Thursday, December 25, 2014

Takara MP-21 Masterpiece Bumblebee with Exosuit Review

I have been looking forward to this release for months. Bumblebee is second to the last Masterpiece figure to be released in 2014. The figure featured in this review is the standard version, which doesn't include a coin and an extra battle face plate.

Vehicle Mode (Bumblebee)

As a throwback to the G1 theme, Bumblebee's vehicle mode is none other than a classic Volkswagen Beetle. Although the car lacks a few features that would render this toy cartoon accurate, the positive aspects easily make up for any shortcomings. The car looks fabulous, and the added paint details and black transparent windows is just icing on the cake. Takara even threw in some black side view mirrors, if one prefers to include them. However, the mirrors must be cut free from a sprue, then pegged in the car's sides.

The only minor nitpicks about this car, first,  is Bumblebee's tucked arms dangling below the back bumper, which looks unsightly at some angles. Second, the wheels are a tad wobbly, probably to adjust for some slight level and angular changes, when transforming Bumblebee into vehicle mode.

Bumblebee has convenient storage options for accessories that are hidden from plain sight, until someone looks underneath the car. Under the vehicle, is Bumblebee's blue pistol and spare tire. Those, who prefer seeing the Volkswagen car with a spare wheel mounted on the back, can simply pull the black license plate cover off, then tab the spare wheel in.

As promotional pictures indicate, Bumblebee's vehicle mode fits perfectly inside Optimus Prime's trailer. If Bumblebee scales perfectly with Optimus, he should go well with the upcoming MP-21 Ultramagnus as well.

Robot Mode (Bumblebee)

Bumblebee's robot mode kicks bot! The robot nailed the G1 look as close as possible. Bumblebee has a little more bulk than he should have, yet the proportions still seems right at all angles. There is a gap in his forearms, but that only resulted from transformation.

The glossy yellow finish on Bumblebee's body, along with the red Autobot insignia look great. They actually go well with the shiny black molded plastic. The joints, though a tad stiff, ensures this figure is far from flimsy.


Bumblee has a spare tire that could be tabbed into his back or kept off, depending on one's preference. He also has an alternate face plate that gives an option to select between a smiley or neutral face. Although the difference is very small, the grinning expression, somehow, gives more character. Bumblebee's only weaponry is his metalic blue gun, whose color resembles the G1 cartoon.

Vehicle Mode (Exosuit)

Like Daniel Witwicky's exosuit, Spike's suit transforms into an all terrain space vehicle too, and what looks like the most uncomfortable position for a human being to be in. Spike has to lay on his stomach, so his head can tilt up and peek through the front end, as he drives the vehicle. Overall, the exosuit is a cool feature, certainly an invention that could boost expenses needed for eventual doctor and chiropractor appointments, if this was real.

Jokes aside, the vehicle looks nice and clean. The panel lines, thrusters, and other mechanical sculpted details are great, while the color choices are pretty spot on. The plastic dome, however, doesn't show Spike's hands nor the handles needed to drive this machine, which were clearly visible and accessible in the cartoon. The vehicle still remains a nifty addition to this set.


One awkward oversight from Takara is leaving Spike's eyes completely unpainted, leaving out the sclera, pupils, and irises. Those eyes are just flesh colored. Aside from that flub, the exosuit, in detail, looks quite good most of the time, minus the scrawny forearms and unbalanced ratio of white and blue armor.

One peeve to put up with is the arms that must keep a 90 degree bend at the elbows, presumably from the transformation features. Moving the forearms too much with pop them off the elbow very easily. However, they will pop back in quite easily because of the ball joints.


Takara equipped bumblebee with as many points of articulation they could without compromising many aesthetic value. From what's available, the range of poseability is fun to play with. The exosuit's articulation are somewhat decent, but the arm articulation is very lacking. The suit's legs do have a pretty fair amount of movement though.


Size Comparison

Bumblebee is by far, the most smallest Masterpiece figure to this day. Here he is posed next to a Masterpiece Soundwave and Generations FOC Deluxe Optimus Prime.


Overall, I like what this masterpiece set has to offer. Bumblebee looks great in vehicle and robot mode. When transformed into robot mode, the quality of this toy really shines. The joint's are near perfect, face swapping and other add on features are appreciated, and articulation is quite cool. The exosuit, though not superb, is a neat addition with Bumblebee. I can't wait till MP-22 Ultra Magnus shows up, so that Bumblebee can be loaded into the trailer, which couldn't be done with Masterpiece Optimus because I don't have one.

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