Dark of the Moon Scan Series Bumblebee Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Dark of the Moon, Decepticon, Deluxe, Movie (2007), Scan Series

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: June 2011
Price Point: $12.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Missile


*Photos with asterisks and text below in italics from the Toys R Us web site:
The first priority whenever BUMBLEBEE scans a new vehicle mode is the ability to fit in. As a scout and spy, its vital that he be able to pass unnoticed by DECEPTICON® troops. Of course, there's no rule that says fitting in can't go hand in hand with looking good.

The action is about to get epic with this AUTOBOT BUMBLEBEE figure! In robot mode, your figure has the strength to fight his DECEPTICON enemies and a launching pulse missile to settle the fight in his favor. Convert him to CAMARO® concept vehicle mode when he needs to maneuver or pursue his enemies! Keep converting him back and forth as the battle rages on! Figure comes with missile.

As part of their "Dark of the Moon" promotion, Toys R Us created a small sub-line of exclusive figures dubbed "Mission Earth: The Scan Series". These figures were meant to represent some of the characters from the movie universe shortly after their arrival on Earth as they scanned Earth vehicles for new alternate forms. Previously I have already reviewed other figures from this sub-line including Autobot Ratchet and Sideswipe.

This particular redeco is based on the Revenge of the Fallen Bumblebee that was itself a redeco/retool of Premium Bumblebee from the 2007 Movie toy line. Check those reviews out for a more in depth look at the sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Vehicle Mode:
Unlike his fellow Scan Series figures, this version of Bumblebee actually represents his change over from one Earth based vehicle mode to the other. One of the cooler scenes in the 2007 Movie featured Bumblebee in his 1970's Camara vehicle mode driving by and quickly scanning an updated Camaro Conncept vehicle mode and taking on that form in moments (in time for the final battle of the movie!).

The focus of this form are the parts that form the outer "shell" of the car that surrounds the robot mode parts inside and underneath. All the primary panels that form the vehicle mode are cast in clear plastic while the wheels are cast in black. The "heavy lifting" in terms of the deco is done by paint applications. The paint apps are done in yellow, silver, light blue, black and gold. The idea behind the Scan Series is that we are watching a Transformer take on a new form half way through the process. To that end, the front half of the vehicle is painted as you'd expect, with yellow making up most of the area from the front to the windshield area. This includes liberal use of black for grille and headlight areas and silver on the wheels and headlights themselves. The Chevrolet logo in the front is painted gold, all decos we've seen before in other iterations of Bumblebee.

Where the figure gets interesting is the middle area. There, set at an angle is a white line, and in that area several light blue lines arranged in a very "tech" looking pattern begin to form, leading to the back of the vehicle which is unpainted (representing the parts of the vehicle still to be formed). The yellow paint applications leading to this white dividing line fades beautifully into the clear plastic. When you look at the clear sections, you get to see all the sculpted mechanical details that were hidden away by paint applications or solid colored plastics in the previous iterations of this figure. Overall, it's a fantastic paint job that really attempts and succeeds in doing something different with (yet another) Bumblebee release.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing each door open.
  2. Split the rear section in half.
  3. Rotate the panel with the vent lines on it up on each side.
  4. Pull down the robot feet and the lower legs will automorph.
  5. Split the roof section in half.
  6. Pull each front wheels out to the sides.
  7. Swing the front of the car down. This will automorph the car doors back and the arms up.
  8. Swing the car doors all the way back.
  9. Rotate the arms and straighten them out. The cannon arm swings down on a hinge.
  10. Rotate the roof panels on each arm around.
  11. Swing each side portion of his chest section up.

Robot Mode:
Bumblebee's robot mode manages to continue the "unfinished" theme started in the vehicle mode. Here we see many new parts including his arms, legs and waist area. All the robot parts on these areas are cast in silver plastic, with the armor panels and vehicle mode panels in clear plastic. The result is that these areas look like Bumblebee is still in his "Protoform" state, where it seems Transformers in general aren't very colorful. Meanwhile however, all the yellow color from the front end of the vehicle winds up together towards the top of the vehicle, so it looks a lot like he's forming form the top down in this mode. Thanks to the door "wings" on his back and the panels on his forearms, enough of the light blue "tech" patterns still show to provide a nice visual effect.

Some new paint applications find their way into the robot mode. The robot head is painted yellow in the "helmet" portion while the face has been painted silver. I was quite impressed by how well his eyes are done. They are blue with black pupils in them, not an easy thing to do with such tiny design elements. Also, his central crest has an Autobot symbol on it. I really appreciate the attention to fine detail. A bit more yellow plastic can be found under the chest section, where several panels are painted yellow to distinguish them from the silver base plastic.

One other nice color note: the missile in his right arm cannon is now cast in a beautiful shade of translucent orange. It doesn't look cheap or out of place but rather has the look of a ball of energy with a trail behind it. Very nicely done.

All of the joints on this figure are still nice and tight and the missile firing mechanism works without a hitch.

Final Thoughts:
I am very aware that by this point (early 2012) Transformers fans have quickly reached what can be best described as "Bumblebee redeco fatigue". I think fans are open to new sculpts of the character (plentiful as they are), but when they see about a dozen redecos on various size scales available, it can begin to seem a bit overwhelming. That said, I do have to acknowledge that this redeco is really well done. It's creative, looks great and it uses one of the nicer Bumblebee molds. I would definitely recommend this for completists or those who don't own the mold yet.