Dave's TF Studio Series Rant: Core wave 4

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Dave Van Domelen

Nov 14, 2022, 5:12:56 PM11/14/22
Dave's Transformers Studio Series Ran: Core Wave 4

Laserbeack (pink Bumblebee)
Decepticon Rumble (Blue) (cassette tape)

Permalink: http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/BW/Studio/Core4

So, Laserbeak is a predeco of Core Bumblebee, and yes the "(Blue)" is
really part of Rumble's name here. Still no sign of Spike in stores here,
and it doesn't look good enough for me to want to pay reseller markup.


$8.49 at Target, around $12 at Walmart. I got 'em at Target.

Laserbeak: It's got some weird proportioning and stability issues, but
it is at least a new mold and not purely a scaled up 2011-era Legion class
toy. Mostly worth getting for the novelty of having a toy of That One
Scene's version of Laserbeak, though. Mildly recommended.

Decepticon Rumble (Blue): The main flaw of this toy is that it's a
single Micromaster for two-pack prices. It's a decent new mold for a
Siege-compatible cassette bot, but even with the added pounders it feels
undersized for the price class. Mildly recommended (recommended if you don't
care about price at all).


Packaging: The same as previous Studio Core figures, with movie-style
art and renders on Laserbeak and cartoon-style on Rumble. They continue to
not have assortment numbers on these packages. The transformation steps are
not listed on the card back, and there's no bio note or official scene name.

Assortment: F3144
Altmode: Chevy 2011 Concept Camaro
Transformation Difficulty: 15 steps
Previous Name Use: Yes
Previous Mold Use: None
Movie: Dark of the Moon
Scene: "Tea Party"

Packaging: Five plastic ties secure the robot to the backdrop, and one
more holds the weapon in the lower left. There's a couple of small holes in
the backdrop to accomodate pegs on the backs of the door-wings.
The backdrop is of a sunroom with child-sized table and chairs next to a
day bed or couch, with the partially open patio doors in the background.
This was a really short scene in the movie, in which Laserbeak in the form of
a child-sized pink version of Bumblebee is having a tea party with the
daughter of a character that the Decepticons are keeping under their thumb, a
not terribly subtle threat. (This isn't the first toy of Laserbeak's BB
form, a Japanese movie festival exclusive pink redeco of the MechTech
Bumblebee came out in 2017.)
The renders on the box are pink reshades of the RotF Bumblebee art,
rather than the DotM art. The back of the box has the GM (or "gm" in the new
logo) official licensed merch sticker, with a QR code that lead's to the
General Motors website.

Robot Mode: A somewhat stumpy pink DotM Bumblebee, in a bit darker pink
than seen in the movie, almost a magenta. The forearms are pretty short, and
it feels like the thighs should be able to extend a bit but they don't. And
while I can accept the "L1" and "R1" assembly sprue labels on the backs of
the door wings (they're on the BACK, after all), the upper arms have "L2" and
"R2" molded into the outer faces, which makes it look like Laserbeak got
tats. He's a Star Wars fan, maybe...R2 4 LYF. Because they didn't have
another joint to devote to getting the center of the hood out of the way, it
just sticks up behind Laserbeak's head with weird almost organic patterns
molded into it.
3.25" (8cm) tall at the head, a little taller at the top of the hood
chunk behind the head. A mix of dark pink, silver/silvery gray, and black or
black-ish. A silvery light gray plastic is used for the forearms, the
spine/pelvis piece, the shoulder roots, and the shins. Everything else is a
slightly metalswirled dark pink verging on magenta, and that includes the
wheels (which are painted over). It's a nice color, even if it's a bit
dark. Kinda "innermost Energon" colored.
The wheels and the hood stripes on the top of the chest are painted
gloss black, while the windows on the door wings are more of a very dark
sparkly gray, similar to the "obsidian" paint I bought recently. The grilles
on the chest are also painted obsidian, although either a thinner layer or
done over silver, because it looks a little lighter. It looks okay in this
mode, but in vehicle mode the lack of contrast between gloss black and
obsidian is a problem. The robot face is painted silver with red eyes, while
most of the arm cannon (everything but the 3mm peg and rectangular vehicle
mode storage peg) is painted a duller silver also found on the headlights.
It's possible it's the same paint, just applied differently to the face.
There's no Decepticon symbols anywhere, although that's fairly normal for
Bayformers. Maybe get the tiny Micromaster sized ones from Toyhax and put
them over the L2 and R2 on the arms. There IS an Autobot symbol, very tiny
and almost invisible against the pink plastic, on the forehead. So, they
didn't even bother changing the paint masking at all from the planned
Bumblebee, I guess?
The neck is a ball joint with the socket on the spine side. No waist
joint, not that the roof slab hanging down in back would let the waist turn
much anyway. Ball joint shoulders, elbows, and hips. The knees are rather
stiff hinges, with the shins and calves (car rear fenders) bending
independently. If you want, you can bend just the calves back for
aesthetics, but the shins will then have to bend abck into the calves, and it
doesn't really help with the buttcape blocking things. The shins and calves
have a default angular separation in this mode, but collapse the rest of the
way together in car mode. The ankles are fairly stiff hinges as well, and
the wings are on snap-in hinges. While there are heel spurs, they're not
long enough and the figure has to lean forwards a little to be stable (even
if you have the arm with the gun straight out in front).
The hands can hold short 3mm pegs, but the bottoms of the open hands are
closed down to 2mm holes. There's 2mm posts on the backs of the wings that
go into the undersides of the hands in vehicle mode (or I suppose could be
used to let Titan Masters hitch a ride). There's a nonstandard rectangular
socket in the back plate (roof).
Laserbeak's cannon looks like what Bayblebee's forearm turns into, but
it's held as a gun rather than covering up the hand in a cowling like many
"arm transforms" guns do on toys. It's a piece of pink plastic mostly
painted dull silver, with various sizes and shapes of barrels. The main
barrel has a shallow 5mm socket that will hold some types of Fire Blast (not
included). There's a 3mm peg grip in back, and a rectangular tab on the
bottom that goes into the roof slot. It's not a very secure fit, though, I'd
recommend not storing the gun there in robot mode.

