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Transformers Generations
by yo go re

This may mark me as an inveterate GEEWUNner, but to me, Bumblebee is a Volkswagen Beetle (or other small car). So when Hasbro released a Bumblebee based on IDW's comics, where 'Bee turns into a muscle car, I had no interest. But fast-forward a few months, and a new coat of paint meant I was suddenly interested again.

His new armor may be resistant to the laser fire of the Decepticons, but beneath it, Goldfire is the same robot he's always been. Once known as Bumblebee, he had the chance to lead Cybertron to a new golden age, but now it looks like that chance has passed. With all that he's built seemingly collapsing around him, all Goldfire can do is keep fighting to save all that he can.

I already had a figure that I was using as a stand-in for Goldbug (or Goldfire, as he's now known for trademark reasons), but that was a Legends Class figure, so he didn't really look "right" next to the other characters. Of course, I also had a Legends Trailcutter before getting his larger version, so there's some precedent here for doubling up.

This figure is not a straight repaint. Like a lot of repurposed Transformers, he gets a new head. Of course, usually when a toy gets a new head, it's supposed to be a new character, but in this case it's just a cosmetic change. The head has smaller cheeks, sharper horns, and a faceplate instead of a mouth. There are hints of the movie design in here, not just G1.

Actually, the movie influence continues in the body, as well. The first IDW design kept him as a Beetle, but put the car's hood on his chest instead of its roof (and oh man, did that get some fandom knickers in a twist). That was later upgraded to a Dodge Challenger, and while the kibble changed shape, it all stayed in the same place: hood on the chest, fenders on the shoulders, trunk-feet, etc.

As I understand it, IDW doesn't really care if all their artists draw the characters the same way, as long as things are recognizable, so even with those two major designs, Bee has appeared many different ways. This toy may not match the comics exactly, but it's certainly close enough to be in the neighborhood.

He's armed with two "stingers," large blasters that can be held in his hands, plugged in under his arms, or combined into one large weapon. Well, they fit under the arms in theory: in reality, the holes are slightly too wide, so they don't stay in at all. That's kind of disappointing. The figure moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. His feet are giant, providing a stable base for wild poses.

Just like Galvatron is not the same character as Megatron in IDW's continuity, "Goldbug" is not the same character as Bumblebee. But this isn't Goldbug, it's Goldfire, and Goldfire emphatically is the same character as Bumblebee - they probably just called him Goldfire for this toy so parents would be okay buying a second one.

Goldfire's vehicle mode is based, as we said, on a Dodge Charger, but it's a loose connection at best. The car is low and angular, but the hood bulges upward in a very awkward manner. It's got the proportions of one of the cars from Cars, rather than a real car, you know? The entire thing is gold, with black strips on the sides and a black spoiler. The windows are translucent blue, but it's so dark that they look black as well. He has silver headlights and red tail lights to break up the monotony.

The faux-hood on the robot's chest ends up beneath the car when you convert him, but it hangs down a little too low - there isn't the necessary clearance to keep it from dragging on the ground in vehicle mode. The stingers plug into the rear sides of the car, if you need some firepower while driving down the road.

Goldfire, like the rest of the current Generations Deluxe figures, includes a reprint comic with a special exclusive cover. The comic is Robots in Disguise #18, and the cover is by Phil Jimenez. The story provides an origin for Bumblebee's new look - he was severely injured, and had to be rebuilt using "goldfire shielding" (conveniently explaining the name of this toy). Bee's new body is clearly drawn based on this toy, with the few differences between the comic design and the previous toy excised completely (at least until someone comes along and decides to draw him differently).

Already owning Classics Bumblebee, I had no need for the Generations version. But paint it gold, call it Goldfire, and that's an update I can get behind!

-- 01/21/14

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