"Generations" Cyber Commander Bumblebee Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: July 2015
Price Point: $19.99 (MSRP)
Retailer: Limited Release
Accessories: None

Official images and text below in italics are from the Official Transformers web site:
This Bumblebee figure won’t back down from any battle with his Decepticon enemies! He’s a fast-moving Autobot scout and it only takes 6 steps for him to change from powerful robot warrior mode to speedy sports car mode. Will any Decepticon be fast enough to chase him down? There’s only one way to find out!

2-in-1 Bumblebee figure. Figure converts from robot mode to sports car mode. Converts in 6 steps. Ages 6 and up

 In March of 2015, some interesting listings popped up on the Official Transformers web site for "Cyber Battalion" figures. These appeared to be simplified figures that resembled upscaled Legends Class figures. However, these figures were not present at both Toy Fair 2015 and they were not part of Hasbro's presentation at Botcon 2015. Still, sightings of these figures in areas of the world like Latin America and parts of Asia popped up online. In July of 2015, Ben's World of Transformer sponsor Bigbadtoystore listed several of these figures (including their larger "Cyber Commander" counterparts) and they sold out fast and a week later the listings were gone from the web site.

While the Hasbro web site lists an MSRP of $19.99 for Bumblebee, I wound up paying $29.99 since I wasn't sure when I would ever see these for sale again (note: at the time I am typing this review, there are zero listings for these figures on ebay or any other retailer I normally frequent). It is very unusual for figures to make it to the official web site, get a limited release and then seemingly vanish from the market so this review is a bit of an anomaly among the other "Generations" figures. Perhaps they will see some bigger release down the road but nothing official has been announced at this time.

Unlike most Transformers packaging on the market nowadays, this figure comes in a rectangular box that has no window, so you can't see the toy inside. Instead the front has photography of the toy in both modes with a white and grey grid behind it and a Autobot symbol in grey. Cut in a triangular panel is artwork featuring Bumblebee. This artwork is borrowed from the now defunct "Transformers Legends" mobile card game. To the right is the vertical "Transformers" logo with the "Generations" logo above it. The back of the packaging features the figure and instructions along with a brief bio blurb in four languages (including english and spanish). Towards the bottom is safety information, but interestingly on my box there is a sticker slapped over this section with Chinese writing and citing Hasbro's China web site. This box is taller than the ones used for the Cyber Battalion figures like Starscream.

Open the flap on the side and you pull out a cardboard tray with the figure attached by eco-friendly paper ties. This explains why there's no window box. Basically money was saved by not having to print a fancy background for the tray. It's just plain cardboard. My guess is given the simple nature of the figure, the designers figured most folks getting this would ditch the packaging anyhow. What I like about the packaging is that it is reusable and easily fit onto a bookshelf. There's even character art on the side with the character's name so you can line them up!

Robot Mode:
Since the Cyber Commander figures are a relatively obscure group in the pantheon of "Transformers" toys let's talk size first. This Bumblebee figure is about 10.5 inches (approximately 26.7 centimeters) tall and 5 inches wide (about 12.7 centimeters) shoulder to shoulder, the legs are a bit wider. That makes the figure about the height of a Leader Class figure like Ultra Magnus. Weight wise however it's a bit less plastic. Ultra Magnus for instance weighs in at 12.2 ounces (about 345.8 grams) while Bumblebee here weighs in at 9.9 ounces (280.6 grams). This is hardly shocking since this figure is a simplified toy intended for a kids as young as six while Magnus is listed for kids ages eight and up. It also doesn't have any accessories. Still it's a big, imposing looking figure.

This Bumblebee design is really an interesting mash up of design elements with other design aspects unique to this figure. Here are some of the design elements that appear to be influenced by prior Bumblebees:

The head sculpt has a "helmet" shaped like the classic G1 Bumblebee animation model. It features a central crest and horns on the side with the bottom of the helmet widening towards the base. The face however has a mouthplate over it that is reminiscent of the live action Movie Bumblebee who has a "voice box" over the area where a mouth would be.
The design of the chest and head, especially the way part of the transformation works is very similar to the "Robots in Disguise" Legion Class Bumblebee figure. This includes having the car windshield on the chest and the head flipping out from a compartment in the middle of the vehicle's cabin section.
The curved look of the shoulders seem to call back to the more curved shape of G1 Bumblebee's Volkswagon Bug vehicle form instead of the more sleek and angular vehicle mode that his robot legs suggest. Having the wheels on his shoulders is also a bit of a throwback to G1 Bumblebee's toy, which had all four vehicle wheels on his arms.

