Transformers Studio Series: Bumblebee Retro Rock Garage Vol. 1

Man oh man is this set cool.  For one thing, it takes what, I’d say is the absolute weakest Studio Series toy so far and reworks all of his tolerances so he’s the toy he was meant to be(e) (see what I did there?).  For a second, much bigger, way more important thing, it brings back two of the RAREST, most expensive on the secondary market G1 Transformers ever known to collectors, the Dino Cassettes! (well, two of them anyway).

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First available at SDCC 2018 and now at Hasbro Toy Shop (while supplies last), this special edition of Studio Series Bumblebee is intended to be in conjunction with the movie hitting theaters in December.  Bee comes in a new, gold deco and is packaged with mini-cassettes Dial and Urauz (More on that later).

The outer sleeve has faux-dings and dents on the edges and on the back has pun-filled song titles (Got You On Speed Dial, I see what you did there!)

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Removing the sleeve, Bee is displayed in Car mode in a window at the top of the box (which lays horizontally).  Underneath is a small panel that slides open (like a tape player deck) to reveal Dial and Urauz in cassette mode along with the weapons for everyone.  It’s a great packing design!

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Everything is secured with plastic ties so it’s easy enough to remove.  Unfortunately it means storing Bee in the box will leave him with a lot of room to bounce around if you cut the ties to remove everything.

 

 

In car mode, Bee features a new deco with different striping and the Z28 logo on the grill, which is a very nice touch.  The gold coloring is muted which I actually prefer.

img_0350 More importantly, the tolerance issues from the initial release of the toy have been adjusted and fixed.  No longer does the roof pop off at the slightest touch and his ball jointed hips are nice and secure.

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The rest of the detailing remains the same which is still quite impressive.  I do feel like the muted gold shows off more of the finer details than the brighter yellow.  His face and fingers are still bright chrome though which I really disagree with.  Using a darker metal color would really make him look more screen accurate.

Far more important in this set though, are the mini-cassettes.

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See there are a few things going on here: first and foremost, this is the first time these particular mini-cassettes have been released by Hasbro.  They first arrived near the end of the Japanese G1 toy ark and because of that, they were relatively rare.

The original tapes commanded one of the highest secondary market prices of the G1 toys, even after there were illegally reproduced a few years ago.  So having access to these two characters is monumental.  Habro will release a second set, with a clear/evil version of Dial and a normal/Autobot version of Saur with the Vol.2 set.

While Dial is relatively the same as the original toy, albeit with stronger, die cast joints, Urauz, which is the romaji spelling of Saur, backwards (Zauru), is clear orange instead of navy blue and has a Decepticon rub sign. The clear versions will essentially be “evil” twins of the original characters.  Both cassettes feel VERY sturdy with strong joints, and because their legs (and forearms) are made of diecast metal, they actually have some considerable heft.

They both fit perfectly into chest compartments as well, so if you want to store them in your G1 Blaster or Soundwave, you’re all set.

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Dial and Urauz join the other Hasbro dino-cassettes Over Kill and Slugfest.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we get Noise and Graphy reissues as well (the other two super rare toys from the Japanese G1 line).  They are also cassette combiners though, like Raindance, Grandslam, Squawk Talk and Beast Box, forming a third, humanoid robot mode: Legout!

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While Legout is not the most ascetically appealing toy made, he has a certain G1 charm that I just adore.  True to the G1 toy, there’s no detailing on the chest, which makes him a bit plain, but I’m glad they stayed true to the G1 toy for sure.

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He stands about the size of a scout class toy, and honestly he weights a LOT more than Bumblebee.  Again the diecast metal joints give him just a really sturdy weight.  I love him.

Bottom Line:

This set is worth it on many levels.  Mainly the mini-cassettes though.  They’re very well made and a great way for G1 and newer fans to obtain very rare toys at a very reasonable price.  Let’s just keep our fingers crossed for a Noise and Graphy release down the road.

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