For those of us who were in our early teens in the eighties, Michael Bay got it all wrong when he made his first Transformers movie. Listen to me, Mr. Bay: Bumblebee turns into a Volkswagen Beetle; not a Camaro. Travis Knight, the director of the new 2018 Bumblebee movie, was a teenager in the eighties and is a self-confessed Transformers fan. He nailed it.
We’ve already featured a really sweet LEGO version in Beetle mode by hachiroku24 and a screen-accurate Bumblebee robot by ekownimako. However, they don’t actually transform. I happen to think that this a pretty essential feature of any Transformer.
Making it transform is certainly not easy, but I pored over pictures of new Bumblebee toys released for the movie. I also happen to have a LEGO Beetle design that I like, which I could use as a starting point. It is quite small, though, at about 19 cm long (roughly 7 inches) and there is a lot of stuff that needs to fold into it. The end result is flimsy, it doesn’t really want to stand upright unsupported and it’s not nearly as nicely proportioned in robot mode as in the movie, but it works: the Beetle unfolds into a Bumblebee.
The new, much-anticipated Bumblebee movie has inspired LEGO fans to build some fantastic creations recently, from this large-scale figure by Ekow Nimako to this transforming model by Jerry Builds Bricks and this cute model in Volkswagen Beetle form by hachiroku24 is the latest. One of my favorite details is the gently curving back of the car, which very closely matches its real-life inspiration. The extra curvy front wheel well is also a very nice detail and helps to complete this iconic car profile.
Click through to see the parts list and instructions to build your own LEGO Bumblebee
There have been many Transformers movies released over the last decade, and many LEGO Transformers have been featured here at TBB, some that actually transform, and some that are so detailed they boggle the mind. With the upcoming release of Bumblebee, this highly detailed model by ekownimako closely resembles its on-screen inspiration. From the gently curving eyebrows fashioned from the flexible stretcher harness to the handlebar parts that form the separated front fender.
Check out some of the many other Transformers LEGO creations we have featured recently.
We’ve seen our fair share of LEGO Transformers models (notably the collection of brick-built robots by Alex Jones and Joachim Klang). But here’s a smart little version of Bumblebee in his Camaro iteration by Jerry Builds Bricks. The model is a neat design — not only does the car look sleek and smooth, it transforms into the robot without the addition of any more parts. I particularly like the use of the textured Technic part for Bumblebee’s face — it adds a level of detail beyond what you might expect at this scale.
Optimus Prime is someone full of wise words of leadership, and he dishes them out frequently to his team of Autobots. It’s something that I’ve always liked about him besides his general cool factor. This excellent build of the Generation 1 series by Marco De Bon triggers some of those memories. I like how the ingot bars are used to create a very mechanical feeling at just the rights spots in the build.
I’ve likely transformed these infamous Constructicons back and forth from vehicle to robot forms and into their larger combination of Devastator a million times back in the 80’s. Builder Alex Jones did an amazing job recreating these into their LEGO equivalents. What brings all the nostalgia back are their accurate color schemes of lime green and purple and the amazing resemblance of the individual construction-related vehicles. While it’s granted they’ll never be quite perfect at transforming due to the limitations of LEGO bricks, I’d say this is one very admirable attempt. Alex says that it was an on-and-off work in progress for the past 3 years, and it’s definitely worth the time and patience put into it.
Click here to take a closer look at each of the individual Decepticon…
If you are looking for a striking vision of leadership, look no further than the indomitable Optimus Prime! Beautifully Lego-ized by builder Anakin Skywalker, this stunning rendition of the fearless leader of the Autobots captures the shaping of his head and torso superbly. I love the limb articulation and the poseable fingers, as well as the little details like the windscreen wipers. Optimus is posing Roosevelt-like with his “big stick”. Like any true commander, his philosophy was, “There’s a thin line between being a hero and being a memory.”
Unique LEGO creations are great, bringing a new idea or two into the builder community. The latest build by Aaron Newman is one such creation, but the amount of original ideas is just off the charts for a model this size. While we see robot bugs and fully functional transformers every now and again, the whole approach to the concept is completely new with this build. Making the “bug” transform from a translucent egg that then doubles as its wings and the way it was achieved, as well as the bug folding in a logical way within the egg, has many layers of innovativity to it.
The shape of the creature is quite nice, with characteristically bent feet and what appears as a split mandible. There are some neat parts usages like ray guns and goblets used as legs and translucent pyramid pieces that seem perfect for insectoid eyes. I think the most rewarding way to view this creation is trying to understand the way it transforms and consequentialy appreciating the effort put into it.
Don Figueroa is a Filipino-American artist and a toy designer whose is best known for his work on many different Transformers designs. An early concept drawing of Rolling Thunder Optimus Prime by Don Figueroa was produced for a Transformers/GI Joe crossover comic, but it never came into fruition. Alex Jones has used the concept drawing to create a LEGO version of Rolling Thunder Optimus Prime using Olive Green, a challenge in itself as this colour has limited parts.
Rolling Thunder Optimus Prime transforms from robot mode, complete with a rolling weapons system, to vehicle mode, aka Supreme Tactical Commander Grand Patriot
Click to see more views and Don Figueroa’s original concept artwork
Though they aren’t easy to build, Transformers have always been a popular subject for LEGO creations. Today, César Soares adds his excellent rendition of Bumblebee to the lineup, which upon close inspection, includes many interesting part usages, including minifigure utensils as the fingers of the robot, and minifigure handcuffs piece on Bumblebee’s face. The build makes use of many small parts to appear very complex, almost overcomplicated, just like the source material.
The only thing missing is an explosion in the background and a few lens flares.
Builder Sam Cheng is back with his Chibi-Transformers, this time, however, defecting to the side of the Decepticons. The leader of all things against good and hoarder of Energon-cubes, Megatron is beautifully sculpted with over 40 points of articulation, and is fully transformable to its weapon form. Sometimes a good amount of tinkering is required to get things right to personal satisfaction. Sam has been at this since April and tried a dozen different methods to achieve the look he wanted. The headpiece is inspired by Moko‘s Megatron. Standing at an estimated 500 elements, the toughest part of the build is making sure that the alternate ‘gun mode’ is totally asymmetrical and in proportion.
Click to see alternate mode
Transformers are among the toughest things to build in LEGO. Even if it’s not the movie kind, building something that transforms into a simple cube can be nearly as challenging. However, Milan Sekiz has done just that, and the result is super cool.
It’s common to sacrifice looks when building something functional, because there are so many limitations on which parts can be used in certain spots. But Milan has gotten the best of both worlds, making an awesome robot that can still transform into a perfect cube (plus the head and antenna).