Bumblebee has been a little while coming. Classics Bumblebee was one of the first Classics toys and remains probably the definitive Generations work on the character have been reused four times (Wal*Mart, Reveal The Shield, Henkei & United) over the course of various Western & Japanese lines. He was also done really well in the small Legends size during Universe 2, and I've lost count of the number of times THAT has been redone! Since then however the various Generations versions have gone for versions that are slightly different from the traditional Bumblebee. The first Generations Bumblebee was a Fall of Cybertron toy, while the Thrilling 30 Deluxe and it's repaint Goldfire seem to be Movie Bumblebee inspired. Nobody is quite sure what the original Thrilling 30 Legends Bumblebee is meant to be! But after three Bumblebees in the first three waves of Thrilling 30 Generations the Character has gone away for a bit. It was something of a surprise when Rodimus became the repaint of Blackjack to be paired with Optimus Maximus as I thought Bumblebee would make more sense playing on the Sparkplug (Bumble in Japan) partnership with Armada Optimus Prime. But three years after his last appearance we finally have a new Bumblebee in Generations which was first revealed at San Diego ComicCon 2016.
Straight out the package Titans Return Legends Bumblebee looks like a shrunk down Classics Bumblebee. The only real difference is the upper arms, form from the rear sides of the car and the lower arms, which even from the first photo looked a little too short. With the rear side windows projecting forward from the arms it gives his arms an odd shape and when the arms are bent the 5mm peg hole hands don't come forward of the projecting windows. A minor problem is that the painted yellow on the chest doesn't quite match the yellow plastic. But the head is perfect and the general look really really good.
Articulation: head turns. Ball joints at shoulders, elbows & hips. Bending knees & ankles, the later rather high and more of a transformation joint to be honest.
Transformation: Fold the lower leg down at the "ankle" and back at the knee so the legs fold into the feet, obviously the front of the car. Straighten the arms and twist each lower arm in 90° at the elbow. Fold the neck & shoulders back, which uses the lower joint on the hinge, freeing the chest. Fold the chest forward & unfold it into the roof & rear of the car. Fold the neck & shoulders back up using the upper hinge joint and then shrug the shoulders up forming the sides of the car. Fold the roof back & tab into place in the rear of car.
The reality is somewhat different to the description. The roof & rear of the car will probably fall off due to a slightly suspect hinge but this isn't a bad thing as you can then see clearly what's going on elsewhere. The car is slightly too flexible to hold still stably mid transformation so they'll be some parts massaging. Having completed the car I then had to re-transform the front to get it all to fit together right as the rear of the legs wouldn't both slide into the slot they needed to go in!
But, in the end, I've got a pretty decent car mode Bumblebee out the end looking very much, again, like a shrunk down Classics deluxe. Sadly the slightly mismatched yellow is obvious here again.
Like all Titans Return Legends he is compatible with the Titanmaster figures which pleased me because it meant I could have Blaster's Titanmaster, in effect a mini Blaster, drive Bumblebee, homaging the Blaster/Golbug comic partnership. Access for the Titanmaster however involves folding the entire roof and middle rear of the car forward! But the Titanmaster sits in the quite comfortably.
Really good effort for the scale. We're not quite yet at the 2014 Swerve level of greatness for the Legends size but, slight colour mismatch aside, this feels a better Legend than most of the Combiner Wars offerings.
Bumblebee was released in Titans Return Wave 3 at 3 per case along with 3 of Gnaw and 2 of Kickback. Many fans felt that Bumblebee should have been 2 per case, with Kickback raised to 3, and I've seen some arguments for higher numbers of Gnaw which is generally supported by fans desire to army build him.
Future RepaintsWhere there's Bumblebee Cliffjumper and/or Goldbug usually follow. I'd be very surprised to see this redone as anyone else before them.
However rumours suggest a forthcoming Throttlebot Chase, the red one, which could be a repaint. That in turn suggests his team mates Freeway, the blue one, and Searchlight, the white one, all of whom have similar car & robot mode.