Nitro Bumblebee

Along with Cyberfire Bumblebee, I recently picked up Nitro Bumblebee, another one of the dozens of Dark of the Moon figures that went on sale before the holidays. Again, I paid Php 500.00 (approx. $11 US) for it, about 30% off the retail price, about a week before they dropped it to 50% off. I’m not complaining. It was one of those on my list marked for eventual purchase.

While not as immediately wowsome as Cyberfire Bumblebee, this figure’s got a few things going for it. Not the least of them is its Mad Max looks. The car mode looks like something that you’d build for the Transcontinental Road Race in Death Race 2000.

I love the look of this thing. It’s a mean mo-fo ready to run right over any foolish robots crazy enough to get in its way. I mean the only way they could have made it look any better was to give him one of those mine plows you see on the front of tanks. If the crazy metal paneling on the hood wasn’t enough to get your motor going, it’s got three 5mm ports for weapons mounting and a motherfucking jet engine strapped to its back. Fucken’ zoom, man.

Since this is the Transformers line we’re talking about, don’t expect any fancy paint here. You basically get a figure cast in yellow, with some flat applications on the gray and bronzed parts. He doesn’t even get rims.

Like the other Dark of the Moon figures, Nitro has his own “MechTech” weapon. It’s not as nice as some, since its alternate form isn’t a weapon, but an oversized engine block. Sadly, the engine is far too big for the scale of the car and would block the driver’s entire field of vision if it were a real car.

Personally, I looked at it and vowed never to display it in that form again. Though I can’t bring myself to superglue the thing, I did wrap it with those clear rubber bands that come in all the Hasbro packaging. I wish Hasbro had though to design the thing to lock, especially since the “good” mode is the one that goes poof as soon as you let it go. It was the same problem I had with Skyhammer.

But hey, there’s always a “Stealth Force” fan mode to make up for it.

Once you transform the toy, though, then it’s a little less impressive. Though I really liked the simplicity of the other Dark of the Moon Bumblebee, this one pushes things a little too far. His chassis feels too empty, and the process of converting him from car to robot, too boring. He hearkens back to the bad old days when Transformers were all shell-formers who wore all their kibble on their backs.

Nitro basically carries around his roof, his doors, and his front tires on his back. His chest is basically a barely concealed hood. His feet are basically just his trunk portion split in half. His arms don’t’ really convert from anything, and instead just fold out from underneath, mounted on struts that swing them out from the middle.

And these struts don’t have any real support in the under structure of the toy. They basically just hang in space under the hood. Every time I turn either of the arms, I’m afraid I’ll snap it off completely (the ball-joints at the shoulders are very tight for some reason).

Articulation doesn’t feel as great because of that. The range of the upper body is pretty good, but the struts that hold his arms up wobble and bend scarily every time you try and move the limbs. The lower half isn’t much better. He’s got what looks like double hinged knees, but the kibble of his trunk limits that joint a lot. His ankles have a lot of joints as well, but all are results of his transformation and none are of much use.

Still, it’s not like he’s a statue. You can still get a few sweet stances out of his joint set. It’s adequate, if not impressive.

Like most of these Dark of the Moon Deluxe toys, he doesn’t have a 5mm peg compatible hand. Instead, he’s got a hole for it on his forearm. It’s… okay. I guess. I’d much rather he could hold his gun as if it were a rifle.

Since the 5mm is standard across the line now, you can also use other weapons from other sub-lines as well.

In the end, I'm glad I made this purchase, but would have been disappointed if I'd bought him at full price. He's different enough to warrant a place in my Bumblebee fire squad, but not special enough to make a priority.

It might have been a different story if he came with better accessories (3 awesome guns rather than a single lame, transforming weapon) or if he'd been given a little more of that Road Warrior look to him, at least enough to stick him next to one of the Wreckers, like Roadbuster or Topspin.

As it is, he's kind of ho hum.

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