Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mission: Impossible

The movie starts out very strong and carries that strength throughout the rest of it's 1 hour 40 minute length.  The first thirty minutes really only set up the movie but it was done very well.  It left a strong impact onto the viewer.  Then we get the main character, Ethan, on a hunt for the infiltrator, which involved an intense heist scene.  There were iconic moments that left a lasting impression.  Surprisingly, there was some humour injected into the movie too, not a big dose but enough to make it enjoyable.  The climax was good, although there was no big shoot out, what we did get was still satisfying.  I liked how they revealed the twist, which can be expected if you were paying enough attention to work it out yourself.  The stunts, while improbable, were still believable, such as the force of the wind that would be blowing against you when you're on top of a high speed train.  A solid action movie with a bit of mystery thrown in.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Toy Review: Transformers Age of Extinction Evolution 2-Pack Bumblebee (Deluxe w/ Legends)

Toy Review:  #185
Name:  Bumblebee
Brand:  Transformers
Allegiance:  Autobot
Line:  Age of Extinction
Year of Release:  2014
Size Class:  Deluxe w/ Legends
Variations:  AOE Bumblebee is a repaint of the Wave 3 AOE Generations Deluxe, which was also later repainted into the Platinum Edition Autobots United 5 pack while the G1 Bumblebee is a repaint of the Generations Legends, which was also repainted into Cliffjumper.


This Evolutions 2-pack is a Toys R Us exclusive contains an AOE Generations Deluxe Bumblebee and a repaint of the Generations Legends Bumblebee.  We'll focus on the AOE version first.

Bumblebee transforms into a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Concept, which features slight changes from previous models but is still very recognisable.

The biggest aesthetics change being the hood of the car.  The headlights are now slitted  and the grill being narrower.  It looks fantastic and makes the vehicle feel much sleeker and faster.

It's always nice that the designers bothered to make a plausible vehicular disguise from all angles.  Bumblebee features a proper vehicle rear with only bits of his robot feet and weapons sticking out.  Too bad it is unpainted, red headlights would have been great (silver exhausts, painted logo and white license plate would have been too much to ask for).

There are two major issues in vehicle mode.  Firstly, it is the massive panel breaks due to transformation.  It doesn't help that when pegged together, they do not sit flush and leaves unsightly cracks.

The second is the mismatch of yellow paint against yellow plastic.  In reducing the parts count, the top of the car (along with the back and hood) are cast in two pieces of solid transparent plastic and then painted over.  It would have been much better if they could have used separate pieces of transparent plastic for only the windows like in the past, this would probably have also allowed more paint applications elsewhere.  As such, heaps and paint is used to cover the transparent yellow plastic and the mismatch is very obvious, even in hand.

Ditching the twin stripes, Bumblebee now only has the singular racing stripe.  The blue paint used for the headlights is very pretty, it has a metallic sheen to it.

Looking underneath, you can tell that this figure is a massive shellformer, it's hard to be critical of this when the CGI models are very un-toy-friendly, nothing having any noticeable vehicular kibble but that's a complaint for the Robot section of the review.  The two throwing stars weapon peg onto the underneath.

The only play value here is the rolling of wheels.  Bumblebee is also a small-ish Deluxe, length-wise, he is slightly shorter than previous incarnations but height- and mass-wise, it is more noticeable.  This isn't a bad vehicle by any means, it's just that the panel breaks and mismatched colours drags him down.


Even with the simplified transformation focus by Hasbro in the AOE line, I found Bumblebee's transformation to be quite interesting.  The best part is that after nearly seven years, the designers finally bothered to re-imagine a way to transforms Bumblebee's legs.  No long does he share the same engineering as the figure from the first movie, it works really well here and is easily my favourite part of the transformation.  A significant flaw in the transformation is the amount of force needed to detach the two hood pieces that form his shoulders.  They need a ridiculous amount of excessive force and I even pull the shoulder piece off completely, thankfully I could reattach it to the swivel joint.  Nevertheless, it's poor design and I have no doubts that the tabs holding it in place will be eventually sheared off.


Bumblebee's robot mode has some proportion issues, but nevertheless, it is a faithful representation of the new design from the Age of Extinction movie.

There is a significant amount of kibble and when you compare this figure to the CGI model, it's not wonder.  The CGI model doesn't even have any noticeable vehicular kibble so how can you expect the designer to magically make all the extra stuff disappear?

The chest is nicely sculpted but it appears like it bulges a bit and causes visual issues such as being too small.  The sculpting isn't a perfect match to the CGI model but it still looks nice.

The head sculpt is good, at the very least, it doesn't look as freaky or ugly as some past Bumblebee heads.  The silver paint nicely brings out the sculpted details and there's even a tiny Autobot symbol on his crest.

This new version of Bumblebee contains a lot more black than before and it breaks up the solid yellow nicely.  It should be noted that the chest is fake kibble and the hood pieces are on his shoulders and his back, I would have preferred if they had the hood kibble form his chest, even if it wouldn't have been as screen accurate.

