"Robots in Disguise" (2001) Destructicon Bludgeon Toy Review
Release Year: May 2003
Retailer: Kay Bee Toys Exclusive
Accessories: Missiles x 2, Gun
Bludgeon When Hasbro made the decision to expand the Robots in Disguise toy line beyond the toys that were released in Japan, it was an indicator of things to come. At first, fans were thrilled to get four previously unreleased Spychanger molds from Generation 2. Then with the release of the Axer versus Sideways set, the line had expanded to include more Generation 2 toys that had seen mass release previously.
The use of Generation 2 molds continues with the release of the Kay Bee exclusive Destructicons Scourge and Bludgeon. The term "Destructicon" sounds new and revolutionary, but it's actually a term that dates back to Beast Machines. During that line, the Vehicon Scavenger was meant to be the antithesis of a Constructicon, hence a "Destructicon". It is nice to see this term in official use now. In this case, the Generation 2 Combat Hero Megatron toy has been given a new deco and renamed Bludgeon.
Fans of the original Generation One Transformers comic book will recognize the name Bludgeon. In that series, he led the Decepticons for a short while, devastating several planets to cobble together the gigantic "War World" which would play a critical role in the Generation 2 comic book series. Since there are no tech specs with this toy, it is hard to say whether or not they are meant to be the same character. However, there are some links. The original Bludgeon's vehicle mode was a tank, and the original Bludgeon did use yellow and green in its color scheme (although they were rather different shades). This seems to indicate that the designers were at least aware of the original when planning the creation of this one.
Destructicon Bludgeon is packaged on a blister card. The card design itself is based on the blue, white and red design started with Armada. The logo included shows "Transformers Robots in Disguise", distinguishing this toy from its Armada cousins. Like the Armada toys, Bludgeon includes a collectible sticker, with one major problem. While other Transformers have stickers you can remove from the packaging and collect, Bludgeon's sticker is actually stuck to the inner plastic packaging! Trying to peel it off the plastic is not recommended. I took a sharp model knife and just sliced the plastic out to preserve the sticker. This may not matter to some folks, but for collectors it is an important point. Be careful if you use a knife to cut the sticker out.
On an interesting side note, if you look at the illustration carefully, you'll note that the missiles used by Bludgeon in the picture are actually Scourge's.
Bludgeon's vehicle mode is a tank. The primary colors are dark green and yellow. Some black is used as well for parts of the turret and the treads. Silver is used for the outlines of the wheels on the treads. Decepticon symbols are stamped onto either side of the turret. The turret itself also has white stripes towards the front, looking like a type of "danger" warning. At the front of the tank is a nice silver spray op on the front, giving it a more gritty appearance.
Functionally, the toy is designed around the main mechanism: the air bladder/cannon system. Attach the missile to the turret and then press the air bladder to launch it. The missile only launches about three to four inches, which is a bit shorter than the six inches my Combat Hero Megatron launches its missile.
When not in use, the missiles may be mounted on the sides of the turret by flipping out the yellow panel in between the green sections on the sides. I prefer this appearance since it looks like Bludgeon not only has a cannon barrel but also two missiles he can fire on the sides.
Since the tank is designed around the air bladder mechanism, the turret cannot turn (also because the outer halves are the arms in robot mode). Still, it is a neat looking tank and the painted details are nicely done.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Remove the missiles if they are attached.
- Detach the air bladder.
- Swing the sides of the turret out.
- Swing down the back half of the tank and straighten it out to form the robot legs.
- Move the arms forward and twist the lower arms around to reveal the fists.
- Slide the cannon barrel to the right.
- Use the small round tab on the front of the tank to pull up and snap the robot head into place.
- Attach the air bladder to the back of the cannon barrel.
- Attach the gun to one of the fists.
- The missiles may be mounted on the lower arms by flipping out the yellow panels.
In robot mode, Bludgeon adds in much more silver into the mix. The robot head, lower arms, mid-section and upper legs are all silver. Green is used for detailing on the helmet section of the head as well as the mid-section of the body. The robot face is painted metallic silver with a red strip painted across for the eyes. The green details on the face and the red strip across for the eyes was most likely an attempt to make the face look less like a different character than Megatron and call back to the "visor eye" design from the G1 Bludgeon figure. It is a valiant effort, but it ultimately fails. The face is too much like Megatron's in design, and unlike Scourge, Bludgeon has not had some previous redeco and appearance in an animated program to help fans see Megatron's face as a different character. The deco is nice, but it still looks like another version of Megatron.
If indeed the designers were trying for a look to allude to the Generation One Bludgeon, they came close, but missed a step. In a (perhaps coincidental) design comparison, the stripes on Bludgeon's shoulders look like the lines on the armor on G1 Bludgeon's shoulders. However, the yellow used is much brighter than the orange shade used on the original. If it had leaned towards orange more or been a bit darker, the parallel may have been more evident.
Bludgeon has fourteen points of articulation, keeping in the "highly posable" Generation 2 design scheme. His cannon can be used in this mode as well, although it's generally best to remove the air bladder first.
Bludgeon is a nice nod to a character generally known only by hard core Transformers fans. It hints that someone at Hasbro is conscious of the fan base and some of the characters they hold near and dear. The fact that they even have the name "Bludgeon" anymore is quite impressive (consider they have lost other names such as Hot Rod and Jazz). Recommended.