Saturday, March 17, 2012

[Transformers] White Bumblebee

Transformers - Bumblebee (white)

Last weekend was the San Jose Super Toy Show, hosted by Time Tunnel Toys at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds. To me, the show is basically something to do on a Saturday morning. If the dealer isn’t flipping new Transformers or hauling thousands of dead stock Robocop figures, they usually know what they have and price it accordingly. In other words, don’t expect to find rocket-firing Boba Fetts at the bottom of a plastic tub of $2 toys. But every once in a while, you do find something genuinely cool.


Transformers - Bumblebee (white)

Transformers - Bumblebee (white)

This is a Bumblebee that was sold exclusively in Mexico at around the same time the yellow U.S. version was made available here. I know what most of you are thinking- nice bootleg, right? Nope. This is an official product manufactured by IGA in Mexico. For reasons that have yet to be understood, IGA produced several of the G1 Minibots in colors that were never seen in the U.S. Bumblebee, for example, is known to have been produced in a Microchange-like blue and cream white (above).

Transformers - Bumblebee (white)

Quality of the IGA Minibots is close to that of the Hasbro versions, although I have heard that they may be more prone to joint breakage. There are a few characteristics of these toys that set them apart from their U.S. counterparts. First, the Autobot symbol is generally printed off-center on a lower quality paper than Hasbro decals. Second, there is often plastic flashing around the edges of the windows. Finally, and this is not really a characteristic, but a marking issue, the Mexico-manufactured Minibots have the “Japan” stamp obscured near the Hasbro/Takara copyright stamps.

Transformers - Bumblebee (white)

Transformers - Bumblebee (white)

In cream white, Bumblebee is very attractive in either car or robot mode. White is a color that was not used among the Microchange toys, and only in the case of Tailgate for the Transformers. And to see it applied to the most iconic of the Minibots is nothing short of breathtaking. The red faceplate given to this Bumblebee is a perfect choice, in my view. You can draw an immediate parallel to the distinctive red face / white head of the larger Autobot car, Tracks. I have been a huge fan of the pocket-sized designs of the Minibots since childhood and it is just so cool to see them appear in alternate color schemes.

Transformers - Bumblebee (white)

Evidently the white Bumblebee is also quite rare. I’m not sure how this one found its way into the dealer case at the SJ Super Toy Show, but I feel very fortunate to have come across it as such. Be warned, however, as there are knock-off versions of a white Bumblebee around. The primary difference between the two is that the knock-off has a silver faceplate, whereas the Mexican Bumblebee has a red faceplate.

Big thanks to the brilliant author, Maz, of TF-1.com, without whom I probably would not understand the significance of this toy. Be sure to take a spin around his website for a much more in-depth look at Minibots in Mexico and beyond.

1 comment:

Eric Stettmeier said...

Nice score - I didn't know this guy even existed! I too was at the toy show, and scored a cool Riddler action figure, but was mostly just there to meet Batgirl!