Cliffbee.com: ROTF Bludgeon Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Bludgeon
Series: Movie Tie-ins
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Tank



TANK MODE
Height: 7.5cm Length: 21.5cm Width: 8.5cm

   An army green tank with black treads and light grey weapons, Bludgeon features some orange breakouts on the front and towards the rear of the tread wheels, Bludgeon has a subtle paint job featuring some brown on his weapons, green on the sides, black on the front and a black Decepticon logo on the front left side. It's a more realistic colour scheme than most Transformers tanks down the years, even if the orange doesn't quite fit. The colours work well enough for the character, combining the green which dominated the tank mode of the G1 inner robot with the orange of that same toys Pretender shell. The brick red of the original toy's robot mode isn't found here - or the robot mode for that matter. It's not the best colour scheme of a Transformers tank - the orange sees to that - but it's still a good colour scheme which is simple and quite effective.

   As Transformers tanks go Bludgeon is quite realistic, although he's not quite as realistic as many ROTF vehicle modes, thanks mainly to the outbreaks of orange. The sculpt is quite detailed with various vents, hatches, rivets and the like all over. The treads are actually rubberised at the front and back, which is more realistic than most Transformer tanks. There are a few pieces composed of a soft plastic, including the end of the main canon, the gun mounted on top of the turret and the two smaller compound guns on either side of the turret, which are all light grey. There's also a small green antenna on top the turret composed of a green plastic which matches the rigid green plastic very well.

   The play value here is relatively limited as you'd expect of a movie toy - the focus is on realism rather than gimmicks. The turret rotates through 360 on a ratcheting joint while the gun on top also rotates through 360. The main cannon is fixed in place and there's no way for Bludgeon to shoot upwards. There are four small orange wheels hidden under the treads allowing Bludgeon to roll, although he tends to slide on smoother surfaces.

   A pretty good if slightly static tank mode, Bludgeon's colours are quite realistic aside from the orange added to assist with the G1 tribute - and even then, I can live with this trade off. The detailing is good and while the play value is underwhelming, it's about what you'd expect from a movie toy. While it's a solid vehicle mode, this is Bludgeon's weaker mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   There's a lot of pivoting which is hard to describe so I'll summarise. The side sections become his lets while the underside becomes his chest and groinplate. The front unfolds to form arms while the rear side panels become hip armour. The soft parts of his treads end up hanging off the shoulders and hips while the hard central parts become his shins. Much of the robot mode is hidden in tank mode, which is evident by a switching from orange to green, but Bludgeon's not a shellformer.

   The tip of the main cannon slides out to form a long sword (a katana), while there's a clever gearing system inside the turret itself, the right side opens out to reveal a smaller knife.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 21.5cm Width: 14cm

   As I mentioned above, the green is largely replaced by orange now. The armour hanging off his hips and the truncated cannon rising behind his head are all the green Bludgeon has here. The head is a brown helmet while the face is a white robotic skull thing, with sunken red eyes. There's some black on his shins, chest and shoulderpads while his forearms are brown and his upper arms are grey. The katana and knife provide some more of that light grey. Overall it's a good colour scheme which evokes the G1 character's colours well, even if that robot mode was brick red and green. The orange which dominated his Pretender shell dominates here while the red is represented by brown. Curiously, the colours are an almost uncanny match for those of Roadbuster.

   Bludgeon's aesthetic is an unusual blend of the detailed, other-worldly look of movie toys ("BayFormers") and samurai elements. The helmet is feudal, the katana is obviously a samurai element and the hip armour evokes the samurai armour seen on the original Pretender shell. There are orange painted tread links on his shins to match the chain mail armour skirt on his groin. The face is not quite a skull - it's more General Grievous than Skeletor - and this is my only real gripe with this mode. The detailing is fantastic here and the colours are well blended, and even with the face issue it's still a very good tribute with a good samurai theme.

   There are no gimmicks or ranged weapons here, but the swords can both be stowed. There's a small loop on the left side armour plate, which pops up during transformation. The katana can slide in for storage while the storage compartment for the knife can easily be accessed. Poseability is a little limited, but good enough to make use of the katana. The head turns while the waist is fixed. His shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while his elbows have two hinges each along with rotators. The wrists are fixed, but can fold in a little on their transformation joints - which is enough to allow Bludgeon to hold the katana in two hands (although there's a narrow range of two-handed poses available). The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees rotate and have tight ratcheting hinges. There are "mech alive" features attached to the rotators in his knees, incidentally. The feet and heelspurs are hinged, but the heelspurs really should have been bigger - this is the biggest limitation to his poseability. Both weapons are composed of a soft plastic, by the way. Tyler Henderson kindly reminded me that the knife plugs into the hilt of the katana, forming a slightly longer compound weapon.

   A good robot mode and considering it came from a green tank, it's an excellent engineering feat. The poseability is great for something that has to hide within a green tank, even if the heelspurs aren't quite what they should be. The colours suit the tribute well and while the face is a little off, it's nowhere near enough to ruin the tribute. The blade weapons suit the character well and both are able to be stowed, which adds to their charm.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Generations Banzai-Tron is a repaint of Bludgeon. BotCon 2012 Gigatron & Megatron are retools of this mould.

OVERALL

   Bludgeon was always going to be a toy weighed down by expectation. While the original toy would have been easily forgotten, the character's portrayal in the Marvel comics elevated him to almost legendary status, so any revisiting of the character had to be something pretty special. While this toy isn't flawless, it manages to meet the considerable expectations of the fanbase. With a green tank mode that looks like the original tank mode and a robot mode that tributes the orange pretender shell, this is an excellent tribute with surprisingly little kibble. The heelspurs, face and orange outbursts in tank mode are all notable flaws, but none are enough to significantly distract from this very cleverly designed tribute. With good play value and excellent display value, this is one I'd recommend to fans of the movie toyline and any fan of the original character - 8/10

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