Transformers Prime Weaponizer Bumblebee Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Prime, Weaponizer, Robots in Disguise

Transformers Prime

General Information:
Release Date: September 2012
Price Point: $29.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blaster


*Images with asterisks and text below in italics are from The Official Transformers Web Site:
TRANSFORMERS PRIME Weaponizer Class action figures are the ultimate warriors in the ancient conflict between AUTOBOT and DECEPTICON robots! These mighty robots from the planet CYBERTRON have come to Earth to continue their epic battle, with OPTIMUS PRIME and the heroic AUTOBOTS fighting to protect our world from the tyranny of MEGATRON and his DECEPTICONS.

The battle between the AUTOBOTS and the DECEPTICONS continues with new TRANSFORMERS battle technology! TRANSFORMERS PRIME Weaponizers figures feature four modes and hidden weapons that emerge spinning and lock into combat position. Each figure converts from toy vehicle to robot and back, and both modes can be weaponized for awesome battle action. With cool action features and amazing detail, there’s something for everyone with TRANSFORMERS PRIME toys (each sold separately)! Collect your favorite characters, pick your side, and join the battle for Earth!

Blast DECEPTICONS with this brave AUTOBOT warrior. Even when the DECEPTICONS think they’ve got him nailed, BUMBLEBEE always has a nasty surprise in store. He’s always been skilled in stealth, but his years of experience fighting under the command of OPTIMUS PRIME have taught him everything there is to know about catching the DECEPTICONS flat-footed. BUMBLEBEE is one of the smartest fighters the AUTOBOTS have, and he’s made a career out of taking out opponents far larger than himself. He’s perfected the art of the surprise attack, and installed several powerful weapons designed just to catch his enemies unaware.

Converts from robot to vehicle. The AUTOBOT scout BUMBLEBEE converts from a cool sports car to a weaponized battle vehicle, then to a powerful robot warrior or overpowered weaponized robot-wrecking machine. His chest glows. When you convert him to one of his weaponized modes, hidden artillery spins into action.

Features: Hidden weapons spin into action, 4 modes, Weapons deploy in car and robot mode, Electronic lights, Glowing chest!, Blaster pistol included! Figure comes with Converting BUMBLEBEE action figure, weapons and instructions. X2 A76 Batteries included. Series 1: 002 BUMBLEBEE. For ages 5 and up.

BumblebeeSince the live action movies launched Bumblebee back into the spotlight, he has received the "leader class" or "ultra class" treatment many times over the years. The "Transformers Prime" version of this is "Weaponizer" Bumblebee. The "Weaponizer" term refers to a feature where hidden weapons are deployed along with lights. Couched in a large scale figure, this gives fans a chance to own Bumblebee in a whole different scale!

Robot Mode:
Standing about nine inches (about twenty two centimeters) this is the largest Bumblebee figure released in the "Transformers Prime" line thus far. The scale kind of works for the character since Bumblebee's current incarnation is not a tiny and weak Autobot. His wide shoulders leading to a thin mid-body and wider feet give hiim a heroic look. Most of his requisite details are present. This includes his distinct head sculpt with a high crest, round eyes and covered mouth. His chest is similar to movie Bumblebee's, complete with the front end that angle slightly to give him the "layered armor" look. His wheels wind up on his shoulders with curved armor on his forearms. He even has a license plate piece on his chest. His legs are probably the least detailed part of the sculpt, with simple smooth armor leading to blocky, angled feet. Overall, this sculpt matches the animation model very well and looks great.

Bumblebee is cast in the following colors: yellow, black, grey, clear and translucent blue. The yellow color makes up most of the robot with the grey and black colors make up smaller parts including his feet, upper arms and the weapon. The clear plastic is found on the headlights on his chest and the translucent blue color is on his head, used for light piping on the eyes. The color applications are rather sparse on this figure, but that's hardly a criticism. The fact is, Bumblebee's animation model isn't exactly brimming with color, but that works for the character who is traditionally made up of only a few key colors. His paint colors include black and silver paint. The black forms line details on his upper body, waist and legs. The silver is found on his face and crest. It looks good and makes him instantly identifiable.

There are nineteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes five points on each arm and four on each leg. His head is on a ball joint, allowing it a good range of motion. Bumblebee includes a version of his double barreled blaster. This can be held in either hand or attached to the side of either forearm. The really impressive weaponry comes into play when you press his head down. This unleashes two spinning gatling guns on either side of his head. At the same time red lights inside the chest light up briefly. The overall effect is very cool. I really like the way the guns still spin when they are revealed (for a few seconds anyhow). To reset the cannons, press the "license plate" detail down and they will swing back into place.

