Bombing Run Battle (Bumblebee versus Grindor) Toy Reviews
Release Date: August 2010
Price Point: $16.98
Retailer: Wal-Mart Exclusive
Images: Gallery of images for this boxed set
The "Hunt for the Decepticons" campaign has been in full swing for most of the Summer of 2010. Target has carried several exclusive boxed sets, and Wal-Mart has also joined the redeco mania wave of toys. Instead of two deluxe figures in a versus set like the Target exclusives, Wal-Mart chose to go with one Deluxe figure and one Legends Class figure in each two pack. The two figures in the "Bombing Run Battle" are a redeco of Cannon Bumblebee and the Legends Class Blackout sculpt as Grindor. For a detailed look at Bumblebee, check out the Cannon Bumblebee review. Since this version is packaged in robot mode, I will provide robot to vehicle mode transformation instructions. I never got to review the Legends Class Blackout or first release of Grindor, so this review will be a regular one.
If you read my Cannon Bumblebee review you'll know that I genuinely like this sculpt. Sure, it's not the best Bumblebee figure to come out of the movie line of toys, but it's a perfectly good one that provides some functionality on the deluxe scale that was not previoiusly available (namely the shoulder cannons). I also really dig the sculpt and the attention to detail on parts like the robot head. So here's the thing, if you want to take a figure I like and make it something that I don't like, one of your surefire strategies is to give it a rather ugly color scheme.
Now, to clarify, "ugly" is in the eye of the beholder and I think it is possible to have some garish colors and still make a good figure (like a lot of the Generation 2 line of figures). However, even loud or bright colors can "pop" visually. In the case of Bumblebee however his colors have the exact opposite effect. A majority of Bumblebee's parts are metallic yellow, a very dull shade that looks almost like mustard color. Several smaller parts are cast in silver including his thighs and sections of his lower legs. Black plastic can be found making up his wheels and the back of his waist. So far this doesn't sound too bad right? But that's because I saved the best for last: the final color. The third plastic color found on Bumblebee is a dark green which has a color very similar to mold or moss. It's a rather sickly green and it is quite unattractive. To compound this the window colors are now also green, but not a bright, translucent green but rather a dull looking translucent green. By itself, the metallic yellow and the green are perfectly good colors, but in concert with each other it looks a lot like Bumblebee has been sitting in a fish tank too long or something and just accumulated the mold or algea over time. The two colors simply don't work well together and look bad.
But wait, there's more! Since the green plastic is not enough green, the designers decided to paint green on the figure as well! The sides of the robot arms, the head and the legs all have green paint details on them. The ones on the arms and the head are nice patterns, I really just wish they had been different colors. Silver is used to paint the robot face and the eyes are light blue. Black and red paint is found on the chest where they make up most of the front grille including the Chevrolet logo (outlined in red). The overall effect of the paint applications show what could have been a nice pattern, but done in the absolute wrong color.
All of the parts on the figure are tight and you can still use his weapons as shoulder cannons. Functionally there's nothing wrong with the robot mode.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Make sure the shoulder cannons are tucked in.
- Swing the robot feet up against the lower legs. This will automatically move his rear window halves into place.
- Adjust the rear wheel well armor so it connects together.
- Pull the rear half of the car's cabin cover back, straightening it out.
- Swing the robot chest piece up and snap the windshield piece into place.
- Pull the robot legs down and connect them together to form the rear section of the vehicle.
- Swing the two pieces that form the robot mode's mid-body up to form the car seats.
- Straighten out the robot arms and swing them into the underside of the vehicle.
- Close the car doors.
The vehicle mode has a lot less jarring changes than the robot mode mostly because the yellow uniformly dominates in this form. The green isn't gone by any means. Indeed, the green windows are even more prominent here since they're connected together in this form. Also, green paint is used to paint a line that starts at the very front wheel well and goes all the way back to the rear one. An additional detail added in for this version is a silver Autobot symbol on the right side of the rear window. The shame of this color scheme is that the choice of green just kills it. The metallic yellow by itself is a really nice color and something different from the flat yellow color used on most of the other Bumblebee releases. I think there are definitely some different, more subtle shades of green that may have worked here, but this one just doesn't do the job.
