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Series: Generation 1 Encore
Allegiance: Cybertron
Categories: Minibot
Year: 2008 (original from 1984)

The least likely can be the most dangerous.
Small, eager, and brave, Bumblebee acts as messenger and spy. Due to his small size, he dares to go where others can't and won't. He idolizes the bigger Autobots, especially Optimus Prime and Prowl, and strives to be accepted. He is the most energy efficient and has the best vision of all the Autobots. He can go underwater for reconnaissance and salvage missions. Although physically the weakest Autobot, his stealth more than compensates for this inadequacy.

Robot Mode: This figure here is, of course, a reissue of the original 1984 Bumblebee Minibot with one major change. The original figure had a head that bore little resemblance to the noggin’ of Bumblebee as we saw him on the TV screen back then. He had a visor and a mouth guard instead. Sunbow apparently thought the kid-relatable character needed a real face, though, thus Bumblebee’s best-known face was born. And the Encore release ditches the original figure’s head for one sculpted to look pretty much exactly like the cartoon version.

The rest remains mostly unchanged, of course. Bumblebee is still a small, only moderately poseable guy (he can swivel his arms and move his toes, which is about average for a G1 figure), who pretty faithfully resembles the cartoon character kids fell in love with in the 80s. He carries no weapon, he has no further gimmicks (remember: transforming into a car WAS the gimmick back then), and he is just utterly adorable, though admittedly my view may be somewhat colored by nostalgia here. Thumbs up for the robot mode.

Alternate Mode: Newer Transformers fans might be a bit confused here, but Bumblebee didn’t transform into a sleek Camaro sports car with black racing stripes back in the day. Instead he became a Volkswagen Beetle, a car you don’t see much of on the roads anymore, but which was THE best-selling car in the world (over 21.5 million sold) for a long time until it was overtaken by another Volkswagen model (the Golf, now at about 30 million) in 2002.

The transformation is pretty simple and the resulting car isn’t exactly the most realistic-looking miniature car in the world, but it wasn’t really supposed to be. It’s a penny-racer type toy and it looks good. Several paint applications here, such as the head- and taillights, weren’t part of the original 1984 package, making this a somewhat improved version. Bottom line: it’s a tiny little Volkswagen Beetle, looking nice and with no trace of the robot mode. Exactly as it should be.

Remarks: It’s somewhat hard to believe these days, but originally Bumblebee wasn’t a big bot of action, but rather the Autobots’ resident damsel-in-distress, always landing himself in trouble (mostly due to his friendship with Spike Witwicky). Still, he was the original kid-relatable Autobot back in the day and many 80s kids remember him with great fondness. Then came his radio-speaking, spine-ripping, Autobot-leading days, but that’s another topic entirely.

This here is the original Bumblebee toy, slightly improved from his original 1984 release and with a more cartoon-accurate head. I love the little guy. Encore Bumblebee (or just Bumble, actually, as he was called in Japan) came in a multi-pack with quite a few other reissued G1 Minibots, but all of them were well worth it for the G1 lover. Worlds may live, worlds may die, but Bumblebee is eternal.

Rating: B
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