Bumper was an Autobot Minibot released in 1984 with the first wave of Generation 1. His story is one of the strangest in Transformers history. Bumper was only released in Cliffjumper packaging, never on his own dedicated card. His name stems from a shortening of “Bumblejumper”, itself a portmanteau of Bumblebee and Cliffjumper from when it was believed that Bumper was sold on either characters’ card. Bumper transforms into a super-deformed Mazda Familia 1500XG.
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.
Date stamp location: under hood of vehicle (bottom of robot feet)
Rubsign location: None
Bumper has a unique weakness among his brethren, in that the A-pillars and bottom edge of his windshield frame are particularly thin and prone to cracking or splitting, especially in the corners. This damage can be hard to notice if the cracks form without a surrounding stress mark. Like his design brothers, 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 wear out or become disjointed, leaving him both armless and without wheels.
Due to his exceedingly short production run, Bumper does not have any variants. However, Bumper’s date stamp indicates that his mold WAS updated from the original Microchange tooling - even though initial releases of Bumblebee and Cliffjumper still use the Microchange-style circle stamps. This also indicates he was not produed as part of the initial “circle stamp” shipment of US G1, which adds to the mystery of why he was not given his own characterization. Given reports of Transformers as a runaway success selling over “10 million units in the first year”, the Mazda Familia mold may have been pressed into service as a stopgap to increase production until new tooling could come online.
Type 1: Pre-rubsign, "創作・著作物 ©Takara Co. Ltd. 1980-1984 Japan" stamp, textured ankles. This version corresponds to the Type 2a variants of Bumblebee and Cliffjumper.
Bumper’s release is rather bizarre: he exists due to an error of some sort that caused him to be produced and packaged on US Cliffjumper cards. Years ago, fans thought he had likewise been mistakenly packaged as Bumblebee as well, however this has since been refuted by a complete lack of samples on Bumblebee cards. After shipping in one revision of his assortment, Bumper was immediately discontinued and has not been reissued or released in other markets.
Case Assortments (Item#/Asst#): 1984: (E5702/5700), up to 4 per 24 (although it is unknown how many Cliffjumpers were replaced with Bumper)
MSRP: $2.99 (1984)
Packaging: Cliffjumper's blister card (displayed in vehicle mode) with instructions and Tech Spec on back
Robot Points: 1/2 Autobot
Redecos & Retools
Bumper was recolored by Estrela in Brazil and Antex in Argentina to produce Sedan in several variations.