Transformers Timelines Bug Bite Toy Review

in 2007, Action Figure Review, Botcon, Decepticon, Gobot, Timelines

Transformers Timelines

General Information:
Release Year: July 2007
Retailer: Botcon 2007 Exclusive
Price: $329 for Botcon 2006 registration that included boxed set, $279 for members of the fan club
Accessories: "Tidal Wave" jetski/backpack

Images:

Working out a Botcon 2007 exclusive set that would be primarily comprised of "Classics" sculpts was a tough one. The Seekers were obvious choices, but at the time we were planning the set, only the first wave had been released with the second wave on its way. We had to make a choice on whether to take non-Classics sculpts and work them in, and ultimately it was decided we would do that for the souvenirs. The main set however had to remain all Classics, and that's when the little light bulb went off in my head to take advantage of one of my favorite Classics sculpts: Bumblebee.

I've always had a fondness for the Bumblebee character and by extension, anything that had to do with the toys based on the character. In 2004, Takara released an E-Hobby exclusive set of G1 Mini-Bot redecos. These redecos were each based on characters from the Go-Bots line of toys, which at one time served as a competitor to Transformers but ultimately became part of Hasbro via its acquisition of Tonka toys. In this set, the original Bumblebee toy was given a new deco as the Go-Bot character Bug Bite. Putting two and two together, we thought it was a neat idea to not only use the same concept, but take it one step further and make Bug Bite's origin similar to the E-Hobby set where he is from the "Gobot-verse" and not a true "child of Primus".

This is the third use of this figure, so I'm only going to cover the changes made to the figure for this release. Check out the Classics Bumblebee and Cliffjumper reviews for other looks at the basic figure.

Vehicle Mode:
The E-Hobby redeco of the G1 Bumblebee figure made the toy primarily white, so we started from there as the base for this figure. However we did not want to use a flat white as that would be terribly boring. Instead, a pearl colored white was used instead, replacing the yellow parts on Bumblebee. The other primary plastic color is black, keeping with the colors of the E-Hobby redeco and offering a sharp color contrast. Replacing Bumblebee's translucent plastic is a translucent purple plastic. I love the way the purple plastic looks on top of the white. In concert with the deco scheme, it has a look that evokes a highly customized car since you don't normally see lights of that color.

For design inspiration, it was clear that Classics Bumblebee and Cliffjumper were going for stylized, tuner-car type decos. We wanted to do the same, but distinguish Bug Bite at the same time. I suggested tribal tattoo like patterns, but it was Lanny Lathem of Fun Publications who exercised his considerable creative muscles to come up with an actual design that looked like it could exist in real life while also evoking something specific to the Transformers universe. In this case if you look at the tribal patterns on both the top of the car and the hood (they're inverse images of the same thing) it is actually based on the Decepticon symbol, albeit highly stylized. It's roughly triangular in shape, has the crest in the center, the angled sections coming out to the sides and it comes to a point on the bottom. On the sides of the vehicle are curved tribal designs that come to a point, evoking the pointed sides of the design on the hood. These designs give Bugbite a bit of an edgier look than his Autobot counterparts and work really well in a light shade of purple on top of the car's white plastic.

Paint details are minimal since the tribals make up so much of the designs on the figure. The black spoiler has a strip of pearl white paint on top. The sides of the wheels are painted silver and the rear lights are painted red. The front grille is painted black, matching the section underneath it. Overall, this is a vehicle that is hardly boring looking and definitely evokes a very different spirit than Bumblebee or Cliffjumper.

The jetski mounted on a hitch is present in this set as well. The hitch piece is black with silver on the wheels to match the rest of the vehicle. The top piece is also black but painted white with a nice metallic purple fade starting in the front and fading towards the back. A strip of metallic red goes down the front. These colors of course match up with the colors of the vehicle. Kudos go to Pete Sinclair for thinking up the name "Tidal Wave" to match up to this piece. Using "Wave Runner" again would have been odd in my opinion, and "Tidal Wave" works perfectly!

Robot Mode:
In robot mode Bug Bite benefits from additional decos and the color of the translucent plastic used to make the top of the car cabin. The translucent purple color starts on his back and extends all the way to the front of the upper body. The result is a really nice looking piece that goes from light in the back (since it's up against white plastic) to dark on the 'straps' on his shoulders (since they rest on black plastic). The two squares that are painted blue on Bumblebee's shoulders are metallic red here. There is also red on the head on the top of the crest and for the eyes (a nice G1-ish touch). The face is painted silver. I love the way the tribal designs manage to look different in this mode but still enhance the figure. On the chest you only see the top part of the symbol from the top of the cabin, but here it looks like a completely different design. On the legs the split design is both symmetrical and breaks the potential monotony of the white colors.

Out of all the figures in this set, Bug Bite has some of the tightest joints, showing that even after two runs of this sculpt, the tool is still good to go.

Final thoughts:
With Bug Bite we managed to achieve a couple of fun things. First we brought a formerly Japanese exclusive Transformer into the US. On top of that we also made a Go-Bot into a Botcon exclusive and used a great sculpt to boot. The color scheme is unique and different than what you'll find on most Transformers. Unlike many of the other figures in this set, Bug Bite doesn't go for insane amounts of money. I've seen a Bug Bite or two with bids as low as $40. For the Japanese Transformer enthusiast or completist, this piece is highly recommended!


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