"Hunt for the Decepticons" Decepticon Banzaitron Toy Review
Release Date: Q4 2010
Price Point: $22.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, HasbroToyShop, Amazon etc.)
Accessories: Katana sword/part of tank barrel, Wakizashi sword
Back in 2009, Hasbro released "Revenge of the Fallen" Bludgeon. This Voyager Class tank to robot figure was largely based on the Generation One character of the same name with modern design elements. Like his G1 counterpart, this character transformed into a tank and his robot mode had design elements borrowed from Samuari armor, much like the G1 Pretender shell. A year later a redeco of this figure was released as Decepticon Banzaitron. Banzaitron is based on Generation One Banzai-Tron, a Decepticon member of the "Action Master" group who could not transform, but had amazing powers as a consequence.
In his G1 incarnation, it was kind of hard to tell what Banzai-Tron would have transformed into. The most you could say about his robot form is that it was largely based on Samurai armor, which made Bludgeon's sculpt the perfect choice to redeco as this character. This review will focus on the changes made to the sculpt for this release. Check out my Bludgeon review for details on the original release. More recently this figure was released (with a new head) as "Cloud" Megatron so you may wish to check out that review as well.
Like Bludgeon, Banzaitron (now minus the hyphen) includes a Katana and Wakizashi swords. Both weapons are cast in soft plastic due to safety rules, but they look great. Both have sharp looking blades and curves similar to the real life swords. Both weapons are cast in dark grey plastic with the blades painted metallic blue. Both grey and blue featured on the G1 Banzaitron figure so these colors are very appropriate.
The plastic feels slightly more pliable than the plastic used for Bludgeon's weapon felt when I first reviewed him. Now, this could easily be due to temperature differences in the room so don't read too much into this but be aware the plastic is soft enough to droop a bit in tank mode (see pics below).
When this sculpt was created for Bludgeon, it was made to reflect a Samurai motif appropriate for the character. Since Banzaitron had the inspiration in G1 there was no retooling done for this release. Now, on the one hand that may seem lazy, but honestly I have to say that it really doesn't need it. The head looks rather "skull like" sure, leaning towards a Bludgeon design, but it also has enough of a Samurai helmet feel to it that it works just fine for Banzaitron.
Banzaitron is cast mostly in dark grey, silver, neon green, purple and black plastic. These were the key colors on G1 Banzai-Tron so they are appropriate. The grey is the main color, with black snd silver making up smaller parts such as his elbows and feet. Neon green is seen on the shoulder joints and thighs, adding splashes of bright color in between the darker ones. The purple is used on his shoulder panels and parts of the legs (borrowing a color from his G1 Action Master partner).
Paint colors on this figure include silver, gold, neon green, black and red. The silver is used for the panel that covers his waist and the left shoulder armor. Gold is used on his chest and the panels over his hips. The gold appears to be the modern day stand in for the orange details found on G1 Banzai-Tron. Neon green is used as accent on the chest and hip armor. This is a nice way to keep a key color of the original character but not have it overwhelm the deco. The black paint is mostly found on the left shoulder and robot head. Red is used to paint the face, taking inspiration from the G1 Banzai-Tron's head colors.
Overall the deco on this figure looks great. It pays homage to the original but manages to find a more restrained, modern take on it.
All the joints on my copy of this figure are nice and tight. Considering this was only the second use of this tooling I'm not surprised. The mechanism that allows you to store the short sword in the turret still works perfectly and his Katana still stores in the turret cannon without a problem.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Stow away each of the weapons in the turret section.
- Swing the robot fists into the forearms.
- On each shoulder, swing up the front panels.
- Swing the arms up.
- Fold the elbow/forearm section up against the panels forming the front of the tank.
- Swing the arms in, connecting the two shoulder panels.
- Pull the lower body down, which will move the robot head into the torso cavity.
- Swing the waist panel up.
- On each lower leg, swing up the green panels and swing the feet in, then push the panels back down.
- Swing the legs out on the hip sections, each swings out to the side.
- Swing the silver armor piece on the hips over the thighs.
- Rotate the legs so the tread sections point down.
- Connect the leg armor sections to the rest of the tank, including the panel on the back.
- Swing the waist panel down, connecting it to the tab from the robot waist piece.
- Connect all the tread pieces together.
In tank mode there has been no retooling done to the figure. He still uses all the same parts as Bludgeon, but I will say that I find the end of the barrel drooping a lot more on my Banzatron than the one on my Bludgeon. It could be my imagination or even a temperature issue, but the plastic on Banzaitron's sword handle/cannon barrel feels slightly softer than Bludgeon's which might explain the difference.
From a color perspective, the deco points are not one to one compared to Bludgeon but the two do share many similar deco points. The overall color is dark grey. Light grey is used for the treads while dark grey plastic is used for the rocket launchers and machine gun on the top of the tank turret. The front of the tank has a purple panel under the tank cannon formed from the robot mode shoulder armor. Because of the dark color some of the amazing detailing in this mode gets a bit lost visually. There are all sorts of cool details like cross hatches, vents, a hammer, hatches etc. but with accenting drawing the eye you have to really stare a bit to truly appreciate them.
Paint details are done in neon green, silver and black. The neon green is found on the sides of the vehicle and the sides of the turret. Silver is used on the ends of the rocket launchers and the Decepticon symbol on the left side of the turret. Gold paint is used on the panels that line the side of the tank and the covers over the front of the treads. Black and silver both appear on the blue panel in the front of the vehicle. Overall I like the color scheme. It echoes the character's robot mode design and colors well while having a dark look appropriate to a Decepticon at the same time.
The turret and machine gun can be turned. Both are nice and tight. While this figure does have tread pieces (even rubber ones!) he actually rolls on four small wheels on the bottom. Functionally I have no problems with this figure.
Banzaitron is a cool redeco of Bludgeon. The theme of the sculpt fits and even without a new head sculpt the deco works very well for the character. This sculpt has a lot going for it from great details to cool weapons. His "Movie universe" aesthetic may turn some folks off, but I like it. I'm also a big fan of Action Masters so that really helps sell it in my book. Recommended!