3rd Party Bumblebee Brouhaha

Best 3rd Party Bumblebee Movie Toy: 2020 Edition | Robotic Drift

If there’s one thing that the live-action Transformers films have shown, it’s that Bumblebee knows how to fight. From Michael Bay to Travis Knight, when B-127 has his back to the wall he can punch his way out like nobody’s business.

So who better to put him up against than himself?

Bumblebee was on UK TV over the Easter weekend, and it is showing every sign of ageing well. Knight’s film has heart and humour for miles, something which elevates it head and shoulders above Bay’s juvenile machismo. Not that I’m piling on Bay here; heck, I’m still grateful to the guy.

Yet my main takeaway from watching the film again wasn’t about the cinematic quality. Nope; thanks to the buzz that always comes from experiencing high-quality Transformers media, this viewing left my one-track lizard brain with a single dominant impulse:


Must. Buy. Bumblebee Movie. Toys.

Since then, finding the best movie Bumblebee for the collection has been my mission. I’ve scoured forums, eBay, e-tailers, YouTube and more to find all the options out there – and when you consider the number of knock-offs (KOs), 3rd Party releases and Bumblebee figures based on the Bay era, you can bet that it’s not the most straightforward task.

And you know what? To save you from having to repeat all that digging around, I’ve collected the results right here.

What is the Best 3rd Party Bumblebee?

Of course, the idea of “best” is completely subjective. And I can tell you now that if you’re only interested in official Takara Tomy products, this list will disappoint you. While the official Movie Masterpiece MPM-07 appears to be a decent figure, it’s improved in at least one way by every version listed below. And the Studio Series version, while fun, is not at the level I’m looking for.

So, what are the criteria for what makes a good movie Bumblebee toy? By my own measure it splits four ways:

  1. Good quality design and materials
  2. Highly detailed and visually pleasing
  3. Makes a good display piece
  4. Has to transform (sorry, 3A)

When these are the qualities you’re looking for in a Transformer – well, as of 2020, it’s time to hit the KOs.

Keep on scrolling for three of the best 3rd Party Bumblebee figures available now – and then stick around to the end for a bonus choice of ‘bot to keep your ‘Bee company…

1. Black Mamba LS-07 Armour Wasp

Black Mamba LS-07 Armour Wasp | Robotic Drift

What is it?

An oversized KO of the official MPM-07 Masterpiece Bumblebee. Black Mamba’s upgrade adds a couple of centimeters in height, a chunk of die-cast metal and a modified transformation that tidies up the action in the back section.

What does it scale with?

Standing at 16.5cm (6.5″), LS-07 Armour Wasp looks like it scales best with Black Mamba/Aoyi Mech’s own oversized KO releases.

Where to buy?

2. Transform Element TE-02

Transform Element TE-02 | Robotic Drift

What is it?

An all-but-new take on movie Bumblebee, Transform Element’s TE-02 is a clean and compact version of the Autobot warrior. This tidy up doesn’t just find a way to move the door wings; it brings a whole new level of detail to the back. Then there’s other awesome elements like metal parts, the individually articulated fingers, and LED-lit arm cannon.

Transform Element has packed a lot into ‘Bee’s small size – and I didn’t even mention the VW alt-mode with real rubber tyres.

What does it scale with?

Transform Element TE-02 stands at around 14cm (5.5″). That’s a hair shorter than Takara Tomy’s MPM-07, putting it in scale with official Masterpiece figures.

Where to buy?

3. Zeta Toys ZV-01 Pioneer

Zeta Toys ZV-01 Pioneer | Robotic Drift

What is it?

ZV-01 Pioneer is a die-cast loaded beast of a Bumblebee. It looks more like TE-02 than any other version out there, only on a much bigger scale. There’s also one other key point of difference – ZV-01 Pioneer comes loaded with lots and lots of LED lights.

Zeta Toys also included a good range of accessories, including a battle mask, arm cannon, twin battle blades and a version of Bumblebee’s hammer from The Last Knight.

What does it scale with?

That’s the key question. Standing at 18cm (7.1″), ZV-01 Pioneer is tall for a Bumblebee. It may fit with the oversized KOs of other Movie figures; alternatively, you can wait for Zeta Toys’ take on Blitzwing. Early signs are that the Decepticon looks good.

Where to buy?

Bonus: Aoyi Mech LS-13

Aoyi Mech LS-13 | Robotic Drift

What is it?

A modified, oversized version of the deluxe Studio Series Optimus Prime. Aoyi Mech has brought enough improvements to make this version of Optimus Prime really special. The torso is drastically improved, as is its back. The feet look much better. The paintwork is superb.

To top it all off, LS-13 comes with not one but two heads, both with light-up eyes – and that’s as well as his cannon and light-up axe.

What does it scale with?

LS-13 is 30cm tall, or just under 12″. That puts him in a more or less perfect scale with LS-07 Armour Wasp and other oversized Movie Masterpieces.

Where to buy?

What Bumblebee did I go for?

This was a tough call – after all, you could be happy with either choice. They each serve a purpose in specific types of displays, so it all depends on what type of collection you’re going for.

After being dazzled by the lights of Zeta Toys’ ZV-01 Pioneer, I decided I wanted a little more flexibility in scale. From there I bounced to Black Mamba’s LS-07 Armour Wasp, which looked like a solid upgrade on the MPM-07. Then, in the process of researching this article, I came to realise that TE-02 was everything that I wanted from a Knightverse ‘Bee.

After sleeping on it for a couple of nights, I’m happy to say that TE-02 is on his way. Be sure to check back soon to see if I made the right call…


Thanks For Reading | Robotic Drift

About Joe B 10 Articles
Filmmaker, writer and action figure enthusiast. As a child of the 80's Joe grew up on a steady diet of anime robots, newspaper cartoons and the glorious smell of a fresh Argos catalogue.