I will start this review by first saying this: Blast Charge is not Strika, Strika is not Blast Charge. Strika is a Vehicon character who appeared in season two of Beast Machines. Because Strika was a female character, this generated a fair amount of interest, and when most saw that Blast Charge was a six wheeler vehicle, most assumed that this toy was indeed Strika. As far as I have been told by Hasbro, Blast Charge is a different toy than Strika. Some have speculated Blast Charge may be repainted and released as Strika in 2001. Although I do not deny this possibility, Hasbro has said that Strika is a different toy completely.
When you think "six wheeler", most tend to picture a tractor trailer truck or cab. Blast Charge is totally different however. He has six wheels, but he is more of a desert camo destruction vehicle. His color scheme is mostly a dull metallic silver, vacuum metallized light copper and beige. His hubcaps and missiles are red, while his driver/passenger seat windows are translucent green. Red camoflauge markings adorn the entire vehicle mode from front to back. The colors blend very nicely together.
Blast Charge's detail level is great. From the face like driver/passenger seat windows and front grill arrangement to the armored hubcaps on his rear wheels - Blast Charge looks like one mean machine. The vehicle mode also manages to look rugged and blocky without losing the elegance of a futuristic looking machine.
Posability is not often much of an issue with vehicle modes, but Blast Charge does have it. Turn the dial on the rear of the vehicle and his missile launcher rotates around. Push the center panel on the vehicle's rear section (the one with all the metallic silver mechanical details) and the front portion of the vehicle springs forward. This allows the front of the vehicle to turn from side to side. Want more realistic play? Te front wheels can be moved so they "turn" the direction the vehicle is turning.
The only problem here is his missile firing mechanism. Press the button and one missile launches while the other two are merely held in place. Having three buttons for a series of missile fire or one button to launch all three would have been more fun.
Overall, Blast Charge has a fantastic vehicle mode. Fun to play with, well detailed with. The only drawback is the aforementioned missile limitation.
Transformation to Wheeled Mode:
Begin transforming Blast Charge by removing the missiles from his launcher and holders. Now with the front section of the vehicle extended, rotate it so it is upside down. Move the front two tires up so they are on top of the front bumper. Pull the two rear wheels on each side down and then out to the side. Swing them down and then swing forward the robot arms. Fold up the section with the missile launcher and robot head. Flip the robot head up and turn it around. Rotate the upper body around, and fold up the front part of the vehicle so its two pegs lock with the holes on Blast Charge's back. Now fold up the flaps on both sides of the vehicle's rear section. Push the two rear wheel sections back up, and then rotate the wheels around so Blast Charge can rest on them. The missiles can either be placed back into the launcher or into his hands.
Blast Charge's wheeled mode is very close to his regular robot mode. Much of the vehicle's color scheme is retained, but the addition of two colors - orange and neon green is interesting. The orange is used on his upper robot arms while the green is used on one section of his waist. Take a look at the underside of Blast Charge's missile launcher and you'll see a really cool paint detail. Black is used in a pattern that suggests "burning", or rather multiple missile launches! Details such as this are fantastic. Rolling on his wheels with his missile launcher sticking out certainly gives the impression of Blast Charge being a mobile weapon platform. In wheeled mode, Blast Charge has five primary points of articulation. The Wheeled mode is a nice intermediary mode between the robot mode and vehicle mode.
Transformation to Robot Mode (from vehicle mode):
Begin transforming Blast Charge by removing the missiles from his launcher and holders. Now with the front section of the vehicle extended, rotate it so it is upside down. Move the front two tires up so they are on top of the front bumper. Pull the two rear wheels on each side down and then out to the side. Swing them down and then swing forward the robot arms. Fold up the section with the missile launcher and robot head. Flip the robot head up and turn it around. Rotate the upper body around, and fold up the front part of the vehicle so its two pegs lock with the holes on Blast Charge's back. Now fold up the flaps on both sides of the vehicle's rear section. Now on each tire with the metallic silver hubcap, flip out the center of the hubcap to form the robot feet. Fold the two tires together and straighten out the legs. Blast Charge is now in robot mode.
In robot mode, Blast Charge's color scheme remains consistent from the previous modes. Despite his odd wheel-legs, Blast Charge actually manages to look like a dangerous machine looking for trouble. In this form, he has eleven points of articulation. Despite his odd appearance, Blast Charge is actually quite stable in this mode. Also, the detailing on him is superb, complete with tubes, machine details and the detailing on his face. In keeping with the theme of having "personality" to their various forms, this Vehicon has a face that resembles the front of his vehicle mode! His mouth piece looks like the grill on the front of the vehicle and his eyes use the same translucent plastic as the windows of the vehicle mode.
Blast Charge's only failing comes in his weapons. The missile launcher on his chest cannot be folded down. To me, this is a major mistake. With the missiles attached, Blast Charge looks like he will knock over anyone near him if he is moved an inch. Also, since the mechanism only launches one missile, it is a bit silly to emphasize the launcher so much. Now, for those who like experimenting, and I do not endorse breaking your toys, you can pop Blast Charge's head off, flip the missile launcher to the back and re-attach his head. Again, this is only if you know what you're doing. I do not recommend that everyone does this.
Overall, Blast Charge is a very cool toy. If not for the weapons design, I would rate this toy much higher. B+
Updated Thoughts (March 16, 2022):
I have to say I'm really amused by how I opened this review all those years ago. It really was a different time when information from Hasbro did not flow quite as freely as it does now. It's fun seeing how fans speculated about Blast Charge's "true" identity, and of course not too long after we would get a Strika figure based on her TV show appearance.
For some reason I remembered Blast Charge being a lot more articulated than he actually is. I actually found him a bit frustrating to pose out for photos, but that is after decades of having figures with 18+ points of articulation. When my frame of mind settled back into the Beast Machines era and all its design wackiness I could appreciate this figure again for its goofy fun factor and aesthetic. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I really do think it has a specific kind of charm.