Transformation: A bit of a hassle in places, because a lot of the
transformation joints on mine were quite stiff, and things had to be shoved
into just the right spots. The feet collapsing into the lower legs required
a bit more force than I expected, and getting the stubby forearms lined up
just right so that the pegs on the doors could go into the hands was
challenging. The backpack shell has a joint on the butt that exists just so
that the chest can be folded up without the door hinges getting blocked by
the arms. I will say that it's a lot easier the second time, once you've
gotten the order of steps figured out.
In either direction, the head can only go through the hood gap when the
hood is above the head, in or close to its vehicle mode position. The head
will cheerfully pop out of its socket if you try to force it at the wrong
Going back to robot mode, I could not find any way to get the chest to
lock into position, not even a tab on the roof shell that goes into the spine
to stabilize that.

Vehicle Mode: So, a pink Concept Camaro with black paint, for the most
part. The windows and the stripes are very slightly different shades as
noted above, but at first glance the windows just sort of blend together with
the stripes. The panel gaps, at least on mine, don't close up all the way.
3.5" (9cm) long, putting it around the 1:50 scale, bigger than a Hot
Wheels car. All of the visible plastic is pink in this mode, with gloss
black paint on the hood stripes (simple stripes, no secondary flanking pin
stripes) and roof stripes, and the wheels are dipped in gloss black. The
windows are almost all painted obsidian, only the little triangle windows on
the rear sides are left unpainted. The grille is also painted obsidian, but
perhaps over silver or in a thinner coat so it looks lighter. The headlights
are dull silver and the Chevy logo on the grille is gold. No paint on the
molded details in back.
It rolls poorly with almost no actual clearance, since the front wheels
are attached to disks that are barely smaller than the wheels. The only
connection point in this mode is a rectangular slot on the roof for holding
the arm cannon by its secondary tab.

Overall: The robot mode doesn't hold together in the chest as well as
I'd like, and the articulation is often blocked by excessive panels, but it's
not just a scaled up Legion class and that counts for something. I probably
would have passed on it if it were yellow, though, and will almost definitely
skip the inevitable redeco into Bumblebee. As an artifact of one of the
odder bits of the Bayformers movies, though, it's worth picking up.

http://www.dvandom.com/kitbash/PinkLaserbeak.JPG represents some minor
touching up that I did on the toy.

Assortment: F3145
Altmode: Cassette Tape
Transformation Difficulty: 9 steps
Previous Name Use: None with the "(BLUE)" part.
Previous Mold Use: None
Movie: TfTM
Scene: "First We Crack The Shell"

Packaging: Four ties pinion the robot mode to the backdrop, while the
back blasters and quake pounders are secured in loops of cardstock (blasters
in upper corners, pounders in lower corners).
The backdrop is the top of the Autobot broadcasting tower that Frenzy
and Rumble crack open during the Battle of Autobot City.

