Transformers Masterpiece
Bumblebee Review (MP-21 w/ Battle Mask)

When you’re in a baby budget crunch, or any budget crunch really, the easiest thing to do is cut the expensive stuff first. I’ve done that best I can, but Transformers: Masterpiece… I just can’t find it in me to cut from the budget right now. Even on a figure like Bumblebee that I wasn’t totally sure I’d love.

I pre-ordered Bumblebee like I tend to when an MP becomes available, but unlike many of the previous ones, I let some of the fan reaction get to me. Well, I shouldn’t say that. I felt it to. Some uneasiness about the head sculpt. Some bulkiness from the transformation – really the now accurate VW cab – made him look, we’ll say portly.

There was another thing too – this is more specific to me, or collectors like me. I love the toys first for almost every license. When I want get vintage updates, being accurate to the old toys is far more important to me than source material. I want Lady Jaye to have a hat, She-Ra to have her starburst, and, yeah, Orion to have that big ol’ dumb harness for his head to spin around in.

When Bumblebee debuted, he looked like he should, but I just didn’t quite feel it. When they announced the Amazon Japan exclusive, I remembered why: the toy doesn’t have a face. Well, it does – but it’s a robot face – visor instead of eyes, a guard over the mouth. When I saw that in prototype form, I was more easily sold. Even at the higher price. But still, I was nervous if I’d really like him. Wheeljack was a little off and Bee looked like he would be too. And then, he got here.

I did get a good laugh when I opened the box. Takara packages the cars in car mode and the Lamborghinis & Fairladys take up a good chunk, packaged lengthwise. Not so with the bug. Bumblebee is on the box sideways and was right there when I opened him up. Spike actually takes up more space in the bubble since he’s packaged in robot form.

Once he was out of the bubble, I was pretty happy with Bee in his car mode. I’m no VW-enthusiast, but he looks good. It’s kinda refreshing to see him not deformed. There’s a lot of nice little touches like the logo at the base of the windshield, the driver-side only mirror, and silly as it sounds just the front end looks neat since he’s finally a real bug. There’s a cool feature in the back where you can pull the license plate out and replace it with a spare tire cover for the two different looks. Special points to Takara too for putting a spot for the license plate to high inside the spare tire cover.

In his alt mode, I only have a few nitpicks. I don’t like the Autobot logo on the hood, but it’s there to be animation accurate – if, Hasbro can import this guy to the US, that would likely go away. But I know why it’s there and I’m over it. Which leaves just one thing. The tires are weak. I’ve been critical of the tires before, this line is at the upper end and it just screams rubber tires, but doesn’t get them. Bee suffers moreso because they’re plastic and they’re just too thin. This is too accommodate the transformation, of course, but they’re just too waferlike and bend in too easily. Not a deal breaker, but I’m not in love with it.

So, let’s transform him. It’s pretty straightforward like most MPs. The tail lights on the lower arms trip me up now and again, but I got it in one attempt, so I have to consider it easy overall. Once he’s in this mode, the first thing you notice is either how awesome he looks… or how tiny he is. Scale and Transformers… are not friends. This has been a big issue in the MP line. The cartoon portrayed Bumblebee a bunch of different sizes, often up to Prime’s knee. I would want Bee to be maybe hip high and that’s about what we got. Continue to Page 2…

23 thoughts on “Transformers Masterpiece
Bumblebee Review (MP-21 w/ Battle Mask)

  1. I thought it was Daniel in that suit, not Spike?
    Otherwise, ‘Bee looks good. VW mode reminds me of Tonka(?) metal version I’ve seen in replica cars. (dad collected them, then diss all my “Star Wars $#!+”) I can dismiss that chest square like a lot of function over style allowances for any Transformer.

    On the faces, the smirk looks better than stoic, and is it just a trick of the angles, or does the “battle mask” angles line up with the horns?

    As for future lines, have you seen the early shots of the Combiner Wars? Seems like we have 4/5 of Superion (missing Power Glide of all characters), Drag Strip for Menasor, and Optimus also gets in on the “center square” action.

    Next week at SS court better go good this time, or I’m out of the game, altogether. Including losing everything in storage again. 🙁

    1. It could really be either as Daniel wears an old exo-suit when he’s hanging with Arcee. It is typically Spike that rolls with Bumblebee, so I think it’s Spike. Also, the two big TF wikis listed it as Spike (I checked before I posted). But if anyone wants it to be Daniel, I don’t see why it couldn’t be.

