Sunday 11 January 2015

Masterpiece Bumble MP-21 (Bumblebee)

Profile (Translated from the Character Card)
MP-21 Cybertron Intelligence Agent / Bumble
Function: Espionage
Motto: "The least likely can be the most dangerous."
Bumble is the smallest Cybertron warrior. His size however is an advantage as he's able to infiltrate where others are reluctant to go. Has exceptional vision enabling him to detect enemy sensors in hostile territory. Bumble admires Commander Convoy and although he lacks the speed and strength he is always keen to make the effort in order to be recognised.
STR...2; INT...8; SPD...4; END...7; RNK...7; CRG...10; FBL...1; SKL...7

Other Resources:


Bumblebee (or Bumble in Japan) was one of the first Autobot Minibots released in 1984 and was a prominent fixture in the original animated series.

The original Bumblebee toy was taken from Takaras 1983 Micro Change toyline was was designated the name MC-04 03 VW Bug in the sub-line "Mini Car Robo" and came in either red yellow or blue. The vehicle mode was loosely based on a "super deformed" Volkswagen Beetle Choro-Q toy. (These toys were marketed as Penny Racers outside of Japan. They had a pull back motor and a small coin could be inserted in  slot at the rear to give a wheelie effect).

After 1995 with the Generation 2 Gobot line, Bumblebee disappeared from the mainline Transformer toyline. He reappeared in 2001 as a keychain licensed through Hasbro and released by Fun4all. This was a remoulded 1984 Bumblebee with a keychain attached. (The keychain figure had a second release in 2006 under the "Heroes of Cybertron" banner).

Takara reissued the 1984 Bumble in 2004 in the "Minibot Team" set under the Transformers Collection Series.

Bumblebee once again came into the mainline Transformer line in 2006 under the Transformer Classics line. This time round he was not a Beetle but a hatchback sports car; this paved the way for his appearance in the 2007 Transformers movie and Bumblebee has been in the forefront of the Transformers toy line ever since.

Moving forwards to February 2014, a black silhouette of MP-21 Bumble was released on Takara Tomy designers Shogo Hasui Twitter page. Thanks to the merger with Tomy, they were finally able to  finally acquire the licence the make an accurate representation of the original Volkswagen Bumblebee. To make up for being smaller than the other Masterpiece Autobot cars, a transformable Exosuit also came with Bumble which is a representation of the Exosuits worn by Spike Witwicky and his son Daniel in the 1986 animated movie. In the "Transformers Masterpiece Official Guide" book, line art depicting Bumble and the Exosuit makes mention that it is Daniel in the suit, however on the released MP-21 box it mentions that is Spike in the suit. Shogo Hasui also confirmed it is Spike on his Twitter page. It makes more sense being Spike for sake of continuity with the cartoon seeing that Spike was always with Bumblebee.

Masterpiece Bumble transforms into a 1972 1302 Volkswagen Type 1 (aka Volkswagen Beetle). Out of interest this is a similar model to the Volkswagen that had a cameo appearance in the 2007 film but that was a 1974 1303 "Super Beetle". When applying for the licence to make Masterpiece Bumble, in an interview with one of Takara's designers, Shogo Hasui, in the Transformers Masterpiece Official guide he mentions Volkswagen wanted to know the exact model, year and scale of the car. Possibly the 2007 movie had some bearing on the choice or maybe its just coincidence?

The Beetle mode does look great and is certainly a departure from the "super deformed" version from the original toy line. As you'd expect from a Masterpiece figure the detailing is great and it even comes with a side mirror which comes included on a plastic sprue along with a spare. On the rear of the car you can either attach the spare tire or blank number plate. The number plate stores inside the spare tire when not in use and the spare tire can also store on the underside of the car. The small pistol can also store underneath the car mode as well.

The accompanying Spike Witwicky in the Exosuit is a nice addition although it doesn't do much in vehicle mode but it has real wheels that can roll. Transformation is relatively simple and in its "robot mode" it is not very posable either.

Bumbles transformation is also simple and rather satisfying as well. Although the later MP-45 looks like the cartoon model, there is no denying that MP-21 is not Bumble. The car roof / robot chest has a rotating section which reveals the Cybertron insignia. The paint on this can be easily chipped. Robot mode is posable enough for the standards of Masterpiece Transformers of its time and MP-45 does improve greatly on this. I'm not completely sold on the head sculpt, it does look like Bumble but the features are too soft. If you ordered Bumble through Amazon, it came with an extra face accessory, the Battle Mask which is based on the G1 toy version.

Overall MP-21 is a great figure even if you own MP-45. Transformation is far easier and this holds together much better in vehicle mode. 


■ Now the smallest yellow and black warrior stings the enemy. (Translated from the back of the box)
The Volkswagen Type 1 (also known as the Beetle) is a small car manufactured by the German company Volkswagen. This round and charming car transforms into a formidable warrior bearing a name inspired by its insect-like nature, much like the legendary Beetle itself. This is “Bumble”, an endearing character who has left an indelible mark on the hearts of fans through the captivating animated series "Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers”. In the cartoon, Bumble holds a significant role as a character who effectively connects humans and Transformers. Through his small stature, strong emotions, inherent cuteness, and friendly personality, Bumble creates a bridge that fosters a remarkable bond between these two worlds. This product faithfully recreates the entire car-to-robot transformation showcased in the cartoon. It also offers the flexibility to assume a wide range of poses. An additional alternate face is included. One face portrays a resolute warrior, poised to confront the enemy with unwavering determination. In contrast, the other face showcases a warm smile, radiating unparalleled kindness and generosity. Also included in an Excel Suit which can transform into a vehicle mode. We sincerely hope you will add the endearing Bumble, along with his exquisite array of accessories, to your esteemed collection. 

