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Threezero: Transformers MDLX Bumblebee Review

Hey, this Transformer doesn’t transform!

Threezero has been putting out a handful of DLX versions of Transformers at 1/6th scale. Some are based on the Transformers movie universe, some just their own takes on Optimus and Megatron. The MDLX line is much smaller, much cheaper and much easier to fiddle with.

While my heart will always belong to the Generation 1 Transformers designs, I am open to some new interpretations, as long as they don’t stray too far. I am not a fan of the Michael Bay designs of any of the Transformers. At all. They are, in a word, terrible. At least to me.

The Bumblebee movie course corrected a lot of the mobile scaffolding look of many of the Transformers. I actually knew who the characters were when I saw them on screen. Frankly, I have replayed the Cybertron scenes from that movie way too often. Bumblebee still had a lot of Michael bay influences left in him, but at least the movie itself was far, far better.

This figure essentially presents a Generation 1 Bumblebee with heightened realism. It looks like a cinematic version of Bumblebee in a movie that doesn’t exist. Everything you expect to see is there—you can tell he has car parts and should transform into a VW—but he doesn’t have the streamlined animation look. There’s a harder edge to him. He looks like he’s ready for battle, but he doesn’t look like he talks out of his radio, which is a thing that I am perfectly willing to never see again.

At 60 dollars, it’s pricey for a figure that stands right at five inches. That’s 12 dollars an inch. But damn damn damn does it feel like it’s worth every bit of it.

The sculpting is excellent. Like I said, you can see the car parts, and you can even see how he might transform, if he were to transform. Which he doesn’t. but if he did, hey, there’s the front of the car, there’s the hood…you get my point.

Every part of him is panel-lined where relevant. There’s a subtle worn look in places. He looks very lived-in. The black panel-lining makes his yellows stand out that much more. The painted detail makes him feel richer, and helps balance out the deluxe pricing.  

The articulation is excellent across the board. He gets great range at the shoulders, with parts that move out of the way to allow him to get wide arm spreads. He has a bit of a butterfly to let him get his arms closer in front of him. The hips have similar moving parts that let him get crazy Spider-man spreads. He gets a good forward crunch, and his head/neck has a lot of bend and twist and tilt. The elbows are single jointed but the clearance lets him approximate double-jointed levels of mobility. The knees are double-jointed.

Basically, there’s not a lot you’re going to be missing out on with him. He can crouch, he can balance well, he can cross his arms over his chest to a certain degree. It’s just a lot of fun. The amount of movement they were able to squeeze in while maintaining the overall boxiness of his robot look is impressive.

Bumblebee comes with three sets of hands: fists, relaxed and trigger hands. They pop on and off easily. The gun grip doesn’t grip the gun as tightly as I’d like; there’s a certain point where you can get the hand to hold the gun fairly well, but the slightest movement will cause the gun to wiggle in his hand. I think there’s a little too much flex in the plastic of the hand. Of course, the trade-off means that it isn’t a bitch to get the gun in and out of his hand, so it depends on what you want. I would have liked something in between, with maybe a bit more rigidity in his grip.

He comes with two heads: one with a face, and one with the faceplate, reminiscent of his original G1 figure. I took most of the pictures with the “face” showing, but I’m honestly not sure which I want to use as his default. With bumblebee having a face for most of the extraneous media—comics and cartoons—I always wanted his original toy to have a face instead of a faceplate. All these years later and now I realize I have a lot of affection for the faceplate look that stems from years of playing with the toy. Tough choice.

Bumblebee is the first MDLX figure, with Optimus coming out soon. Bumblebee was a test to see if the quality was there. I am definitely in for Optimus now, and I hope there’s a Megatron and maybe Soundwave on the horizon. I think I’m in for anybody they want to make.