Saturday, November 21, 2009

Transformers Generation 1: Bludgeon (Pretender)


QUICK INFO:
Name: Bludgeon
Line: Transformers - Generation One (Hasbro)
Subgroup: Pretenders
Function: Electric Warrior
Motto: "To know your own limits, you must first know your foe's limits."
Year: 1989

Price: $14.99 (approximately)

Bio:
A merciless, emotionless master of Metallikato, the deadly Cybertronian martial art. Attacks his enemies' fracture points while remaining outside their line of fire. High-powered antennas produce electrical fireballs with a range of over 400 yards. Battle armor secretes ordorous, mucus slime. Smoke generators in legs produce billowing clouds of black smoke that disorient the enemy. Inner robot armed with high-voltage electric cannon.

I decided to go old school today and pull out one of my favorite Transformers from the Generation 1 (G1) era, Bludgeon. I also thought it was appropriate that this toy gets a proper review since a new iteration of the character is being released under the current Universe banner this year. So sit back and join me on a journey as we take a look at a toy that truly is "more than meets the eye".

First off, I have to admit that I was not into Transformers when Bludgeon was released in 1989. Somewhere around 1986 or 1987 I decided I was "too cool" to play with toys. I left most of what I had at my grandmothers to basically rot until the Generation 2 & Beast Wars lines got me interested in the Transformers brand again. When I got back into collecting Transformers again I put an early focus on collecting the Pretenders sub-line. I always liked the concept and at the time not many fans/collectors seemed to care about them so they were relatively easy and inexpensive purchases. Enough of my stroll down memory lane, let's take a look at this Master of Metallikato.

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Unfortunately I don't have his original packaging, but here are the contents. You get the Bludgeon Pretender shell, samurai helmet, white rifle, Bludgeon Pretender robot, green tank turret / shield and small purple gun.

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We'll start by taking a look at the outer Pretender shell. Before we jump to the accessories and such I wanted to take a second to look at the awesome head sculpt. For a toy released 10 years ago the level of design given to the head is quite impressive. I feel that Hasbro and Takara did an excellent job giving this a very human looking skull. The eye sockets are just sunken in enough to capture that eerie feel. On the sides, top and back you can see the lines in the skull that divide it up into separate plates. On my particular figure you can see small paint blemishes that have rubbed off onto the skull. The paint application to the armor was also a tad messy as you can see just below the chin.

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The outer Pretender shell obviously splits into to reveal the inner robot. The top photo gives you a good look at the samurai type armor that adorns the shell. Bludgeon is a master of Metallikato which is a form of Cybertronian martial arts. I wanted to include the picture on the bottom because I've heard a lot of people have had trouble getting the inner robot to fit properly in the shell. The inner robot has to be folded up into tank mode and placed face down point down in order for both outer shell halves to snap together. There is a little room in either leg to place the small purple gun, but more times than not it hinders the halves from snapping together.

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Finally we have Bludgeon all geared up for battle. If you are familiar with the character from the Marvel comics run you would expect the toy to come with a large samurai sword. Sadly his only weapon is a large white rifle. You can use the inner robot's tank turret as a shield. On the side of the arms is a small round peg that allows you to place the shield on either arm. Since this is a Pretender this part of the toy offers very little articulation. The arms do rotate 360 degrees, but that is it. The level of detail however makes up for the lack of movement in my opinion.

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Bludgeon's inner robot is also a fantastic toy in it's own right. Mostly green with maroon on the chest and a splash of yellow for the face. The robot is slightly larger than the standard Transformer Micromaster. Very simple transformation from tank to robot. Simply remove the turret, fold down the rear portion which forms the legs. Pull out and pose the arms as you wish. On the chest is a small flat lever that when slid up reveals the robot's head. The robot can then wield the small purple gun in either hand.

In tank mode there isn't much to say. For whatever reason Hasbro did not include any free rolling wheels on the underside of the tank treads. At least the turret can rotate a full 360 degrees. The purple gun simply snaps onto the turret so unfortunately it can be elevated any more than as you see here.

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So there you have it, G1 Bludgeon in all his glory. I highly recommend this toy...even if you could care less for Pretenders. If nothing else the toy just oozes the character. I will forewarn any potential buyers that this toy does not come cheap. A quick eBay search will show that this little gem on average commands $75.00 plus. For such a simple Pretender toy that price will be hard for a lot of people to swallow (myself included), but if you can afford him I highly recommend this toy.

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