One of the things about the Transformers Age of Extinction (AoE) toy marketing event at Robinsons Place Manila that was announced after I wrote the article was that one of the gifts-with-purchase (GWP) that buyers could choose from would be one of four silver deluxe class Transformer figures from the current line up which were exclusive for the event. However, the number of figures available yesterday was only 50..
That meant that only the first 50 people who purchased Php 8,500 from the event area (which was stocked with toys from the current Age of Extinction line up, and old stock from Generations, Beast Hunters, 30th Anniversary, and Kre-O) would get a chance to get one of the exclusive silver figures. I'm not sure if that means they were limiting it to 50 to save some of the figures for future events (there's another one in Robinsons Galleria early next month), or that's really the number of figures on a limited run, but either way, if you were number 51, you were shit out of luck.
I told you it pays to come early to these things.
The figure I chose to get was from the "High Octane Bumblebee" mold, a figure that I'd planned on getting anyway after seeing optibotimus' review of it on YouTube. I'm not a fan of the movies, but I really loved the old-timey Camaro vehicle that this 'Bee changed into. The other figures in the set were Dinobot Slug (Slag), Scorn, and Crosshairs.
Seeing as the Crosshairs toy is complete crap and I didn't have the money to blow the Php 17,000 needed to get both dinobots (I have a completist urge problem), Bumblebee made the most sense.
The figures come packaged in a black box printed with some glossy black ink that's really a pain to photograph, but that looks great in hand. The front of the package has the name of the toy stamped into the box cover in silver and an Autobot faction logo in the aforementioned black ink. The side panels are covered with AoE dinobot diagrams. On the back, in fine print is a warning that says DO NOT TRANSFORM!
Of course I promptly said, "Fuck that," and did so anyway.
If you click on any of the photos I've posted in this review and enlarge them, you'll see that there are a ton of quality issues with these silver figures. I'm not that familiar with the chrome plating process, but the factory in Vietnam (says they were made there on the box) seems to have cut some corners, or rushed this batch.
There are numerous spots where the plating didn't take at all and the orange-yellow of the naked toy shows through. Most of these are interior areas or areas on the back of the figure, so they don't show up when you're looking at it in the box. I was kind of disappointed when I got him out.
When you turn him into a car, though, it gets worse. The entire right side of mine has this weird... burn. It looks like a small black area that is broken up at the edges. It covers the entire right side door (which again, you can't see in the package), the windshield, and a fairly sizable portion of the right tail fin. In addition to that are numerous chips and spots on areas like his windows and roof.
Despite the problems I have with the application of the darkish chrome (it's not really "silver"), I have to say that the vehicle mode is all I wanted in this figure and it's every bit as gorgeous as they've said in reviews. I really wanted to like the original Classic Camaro Bumblebee from the first movie, but that toy was awful. Thankfully, Hasbro's had 4 movies and six years (has it only been six years?!) to perfect this toy and it looks like they did a good job with this one.
Every thing snaps together nicely, there's no kibble on the vehicle at all, and his missile launcher (complete with missile) stores nicely under the cab. Fantastic!
Note that he is smaller than past Deluxe figures. There's no getting around the fact that all toys are getting smaller, simpler, and more expensive these days. The new Deluxe Class toys, including the High Octane Bumblebee (the one with actual colors and not the chrome coating), are nearly Php 900 now, which is a price that is up from Php 700 last year.
Of course I just technically spent Php 8,500 on this thing, so who am I to complain?
Transformation is relatively intuitive. You just need to open up doors, pull apart the rear and front bumpers, swing out his arms and swing down his feet, pull up his roof and windshield, push his hood down over his head and presto!
You can see the un-coated areas in his under carriage in the photo above (again, click to enlarge), and you can see some of that through the hole in his hood when he's in robot mode. You'll also see some untreated spots in his abdomen section, and plenty on the back of his arms and legs. Most of the spots that are chipped or "burned" are well hidden though, so this is probably how he's going to be displayed on my shelf if I decide to keep him.
Articulation is nice with neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and some ankle movement. You get some great range on most of the joints and they work well together. Plus he's got minimal kibble in robot mode, so you have good clearance for most of these joints.
There are a few sticking points for me, which mainly have to with the funny choice of giving him ratchet shoulders and ratchet elbows. These four joints are ones that carry barely any weight at all, and this Bumblebee's got the smallest arms of the Deluxe figures I own. If you're going to ratchet something, it should be the legs and hips, man. The hips on this guy have a super range, but they're so fiddly, moving all the time. A ratchet there could have made it much easier to pose this guy. A ratchet in his ankle could have stopped that joint from folding back in on it self every time you touch it.
But ratchets in his shoulders and elbows?
Oh, and the weirdly high placement of the knees also seems odd to me.
To sum up, how to I feel about this figure?
Look, the toy underneath is great, and I'll definitely have to pick up the gray and yellow one after tooling around with this one, but I'm just not the target market for this piece. Just like I'm not the target market for the One-Step Changers. I'm an adult collector who likes to open toys up, figure out how they work, pose them over and over again, and then display them in concert with other figures. For me, this just doesn't work.
However, this is a figure for the hard-core collector who keeps things Mint-In-Sealed-Box (which means I pretty much killed any value it has by doing this review) and likes to hunt down exclusives. If you're one of those collectors' then I suggest trying to beg one off one of the 50 people who attended yesterday, because this is a great piece in that regard.
It's got it's quality issues, but these are all issues that not apparent until you disobey the instructions on the back and open it up like a chump.
At least I can display him with the regular Deluxe version when I eventually pick that one up.
Thanks again to the guys and girls from Toys 'R' Us and Playkit who set up the Transformers Age of Extinction (AoE) toy marketing event at Robinsons Place Manila yesterday, and for the cool bros at Cybertron Philippines for always keeping us in the loop on all things Hasbro!