Whether you think he's the same guy as Blackout or not, the fact is the two guys look very, very similar. In this mode, the designers managed to pull off a pretty nice visual trick. By using the halves that form the front of the helicopter as the arms, they create the illusion of bulk on the upper body while the legs are kept fairly thin and streamlined. This design echoes his appearance in the feature films.
The smaller Legends Class size figures generally wind up a lot more streamlined without tons of extra kibble hanging off the figure. In this case that's a good thing as he looks very refined while some of his key details are kept intact. The head sculpt still has several "V" shaped formations on it and slanted eyes that give him an evil look. His mouthplate has an insectoid quality about it as well. Behind his head is a surprising detail, his circular EMP generator! In a valiant (but only half successful) attempt to add in some movie design accurazy, each of the shoulders has a pointed tube sculpted into it, evoking similar tube designs that would normally be set up on either side of the robot head on the CGI model and larger toys of this character.
This version of Grindor is cast in two plastic colors: tan and orange. For those who may find this combination familiar, it's based on the Generation One triple changer Sandstorm, who not only had these colors but also transformed into a helicopter. Paint details are done up in a metallic blue-grey color as well as orange. In this form the orange is used heavily on the legs while the grey fills in nice detailing on his chest and arms. I was pleased to see how well detailed the head paint design is. The head is cast in tan plastic, then the face is painted metallic blue-grey. The on top of that are some small orange line details. That's a really nice job for a Legends Class figure.
Grindor has six points of meaningful articulation, though if you wish you can add two more into the mix since his knee joints can bend outwards as part of his transformation scheme. The joints are tight despite this sculpt having been used a few times already.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Swing the forearms up against the upper arms.
- Swing the arms up to either side of the head, then rotate them around and connect them.
- Raise the robot legs out to the sides.
- Rotate the lower legs around.
- Collapse the two lower legs against the main body and connect them together.
- Swing the tail rotor back.
- Swing out the halves of the rotors.
In the "Revenge of the Fallen" film, Grindor technically transformed into the CH 53 Sea Stallion helicopter, a successor to the MH 53 Pave Low that Blackout transformed into in the original film. However, for the purposes of this redeco, no retooling was done so Grindor's vehicle mode is more of a MH 53, especially on the front end where he still has two pods attached to the front.
Many of the key features of the real life helicopter are duplicated here. There is the aforemntioned devices attached to the front end, there are six primary rotor blades with a smaller blade in back that includes a horizontal stabilizer. On either side of the rotor engine are two tubes and he has pods attached to either side of the vehicle (though they were set much more forward on the MH 53 in real life). Overall, it's a cool looking mini representation of the Pave Low family of helicopters and does the character's on screen appearance justice.
Like the robot mode, the tan color dominates in this form but orange is still visible on his primary and rear rotor blades. This form utilizes the grey paint a lot. It makes up his windows, the devices on the front, the front of the tubes by his rotor engine and the pods set on either side of the vehicle towards the back. While simple, these paint applications really contrast well with the light tan color. It's also a more interesting color than a simple black would have been. Very nicely done. There are some extra details in this form as well. Some brown color is used to create a camo pattern on the sides of the vehicle that look very cool and fit in nicely with the "desert" theme of the figure.
The rotors on this vehicle can be turned, but they are not so loose that they will spin much on their own. To be honest, I prefer that over rotors flopping all over the place in robot mode so I'm good with this aspect of the design.
The "Bombing Run Battle" two pack was a weird idea to begin with. Having a tiny helicopter attacking a regular sized Chevrolet Camaro seems a bit silly to me, but even ignorning that, had the strength of the color scheme on Bumblebee been stronger I would have placed this as a recommended two pack. Alas, with only a good Legends figure to vouch for, I cannot justify asking fans to spend $16+ on two figures they already own, with one in an ugly color scheme. Not recommended.