Well Hidey-Ho there, Figure Realm! I've returned after a long absence with yet another custom action figure. Just like last time, I've only got one today, and just like the last submission, it's not from my Metroid series. What can I say? I've got a lot on my plate right now (moving, work, etc). The last figure in Metroid series 2 is almost finished, but it's going slowly. I hope to have him up this week, so keep watching! In the meantime, I put forward for your approval, Bumblebee!!
If you don't know who Bumblebee is, you've obviously been living under a rock for the last three years. Thanks to the new live-action Transformers movie franchise, not to mention the recently concluded Transformers Animated series on cartoon network, and the thousands of toys that come along with them, Optimus Prime and his loyal Autobots have been experiencing a wave of incredible popularity recently, and Bumblebee has been leading the charge as one of the primary heroes in the films. Though not as large or heavily armed as other giant, robotic death machines, Bumblebee is friendly, courageous, and an inspiration to both his fellow Autobots and his human allies. And despite the fact that some fans regard him as the "Wesley Crusher" of the Transformers (personally, I think that dubious "honor" goes to Wheelie), he is easily one of the most beloved and recognized characters in the entire franchise.
Of course, before he was a rad, modern Chevy Camaro, way back in the 80s, he was an adorable, classic Volkswagon Beetle. Over the past several years, through the many attempts to revive the original characters, Hasbro has tried to revisit that idea by making Bumblebee into a modern New Beetle. Unfortunately, Volkswagon has been rather obstinate in its refusal to license the car design for use. Supposedly, they don't want their cars used to make "war toys," so they're trying to distance themselves from the old Bumblebee. This is rather amusing to those of us that have studied history, as the original VW Beetle (the Porsche Type 60, or KdF-Wagen), was ordered by none other than ADOLF HITLER. In fact, Hitler himself coined the name "Volkswagen" (literally, "The People's Car"). Yes, that's right, the VW Beetle was the official Nazi car before and during World War II. Hey Volkswagen, try distancing yourself from THAT!!
Anyway, VW's stubborn refusal to compromise aside, Hasbro released a spectacular Transformers Classics Bumblebee a few years back, looking almost exactly like his old design in every way, save the actual alt-mode design. It's a great toy, but naturally, for those of us who grew up in the 80s, it's just not enough. We want our @#$% Beetle! Thus was this little kitbash born.
Naturally, I used the Classics toy as the robot framework. Why screw with a toy that works great already? Then I hopped on a website to hunt down a 1:24 scale VW Beetle. Annoyingly, not many plastic model kits exist. Most are die-cast metal. It took some time, but I finally found an excellent Herbie: Fully Loaded Pull-Back Car. Solid, durable plastic, and precisely the size I needed.
It took a lot of cutting, dremeling, gluing, and resculpting, but the end result is practically flawless: an approximate duplication of the original Classics toy's transformation using a sporty original Beetle chassis. The only differences in the conversion process are that now the doors flip behind the legs instead of staying on the arms, and the hood folds under the chest instead of remaining on the feet. I used tiny metal dollhouse hinges to make the new joints. The gun is from an old ToyBiz Fantastic Four Cartoon Doctor Doom figure, with the barrel from a random GI Joe gun turret attached to the front.
I can't honestly take credit for this idea. Marc de Repentigny of Marksprojects .com is a pretty major custom Transformers builder. He had the idea first (and, I might add, did a much better job . . . what do you expect, he casts his own plastic!), but hey, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? At any rate, I'm very pleased with how my build turned out, and so here it is. Hope you all like it! Let me know what you think!
Transform and roll out!