As you would expect, the figure has a decent amount of articulation.  Stability is no issue either as he has a large footprint and isn't top heavy at all.

Most of the vehicle shell sits folded on his back and it doesn't protrude too far out the back.  The vehicle hood sits on his shoulders but perhaps the most annoying thing is the side windows are now in an awkward position underneath his arms.  Again, since his doesn't have his door wings any more, they have to go somewhere.

This Bumblebee has a plethora of gimmicks, all of which are neatly implemented and doesn't get in the way of engineering at all.  The first of which is that his right hand contains a flip out blaster.  I love the integrated nature of the weaponry.

The best thing is that this gimmick doesn't bulk up his arm like it did for Battle Blades Bumblebee and it looks great to boot.

The next gimmick is that he features his flip down battle mask.  The design is different compared to the past in that it only covers half his face but it still looks fantastic.  It can be a little bit hard to pull down the mask, especially digging it up and pull it far enough to click and cover his eyes.

It looks really good and even with the mask flipped down, the top of his head doesn't look weird.

The last gimmick is probably the worse.  He has two throwing stars and while they don't look bad on their own...

...The way that Bumblebee holds them is stupid.  No one holds throwing stars that way and they don't look like good weapons like that.  I don't know how Bumblebee uses them, they just look stupid.

They're basically a waste of plastic that could have been better used elsewhere.

There are two spots behind his shoulders on the back-kibble where you can store the stars.  They don't look half bad there and it reminds me of some details in the Stinger model.  Repaint perhaps?

There is a surprising amount of paint, his toes, knees, cannon, torso and head.  Not to mention the large amount to cover the transparent plastic.

He is slightly smaller than you would like for a Deluxe but between the size shrinking and price increases, it's not too horrible.

A lot of bulk is transferred to his legs, leaving the upper body feel skinny and small.

He has joints in his ankles, knees, hips, elbows, shoulders and head.  He's only missing a waist swivel which is prevented by transformation.

You can get some nice poses out of this gun.  I do believe he looks his best in a pose, as something seems off with his proportions when in a neutral pose.

I actually really enjoyed this figure.  It's the best Bumblebee figure since the original Concept Camaro from the first movie.  Highly recommended you get at least one version of this mold.


Next up is the G1 representation of Bumblebee (the "Evolutions" aspect).  This is a repaint of the Generations Legends figure, excluding the Targetmaster weapon and being cast in a much brighter yellow.

The vehicle mode reminds me of the WFC version of the character (the robot mode even more so).  However, this is how Bumblebee appears in the comics (at least currently).

This is a great vehicle mode.  The only play value is the rolling wheels and attachment of the weapon.

The weapon just attaches to the top of the vehicle.  It's as long as the vehicle itself so it looks a bit oversized.

A size comparison, Bumblebee is bigger than a Legion figure and is about on par with the Commander size.

A solid little vehicle.  I can't find faults in this mode at all except for the disgusting shade of yellow.


Transformation is simple and fun.  I really enjoyed the way the arms and torso formed, while it wasn't something that was innovatively new, it was unexpected, in a good way.  The legs were uninspiring.


Bumblebee's robot mode presents a small twist to the classic formula, the car hood no longer form the front of his legs (rather, it's at the back).

One of the best features is the lack of any massive piece of kibble.  They're all rather well tucked in and doesn't get in the way at all.

The head sculpt is a fantastic representation of the G1 character, too bad that it is fixed in place.

Bumblebee has a rather large upper body, with massive arms and relatively skinny legs.

The poseability is decent but the lack of knee swivels and a turning head really limits him.

Getting him to stay up in some poses can be slightly annoying due to the fixed feet and weird angling of the actual feet itself.

Bumblebee is a bit on the shorter side but this suits the character well.

An interesting thing is that he comes with a repaint of the MechTech weapon that DOTM Jolt came with.  Pulling a level will extend the weapon into a bigger cannon but it cannot lock in this mode so it's rather pointless.

Bumblebee can wield it but just like in vehicle mode, it is much too big to look good and even worse, it causes balance issues if you want him to aim the weapon anywhere other than at the ground.

The shoulder pads are adjustable to not get in the way of any posing.

The paint is lacking in this mode, only having a splash of silver for his knees and face.

For something that is effectively a freebie, Bumblebee is great, however, the original Generations version is a better use of this mold.


In my country, this Evolutions pack was priced $5 less than a normal Deluxe, and considering that it came with a bonus Legends figure, MechTech weapon AND the Deluxe Bumblebee mold wasn't even released yet, this is a no-brainer.

The new AOE figure is an amazing figure.  It has some slight issues in vehicle mode with the transformation cracks and mismatch paint but the versatility of the robot mode with so many unobtrusive gimmicks more than makes up for it.

If possible, make you to grab this pack as it represents good value for money and you get two fantastic figures for your collection.  Highly recommended!!


Please have a check at this link for some more toy reviews.

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