Here at Toy-Wizards.com, we love toys of all genres from a host of manufacturers. As a fan of Transformers, (more specifically the original characters and toys from 1984-1990), there is no better time than now to collect toys and products based on that first generation. Outside of Hasbro and Takara Tomy, there is an entire third party market that is creating new and original toys for niche groups within the collecting community. One of those niche groups is the highly popular and the fastest growing Legends scaled category.
The term ‘Legends’ refers to a size classification trademarked by Hasbro in their modern ‘Transformers Generations’ collectors toy line. Official toys in this size class can vary in height, but mostly average at about 8cm tall in their robot modes. Third party companies have taken to this small size and created a scale to adhere to. No doubt based on the original Sunbow animation studio scale chart for the 1984 animated series. This would put your typical leader types such as Optimus Prime and Megatron at an equal height of 12cm or so and then scale the rest of the cast of Autobots and Decepticons around them with car bots around 8-9cm, trucks and vans at about 10cm, and of course larger characters like Dinobots and the like breaching 14cm.
In an era of too much good stuff, especially being designed an manufactured in Asia where overpopulation and real estate is at a minimum, having incredibly accurate G1 Transformers take up less space in the homes of collectors than that of the larger, more expensive alternative the Masterpiece toy line (with its own host of third party offerings catered to that scale) is not a bad thing!
Today we’re looking at new kid on the block NewAge Toys and their first two offerings N-H1 Flipper & N-H1G Gremlin which are G1 versions of everyone’s favorite Volkswagen Beetle Bumblebee and his later incarnation Goldbug.
The first word that comes to mind is “cute”. Both toys utilize the same mould and stand at a mighty 6cm tall in robot mode. A slightly super deformed robotic form fitting of the smallest Autobot is very much on display here. The only difference between the two are the head sculpts. Bumblebee sporting a classic likeness complete with smile and Goldbug has his face-plated visage within the new helmeted head. What really helps separate the two further is the ability to essentially skip a transformation step on Goldbug to leave the car cab over his head like a hood, as it was present on his G1 toy, comic book model, and cartoon appearance.
There is little paint here on these two. The majority of the toys are moulded plastic. What is here is done very well. The eyes are cleanly applied, things like vehicle headlights, bumpers and wheel covers all look great. I like the matte coloration on Bee as it really invokes a sense of cartoon accuracy. Meanwhile Goldbug uses metallic finishes on the figure’s head, face, and eyes that really pop. However, the coloration on the plastic used for Goldbug doesn’t really scream “gold”. I give credit to NewAge for the different shade of plastic to differentiate the two, but in the end it’s just a darker shade of mustard yellow and not a metallic gold all over, or gold chromed plastic like the G1 Throttlebot toy. This was surely done as a cost preventative measure.
These guys really shine in the articulation department. There are ball joints in the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and ankles. There is enough clearance in the elbows and knees to get past a 90 degree bend. The ankles being on a ball joint coupled with the large feet allow for a myriad of dynamic poses without the figure toppling over.
One accessory comes with each of these toys. A very small blaster weapon. So small in fact that I have kept it safely in the baggie it came in for fear of losing it. It is simply cast in black plastic.
The alt mode here is pure G1 toy and cartoon. A short, stubby Beetle that matches the proportional design of the robot mode. The transformation is incredibly clever! It’s simply fun and the engineering is genius. You’ll want to do it over and over. You won’t find many legends scaled toys going for hyper realistic vehicles. Their focus is usually on achieving an accurate bot mode that scales well with others, and a vehicle that passes as at least cartoon accurate.
Something the Toei animators under the Sunbow label had a hard enough time doing while making the show in the ‘80s. Yeah, thats a Bug. Sure, that’s a Lamborghini. I guess that’s a Nissan Vanette… When dealing with vehicle modes relative in size to a Mattel Hot Wheels car, it’s good to keep an open mind when putting into consideration it also is a complex transforming robot. Also because of the tiny scale of the vehicle, NewAge wasn’t able to incorporate actual rolling wheels. They unfortunately are stationary.
Assessing value on third party items like this can be tricky. We’re dealing with companies that a very small in comparison to Hasbro and Takara Tomy. Often times it’s a sole designer responsible for the toy. Their production numbers are much smaller and it’s no easy feat to get even a small toy with many moving parts and heavy assembly through the manufacturing process and out to vendors. At the time of writing this their are four color variations of this mould and each one will cost you $20-$25 USD. I bought these two without hesitation because I’m a big fan of the franchise, the character, the scale, and most importantly the execution. NewAge delivered a solid product with very little to no quality control issues.
If you are new to third party collecting or just to collecting a smaller scale and feel that a 6cm toy should not be the price of a current Hasbro Deluxe Class Transformer, I completely understand. The price point is indicative of an item designed for certain people who want a very specific aesthetic, much like Masterpiece Transformers collectors. These are masterpieces to me. Just smaller.
NewAge’s Bumblebee needs to be in every legends scale collection. He is incredible. Variations of the mould I can see people passing on as I don’t expect everyone to love Goldbug. I would like him a lot more as well if he was actually metallic gold.
N-H1 Flipper (Bumblebee): 5/5 Wizard’s Stars
N-H1G Gremlin (Goldbug): 4/5 Wizard’s Stars
This company’s first foray into creating Transformers products has been a definite hit. They have a whole lot in the pipeline too. They recently showed off prototypes of nearly a dozen new characters at SGC in Shanghai so clearly they are invested. I’m excited to see if they can continue to meet the bar they set with these two if not exceed it.