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Transformers Bumblebee
by yo go re

We told you Autobots with numbers for names were a thing.

As the Decepticons take Cybertron, Optimus Prime finds Autobot scout B-127 an and sends him on a mission to establish a base on a well-hidden planet called Earth.

The worst thing about the Bumblebee movie was the realization that we could have been getting good Transformographagizers films all along; we weren't getting confusing hot garbage out of necessity, but because that's what the studio saw fit to give us. The opening scene proved that clean, identifiable robot designs could still work in the movie aesthetic, and the rest of the movie proved it was possible to create characters audiences would care about even a little.

When Generation 1 wanted to show Cybertronian Bumblebee, they just kept the same robot design, even though that didn't make any sense with his altmode. The movie version takes what he'll eventually look like and adapts it for his pre-Earth altmode. So like, Earth Bee has Volkswagen headlights and bumpers on his chest; Cybertron Bee has space-car headlights and bumpers. Stuff like that. The proprotions are way more accurate on this toy than on the first movie figure, all short and pudgy instead of long and lanky. He's a lot cuter now!

This figure has a new head. The previous Bumblebee Bumblebees (Volkswagen Beetle, Willy Jeep) have featured the plain head, with the exposed face, while this one is the first to get his battle mask down. If you watch the movie, technically the jeep should have had the mask, but so it goes. You can swap the heads if you want. Or you could buy the re-release of this toy in the Buzzworthy Bumblebee line, which uses a metallic yellow for its main color and features the unmasked head.

There's a whole lot of kibble on his back and his legs - seems to be a standard thing for Cybertronian Bumblebees, huh? The stuff on his back just looks bad, but the pieces on his leg are actually problematic because while the outside bits (tenuously) plug into place, the parts on the inside don't actually connect to anything and so will move out of place when you try to pose him. The toy is pretty typically poseable, with ankles, knees, hips, waist, elbows, shoulders, and neck. One thing retained from the previous Bayformers was the idea of weapons being formed from inside the body, so B-127 has a blaster that fits over his right hand to look like he's morphed it into place.

To convert Bee, fold down his chest and back-kibble, rotate the arms forward, fold the head up and backwards into the body, fold the chest in toward the middle, fold that over the top, move the arms in, rotate the outside leg panels up to become doors, bring the front wheels out, straighten the roof, point the toes down, and fold the roof down over the top.

The mention of "wheels" should have told you that B-127's native altmode is not a little UFO, but a car. This is hardly the first time we've seen such a thing, but instead of a big fat jelly bean, this car is long enough to really sell the idea that he would one day choose to reformat as a Camaro. Heck, the smoky black "window" running its length even shows us where he got his racing stripes from! The rear of the car seems like an afterthought, but the biggest problem is that, since the entire roof had to be molded from translucent plastic, the tabs that allow it to peg into the front bumper have a tendency to snap off.

The scenes on Cybertron were a late addition to the Bumblebee movie, but Hasbro's Studio Series line is looking to mine them for all they're worth. There's this B-127, there's the Cliffjumper he was repainted from, there's a Soundwave, and there are more on the way. For the first time in a while, I'm interested in Transformers toys bigger than my thumb.

-- 03/08/22

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