December 15th, 2009


Fools! To a master of Metallikato, your clumsy attack is almost slow motion!

Shortpacked!: Hamspeak.

This is a toy I've wanted for years and years and years and years. And years. And yeeeeeeearrs.

The original Bludgeon was one of the parade of Decepticons who got to be their leader in the old Marvel comics. Megatron never figured too big in them. Instead, we got all these other more interesting guys. And Bludgeon was the last and possibly the most interesting. (It's a tough call, though, 'cuz he's running up against HAL and Vampire Accountant.)

Let me tell you why Bludgeon is awesome. First of all, he's a skeleton samurai. That pretty much does it right there. He's a master of Metallikato, a disciple of the "Ultimate Warrior." He does sweet friggin' jumping kicks. He will cut you into pieces with his sword, over and over and over, all while speaking hilarious words like "reckon" because the writer is English and probably thought that's what Americans say all the time. And he would have singlehandedly led the Decepticons to complete and utter and gruesome victory... if God hadn't shown up to handwave it away at the last minute.

But the thing is, his original toy is a Pretender. That's not a terrible thing for the reasons most might think. I dig Pretenders! And Bludgeon certainly wouldn't be a friggin' skeleton samurai if he weren't a Pretender! But, see, Pretender shells have two points of articulation. The shoulders rotate, and that's it. So Bludgeon can't do awesome flips or Metallikato moves or anything. Heck, the original toy didn't even come with a sword! That's something the comic book gave him. The toy came with a gun. So you can see how that might be lacking.

Revenge of the Fallen Bludgeon makes up for that in spades! It's not difficult to outdo the original's articulation, but the new one goes above and beyond the usual call of duty. For example, he can hold his sword in both hands! Not many Transformer toys can do that. Plus that'll look cool when his legs can actually raise and deliver flying kicks. One possibly important point of articulation he's missing, though, is a waist rotational joint. But that just can't happen due to the transformation process, so I guess I'll forgive it a little.

New Bludgeon also makes up for the original toy's lack of a sword by giving him two. He's got the longer katana and a shorter wakizashi. The katana forms the end of his tank mode's barrel, with the blade fitting up through it, into the turret. The wakizashi is stowed inside the turret itself, and is revealed when the turret is split open. The scabbard raises out of the innards via a set of geared arms. Sweeeet. And even cooler, you can stow both of them in a pair of holes on his left hip.

Original Bludgeon was a Pretender, but new Bludgeon sidesteps that whole organic shell thing by basically transforming directly from a tank into a skeleton samurai. There's no more inner robot. Combining the green of the tank with the orange and maroon of the Pretender shell makes for a pretty compelling color scheme. It's also nice how all those colors save the green are almost entirely hidden inside the tank mode, revealing themselves only when you take it apart to become the robot. It's sorta kinda like a Pretender still, in that way.

Now, this is where I really start to fall in love with the toy, though. One thing that bugs me about most transforming tank toys is how they handle the treads. Usually they just split right down the middle, like the tread mechanism is just this solid block of matter that can be split like that. This way of doing things ignores that treads are, well, a bunch of segmented bits strung together that surround a set of wheels. If you cut that in half, the treads would just slide off the whole assembly.

Bludgeon ascends into true greatness by not ignoring this reality. Heck, most of his treads are actually rubber! They disconnect from each other at certain points during transformation, and hang off the robot mode. The wheels stay behind, helping to form parts of the arms and legs. It's so beautiful. It gives me a nerd tummy rub.

I also like how the new robot mode is styled. He's not really a human skeleton any more, as that wouldn't really make sense if he's not a Pretender. So now he's a skeleton-like robot. You can see his inner gears and greebles, as if he were robo-skinless. He's actually designed to be a skinny, skeletal dude with big bulky samurai parts fashioned to him. It's a nice, suitable effect.

Really, altogether, Revenge of the Fallen Bludgeon is everything I'm looking for. He's a character from the latter years of Generation 1 remade in a cool and interesting way that doesn't step on any of my personal pet peeves. He's complicated to transform, but not frustratingly so. He's got weaponry that can stow. He's got a great, non-boring color scheme! Oh, and did I mention that he's a friggin' skeleton samurai?