Dark of the Moon Target Exclusive Bumblebee Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Dark of the Moon, Deluxe, Revenge of the Fallen, Target Exclusive

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: July 2011
Price Point: $12.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: Target Exclusive
Accessories: None


The deluge of Bumblebee redecos gets another member in the form of a Target exclusive release of the figure originally released as Cannon Bumblebee. This is part of a tie in to promote "Dark of the Moon" with several exclusives including Arcee and Ratchet. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release. You can get more detailed thoughts on the sculpt itself in the Cannon Bumblebee review.

The exclusives in this set are tied together by a series of mini-comic books packaged with each figure. Each comic focuses on the character it is packaged with. Bumblebee's issue focuses on his struggle to keep Sam safe against Starscream and then an impending collapse of a cave ceiling. Ratchet also makes a brief appearance. The key is, each character that appears is part of the promotional campaign and had a figure in that series. The story is good and I do enjoy hearing Bumblebee's inner dialogue as he struggles physically and psychologically to ensure Sam's safety. The artwork is good, and better than some of the stuff that IDW has put out in its main retail books.

Vehicle Mode:
The theme of the Target exclusive redecos appears to be the liberal use of Cybertronian symbols on the characters. In Bumblebee's case, these glyphs are further enhanced by the liberal use of translucent plastic.

First, let's talk plastic. In this mode, most of Bumblebee's vehicle mode panels are cast in translucent yellow plastic. The actual shade of yellow is dark, aligning more with the shade of yellow normally found on movie versions of Bumblebee. That means you can't really see right through him easily, even if you put it up against a light. Instead, what you do see are a lot of the sculpted details that are normally hidden in this mode. Does it make a whole lot of sense? No, not really, but it sure does look cool so I'm digging it. The rest of his visible parts in this mode are cast in black, namely the wheels.

The basic deco on the figure is similar to those seen on other iterations of Bumblebee. This includes the use of black for the two "racing stripes" going from the back to the front of the vehicle and details on the front of the vehicle including the grille and area around the headlights. Silver paint is used where you'd expect it as well, including the sides of the wheels and details on the front and back including the exhaust pipes and headlights. On the top of the figure, silver is also used for small Cybertronian glyphs on the black racing stripes. His windshield is painted solid light blue, which really looks almost cartoonish against the other colors on the vehicle. The side and rear windows are cast in a light blue that matches the windshield. That's probably the weakest point of the color scheme. I would have preferred a darker shade to look more subdued.

Another key paint color on this figure is yellow. This yellow is a solid one and a bit lighter in shade than the translucent yellow tone. This is the color that paints some of the larger Cybertronian glyphs on Bumblebee. These are found along the sides of the vehicle and on the top of the car. In addition to the glyphs, there is a yellow Autobot symbol on the right side of the vehicle, right near the front wheel well.

So this version of Bumblebee definitely takes the "disguise" element out of the vehicle mode and sends it off a cliff. However, that's clearly not what this design is going for. Instead, it looks like Bumblebee went on a gigantic Cybertronian nostalgia trip and hey, it's at least the third version of this sculpt out there so why not have a little fun?

Crack open Bumblebee's doors and the "cannon" panels on his hood and you'll see some silver parts underneat. His seats, dashboard and cannon barrels are cast in silver plastic, which looks great against the yellow plastic. All these parts still feel nice and tight as well.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing open both doors.
  2. Split the rear of the vehicle in the middle and pull down each robot leg.
  3. Swing the robot arms down, then out to the sides.
  4. Flip up the front panel on the hood.
  5. Swing the robot head forward and move the panel back down.
  6. Swing down the bottom of the seats.
  7. Move the top panel of the cabin up over the windshield.
  8. Swing the chest/head/arm section down and clip it to the notches on the middle of the body.

    Robot Mode:
    The robot mode reveals a lot more silver plastic. You'll find it on parts such as his hands, thighs, waist, ankles and more. This contrasts nicely with the additional translucent yellow plastic revealed on his lower legs, arms and feet. The head is also cast in translucent yellow plastic, which makes for some really neat "light piping" through the whole head.

    I think if you just take a count of how many paint decos and patterns are used in the vehicle mode, it's no surprise that the robot mode is a bit more subdued when it comes to the number of paint applications. That's not to say there aren't any of course. The robot face is painted silver with blue and black used for the eyes. In this form the gold paint used on the Chevrolet logo on his chest sticks out a bit more. And well, that's it. I'm not really saying that as a criticism, it's just fact. If you go for this figure, most of the bang for your buck is found in the vehicle mode, not the robot mode.

    All of Bumblebee's joints are nice and tight, which is something I usually worry about once a sculpt has been used a few times. No need to worry here. This includes his cannons and even the hinge on his thumbs.

    Final Thoughts:
    It's hard to get myself super worked up over this figure. It's dramatically different than its source figure, that's for sure and it is a cool looking deco in vehicle mode. However, it's not one of the best Bumblebee sculpts and it's been released twice already previous to this release (with yet, another release in the "Human Alliance" portion of the "Dark of the Moon" toy line). If you're big into redecos or a huge Bumblebee fan, this figure is definitely for you. It's a cool figure with a neat deco, but not a significant improvement over the original.