Small, eager and brave, Bumblebee acts as a messenger and spy. Due to his small size, he dares to go where others can’t and won’t. He idolizes the bigger Autobots, especially Optimus Prime and Prowl, and strives to be accepted. He is the most energy efficient and has the best vision of all the Autobots. He can go underwater for reconnaissance and salvage missions. Although physically the weakest Autobot, his stealth more than compensates for this inadequacy.
I’ve always wondered what would have happened to Bumblebee’s reputation if he was packed so heavily to a case back in 1984 that the VW Bug was “shelf warming” as much as the yellow Camero is perceived to do during the live action movie run. That aside, there clearly has been a distinction established between G1 Bumblebee, the friendly robot that so many humans could relate to, and the Movieverse Bumblebee, the teenager’s first car that just so happened to be an alien robot that couldn’t talk. In all honesty, I am a huge fan of the Movieverse Bumblebee, a liking sparked mostly from seeing an overwhelming majority of collectors voice so much dismay for the yellow Camero from seeing his toy so often on toy shelves. With that said though, even I recognize the difference between the two and I understand how the little guy attracted so many followers back in the 80’s. Bumblebee’s toy is nothing short of cute for lack of a better term and it’s also one of the most nostalgic figures I’ve ever picked up.
I can’t explain it, but when I first picked up this toy at BotCon 2012 (Dallas, Texas) in hopes of buying it, I got all giddy inside. It’s such a small and easily transformable toy, but it’s got so much value to it; maybe it’s emotional/sentimental value? The alt mode is a VW Bug (fitting) and it’s so small it fits right in the palm of your hand. This is what I like to call a “poket-former,” something easily carried with you in your pocket 😉 The vehicle mode has plenty of good detail: rubber tires with “DUNLOP” stamped on them, chromed rims, and a good amount of molded detail such as headlights and hood paneling. This little guy packs a punch in every sense of the meaning.
Transformation to robot is very easy as I mentioned above. Extend the legs, pull the arms out, and flip up his head – BAM – Bumblebee! The transformation is so simple my 2 year old daughter can do it! I love how quick the process is more than anything as it really gives you the freedom to keep “playing,” … not that I play with my toys or anything 😉
His robot mode has his original comic book look, meaning his face is not cartoon accurate. I remember reading the first few issues of the Marvel series and seeing Bumblebee’s toy actually featured in the panels, it was so cool to see toy advertising at its best. I just love how overly simple Bumblebee is, yet he has so much entertainment and play value. My biggest concern is his arms and feet. Bumblebee is heavily prone to looseness and he can quickly become one big flop of a figure. Luckily, my figure is pretty solid and can hold some poses with his arms. Even with very little going on in robot mode (no weapons, accessories, or actual movement) this is still a fun toy.
Overall rating 9/10:
I mentioned Bumblebee being one of the most nostalgic figures I’ve picked up (he’s in the top 4 I’d say) and I think it’s because of what the name Bumblebee means today to the Transformers Fandom as well as the general public. Finally having the original in hand gives me much more appreciation for the character and the legacy the name has established. This G1 toy may not be as dynamic as others I’ve written about, but he’s still a collection favorite because of what he represents – that’s why he scores so high in my overall rating.
It’s really neat to see just how different Bumblebee is today. Many things changed from the 1984 VW Bug to the 2011 Concept Camero. Regardless, for better or worse, Bumblebee is a household name now and it’s thanks in large part to the popularity of the beeping Camero, but even more so to the original kid friendly bot that started it all nearly 30 years ago, just ask Dan Gilvezan himself!