Aside from the details above, almost all the details on this figure could be generic to almost any Transformer. That's not to say the details are bad mind you. His mid-body and waist area actually have a lot of angled, layered details. His arms have huge exhaust pipes on them which gives him an extra aggressive appearance. His legs are sculpted in such a way that it looks like he has knee articulation, but he doesn't. The feet are pretty generic too, made up of layered rectangles with ridged bottoms for traction. It's a good sculpt, but ultimately you could theoretically stick any head on here and turn it into another Autobot car character with ease. That's not so much a criticism as it is an observation, so don't take any negative meaning from it.

Bumblebee is cast in yellow, silver and black plastic (no surprises there). The yellow is used mostly on his chest, head, arms, lower legs and feet. A surprising amount of the torso to hip section is cast in silver (usually on Bumblebee yellow dominates). His thighs and knees are black plastic. It's a nice break up of the yellow color. It's an interesting idea to have the bright yellow separated so far apart between the upper body and lower body.

Paint applications include light blue on the windows that form most of the chest and on his eyes. Silver paint is used to color the face and the exhaust pipes on his arms. Black paint is used on the panels that connect his arms to the exhaust pipes and you'll find black stripes on his legs. Both arms feature large Autobot symbols tampographed in white and red. I know nowadays most symbols seem to use the red and silver combination of colors, but I really like the way these two colors stand out against the yellow plastic here. Could the figure use more paint? Sure. The middle sections is begging for a bit more detailing, but overall the figure looks good.

There are fifteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes four in each arm and three in each leg. His head is set on a ball joint allowing him to move it side to side and up and down slightly. As mentioned above he doesn't have knee articulation, which eliminates a lot of potential poses you can place the figure in. The arms have most of the articulation. They can swing up and down and outward. He also has elbows that can bend or swivel. When you position the arms, be sure the silver shoulder pieces are connected to the chest panel (there is a tab/slot system for this). This stabilizes the arms so they can move without the whole joint swinging down.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  2. Swing the chest forward, it is connected to a central hinge that will also swing forward.
  3. Push the robot head back, then swing the back panel over it.
  4. Push the robot feet back until the front parts of the car are revealed.
  5. Push the two lower legs together.
  6. Swing the robot chest and back sections (now the cabin section of the vehicle) forward, then tab in the back section.
  7. Swing the arms down at the shoulder joints, then push each arm into the sides.

Vehicle Mode:
Bumblebee's vehicle mode looks like a mash up of his "Robots in Disguise" and "Classics" counterparts. The vehicle is a very aggressive looking muscle car. The front end has a tall and wide grille section including vertical lights in the front and pointed panels on the bottom and extending out from the front wheel wells. The sides cuve inward towards the doors then back out towards the rear wheel wells. Sitting on top of the sides are huge exhaust pipes, three on each side. The rear section has a spoiler and is curved. Its design evokes the design of "Classics" Bumblebee's vehicle form. It's an interesting mash up of details and I think it looks really cool. It's also big and chunky, making it perfect for younger fans.

On top of mashing up elements of past Bumblebees there are a lot of cool sculpted details unique to this figure. There are the aforementioned exhaust pipes, which really look awesome. The ends even have vent lines inside. The back of the vehicle has triangular rear lights (very "scifi" looking) and one large exhaust port that is trapezoid in shape. The front end has a grille that angles outward from the middle and has horizontal rows of distinct vent lines. While much of this vehicle is flat panels, there is still a lot of detail to be found.

Most of the parts in this mode were visible in robot mode, so there are no huge color surprises. Yellow still makes up most of the vehicle from front to back. Black plastic is used for the wheels and a section of the vehicle's rear is silver plastic. Despite being a "simple" figure, there is quite a bit of paint on this car. There are the blue windows carried over from the robot mode, but he also has blue on the vertical lights in the front. Black paint is used on the hood's racing stripes as well as the front end of the car. The grille in the front is painted silver. This mode gives you a much clearer look at the silver and black on the sides along with the red and white Autobot symbol. As with many Transformers figures however, there are unpainted parts. The horizontal headlights are unpainted (and cast in yellow, so you kind of have to stare to see them) and the rear windows are unpainted.

Final Thoughts:
Keeping in mind the intended purpose and audience of this figure, I have to say I like it quite a bit. It has its frustrating points (read: lack of knee articulation) and there could have been more paint applications, but overall this is an interesting alternate take on the Bumblebee character. Now, is it worth $30 to the average collector? I don't think so. However if it ever came out for the intended retail of $19.99 I would say it's worth it.

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