Wednesday, 28 November 2012

TFP Cyberverse Battlesuit Bumblebee

Transformers Prime Cyberverse Bumblebee Battlesuit

Every Transformers size has to have one of Bumblebee and/or Optimus Prime in it now. It's the law. And, having committed the heinous sin of releasing an assortment without either (gasp) in the first Prime Cyberverse Vehicles assortment they make amends here with a Bumblebee set here.

Included is the Bumblebee Legion figure that's been warming the shelves for months now. He's a lighter shade of yellow and comes with a clear pale blue version of the twin blaster sold with the earlier toy and several Legion figures since. Nice to see it in a different colour but unfortunately it doesn't quite match the rest of the clear pale blue on the toy!

The main toy comes in Battle Suit mode but I want to talk about the alternate mode first.

Transformation: Remove the cannon placing it behind the toy. Pull the structure behind the shoulders out to the sides which lowers the chest and raises cannons over it's head. Fold the arms straight at the sides then bend the elbows 90 degrees. Fold the hands into the wrists swinging out another cannon on the end of each arm. Raise the platform at the rear. Split each leg in two then fold forward and back, folding the toes down, to form caterpillar tracks for the vehicle. Peg the cannon into the 5mm hole on the top of the folded down chest.

It took me a while to discover that the shoulders were the trigger for the transformation, I'd been folding down the chest and that kept making it go wrong!

I'm not really sure what to say about the vehicle mode.... it's sort of a tracked battle platform but really it's just a bit of a mess with a few guns pointing forward.... There's space for one figure standing on the platform at the front and two on the platform at the back but due to the height of the platform they really need to be Commanders rather Legions. It's a bit difficult to attach it to the other Cyberverse vehicles base modes as bits keep getting in the way.... Wheeljack's simply won't attach right but Knockout's Energon Drill and Optimus Maximus will.

Fortunately I can get more enthusiastic about the robot battle suit mode: Fold the tips of the tracks at the front up, then bring both halves of the tracks together pegging the front into the rear. Fold down the platform at the rear. Remove the cannon and put it behind the toy. Push the shoulder sides in to auto transform the top half of the toy. Fold the cannons into the arms to reveal the hands. Stand the Legion figure in the chest with his arms out bracing himself against the front of the chest.

Transformers has tried battle suits for smaller robots before: 1991's Action Master Exo Suits Circuit & Thundercracker and the motorised Rumbler & Slicer (plus an Unproduced tank exo suit. Bumblebee is proportionately much smaller compared to his exo suit, standing in the body instead of forming the core of it like the previous versions. The chest has a V shape to it being reminiscent of the larger prime toy with a 5mm and a 3mm hole one each side to resemble the headlights of the car mode. If you raise Bumblebee's arms he sits snugly in the compartment.

Articulation: a little limited if I'm honest. The shoulders swing out to the sides, and in slightly, and the elbows bend. The hips move back and forth but that's mainly for the transformation. He's got wheels built into his feet which move well enough that he can slip down the slight slope on the front of my printer if angled right.

Like the two previous Cyberverse vehicles (Wheeljack with Star Hammer & Knock Out with Energon Driller) Bumblebee's Battle Suit comes with a light up weapon. It's a clear blue block, with a black trigger on the top, a 3mm peg in the rear & each side, a 5mm peg underneath and a Minicon peg (5mm peg with a hole down the middle). The batteries are held in the back of the battlesuit and connected to the weapon by a wire. Unfortunately the effectiveness of the weapon is reduced by the LED within being green: a blue LED or clear one would have worked much better. When locked into the back of the battlesuit's missile launcher it's useless: I pressed the button through the try me packaging when I was on my way home and saw nothing, so nearly ended up back at the shop for a refund. What should happen is the light should be transmitted down the missile launcher to make the launcher light up. The launcher has a 5mm peg handle of it's own, for when the light up weapon isn't attached, and another 5mm peg hole pointing forwards that lets you mount the weapon on the back of the shoulder so the missile is pointing over the toy's shoulder.

The missile launcher isn't the only weapon this toy has though: remember the arms became cannons in battle station mode? Well in battle suit mode you can still rotate the hands back into the wrists so the cannons project from the forearms. I like this feature a lot, it appeals to me somehow :-) You can raise the platform at the rear of the toy in this mode too to allow Cyberverse Commanders to ride on it's back.

The toy is covered in 5mm and 3mm ports allowing you to tool it up with all sorts of weapons from your Cyberverse and Minicon Arsenals:

5mm Holes: There are two on the side of each foot, on the front tread part, one on each side of the chest, one through the hand, one under each of the forearms cannons and one on the back of each shoulder. 12 in total. (I think they did miss a trick here: an extra 5mm hole in the front of each of the arm & shoulder cannons might have been nice to plug Arms Microns into)

3mm holes: one on the side of each heel, one one each side of the chest, two on the top of each forearm, one on the top of each forearm cannon and one on the back of each post sticking up from the shoulders. Again 12 in total

Considerable room for you to expand and tool up the toy. Plus there's also a number of bars for the 3mm clip system to use too.

This toy isn't perfect by a long way: the vehicle mode isn't good, it connects badly to other Cyberverse toys and some of the plastic, notably that used for the front of the lower legs, floor & back of the lower body, feels very cheap. But against that the robot mode has got quite a bit of personality and I can't stop playing with it. I'm not sure he'll tick the boxes for every older Transformers fan but he's a good fun toy.

Beast Hunters Breakdown & Decepticon Battle Armour

Having not been reused in Transformers Prime I wasn't surprised to see the Battlesuit turn up again. Unveiled at the 2012 New York Comicon this time it's in the hands of a green repaint of the Decepticon Breakdown. The toy has been broadly recoloured in shades of green but there's been a substantial amount of remoulding too: gone is all the clear blue pieces and the harder yellow pieces used for the chest and the forearms. They are replaced by new pieces moulded in bone grey plastic with the chest piece shaped like a skull. The hands become closing claws with a pair of 5mm ports and a 3mm on top of the hand and the arms. The electronics are gone as is the blaster replaced with a new quad missile launching weapon.

Somehow this new version isn't doing it for me like the original did.

Future Repaints

Several repaints quickly suggest themselves for this toy: in Red as Cliffjumper (even though Transformers Prime Cliffjumper has usually been a different mould to Bumblebee it'd be nice to follow the tradition and give them an excuse to repaint the Bumblebee Legion figure in red. The Legion's already been done in black as Quickblade Bumblebee so a black and clear yellow Mech Suit makes sense as does one in blue with a similarly recoloured legion to match the Hotshot repaint of Deluxe Bumblebee.

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