Saturday, January 3, 2015

Toy Review: Transformers Masterpiece MP-21 Bumblebee with Exo-Suit


Review:  #207
Name:  Bumblebee with Exo-Suit
Brand:  Transformers
Allegiance:  Autobot
Line:  Masterpiece
Year of Release:  2014
Size Class:  Masterpiece (MP-21)
Variations:  none as of this date

PACKAGING AND CONTENTS:


The 21st designation into the Masterpiece line is none other than Bumblebee.  Like all the others, he comes in a premium looking black box.


The back has some stock photos showing off the figure and its features, also including a bio.


Unpacking the box, you get a collector's card, the front of which shows an artwork of Bumblebee in robot mode.


The back of the card shows off the actual figure as well as a bio and tech specs.


There's also some pieces of plastic still attached to their sprues.  Like Masterpiece Wheeljack, the side mirror comes detached, you have to take it off the sprue and attach it yourself.


Bumblebee also comes with a spare mask (a smiling face).  The Amazon exclusive this time around is a "battle mask" is replicates his G1 figure, unfortunately, I didn't get it this time around.

BUMBLEBEE (CAR):


Let's start off with Bumblebee, he transforms into a licensed  Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle.  It is a real surprise considering that Volkswagen denied licensing to "toys associated with war" a few years back.


Instead of taking on a super-deformed style like his G1 figure, this Masterpiece toy has realistic proportions.


There are a few weird panel breaks required for transformation.  However, the whole outer shell is painted a rich yellow which looks great.  The hubcaps are painted silver and you might notice a hole on the left side, that is for his side mirror.  I couldn't be bothered attaching it to mine.


Bumblebee comes with a spare tire.  You have to detach the black piece which looks like his licence plate in order to attach the tire (the black piece attaches within the tire for safe storage).


Bumblebee is packed in this mode, there isn't many gaps left.  If you don't attach the tire on the back then it can store underneath, his gun also stores here.


Despite retaining the same pricing as other MP cars, Bumblebee is absolutely tiny for this mode.  He fits easily within the palm of your hand and is even smaller than the shrunk Deluxes of nowadays.


As the designer focused upon robot mode scale, placing him against the other MP cars makes Bumblebee way out of scale.


Otherwise, Bumblebee has a fantastic vehicle mode, with plenty of sculpted detailing and paint to justify the Masterpiece tagline.

TRANSFORMATION:

Considering the small size, Bumblebee's transformation is impressive.  It is ingenious and there are some really clever elements.  The way a part of the hood folds into his chest was smart (even though the clearance was a bit tight on mine).  I think the best part is how the sides of the car folds back to reveal his arms and tabs into the torso to create a solid body.  That, and the fact that Bumblebee's kibble is nearly non-existent and the fact that he transforms into how he looks in the cartoon (a deformed style) makes me appreciate the designer's efforts.

BUMBLEBEE (ROBOT):


Bumblebee's robot mode is as stellar as his vehicle mode.  It's unbelievable how this figure, with cartoon-style proportions could transform into such a realistic vehicle.


There are some transformation steps that hides away the vehicle elements such as the wheels folding into his torso and feet, the doors wrapping around his ankles and the false back windshield of his torso (the other windows are real though).


The head sculpt is sublime.  Proportionally, it is a little bit big but the sculpting is perfect.  It is also hinged to look from side to side and upwards.


He wears the back half of the car on his back but it is packed very close to the body and fits there so well that it's very unobtrusive, to the point where you can consider it not kibble at all.


In terms of size, he is once again quite small in stature, the older Deluxes tower over him while the newer Deluxes are also a bit taller.


The reason for his small size is to scale with the other Masterpiece lines, to be honest, I still think he is a bit small.  I'd rather they had made a larger figure and skip the Exo-suit rather than aiming for scale.


The spare tire can once again plug in the same spot and carried on this back.  There are no other spots for it though.


Despite being such a small figure, Bumblebee packs in the full range of articulation... and more.


Perhaps the most impressive (and most useful) are his ankle pivots, which allow it to tilt side to side and also up and down.


He has waist articulation but unfortunately, does not have any wrist swivels due to the flip-out fist transformation.


His weapon is a "laser gun".


He is able to hold it in either hand.


The chest Autobot insignia is on a panel, which flips away in vehicle mode.


His other face is a smiling face.  Exchanging it is easy enough, since it just pegs on.


A fantastic robot mode that is the perfect representation of Bumblebee.

EXO-SUIT (ALTERNATE):


Bumblebee is only half the package.  In order to charge the same price as other Masterpiece figures but being a much smaller size, Exo-Suit was included.  There is debate whether this is supposed to be Spike or Daniel, so to avoid contest, I shall refer it as the instructions refer to him, and that is Exo-Suit.


Exo-Suit's alternate mode is the weird block with wheels.  He rolls and that's about it for the play value here.


He is smaller than even Bumblebee.


Approximately Legion sized.


The sculpted detailing is good, you can also pop the helmet off to lift his head to look straight forward in this mode, which is a nice touch.


A decent representation although to be honest, if I hadn't watched the cartoon and know what this was supposed to be, I would have thought it an indistinct lump of plastic on wheels.

TRANSFORMATION:

Looking from pictures, you would have expected a simple transformation right?  Wrong!  Exo-Suit's transformation is unnecessarily complex, at least from robot to alternate mode.  Going the other way around isn't as bad.  The elbow design is horrible and prone to popping off if you accidentally put force at the wrong angle (which happens a lot).  Otherwise, pretty nondescript and pales in comparison with Bumblebee's transformation.

EXO-SUIT (ROBOT):


Robot, or humanoid form, looks pretty good and accurate to the cartoon.


The back looks pretty good as well, with rocket boosters.


The head is quite small and the sculpting is hard to make out.


Poseability is okay.  The elbow designs are horrible and means that straightening his arms to the max results in a 90 degrees bend.  Very poor and frankly the designer should have found a better way in the transformation to allow better elbows.


His knees and feet are limited, either by kibble or design.  The head can only look up while the shoulders allow the most range, lifting up and down and using the transformation joint to fold forward.


Once again, Exo-Suit is approximately Legion sized.


A good representation of the cartoon model if a poor play piece.  For display only.

OVERALL:


Buy MP Bumblebee for Bumblebee, the Exo-Suit figure is mediocre and you'll be disappointed if you had high expectations.  It would have been nice if Bumblebee was the same size as other MP cars but that isn't to be.  The figure itself is impressive with some clever engineering and looks great.  He is pricey for what you get but if you have the means and the dosh, then go ahead and get him.

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For other Transformers reviews, have a look at this link.

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