Tonight we have a review of the Japanese exclusive "Trans-Scanning" Bumblebee (More like Dress Up Bumblebee, amirite?) by General Tekno, the artist and writer of the webcomic Big Time Toons!
*Note: Everything in black was written by GT, and eveything in red, I added.
Ahoy-hoy, everyone! General Tekno here with a very special guest toy review for RawToys! Only several months late! (Looks around to make sure he's not about to get shot) [POW! -ed.] Today, I'll be looking at one of the more original figures to spin out of the Transformers movie toyline: TakaraTomy's TransScanning series Bumblebee. To give a bit of background, the TransScanning toys were based off the concept in the movie where generic Autobot protoforms would crash to Earth and scan a new alternate form- as such, these figures are Shellformers, and yet they're not...
Each Trans-Scanning figure is made up of a base protoform robot - a superposable stickman with a sparkcore on the chest and the same generic build/color/head. Both figures that were made, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, share base robots. These suckers are very posable, in keeping with the fact that they're designed to contort like crazy for their transformations.
Snap on the first set of armor that comes with Bumblebee to give him his "landing" mode. As far as I know, this is no different than Prime's re-entry armor save for color - it's basically a bunch of neatish looking clear armor pieces that give the robot some pizazz. However, this isn't THAT recognisable as Bumblebee at this point save for the fact that it's yellow armor.
With this armor applied, Bumblebee has properly placed pegs and holes to transform into his comet altmode. All things considered, it isn't THAT bad - it looks like a contorted body, but honestly there's not much more they could have done. However, in a definite plus, he comes with a stand that pegs in and allows him to at least look like he's re-entering an atmosphere.
Where Bumblebee really gets neat though is when you apply the Camaro shell. Suddenly, he now looks like his movie self!
Sadly, there IS a bunch of kibble on his back, legs, and arms, which seems garishly out of place, he's got a fake chest, and his "wings" don't work quite the same in how they're formed as the movie model. HOWEVER, there is a great tradeoff for this - as aside from the fact that you snap on armor, he is NOT a shellformer...
...he can TRANSFORM. With NO REMOVING OF PARTS. This figure forms a VERY nice Camaro, through contorting around, and no removal of armor is necessary at all to transform it. This is where the Trans-Scanning concept of having modular Transformers with different sets of altmode "shells" becomes brilliant in its execution, and as a proof of concept it is a VERY neat idea. [GT wanted me to mention that the crazy difference in the yellow colors is a result of the camera flash, and not nearly that noticeable in person -ed.]
Plus, you can mix and match the armor, to get more of a Cybertronian mode Bumblebee, and to remove the kibble which restricts his movement at the same time. He can be tricky to balance in poses with all the kibble, but since you can choose to give him as much as you want, it's not that big of a deal.
Overall, this Bumblebee is a VERY cool concept, but if he suffers from anything, it's that he's constrained to the movie designs. As a proof-of-concept though I would LOVE to see a toyline just like this, where we got a core figure with snap-on-armor that could STAY on while he transformed to his altmode.
Pros: Nice Camaro mode, cool concept, very posable
Cons: Kibble, kibble, kibble! Protoform mode kinda weak too.
Recommendation: If you find one on sale, get him. Otherwise, maybe not.
GT also sent me some other pictures, and I can't really find a place for them, so here they are!:
The back of 'Bee's altmode
Bumblebee with Marvel Universe Iron Man (IM is roughly 4" tall)
Bumblebee's chest and spark without armor