Volkswagen Type 1 (Actual Vehicle Commentary) (Translated from the back of the box)
The origins of the Volkswagen Type 1, commonly known as the Beetle can be traced back to 1934 Germany under the “People’s Car Project”. The “People’s Car Project” was a scheme to develop an economical passenger car which could accommodate a family of two adults and three children, cruise at 100km/h and travel 100km on 7 litres of fuel. Its retail value of 1,000 Marks was affordable for workers at the time. After the completion and testing of the prototype, World War II erupted, leading to the abandonment of the project. However, following the conclusion of the war, British Army Major Ivan Hirst recognised the project's potential and undertook its revitalisation. He reorganised and reinstated Volkswagen AG, marking the beginning of production for the Volkswagen Type 1. Quickly becoming a best selling family car, it was exported around the world. It is also the longest selling car in history with 21.53 units produced throughout 65 years until production ended in 2003 in Mexico. Along with other variations such as the one-box Type 2, its concept and distinctive round styling is still loved around the world to this day. 

■ Length: 4070mm
■ Width: 1540mm
■ Height: 1500mm
■ Wheelbase: 2400mm
■ Weight: 780kg
■ Engine: 1300cc
■ Maximum Output: 40 Horsepower / 4000rpm
■ Maximum Torque: 8.9kgm / 2000rpm

Vehicle Mode: Volkswagen Type 1 (Translated from the instruction booklet)
Following the crash landing of the Ark on Earth, a Volkswagen Type 1 was selected and scanned for Bumble during his revival. Its charming, cute and rounded form perfectly embodies Bumble’s mascot-like presence in the cartoon series. He has a pink interior and a Cybertron emblem adorning the right side of the bonnet. The licence plate once had the words “I Love New York” printed on it. Due to his lack of confidence in his speed, Bumble's motto is "safe driving." Navigating rough mountainous roads is not Bumble's strong suit, as he often struggles and encounters mishaps such as falling from cliffs or mistiming his jumps. On the other hand, Bumble's small form grants him exceptional agility, allowing him to skilfully manoeuvre around and even drive up the larger bodies of his enemies, effectively disarming them in the process.
His name “Bumble” has been shortened from his overseas name, Bumblebee.
Bumblebee is a fitting name given his yellow and black colouring and his ability to move with great precision to strike his enemies.

Robot Mode: Bumble (Translated from the instruction booklet)
Function: Espionage
Motto: "The least likely can be the most dangerous."
Out of the original Cybertrons, Bumble is the smallest warrior. Despite his lack of physical strength and speed, Bumble fearlessly embarks on reconnaissance and infiltration missions, leveraging his diminutive stature to his advantage. Possessing exceptional search capabilities, he excels in infiltrating enemy territory by effortlessly detecting enemy sensors ahead of his comrades. With his friendly and gentle nature, he fearlessly steps forward to safeguard his friends and comrades, even when faced with overwhelming odds. Additionally, his compassion shines through as he sincerely mourns the loss of those who have caused immense trouble, such as the nefarious imp Kremzeek and BOT. Displaying immense courage, he fearlessly confronts adversaries far larger than himself, willingly putting his own life at stake to accomplish his mission. On the contrary, he tends to be a procrastinator. For instance, when he has an ample supply of energy and no immediate concerns, he often postpones addressing long-term issues. Additionally, he possesses a sentimental nature, as evidenced by his desire to return to his home planet to meet his demise when infected with Cosmic Rust. He also tends to be lazy at times, exhibiting habits such as lateness or getting easily distracted. He holds great admiration and trust for Commander Convoy, and his motivation soars whenever he feels the need to meet Convoy's expectations. During battles, his lack of strength often leads to him easily falling from cliffs or getting caught up in waterfalls. Additionally, he frequently becomes a hostage in such situations. Bumble's charm lies not only in his bravery but also in his relatable human-like weaknesses. Shares a close bond with the human Spike, and they are inseparable companions, always by each other's side.

Weapon: Lazer Gun (Translated from the instruction booklet)
This small gun belongs to Bumblebee*. In episode 46 “Trans-Europe Express”, he battled the Stuntrons alongside Tracks and Streak using this weapon. During this battle, Bumble showcased his exceptional marksmanship by bravely entering a tornado with the Pearl of Jehuddin and swiftly obliterating it with a single, precise shot. 

*written as “Bumblebee” in the Japanese text.

Armament: Exo-Suit (Translated from the instruction booklet)
A powered suit specifically designed for humans. It enhances the user's physical strength enabling effortless lifting of substantial debris. Additionally, it possesses a remarkable feature wherein it seamlessly transforms into a high-performance four-wheeled vehicle mode, capable of matching the velocity of other Cybertrons. Each arm possesses the ability to transform into formidable weaponry, unleashing precise and devastating laser beam attacks. Its first appearance was in “Transformers: The Movie” worn by an adult Spike and his son Daniel.

Battle Face (Translated from the instruction booklet)
This item faithfully reproduces the face of the 1985 toy version. It functions as armour specifically designed to safeguard his face during intense combat situations. Its likeness has also been featured in overseas comic books.

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