There are additional weapon connection points on the figure. On each gatling gun are two holes that can accomodate Cyberverse 3mm peg weapons. In addition, his lower legs each have two holes on the sides that can accomodate 5mm peg weapons (like the Mech Tech weapons). This gives him ten connection points for weaponry, but if you choose weapons that also have connection points, then you can really pile on the weaponry! This adds a layer of fun functionality to Weaponizer Bumblebee and I'm glad to see these connection points do not ruin the look of the figure at all.

There is one weakness to this figure, and depending on what you do with it (display or play) it may or may not matter to you. The way the back piece attaches to the main body is via two grooves on the back piece that slide into tabs on Bumblebee's back. This piece attaches only part way. The back pieces including the middle of the hood unfortunately keep the piece from sliding in all the way. Even if you move that part out and slide it all the way, there is not enough tension there to keep the piece firmly in. It's fine for display, or if you hold the figure on the back to keep that piece in place. But if you're moving the figure around a lot that part tends to flop out of place, which can be annoying. Since my figures wind up mostly on display, I don't mind this so much, but it's perhaps the most glaring flaw in an otherwise cool robot mode.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon and set it aside for now.
  2. Swing up the ankle armor pieces.
  3. Swing the back piece out.
  4. On the back piece, pull out the center of the hood (a thin piece) and swing up the windshield. You're essentially flattening out the back piece.
  5. Swing each arm back part way, just enough to detach the shoulder joint from the front wheels of the vehicle.
  6. Swing the robot head back.
  7. Swing the lower robot body back.
  8. On each arm, swing out the panels that form the rear of the vehicle.
  9. Swing the back panel up.
  10. Swing each arm back and connect the two pieces from the arms.
  11. Push the back piece down, completing the front of the vehicle, the top of the cabin section and the back.
  12. Close each door.
  13. Attach the weapon to the hole near the back of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
Bumblebee's vehicle mode is a "muscle car" that also looks rather sporty. In the fictional world of "Transformers Prime" Bumblebee transforms into an "Urbana 500". In real life, he seems to take influence from vehicles like the Chevrolet Camaro, which is what Bumblebee transformed into in the live action movies. He has a distinctive pointed front end, a low profile with the rear wheel wells being much larger than the front. It's a cool looking car and definitely one that I wouldn't mind owning if it existed in real life!

Unfortunately, there are a couple weak points with this vehicle mode. Generally when you take a figure that exists in another scales and "scale it up" it's expected that the figure should at the very least match the aesthetic appeal of its smaller cousins. However, Bumblebee fails in that regard in two ways. First, the wheels are just snapped into place using very obvious pegs. This normally wouldn't be a problem if they were painted or this assembly was somehow masked, but here they're not, making them just look cheap in the process. Another rather cheap looking aspect is the lack of side windows. This winds up exposing some of the robot parts, and overall just looks bad, almost as if the parts were removed after initial assembly (they weren't). It's one thing if you do something like this on a Scout Class or Deluxe Class figure, but for something at the $30+ price point and on such a large scale I really would have expected a mechanism like what we saw in the First Edition Bumblebee where the doors had a panel that folded in. This would have allowed there to be a window there without getting in the way of either mode or transformation.

Interestingly, the deco shown in the promotional stock photography by Hasbro for this figure is almost completely different than the final product. There, most of the lines on the vehicle are very thin and the pattern on the door is different. The deco used on the final product is much closer to the animated series, with bold black stripes on the front, the hood, the top of the vehicle, the sides and the back. A large Autobot symbol is tampographed on the top of the cabin section and the rear lights are painted a light red color. The engine block is grey, offering some color continuity from the robot mode. The front grille and fog lights are painted black and all four wheels are cast in black plastic. It's a much better color scheme than the stock photography, and more show accurate but I really find myself wishing the sides of the wheels were painted silver.

The vehicle has one hole on the back allowing you to attach any weapon with a 5mm peg. The "Weaponizer" feature can be used in this form as well. Press the engine down and the weapons flip out while the front lights up red, just like the robot mode. It's a fun action and looks great.

Final Thoughts:
I struggled with recommending versus not recommending this figure for a while, and it came down to one thing: price. If this figure was priced at around $20-25 then I'd recommend it (and in fairness, I purchased it for $23.99 on sale at Toys R Us) but at it's regular price of $29.99-$32.99 on average, it's just not worth it given the weaknesses in the figure. If you can get it at a discount and really love larger scale Transformers figures, go for it. If you already own a few 'bees and don't necesarily need another this really isn't worth your while.