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

The problem though is that relative scale does not equal relative money. I never really worry much about that myself. I don’t care that R2-D2 & Yoda cost as much as Luke & Vader, for example. Normally, it’s because they’re in an assortment. The whole wave is $19.99. Whatevs. This isn’t the case here though, Bee didn’t have to be $60ish. He’s a standalone release. They did some stuff to compensate the price point which I’ll get to, but that may not cut it for some folks. I only bring this up as a nod to them. Price usually doesn’t factor into reviews here because, hey, I bought it, what am I gonna say? But I know that’s an important topic on this little guy. Prowl does too.

So after his size is put to bed, Bumblebee ends up being a pretty spiffy little bot. Well, I don’t know if little applies here. Some also find him a little portly. The chest/cab is no longer deformed and chibi, it’s a full size size VW cab and now his chest sticks out a fair bit further as a result. Add in the rear kibble of the car on the back side and he is a little wide. I just take this in stride. I think the visual is fantastic. I love the clunky, VW-accurate feet, I find the proportions are fine, and I like the head sculpt too.

That might sound funny since I love the “Battle Mask” most of all. Bee includes two faces in his normal packaging, one stoic, one with a slight smile. I do think the standard cartoon heads could use a little more definition. The edges are there, but either the paint or the sculpt throws it off a bit and doubles down on the portly look. He’s cool and I like the happy face still quite a bit. I almost feel bad that I *have* to go with the Amazon Japan exclusive “Battle Mask”, but I do. I love it. It makes Bee just like I remember and once I clicked in that third faceplate, that’s when any buyer’s remorse finally rinsed off.

Is there anything I don’t like about the sculpt? Well, yeah. I do kinda miss the tires on the arm, but the only thing that really bugs me is the flip-over piece on the chest for the logo. It’s there so the robot can have the symbol in the right place while the car can go without. I like that function, but the square it makes on the chest throws off the visual.

The paintwork on my Bee is great. I like the colors and the paint matches the plastic really well. I wasn’t thrilled with the molded plastic colors on Wheeljack so I’m glad to see Bee return to the “finished” look. There is still the problem of the paint being more easily damaged on the clear plastics around the windows, but it’s manageable and we know about it. I do have to point out, I know I’ll hear about this in the comments, his shade of yellow was difficult to capture. The blue background wasn’t really happening.

Articulation is a spot where Bee really shines. We have what are or amounts to ball-joints at the neck, shoulders, hips, and ankles, hinges at the shoulders, elbows, wrists, & knees, and swivels at the waist, biceps, and thighs. Pretty much a good complement on a “six-inch” figure.

In addition to the extra face plates and the spare tire cover, Bee includes a standard pistol. He has closed hands so he holds it great unlike some of his big brothers. And, again, it stows on the car mode – I love that. If you don’t want to use the spare tire cover, you can store both the gun and the cover under the hood. That’s great for not losing stuff. I just wish I could store the extra face plates down there too!

And, of course, Bumblebee also includes Spike in an exo-suit from Transformers: The Movie. File this under something I never knew I wanted! The movie still holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the first movies my Dad ever took to me see in a theater. It was a big deal. It also helps that the figure is pretty awesome. It transforms between robot mode and suit mode easily and looks fantastic both ways. I would like a little more detail on Spike’s face, but it’s a tiny piece really. The articulation includes a hinged neck on Spike’s head and lots of functional ball-joints for some good poses. Some of those ball-joints do pop apart easily, but they do back together with no fuss.

Overall, I have to admit that I was hesitant before he arrived, but I fell in love with the toy once I got him out of the box. The sculpt is solid if a little wide, but the look is great and the articulation makes him feel like a real action figure. His alt mode as a true Volkswagen with all the little details, down to the logo on the hubcaps, is long overdue and looks fantastic. The price is steep, but Spike aids in that somewhat. My only real concern now is the repaints. I like him that much – and they could easily make him again in red, orange, black, white, green, and blue. I think that’s all of them. Most of those won’t happen. Maybe Bug Bite (White/Decepticon), but I do kinda want him in red (I’ll need another battle mask for that one) and wouldn’t G2 vac-metal gold look sweet? Wouldn’t it? Yeah… no way I can cut Masterpiece from the budget.


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

  • Brainlock

    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. 🙁

    • 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.

  • J. Lee

    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.

  • 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.

    • 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!

  • Paul

    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.

    • 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!

  • Brett

    Pretty sure its Daniel not Spike

    • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  • 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.

    • Mark

      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.

  • Mark

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

    • 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?

      • 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).

        • Mark

          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.

  • Blot

    Aw, Prowl doesn’t care he’ll never be reviewed! He’s really growing up.

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