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Goldbug Hasbro, 1987

Goldbug Review Capsule
Bumblebee was one of the very first robots to speak on the original TransFormers cartoon, and he made countless appearances throughout the series. Of course, some Autobots die, and others just fade away. Optmus Prime came back, though, and was rebuilt-- and Bumblebee came back as Goldbug. This throttlebot is a classic character, but doesn't look too much like his TV counterpart. It's a little cheap, but a product of its time and a must-have for big fans of the classic toys.

Introduction

The TransFormers reinvented themselves countless times over the years, and this time, the small car previously known as Bumblebee was reinvented as a toy in the Throttlebot series. Goldbug, as he was known, received his name on the animated series through the following witty banter from the classic episode, The Return of Optimus Prime, Part 2:

BUMBLEBEE
I've gone beyond bein' just plain old Bumblebee! I'm a gold bug!

OPTIMUS PRIME
Hahah! That you are, Bumblebee, so from now on that's exactly who you'll be: Goldbug!

A gold bug he may be, but he didn't gain hands in this transformation. Or arms, really. But he did obtain a new transformation and a spiffy pull-back motor.

Robot

While a lot of people tend to remember the fine days of the vintage Generation One line of these toys, people tend to forget just how unposable some of them were. This is a fine example of what some of those older toys can- or more accurately can't- do.

This toy has no articulation. While the doors do fold back, and the hatch can be folded up, and the body can be folded down, those are all movements required for transformation and do not allow the toy to enter any new sort of pose. Were a toy released in this day and age, odds are it wouldn't be considered especially great as far as toys go. The Minicons of Armada are, more frequently, just as posable if not more so. At least they have posable arms.

Of course, this toy can do one thing that no Armada toy can, and that's to move on his own through the pull-back motor.

The sculpt is about on par for the course, but it isn't nearly as ornate as one might expect given the lost art of die-cast construction that permeated the early days of the line. The important thing, though, is that it isn't terrible. Some additional paint would have been nice, especially on the headlights, but unfortunately that isn't how this toy was made.

The black windows are provided by stickers. You may note that the rear window has no sticker, our original sample did not include one and we are under the impression that this toy just wasn't given one.

Car

His name is Goldbug. Hence, he can turn into a gold bug.

This toy version of the classic Volkswagon Beetle is pretty slick, and is conisderably larger than the original Bumblebee toy on which he is based.

He has no special weapons or spring-loaded pop-up gimmicks, but he does have the pull-back motor which is covered below.

Accessories & Gimmicks

While completely devoid of weaponry or hands, this toy is mobile. Pull him back, and watch him go.

While this may not sound exciting, what is exciting is just how great it works. Pull him back a little less than a foot, and he'll travel over twelve feet. Considering that this toy has been in my posession for over 15 years and it still works, that's impressive. Considering it works just that well after all these years is especially impressive. After all, firing missiles on toys in this day and age go no more than a foot or two.

Packaging

This toy came packaged on a blister card back in 1987, near the end of the original TransFormers. As it was received in 1987, the packaging is long gone.

The toy was rereleased later on in Europe, but on the gold colored "classic" packaging. The toy is otherwise identical, usually. In some nations the rubsign was replaced with an Autobot insignia.

Other Versions

There were numerous other versions of Bumblebee over the years, but technically, no other versions of Goldbug. The closest there was to a new Goldbug happened during TransFormers: Generation Two when Hasbro repainted the original Bumblebee in a metallic gold color.

The original Bumblebee has been rereleased as a keychain in both the USA and Japan and is being reissued again with a new, cartoon-like head sculpt in early 2004. He will appear in a box with a total of six minibots.

Fin

It's a classic toy. The key word here is toy. Kids will probably enjoy this, as it's essentially a pull-back car that turns into a fairly decent robot toy. As it's an older toy, odds are kids won't want it, and collectors won't care for it because it's squat and not as accurate to his appearance on the show as it could have been.

That said, it's still a fairly wonderful 80's toy because it's fun and works well. You really can't ask for much more out of a toy from this price point (under $5, I believe) from that era. This isn't a toy that is likely to be reissued. If you're so inclined, unpackaged samples sell on eBay for under $10. Packaged ones go for a little more than $10.

Since it's cheap and technically a main character, it's not a bad buy for fans of the older generation of Cybertron.

Reviewed and photographed by Adam Pawlus
Sample purchased somewhere at some point in 1987
Reviewed on November 4, 2003.

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 Also See:
 TransFormers PVCs
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