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TF Toy Review: TF Movie Ultimate Bumblebee

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review by zaptheman

Name: Ultimate Bumblebee
Series: Transformers Movie - Ultimate Bumblebee
Packaging: Windowed Box with 'Try Me' perforation and 'Flip' feature
Release: Sept 2007
Manufactured By: Hasbro
Accessories: Missile

Overview:
Standing up to more than 14 inches tall in height, Ultimate Bumblebee is the largest Transformers Movie toy in the market. This represents Bumblebee's New Camaro form. Added-on features can be described as animatronic: Bumblebee reacts with lights, pre-recorded sounds and pre-set moves to sound or the push of a button. Features Devo's "Whip It".

Notes:
Ultimate Bumblebee does NOT have die-cast parts - of which I'm actually grateful. It's heavy enough now that it's all plastic. The plastic's quality is excellent. The use of heavy plastic instead of die-cast metal is a very good choice. The weight of metal parts might just make the plastic parts suffer (Case-in-point: MP Optimus Prime - the top is just too heavy for the plastic thighs to handle). Just take my word for it - it's all plastic, but it's a very sturdy toy.

Introduction:
In reverence to the G1 Bumblebee, movie producer Don Murphy wanted Bumblebee to be a Volkswagen Beetle, but director Michael Bay rejected it to avoid comparisons with Herbie the Love Bug. Bay chose the Chevrolet Camaro instead, which he described as having a friendly quality. Making Bumblebee a Camaro led a full product placement deal with General Motors, who supplied the alternate modes for the rest of the Autobots as well (Except for Optimus Prime who is a Peterbilt truck).

Voiced by Mark Ryan, Bumblebee is a friendly scout who develops a friendship with humans during his efforts to find the Allspark. He has difficulty speaking after his vocal processors were damaged in battle, and uses soundbites from radio broadcasts to communicate on Earth. Near the end of the movie, Bumblebee regains his ability to talk.

Bumblebee starts as a Second-generation 1977 Chevrolet Camaro in the movie, and later on reverts to a Fifth-generation Camaro - a concept car not slated for release until 2009. For the movie, the '09 model was built from a 2006 Pontiac GTO by Saleen and the body was built from the same molds as the '09 prototypes.

Packaging Text:
Earth's first line of defense against the DECEPTICONS is here! Hidden from his enemies in vehicle mode, BUMBLEBEE waits and watches until he is called upon to protect Sam and any other humans that come under threat from MEGATRON. He is a cunning warrior against evil, and dedicated to those he calls his friends. When danger threatens, he converts to robot mode with his plasma cannon blazing!

The TRANSFORMERS Movie hero “comes to life” at the push of a button! This amazing and ultra-detailed robot figure features an animated head, wings and arms. His cannon automatically “aims” and fires a missile! Convert this awesome machine in to Camaro concept vehicle mode with battle and conversion sounds! Groove to nine different songs, featuring “Whip It” by Devo! You’ll be ready for action with realistic revving engine sounds, screeching brakes and crashing noises – even a car alarm and horn! And with 17 cool phrases like, “Let’s roll out!” and “Take that DECEPTICON!” he's the ultimate interactive action figure powered up, and ready to bring the fight to the DECEPTICONS - or at least your bedroom!

Includes 4 AA batteries

Vehicle Mode:
Ultimate Bumblebee's vehicle mode is a very close representation of Chevrolet's fifth-generation concept Camaro. The paint job is black (stripes) and silver(wiper, door handles, gas intake, tailpipes and Chevrolet logo), with a touch of dark gray (grille, windshields and windows) and gold (Chevrolet logo detail and Autobot insignia) on chrome yellow plastic. The wheels are real rubber, with accurate tread detail on the tires, realistic mags and disc brakes. The headlights, fog lamps and taillights use clear plastic. Two things about the detail stand out for me: 1. the soft rubber side mirrors - the flexibility of the material protects it from breaking off. 2. the chrome-yellow plastic used on the car body - the color looks like real polished car paint. My only gripe is the opaque dark gray windshield and windows. It totally throws off the realistic rendition of the rest of the car.

