Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Bumblebee Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Beast Hunters, Deluxe, Prime

Transformers Prime Beast Hunters

General Information:
Release Date: December 2012
Price Point: $15.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Eagleshot Bow missile launcher, Missiles x 6, Dual barreled blasters x 2

Images:

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics from the Amazon.com:
Decepticons beware, because this Bumblebee figure is just the Autobot to take any of them on! He’s a super stealthy scout who can gather weapons and intelligence on the enemy, and his powerful Eagleshot bow launches major destruction at the Decepticons! When the battle calls for speed, convert him to sports car mode. Keep converting him back and forth so his Decepticon enemies can’t keep up! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Text from instructions:
Eagleshot Bow

  • Instantly locks on targets up to three miles away
  • Fires charged plasma bolts that melt through most metal
  • Smart-bolts track targets even around corners.

"Tales of the Beast Hunters" Chapter One

With the threat of Predaking looming over them all, every Autobot dedicates himself to discovering some means of battling the Predacon overlord. But it is the scout Bumblebee who discovers what may be the key to victory. Buried deep within data recovered alongside one of the Iacon Relics he finds evidence of a derelict transport starship - a courier packed with weapons more ancient than any relic yet recovered - set adrift ages ago among the asteroids girdling Earth's solar system. With no other way to reach the ancient ship, and not wanting to waste time, he contacts Wheeljack, hoping the Autobot mercenary can provide transport and - if it turns out to be a trap - an extra blaster.

Continued in Chapter 2 Deluxe Soundwave (sold separately)

BumblebeeAt the end of second season of "Transformers Prime", the Autobots were scattered, in hiding form the Decepticons. One of them was Bumblebee and he has appeared several times in the course of the "Transformers Prime" toy line. Now in the first wave of "Beast Hunters" he's back armored up with new weaponry. This figure is a significant retool and redeco of "Robots in Disguise" Bumblebee. This base sculpt was also used to create Hot Shot and "Dark Energon" Bumblebee. It's probably worth your while to check out those reviews for my general thoughts on the figure. This review will cover the changes made to the figure for this release.

Robot Mode:
Most of the time, a retool means a new head or perhaps a new weapon on a figure. This time out, "retool" really gets taken to a different level. A lot of parts have been changed on this figure, here's the rundown:

  • The head sculpt is entirely new, with Bumblebee's trademark round eyes peeking out from under what appears to be a bird-inspired helmet. The helmet has a high crest similar to the crests found on some species of Cockatoos. The sides have several panels overlapping that resemble the sides and back of a Kabuto.
  • The chest panels are new. Instead of a wide headlight, they are cut off a bit (allowing for his vehicle mode blades to stick out in front) and he has layers of armor sculpted into the top parts with vents in the front.
  • Each door has been modified to accomodate a missile rack that holds two missiles.
  • The shoulder panels have been altered to include more bird inspired details, in this case blades sticking out at angles that look like feathers.
  • Each of the lower leg sections have been modified with "feather blades" like those on the shoulder armor. Two are above the wheel well while the others are set horizontally behind the wheel well.
  • The entire back panel has been changed. Instead of a piece with a hinged piece at the bottom for the rear window of the vehicle, it is just one solid piece of plastic.

These changes are really interesting. I appreciate the way the Autobots have taken on "beast" like qualities to fight the Predacons. This evokes the mythological imagery from Chinese lore of the Dragon and Phoenix for me (though I am culturally biased). I also find it interesting that like "Beast Wars", the series has again evoked the use of birds (a la Silverbolt and Airazor) fighting against a "reptilian" or dinosaur based bad guy (think Megatron).

Bumblebee may have changed up his physical form, but his colors still remain true to the character. His primary plastic colors are yellow, black and silver. What's interesting is that his yellow has been divided into to types of yellow plastic. One is a darker shade of yellow, similar to that of "Robots in Disguise" Bumblebee. His back panel and doors however are cast in a lighter yellow plastic that has had a red-orange color swirled onto it. I'm not 100% sure what this coloring represents, though I speculate it might be some type of power build up form his new weaponry. This is most apparent on his left door which shows off the red coloring on the front and back.

Other paint colors include black, blue, silver and red. The black is used quite extensively. You'll find it on his chest, knee armor, helmet and the top of his chest panels. Black is also used to paint all his "feather/blade" details on the shoulders and legs. The blue is a light shade used for the headlights and eyes. Silver is used on the top of his chest panels and face. In the center of his chest is a red Autobot symbol. The colors look good and he remains distinctive from the other Autobots.