Robot Mode: Och, the wee bairn. While he's compatible with the War for
Cybertron Soundwave and Blaster molds, this is a new mold rather than a
redeco or tweak of the Spy Patrol 2 Rumble (or the Frenzy redeco of that from
the Spy Patrol Unit 3 Selects set). Still smol, so I'm glad I got it for
$8.49 instead of #11.96. Other than the pelvis being narrower to accomodate
actual movement and transformation, it's a pretty good adaptation of the
animation model for the character. And since this is the cartoon version,
Rumble Is Blue. I wonder if they used a washed out print for reference,
though, since most of the colors are rather lighter than in the cartoon. To
partially compensate for such a small toy, they also included his quake
pounders, which are attached various ways in the cartoon and only one way on
the toy. As often happens with the toy adaptations, they added extra panel
lines and small details all over that would have been prohibitively expensive
to animate in the 1980s.
Without accessories, he's 2.25" (4.6cm) tall in mostly light purple and
very light blue with some very light gray and some accent colors. As often
happens with animation-accurate decos, they can't seem to decide if they want
to go "gray as silver" or actual silver, so there's silver paint rather than
light gray paint. Very light blue plastic is used for the shoulder roots,
the neck (and part of the back of the head), and the thighs. Very light gray
plastic is used for the guns on his back, and the toes. Everything else is a
light purple plastic.
There's light blue paint that's a bit darker than the plastic on the
shoulders and upper arms of the robot and the upper two thirds or so of each
pounder. There's dull silver paint on the face, the chest and pelvis
details, and the kneecaps. The tops of the kneecaps and the visor are gloss
red, while the recessed shin bits where the toes fold up are painted yellow.
A teeny tiny violet Decepticon symbol is printed on his belly.
The head turns and can tilt back with a ball joint inside the torso, no
waist joint. The shoudlers are ball and socket on transformation shrugging
struts hinged at the root, the fists bend inward for transformation, and
there's no articulation in between. Hinge and swivel universal joint hips,
ball joint knees (they bend almost double because of the requirements of his
transformation), toes are hinged to fold up for transformation but this is a
little bit useful for poses (especially when the pounders are used for extra
There's two 3mm sockets on the back for storing his guns, and a 3mm
socket on the outer face of each forearm for attaching the guns, which I
suppose is a nod to how the original toy had clip-on guns.
The backpack guns from G1 (which Rumble sometimes only wore one of) are
done in very light gray plastic with no paint, each a little over an inch
(29mm) long with 3mm pegs to attach to the back or the forearm. While the
muzzles are not technically 3mm studs for Fire Blasts, the ones that are
longer inside can get past the tapered points and hold on nicely just above
the iron sights.
Each pounder is just a bit over 2" (5cm) long, and they're attached by
folding the fists into Rumble's forearms and just jamming the forearms into
rectangular sockets (while they can go on either directio, you're supposed to
have the underarms facing forwards). The striking surfaces are separate
pieces that can be pulled off, with a 5mm socket in the center and a 5mm peg
where they attach. There's also a 5mm socket in the top of each pounder for
some reason (the fists are too big to fit in there) and a 3mm socket on the
outer face at the top. While there's no motion gimmick, the pegs holding on
the striking faces are tight fits, so you can slide them out a bit to
simulate piston action (although in the animation, the collar bit goes with
the bottom part rather than staying on top).

Transformation: Remove all the accessories. Ignore the instructions and
turn the head SIDEWAYS before folding it into the gap in back...this way
there's the helmet details to help you get the head back out. I tried
following the instructions and ended up needing a knife to get the head back
out when returning to robot mode. Even sideways it's not easy, but at least
it's possible.
Stow the fists, then push the shoulders up on their hinged struts until
the tops of the shoulders touch. Fold the toes up, and orient the legs so
that the rivet heads (bigger circles) on the hips face forwards and the shins
face outwards, then sort of squat down until tabs on the forearms snap into
slots on the boot tops.

Cassette Mode: This is designed to be backwards-compatible with Siege
Soundwave, which is also Legacy Soundwave, but not compatible with the BB
movie Studio Soundwave. Don't worry about it, the boundaries between product
lines are often thin and porous. The tape label details are on the back side
of the tape, a silver and blue label without any text on it going across the
central part of the altmode. The rivets for the shoulder struts have spool
holes molded around them, which is clever repurposing, although it does
result in the holes being too high and too close together.
42mm wide, 28mm tall, and 9.5mm thick, in the same colors as robot mode,
but the label face is more bright blue and silver than the robot side. It's
slightly smaller than a real microcassette (G1 Rumble was the same size as a
real microcassette and could even fit into a microcassette case).
There is no articulation, not that one would expect any. The 3mm
sockets from the robot back are now on the tape from below the fake spool
holes, so the guns can still be mounted. There is no official way to attach
the pounders in this mode, but you can kinda wedge them onto the forearm
corners of the tape far enough to stay in place. Any of the corners, really,
so you can make a two-legged table out of tape mode. Flip it so that the
guns are on the underside and it's a Rumble seat.

Overall: It's small and feels more like it should be a $5 price point
toy, but at least Target's holding the line on price and $8.50 isn't too
bad. I'd definitely pause before buying it for $12, though.

Dave Van Domelen, does need to get around to clearing space for Legacy
Metroplex Real Soon, but first Legacy Minerva....

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