Review for RotF Human Alliance Bumblebee w/Sam WitwickyCheck on the rep, yep, second to none.
I've recently picked up HA BB and right off the bat, I'll say that I'm extremely happy with this figure. Design:
The alt mode is good, as usual with the movie line toys. It does suffer from showing a lot of robot kibble on the underside but considering the complexity of this figure's design as well as the character model it's based off of, it's understandable.
The robot mode is wonderful. It has a close likeness to the character model. The main weak point is that when viewed from the side, there's a noticeable gap between the "spinal" area and the roof component of the car. It, unfortunately, gives an impression of hollowness in the torso. Despite that, the figure has solid construction and has a heft to it that I didn't expect from its appearance.
My one criticism is that the legs do appear to be backwards. The thigh panels are backwards and the dark grey "robot leg parts" are facing outwards with the orange-yellow "car parts" facing inwards. This is the reverse of the character model and also exposes screw heads to the viewer.
I've used a "leg mod" to make the appearance closer to the character model and also to better conceal the screw heads during normal viewing of the toy. I'll go further into this mod in the last section of this review.Paint/Colour:
The paint application on my figure is flawless. All the lines are clean, no smudging or bleeding of paint. The one flaw I see is that the colour of the figure is more orange-yellow than yellow-orange. Also, there are parts of the plastic, which are not very dense and allow light through, which I don't like.
The orange-yellow and black combination works for the main colour scheme. Metallic silver and dark greys for the "robot parts" work very well for breaking up the bright orange-yellow dominated figure. The aquamarine blue of the transparent plastic used for the light piping and windows is great for bringing a touch of coolness to the otherwise very warm colour scheme. The red on the rear brake lights and the small Autobot symbol on BB's forehead give nice little punches of contrast to the orange-yellow.Transformation Process:
The transformation design is very much a close relative to the Binaltech/Alternators/Alternity toy lines. I look at the HA line as kind of an American cousin to the Takara based aforementioned lines. Two design choices of the missile holders that double as the bottom support for the driver and passenger doors in alt mode and the way that the doors can be pulled back slightly to allow upward angling are reminiscent of some common design features of BT/Alts/Alternity.
HA BB's transformation process is involved but not difficult. It does require precise movement of parts but I find it has a better overall design for the "average person" than BT/Alts, which are a bit complex for some, but takes a back seat to the level of transformation design in Alternity Convoy and Megatron.
Overall, I love the transformation design. I've had HA BB for over a day and I've transformed him several times. It's good fun for those who enjoy the transforming process!Playability/Articulation:
The figure has great potential for play due to a great range of articulation, though it's a toy of a level of design that is more suited to a "collector".
The shoulders can rotate 360 degrees and swivel at the side nearly 180 degrees(the sculpted shoulder armour restricts full range of side swivel).
The upper arm is cut at the bicep to allow full rotation. The elbows swivel.
The right forearm/hand is the character's cannon, which can be folded back for transformation. The left hand is "normal" with an articulated thumb and the three fingers are a single molded piece, also articulated. Both are on a swivel joint.
The waist rotates 360 degrees.
The hips swivel far enough out to the sides to allow BB to do the splits. They also rotate fully.
There is a joint in a cut just above the knee to allow full rotation.
The lower legs have multiple points of swivel joints. The knees are double hinged, there is a swivel joint at the calf(it's there for transformation purposes but can be used for assisting in the posing of the figure), and the ankles are hinged.
My main criticism in articulation is that the ankles could have used ball joints to further improve posing potential. Otherwise the figure has a good variety of swivel joints to allow a great range of motion.Features/Accessories:
The features of the figure are a "battle mask" that can slide down over BB's face, a spring loaded cannon that is his right arm, and Sam Witwicky, who can be positioned on multiple points on the figure in robot mode and also be seated within the alt mode.
The cannon arm has been criticized for a lack of a hand but I don't mind it. I like the asymmetrical design of having one weapon-arm and one normal-arm.
The battle mask's main flaw is that it feels a little flimsy and it never quite rests securely. I always get the feeling it's drooping a bit over BB's eyes like an ill-fitting hat.
The Sam Witwicky figure is great! My figure doesn't have a look of mild surprise, more of a doped out expression.
He's not a photo perfect replica of Shia LaBeouf but it's a serviceable likeness.
The figure is something that Hasbro could have skimped on but I think they did a good job with it. It has a very good sculpt, the proportions are fine, and there are some very nice points of articulation. The shoulders and hips are combination swivel/rotational joints. The knees are hinged and the torso is jointed at the bottom of the ribcage to allow rotation and slight bending. The head rotates.
The figure has peg holes on the bottom of both heels and the center of its back, between the shoulder blades. These are for allowing the figure to peg onto the two seats of the car, which are located on the backs of BB's forearms in robot mode. There's also a platform inside the roof component of the car that can be used for Sam to stand in the "back" of BB in robot mode and man a little rocket module weapon.
Overall, the features are good but the Sam Witwicky accessory is the winner. It turned out to be much better than I expected.Overall:
Overall, I think this is a wonderful figure of the movie line.
It combines the aesthetic of the movie style character designs with elements of the mechanical design from the Binaltech/Alternators/Alternity line. These two things are a natural pairing and a perfect fit.
The flaws of the figure are minor and nothing that detracts from the positive points of this figure.Modifications:
As mentioned in the "Design" portion of this review, the legs appear reversed. I've linked a photo comparing the character model with a modded HA BB, which highlights the points on the legs that are "corrected" in the mod:
Credit goes to len_d69 from the TFW2005 forum, who also created a thread detailing the mod, which is where I found the information. You can check it out here
Also in that thread, a photo of a prototype of the HA BB mold shows the more correct looking leg alignment:
The mod itself is easy. If you look at the pelvic component of HA BB, you'll see that it is composed of two parts. A front half and a back half. The back half is secured by two screws. Remove the screws and switch the front and back halves. You'll leave the legs in the same position.
Afterwards, you need to rotate the lower body so that the front of the pelvis is front facing. However, you need to rotate the legs at the hips to make sure that the thigh plates are facing the same direction s the front pelvis plate. This is because there's a piece of plastic on the upper thighs that would restrict lower body rotation if the legs aren't rotated first.
Once you have the lower body facing the front as it should, simply rotate the lower legs at the cut knee joint and voila, you have an HA BB with properly aligned thigh plates and the proper orientation of the robot leg parts on the inside of the legs and the car parts on the outside of the legs.
The thread at TFW2005 has better steps and pictures to illustrate the process so I suggest checking it out if you're interested in the mod.
Additionally, I'm working on a slight mod to the battle mask. Since it's so loose on my figure's head, I'm building up layers of super glue on the "tab" portions of the mask to hopefully allow it to grip the grooves on the helmet better. I've used a similar process on RotF Silverbolt's tiny peg for torso locking, which worked wonderfully, so I'm hoping this same process will improve the battle mask on my HA BB.Update:
I did the battle mask mod and it works like a charm. Simply by adding a bit of super glue in a couple of layers, I've built up extra material over the tabs that normally slide in the grooves of the helmet. This resulted in tightening up the mask's placement and now the mask slides rather than "falls" down over the face. I can also push it back up and it'll rest securely and not inadvertently droop over BB's eyes.