Sunday, 5 April 2009

(I'm A) King Bee

I have a problem with bees. Real bees - love 'em, vitally important as they are to the world's ecosystem, and of course they make honey (yum). Bumblebees on the other hand, leave me cold. I just don't get. Even as a child, I hated Bumblebee (and Spike for that matter). Why would one of the Autobots SPIES (which surely necessitates a degree of intelligence, skill and common sense) get in so many scrapes? And of course, by the time the Michael Bay film came around the character was shafted by being speechless, and to make things ten times worse was the poster boy for the film.

I thought I should make this clear in case you think my dislike of the character colours my review...

In spite of myself, I think Bumblebee's car mode is pretty decent. Rather than a 60 year old car (or ridiculous super-car for that matter), we get a fairly generic, but pretty believable hot hatch. Completer with Peugeot 207 headlights, boy racer body kit and go faster stripes. For once I actually wish this toy had a sound chip; the sound of the petrol powered lawnmowers that tear around Britain's towns every Friday night.

There's not a lot going on inside the cab, but the seats work quite well, and the jetski trailer is a fun accessory. After a simple but slick transformation we have Bumblebee.

To my mind, this toy has more in common with Bumblebee's Throttlebot incarnation, Goldbug, but like all the Classics line is oddly vague enough to invoke any version of the character you care to choose. As I said, the transformation is simple, but does a decent job of tucking all of the car parts away. The only kibble is the car doors, but these become arm-shields in the classic transformers manner.
The toy actually has a pretty robust look about it, which doesn't really fit this character, but does go someway to making the mould work as Cliffjumper (review still to come!). My favourite thing about the mould is the head, which is not over-sculpted, doesn't seem to be based on a particular version of the character, but captures the essence of Bumblebee, as all the Classics toys should do for their character.
There is, however, one drawback to Bumblebee. He's impotent. Yes, I know it's not something usually discussed in polite company, but this is a toy of a character, who is a spy in an intergalactic war and doesn't have a gun. This, for me, is an unforgivable omission. On the other hand, the jetski trailer does transform into a jetpack, a nice nod to Actionmaster Bumblebee which came with a helipack.
In spite of myself, I quite like this toy. It isn't my favourite and is probably the weakest toy from the Classics line (but still miles better than many recent Transformers). However, it is a great deal of fun, sums up the character very nicely and no doubt flew of the shelves.

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