Armada Blurr is a bookmark. It’s a thing that happens in Transformers. When it comes to trademarks, the rule is “Use it, or lose it”. Basically, if Hasbro does not use a name they will be in danger of losing the trademark, hence Armada Blurr.
As a toy, his main problem is that a good portion of his vehicle mode hangs off his back. That combined with a lack of knees means he has very little leg articulation. Despite that, he is still a pretty good display piece with a great racecar-inspired helmet for a headsculpt. What earns Armada Blurr the title of “bookmark” is, cartoon and toy, Armada Blurr does not behave, sound, or look anything like G1 Blurr. He’s not even abnormally fast. Though his tech spec states that he has “ultra speed”, Armada Hot Shot shares his “9” Speed rating. Vehicle mode is where the dubious tie to the original comes in. By “tie”, I mean they share the fact that they are sleek, futuristic race cars… completely disimilarly designed, sleek, futuristic race cars.
As a part of the Armada line, he comes with his little minicon partner, Incinerator.
One of Armada Blurr’s cooler features — and something that further distances himself from the original Blurr — is that when he and Incinerator powerlink, Blurr gains a third flight-based alt-mode.
Three years after Armada, in the Cybertron line, they choose to re-release Blurr but had to retool him. Mostly this was done to compensate for the fact that the gimmick of this year’s line was “Cyber Planet Keys”. This means that instead of jamming a minicon into the back-end of his alt-mode to activate flight mode, you jam a small, plastic key instead. Along with the retooling to the mechanism and housing on the back of his vehicle mode, they also gave him a new, more G1 Blurr-esque head and paintjob.
Unfortunately, for reasons I don’t entirely remember — but that I strongly suspect have to do with how angry I still was at Hasbro about most of the Energon toyline — I never bought Cybertron Blurr.
That’s where the rather yawn-inspiring legacy of Blurr sat until 2008 brought us two things. First, the unparelleled style of Transformers: Animated and with it, the superb speedster Animated Blurr.
Second, the Transformers Collectors Club and Botcon brought us the universe of Shattered Glass. Everything had been turned on its head, the evil leader of the villainous Autobots, Optimus Prime, is a mentally deranged psychopath with the habit of talking to the deceased bodies of his victims that, hanging from hooks and chains, adorn his headquarters.
Among his cruel, malicious crew is his Data Interceptor, Blurr (a reversal of G1 Blurr’s job as “Data Courier“.) Shattered Glass Blurr fits right in with this vicious bunch. First he uses his speed to immobilize his prey, then he uses his intellect to “meticulously disassemble” “their processors, slowly explaining the entire process in excruciating detail to each victim”. Yeah, he’s a grossly immoral nutjob. As if all of this grand characterization wasn’t enough, they took the retooled Cybertron Blurr mold and re-retooled it to add a new, even more G1 Blurr-esque head… only evil… and with an eye-patch. Seriously.
In robot mode, he is mostly dark shades of silver-flecked blue.
For alt-mode, his new paintjob is as black as his spark, run-through with blue lines resembling electricity, and a single, silver stripe running from hood to roof.
Of course, he retains the mold’s Cyber Planet Key gimmick.
As much as I love an awesome toy, I equally love great characterization. However, in this case, great fiction, an intricate, fitting paintjob, and a wicked new headsculpt all conspired to redeem an otherwise lackluster toy.