide to add this to your collection. To me it is totally worth it. Recommended!

Pros:

  • Better deco than the "Titans Return" version.
  • Includes exclusive Spike figure.
  • Joints are all still nice and tight.

Cons:

  • The upper arm design is still somewhat awkward.