Picked him up on a whim the other day as I was getting Hot Shot. While I do like the Blue Bee, it's definitely Rumble that I like more.
I wasn't all that eager to pick him up. Pictures made the robot mode look odd, and the car seemed shrunken somehow, like it was based on a real life version of the G1 Cliffjumper toy. And the pile-drivers/guns on the sides of it were silly! Got it anyway, because I thought the chest-face was a bit funky, and really, I was just curious.
It paid off in droves! In-hand the car mode is pretty nice. It holds together well without an abundance of obvious seams, apart from one glaring one right down the middle of the car. All the windows bar the rear one are translucent red, but not so that you can clearly see the bot parts inside it, which is nice. The understated Decepticon logos actually look like something you'd see on a real car and while it's very short on paint apps, those are done well, with a black grill and gunmetal silver front bumper. Despite being a huge departure in terms of alt-mode for Rumble, it's also a very good disguise, as no-one would imagine such a loud Decepticon to transform into such an unassuming little car. Great!
Transformation is a bit different from the norm, and relatively tricky the first time around. Now, that might have come from just having transforming Hot Shot a few minutes before, because that mold just falls into robot mode, but once I'd gotten everything lined up right and figured out the neat little thing with the chest/head reveal, he stood there as this mean little menacing robot.
Like Diem says, the head sculpt is pretty cool. Angry and animalistic, and with great light-piping. He looks like a wee bruiser, no doubt helped by his wide-legged stance and huge shoulders. The forearms and hands are sculpted really well too, he looks like he's ready to punch someone the scrap out! Kibble-wise, there's the obvious, the roof/windows on his shoulders, but that doesn't bother me at all, really, it gives him a bit more of a unique silhouette and just looks like he's extra bulky there, all the better to barge his way through his fellow Cons to get to the front of the fight.
The door-wings on his back actually have little lasers sculpted inside them, like the G1 version had on his back, so I expect the Japanese release will see these painted, or stickered, whatever the case may be. Without these details being brought out from the surrounding plastic they do get easily lost, but the back wings/shoulder spikes/whatever add a little to his profile, and were he in the cartoon, I'd half expect him to jump into people and try and drive these through their chest-plates.
The translucent red from the car windows is carried through the robot mode in his chest-face's eyes, his shoulders and in the light piping in the head. Sadly it doesn't quite shine through the eyes on the chest, but that's due to him having a proper back, so win some/lose some. The feet are fairly chunky, and only hollow from the backas the car bumper fills the inner side of the "boots" and his spiky toes again add to the implied violent nature of the guy. The best-face itself is very detailed and has quite a few, very nice paint apps that bring out a lot of the sculpting. Great job there!
The articulation is functional. He's not going to look good, or stand up, in too many crazy poses, but he's able to pull off the majority of my standard tough-guy poses pretty well. Worst bit here for me is the knees, which end up giving him a huge gaping hole when he kneels down, but other than that, everything's decent enough.
The weapons, I'll admit, are hit and miss with me. I love that they're sculpted to fit right over his fists and look like part of the arms. I don't think they look very much like pile-drivers, though that's not necessarily a bad thing, since this guy doesn't really feel like G1 Rumble to me, anyway. They can sort of be stored behind his shoulders when not in use, and can very loosely be lined one after the other like Kup/Ironhide's launchers to look like a long rifle of some kind. You can also in theory plug one into the other using the handles, as there are holes under the front end of them that correspond to the other one's pegs. I just haven't found a way that makes that look good. You can pose him to look like he's using the weapons as piledrivers, but mostly I have him holding them the other way up as sort of underslung miniguns.
Lastly, the colours are very strange. He's almost got what I'd expect for Nightbeat's colour palette. The bright yellow is a very lemon yellow, but sort of neon as well. It and the red stand out well against the near turquoise blue. the dark metallic grey/silver colour is sparsely used, but very nice and well placed to add depth to the figure and the black plastic in the arms, legs and guns...just disappears, really. It looks natural as opposed to screaming "unpainted plastic ahoy!" like so many other toys have had.
Is it a Classics Rumble (or Frenzy, if that's your thing)? Oh hell no! But is it a good toy, with loads of character, and worthy of a space in a Prime collection? Oh yes. It's definitely as good and different an update to G1 Rumble as Prime Soundwave is to his G1 counterpart. Not the same by a long shot, but captures the essence of the character and updates it in an interesting way. Personally though, I'm thinking up a new name for him. The blue colour actually reminds me of Bomb-Burst quite a bit, now that I think about it...
assembling a Neo-G1/TF:TM cast. Please PM if you have (or know of) the following at a reasonable price: Classics or Henkei Prowl, Astrotrain, Ramjet, Skywarp, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Blurr, Perceptor, GDO Wheelie and Springer, or 3rd Party Motobot Arcee, FP Springer, iGear Ratchet and Ironhide, City Commander (and/or Ultra Magnus), Starscream (deluxe) Coronation add-on, or Spike and Daniel in their Exo-Suits.