Thursday, July 6, 2017

Movie Masterpiece Bumblebee

I'm not a huge fan of the Michael Bay Transformers. The only other Bayformers I have are Mindwipe and extremely cheap knock-offs of Ironhide and Skyhammer. Movie Masterpiece Bumblebee was an impulse purchase when I saw it was still in stock at TCP after the preorders had been fulfilled.

Getting him into vehicle mode was a pain even though he starts out as a car out of the box. I ended up with a few stress marks on one of the rear side windows so I stopped trying to squeeze him together. The paint applications seem to be pretty clean, but the overall paint work isn't that impressive. The mix of line work and transparent plastic in the front grill is especially well done though. It's a pity I couldn't get him to stay together since I probably would have liked to do a project with his vehicle mode. His doors work, sort of. The rear side windshields are connected to the doors so they can't open all the way. I don't know if the hood is meant to open. In trying to, most of his front came undone . . . more than it already was. His undercarriage is not clean, but it's not extremely messy either. Bumblebee is playing peekaboo through his arms. Despite panels coming apart, he still rolls fine on plastic tires.

Transformation to robot mode was surprisingly very easy. I like how most of the top of the car collapses into his torso. Unfortunately, a few hinges use transparent plastic. Despite watching some videos, I didn't have much luck getting him back into vehicle mode. Since cracks had already started forming on some of the smaller window pieces, I decided against trying too hard.

I think Bumblebee is one of the few Bayformers that stand out, not just because of his screen time, but because of his color. Since most everyone else is a grey, black, or silver, I have trouble telling anyone apart. I'm also not a fan of how busy everyone looks. That being said, I love this figure's aesthetics. The black, gun metal, and yellow contrast really nicely. The line work is more plentiful than on other Masterpiece figures. His face sculpt is done very well. Surprisingly, he actually has light-piping, but you need a lot of light to make it work. He has Die-cast in his torso, shins, and feet that gives him more heft than you would expect. He has what has to be the tiniest tampographed Autobot symbol I have ever seen. He's a little hollow from the sides, but not anymore so than Masterpiece Sideswipe. His door flaps that stick down could have used hinges to fold away more cleanly. The paint on his battle mask gets messy at the edges.

His head is on a swivel and hinge that afford him quite a range of motion. His shoulders are on double hinges and ratcheted swivels. He can raise his arms out and up to about 90 degrees. His elbows are single-jointed and curl to 90 degrees. They also have limited sideway hinges. His arms swivel just above his elbows and at his wrists. He has thumbs and three fingers per hand, but his third and forth fingers are fused together. They are all pinned and have hinges at the second knuckles. He has waist and thigh swivels. His hips are on ratcheted universals that allow him to do a full front splits but not quite a full side splits. His single-jointed knees only curl to 90 degrees. He has ankle rockers and limited ankle tilts. His feet and heel spurs are on separate hinges. He's a bit back heavy. His balance is not helped by his wonky ankles. I wish designers would remember to use tighter or stronger joints on load bearing joints like ankles.

His only accessory is a hand cannon. The yellow paint inside the barrel seems to be a bit thin. It pegs onto his arm and is held in place by his forearm cover. I like how it effectively turns his hand into a cannon, but wished it were a transformation mechanic, like his battle mask, instead of parts-forming. It can store in the undercarriage of his vehicle mode and on his back in robot mode. There is no character card or coin. For a Masterpiece figure, the number of accessories is rather disappointing.

I'm surprised to say that I'll be starting a new shelf for Bayformers that catch my eye. Despite a very finicky vehicle mode, Bumblebee is a surprisingly fun figure. It does a very good job of capturing the aesthetic of the live-action movies. Skyhammer and Mindwipe will most likely stay on my CHUG shelf because the scale doesn't really work that well. KO Ironhide is in my cast-off box. I am looking forward to getting my hands on the new Optimus Prime and Unique Toys Peru.

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