Bumper was an Autobot Minibot released in 1984 with the first wave of Generation 1. Bumper transforms into a super-deformed Mazda Familia 1500XG. His story is perhaps the strangest in Transformers history.
Bumblejumper’s mold was originally part of Takara’s 1983 Microman: Microchange line as MC04 Mini CAR Robo 02: Mazda 1500XG in three colors: yellow, red, blue . Unlike Diaclone, the Mini CAR robo were actually meant to resemble toy vehicles rather than real vehicles. Takara elected to style Bumper after their popular non-transforming Penny Racers toy cars, including Bumper’s head plate being intended to represent the slot that would hold a “penny” or other coin as a counterweight. Bumblejumper was designed by Koujin Ohno. The US Patent titled Reversibly transformable toy block assembly (aka Transformers G1 Bumblejumper) was filed on March 24, 1982 (U.S. Patent No. US4578046 A).
Bumper has chrome wheels shod in Dunlop-branded rubber tires, which he shares with wave-mates and fellow Mini CAR Robos Bumblebee and Cliffjumper, as well as the actual Takara Penny Racers (sold in the US as Tonka Turbo Tricksters). He shares his simple transformation scheme with them as well. His arms pull out to the sides, allowing his hood and front fenders to be pulled down to form his feet, and lastly folding open his head from the rear of the vehicle. Due to the similarity, he is often thought of as a retool of Bumblebee, but in reality, they only share a few internal pieces. Bumper’s body is molded in only yellow, with black for the arms, undercarriage, windows, and internal parts. A die-cast plate on the bottom of the car adds weight and holds the other pieces in place.
Unfortunately, he also shares several design weaknesses with his brethren. His feet are attached by thin plastic hooks on either side of an ankle pin. If his feet are pulled in the wrong direction, or too hard, these hooks can break. His head hinge can wear easily, causing his head to droop back or fall forward back into the car. The internal pins connecting his arms can break or become disjointed, leaving him both armless and without wheels. Unlike his Mini CAR Robo brothers, Bumper’s front window frame is prone to damage, in form of stressmarks or cracks.
Due to his exceedingly short production run, Bumper does not have any variants.
Bumper’s release story is blatantly bizarre: he was never officially released in Transformers. He exists due to an error of some sort that caused him to be produced and packaged on Cliffjumper cards! Years ago, fans thought he had likewise been mistakenly packaged as Bumblebee as well, so they nicknamed him “Bumblejumper,” a portmanteau of the two names. This name was sometimes shortened to “Bumper,” which became official canon when Dreamwave published him in their Transformers: Generation One comic. In keeping with 1984 Minibots, many international versions of Bumper exist in a rainbow of color variations, primarily in South American markets. Because of the unusual and unofficial nature of his release, Bumper was immediately discontinued and has not been reissued or released in other markets.
Redecos & Retools
Bumper was recolored by Estrela in Brazil and Antex in Argentina to produce Sedan in several variations.