Rob's Pile of Transformers: B L U D G E O N

The Bludgeon toy... where it all started.

It's ironic enough that a character so steeped in combat and death should have begun life as, of all things, a toy. And yet it happened. This is a more thorough and detailed review of the toy than my usual rambling style... bear with me.

Bludgeon was released as part of the fifth year of Transformers (1989), as one of six small-size Pretenders. He came on a carded package and retailed for around $7, if I recall correctly. Pretenders came with an outer "organic" shell, into which the transforming robot could be fitted. The whole package included the two-piece shell, a helmet, the inner robot/tank, a gun barrel, a tank turret/shield, and a large gun for the Pretender shell which is missing from my toy, but here's a scan of it:

The shell: Bludgeon's outer shell stands exactly 6 inches high, though the last 1/4 inch of that is the two crests on his helmet. The shell is molded after a samari's armored suit, with a helmeted skull for the face. The helmet (wider and more squat than it was generally drawn in the comics) is removable and must be taken off to open the shell (which splits, like most Pretenders and unlike the comic book portrayal, into front and back halves.) The main body is a bright orange that IMO is a poor choice for a supposedly fearsome warrior. Highlights are about equal amounts of dark maroon (helmet and gloves), light orange-brown (shoulderpads and waist piece), and grey (sides and various trim bits.) If you're looking to reproduce some of the contortionist poses that Andrew Wildman created for Bludgeon in the comics, forget it. The shell comes with standard Pretender posability, which means only the arms move, and only at the shoulders; the rest of the shell is a statue. The forearms are marked by sectioned "cords" that could be cyber-tendons or just adornment. The torso shows the effect of trying to squeeze a blocky robot into the shell; there are extra "cheater" sections on the sides of his torso and between his legs that essentially are only there to provide enough volume for the inner robot. A peg hole on the left elbow allows him to use the tank turret for a rather goofy-looking shield, and the tank barrel fits into his hand. Still, at least there's somewhere to put everything, no matter how you've got the toy configured.

I am the Robot Toy.jpgThe robot: Bludgeon's inner form is tiny. It measures a diminutive three inches height. He's blocky and thick-limbed in this mode, and it's hard to picture him doing karate-style moves. Mostly a emerald green, the front of the torso and upper legs are an orangy brown. Posability is limited to swivel joints at the shoulders and knees; the latter are used in his transformation. Swing the legs 180 degrees, push down the head (which is already buried between his shoulders; a slide on his chest facilitates getting it back out for robot mode), and attach the turret to his back, and he's in tank mode. The tank is almost 2 1/2 inches long, almost three with the barrel. The barrel, which detaches from the rest of the turret and can be used by him as a hand weapon, is a wierd lavender that doesn't match any other color on him. I don't know anything about tanks, but I'd guess he's something like an Abrahamsom (which IIRC is what G2 Megatron is, as well), except that he has four treads instead of two; each set is mounted on an arm or leg. This makes him one of the very few tank Transformers to not break up treads when transforming, come to think of it. This mode looks much better than the robot or the shell, even if its posability is limited to spinning the turret back and forth in its post-and-hole.

Fixing him up: Bludgeon comes without the sword that is his trademark weapon in the comics; however, I've found that the tail from Weirdwolf (forth year Headmaster) fits his fist rather well, and is just about the perfect size. The skull face isn't too impressive as is, but with a fine (.1 mm line width) felt-tip ink pen, you can outline the spaces between the teeth and color in the nostrils. The eye sockets are easier to do with a paint brush; you can even simulate Bludgeon's characteristic scowl by sloping the upper edge of where you darken his eyesockets. The treads on the inner robot are the same green color as the rest of his body; I applied a nice grey color to them and was pleased. If you do this, you must remember to ALWAYS swing his arms out in front of him a bit BEFORE moving the legs in or out of their folded-up position. If you don't, you'll mar the paint on the rear set of treads.

Shaves as close as a blade or your money back.  He liked it so much, he destroyed the company.Overall: Honestly, this toy is really only for completists and fans of Bludgeon and/or Pretenders. It's fairly indicative of why G1 was going downhill. The inner tank is cute, but you have to remove almost half its bulk just to transform it. The shell and the robot both suffer from having to join together, but even under that limitation they both could have been vastly better designed. The robot mode in particular is very blocky; a taller, lankier figure along the lines of the earlier, larger Pretenders would have suited the character better, and allowed him better proportions and posability by fitting the robot legs into the shell legs as the earlier figures did. Unless you like the character, Bludgeon is probably not worth the money and effort you'll put out tracking him down.