Bumblebee has seventeen points of articulation in this form. Bumblebee still includes his two dual barreled blasters (now cast in a lighter silver than before) but he also has his "Eagleshot" bow weapon, a crossbow inspired missile launcher. It can fire one missile at a time but you can attach two spare missiles to the top of the weapon. Need more weapons? No problem! Each missile rack on Bumblebee's doors can store up to two missiles. Bumblebee's forearms are the same as before so you can attach weapons to the sides of his forearms or put weapons with 5mm posts in his fists. Need to stash away a weapon? His back panel has a hole in the middle allowing you to attach a weapon back there.

All of the joints on this figure are nice and tight, and I'm quite sure the tooling was given some shoring up for this release (between US and Japanese releases, this particular sculpt has been put out about five times already). I'm really happy with the way this looks. Much ado has been made about the "spikes on spikes on spikes" look but as you can tell from my photos and descriptions above, this simply isn't true. There's a real "beast" motif being represented here and I like it a lot!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Push each of the lower legs and foot pieces up, then connect the two together.
  3. Straighten out each arm and push down the shoulder armor so the feather/blades point out to the sides.
  4. Swing the back panel up.
  5. Push the shoulders in, which will "auto transform" the head by swinging it forward and collapsing the chest pieces down.
  6. Swing the back panel up and then forward.
  7. Swing the forearms up.
  8. Push each door in and rotate the missile racks so they point forward.
  9. Swing the leg section back to form the rear of the vehicle.
  10. Attach the Eagleshot Bow to the top of the vehicle and the dual barreled weapons to the hole in the engine.

Vehicle Mode:
I pretty much covered what parts were either replaced or modified in the robot mode review, but there are a couple "newly" revealed bits. The top of the vehicle has been changed. It's not just one solid piece, but also one with a raised section in the center with some ridges on either side. The rear of the vehicle has extra bits sticking out the back (including yes, a row of spikes, the only ones on the figure other than the robot knees). He also has four exhaust pipes now instead of just two. While a bit over the top, these details do fit nicely with the rest of the vehicle's design.

The parts all come together nicely in this form. Instead of a relatively flat, sleek and smooth looking vehicle, this vehicle looks more like a beast/vehicle hybrid. The key elements of Bumblebee's vehicle form are still intact including a front end that slopes down, a wide rear section and a low overall profile. However, his feather/blade details now form vertical and horizontal fin-like details at the rear of the vehicle and the blades in the front look like they'd give Bumblebee the ability to slice through enemies on the battlefield! This mode also gives you a better look at the details on the front of the vehicle including the overlapping armor on the hood and the vents in the front. With the missile launcher attached, you can swing the halves of the lathe (the wide part in the front) back or keep them out to the sides. When they're swung out, it almost looks like Bumblebee has wings or blades out to the sides to slice up enemies. When swung back, it streamlines his appearance. Either way it looks great.

This form consolidates a lot of the yellow panels together, but there's still a clear difference between the lighter yellow panels with the red "swirl" details on them and the darker yellow plastic that makes up the rest of the vehicle. It doesn't look bad at all, but it is noticable. His bow is made of the lighter plastic and also has some red-orange paint patterns on it. The lathe sections are cast in black, distilling the two main colors of the character into his weapon. Almost all his paint applications from the robot mode carry over here, consolidating into the black of his front grille and the blue of his headlights. The "new" detail revealed in this form is the silver used to paint the engine. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I do regret the lack of paint on the wheels and the back of the vehicle. The wheels bug me a bit less than on other figures since the has so much going on detail-wise on the sides, however the back really does look bad because it's unpainted and there is so much sculpted detail there. This is perhaps my biggest gripe with the figure, though I admit it's not a big one in the larger scheme of the overall figure.

Final Thoughts:
Beast Hunters Bumblebee (and some of his fellow Deluxe figures) are a bit of a mixed bag for fans. Some fans such as myself enjoy this aesthetic and I can even understand the in-story "tactical" reasons behind wanting new armor and extra weaponry. Others think it just looks messy. A lot of this comes down to your personal taste. As a toy however there's fun to be had and it's a solid toy. I do wish it had more paint applications, which knocks it down a peg, but it's still recommended!