[image] [image] [image] [image]

When set to "ON", the alt mode detects motion of the car. Pressing the Autobot insignia starts off sounds of the engine trying to start up, and eventually with the engine running when stopped and the engine revving when moving. The headlights and fog lights light up at this point, and the revving engine sounds change accordingly to the speed that the car is moving. Stopping motion causes it to make braking sounds - the faster it was moving, the longer the braking sounds. Stopping also causes the tail lights to light up - don't want the rear bumped, now do we? :) When stopped and not touched for an amount of time, it plays a radio soundbite, music, or honks its horns randomly.
[image]

Transformation:
Ultimate Bumblebee comes packaged in robot form. According to the packaging, transformation is level 5, the highest in transformation difficulty. This is indeed true, as transformation is very difficult and there are some points that you'll discover on your own that are not referenced in the product manual. A lot of the car panels snap into place using locks similar to LEGO technic bolts. The leg collapses in similar to MP Optimus Prime, and it takes a bit of effort to push the legs in while holding down the buttons on the sides. The car doors are attached to the toy with rubber cables, and you have to push it onto the front side panels - hardly seeing anything - until you hear it snapping into place. When turning back to robot mode, the arms do not simply snap on to the body, there's a D-shaped portion in the joint that you have to align with the socket and it only snaps into place after a few turns of the arm. All in all, transformation to alternate mode and back to robot is difficult but it gets easier with practice. The parts are sturdy enough to handle your first few mistakes in transformation, but you still have to take care to not force anything into place.

Robot Mode:
Ultimate Bumblebee in robot mode is loosely based on the Bumblebee in the movie. Compared to the deluxe Bumblebee, it has more accurate individual parts (with the exception of the chest deformation). The head is very, very close to the movie. It gets a bit too large though, on the car parts - the chest is way too heavy, the car roof is a huge box behind his butt (this encases 4 AA batteries), and the tail section of the car are huge lumps at the back of his legs. This makes the proportions less accurate, and this discrepancy in proportions actually makes the deluxe Bumblebee a better representation of Bumblebee in the movie.
[image]

The paint job includes the same colors as in alt mode (the panels of the car that appear in robot mode, plus a few yellow parts on the helmet, arms and legs), with the exception of the appearance of more gray and silver parts. The body features a dry-brushed silver on dark gray, an enhancement that makes up for the largely flat chest when the front of the car isn't yet folded down. Finally, most of the limbs' robot parts are a lighter shade of gray with touches of painted-on yellow. The joints on the ankles feature gold plastic.
[image] [image] [image]

Articulation is very limited for such a large figure. This is primarily because of the animatronic features - the head can't be rotated and the arms can't be moved on the shoulder joints because this is controlled by the internal engines that move those parts when the feature is turned on. The arm with the cannon does not have an elbow. The arm with the hand is excellent though, with a ratcheted elbow, a movable wrist, movable fingers and a ball-socketed opposing thumb. The thighs, legs up to the feet have ratcheted joints on all four points of articulation - which only comes in handy during the transformation process - it doesn't do much to help in posing the legs because the large parts doesn't allow the legs to move too much.

When set to "ON", the robot mode reacts with animatronic sound and motion to button presses as well as voice and sound. It starts with Bumblebee saying "Ready!" and randomly cycles through a myriad of pre-recorded music and voice recordings (I've owned the toy for 3 days and I'm still discovering new voice recordings, sound and music).

Moving animatronic parts include a swiveling head, the door "wings" on the back (doesn't necessary flap, it swings up and down at random angles) and a full range of motion for the shoulder and elbows. Total upper-body work-out. :)

A third yellow button on one side of the body activates "Battle Mode", which basically makes him make hydraulic-machine sounds and/or battle noises. Pushing the button makes him aim his cannon arm and shoot the missile, as well.
[image]


Comments:
All in all, this is an EXCELLENT figure. It's more of a display piece, a robot you can put on the shelf and admire, occasionally turn on and have fun with the animatronic features. Once in a while, you'll want to transform it to it's alt mode, which is actually the better-looking mode - but who displays transformers toys in alt mode? Chicks surely dig it. They talk to it like it was a doll. Who couldn't resist the charm of a robot that talks back?
[image]

The Score:
Vehicle Mode: 4.9 / 5 - The opaque gray plastic windshield and windows should have brought it down, but the rest of the car is just too cool.
Robot Mode: 4 / 5 - Excellent individual parts, but the proportion is just way off. Give it proportions same as the deluxe figure, and it could have been a 5. Also, they should have done something to compensate for the lack of articulation due to the animatronics feature.
Gimmicks: 5 / 5 - The animatronics feature is the best gimmick in any transformer toy i've seen so far (not quite robo-sapien, but heck, robo-sapien doesn't have an alt mode does he?).

Overall: 4.7 / 5 - Definitely worth the HUGE price tag.



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Comments :

1
Anonymous said...
on 

I have purchased this toy for my son but one of the legs keeps coming off. Is this supposed to happen? And we can't get it to do anything in robot mode.

 

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