      I’ve seen the upcoming Hasbro combiners. I’m spoiled by the third party stuff I figure.

  2. Oh how I wanna get into this line as my TF line but price is what gets me. A great review and for me I wanted a toon face as a kid more so easily okay there. Spike in exo-suit is indeed a surprise never knew wanted till had in.hand look. Looks good and dead on, a good “OH SHIT” face woulda been perfect here.

    On the Combiner Wars, well Superion Powerglide was always a Minibot never a part of the Aerialbots

    Another great review and happy seeing old Bumblebee again over that bayformer look.

  3. Great review, pics, and comics, as always!

    Had this guy pre-ordered, then I had to re-budget for several months, and he had to get un-pre-ordered. I’m hoping I’ll get a chance at him and Ultra Magnus and a couple other MPs after February.

    1. I’m worried about the Ultra Magnus money. I’m trying to budget him in; I can’t believe one of my favorite figures gets the MP and I may not be able to pick it up!

  4. Mine came in last week. That little guy is just so….charming. Something about him just hits the right notes for me. Yes, he’s definitely small, but the exo suit helps to relieve the sting of that price. Personally, I would have rather had them leave out the exo suit altogether and reduce the price by $20.

    If this ever gets a US release, I wonder if they’ll drop Spike and just pack it with one of the inevitable repaints. I think they’d sell well as a 2-pack.

    1. I like getting Spike, but yeah, I might’ve saved the money to buy it separately later!

      I’m not sure what they’d do with a US release. Looking forward to it though so more folks can get him!

    1. It could really be either as Daniel wears an old exo-suit when he’s hanging with Arcee. It is typically Spike that rolls with Bumblebee, so I think it’s Spike. Also, the two big TF wikis listed it as Spike (I checked before I posted). But if anyone wants it to be Daniel, I don’t see why it couldn’t be.

  5. That line-up shot was very telling. I mean, Madame Razz is taller than he is? I knew he was gonna be small but… hmm… this makes me re-think my priorities.

    1. It’s really a challenge, value vs. scale. More so in this case since it’s perceived scale. No one can really say how big he even should be.

      1. It’s the vehicle modes that determine scale, usually. If Bumblebee’s VW mode is in scale with the other cars, then he’s in scale in robot mode, no matter how much smaller than the others he may be. Whether he’s a good value at that scale/price point is a whole other can of worms.

        Of course, that “vehicle mode determines robot scale” only gets you so far. The Autobots (especially the cars) seem to hold together pretty well under this line of thinking. It certainly doesn’t apply to Decepticons, where a human-scaled pistol, a boombox, and a fighter jet all have roughly the same height as robots.

  6. I was really impressed when I got my MP Bumblebee in the mail, that somehow those toy engineers at Takara managed to somehow make his G1 accurate robot self still while using the actual VW Beetle car design rather than the G1 toy chibi version.

    Love it.

    I hope Cliffjumper won’t be a red Bumblebee repaint in the MP line though like he is everywhere else a lot. I’ve seen some custom MP Cliffjumpers done by people that somehow manage to do him very G1 toon accurate and still also have like MP Bumblebee, the realistic version of his vehicle mode instead of the chibi G1 toy one.

    MP Gears, Windcharger, and Brawn (not counting 3rd party versions), would be interesting to see Takara try as well.

    Of course, the rumors keep saying Megatron v2 is next, or Ironhide and Ratchet.

    1. A MP Megatron with a decent looking robot more, regardless if he turns into a gun or a tank, would be a welcome addition compared to that mess they released several years ago. A really good Megatron might sway me enough to get me to start collecting them again. Holding back and not getting Magnus is already tough LOL.

  7. Excellent review. Daniel wore that suit more than Spike so I would class it as Daniel since Spike already came with Prime.

    1. Young Spike came with Prime. This is old Spike, making Spike among the rare G1 characters to have actually gotten two Masterpiece figure releases (not counting repaints, because, damn). It’s Spike, Optimus, soon to be Ultra Magnus, and… did Starscream actually get a new mold, or was that just a tweaked version of the older release?

      1. I just realized that Ultra Magnus is coming with an old Spike (in the jumpsuit, rather than the exosuit), which would actually make Spike the first triple-Masterpiece character (not counting repaints).

        1. He also comes with a Daniel in his jumpsuit. They need to make a Carly figure. They will probably make Sparkplug and include him with Ratchet.

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