There is still a list of Transformers that I owned, regretfully gave up in the great debacle called “growing up”, and have not managed to reacquire. Though that list continues to shrink, unfortunately thanks to my aversion to the secondary market, it’s still quite long. Due to most reissues tending to fall within the earlier years of G1, a majority of the missing persons list falls after 1988. Specifically the Headmasters, Targetmasters, Micromasters, and the Pretenders — yes, a number of Pretenders are high on my Want list. Within those Bludgeon used to be at the top. Used to be.
When I originally saw the Bludgeon released in the Revenge of the Fallen line I thought,”Nice, but Bludgeon is a Pretender, so it’s not a real update.” Then the Headrobots group announced its “Blood the Dark Warrior Upgrade Kit”. Much like their Hardhead release, they have once again taken a mediocre G1 update and boosted it into an absolutely awesome update with the simple addition of a new head. Unlike the Hardhead release which turned a non-Headmaster toy into a Headmaster, this upgrade doesn’t provide Bludgeon with his Pretender gimmick. You know what? I don’t care. This is the update Bludgeon deserves. With this G1 faithful headsculpt on a robot Samurai that turns into a tank, we now have an update that removes the Pretender gimmick by combining the best parts of G1 Bludgeon’s robot and alt modes and Pretender shell.
To continue to prove they are rockstars at this, the Headrobots set comes with two heads in one. His original G1 Pretender shell’s appearance was very much a skeletal Samurai.
However, the recent IDW comics series have presented Bludgeon as having a robot head, but simply missing what would be his bottom jaw, showing exposed wiring instead. By lifting the helmet piece and rotating the head around, the toy presents a face that more closely matches his IDW appearance.
This double-sided head is one of those nice little touches that make Headrobots still my favourite 3rd party group out there. However, they don’t stop there. Bludgeon also has new shiny, silver chromed swords to replace the mold’s floppy grey plastic swords. The mold has a bracket at his robot mode hips that pops out automatically when he transforms. When it pulls out, it leaves behind a second hole through which his other sword can be slid.
The piece you see attached to the swiveling grey machine gun is also included with the Headrobots set. The larger of the two swords actually stores within his tank’s cannon barrel. The grey sword that comes with the mold has the details of the cannon as its handle. With the Headrobots slimmer, more realistic sword handles, this piece slides on to cover the handle of the long sword when it is inserted into the cannon. Those geniuses at Headrobots designed this piece with an extra slot to store on the gun in robot mode. No piece left behind (this is definitely not G1).
With his new swords, now he’s ready to have a sword fight with Drift.
My original evaluation of the Revenge of the Fallen release of Bludgeon as “meh” came down completely to the fact that this new toy of him had… well, it was a Samurai helmet, but the face was just too alien in design to really look like a skull. Because I wasn’t impressed by his headsculpt as Bludgeon, that lead me to pass up the repaint of him as Banzaitron released in the Hunt for the Decepticons line. That changed completely when I learned of the Headrobots upgrade kit. The new head for Bludgeon meant I could let the non-skull headsculpt be the update for Banzaitron.
Now, G1 Banzaitron is not on the list of Transformers that I want very much to add to my collection. Despite having one of the greatest names in Transformers history, he was an Action Master, a non-transforming Transformer. I may own him one day, but I definitely don’t hunt down Action Masters.
His original robot was vaguely designed after a Samurai but unlike Bludgeon, he was not depicted as a disciplined warrior. His skills were used to “[reduce] an enemy to spare parts in minutes and then [sell] what’s left, if given the chance.”
So now we have two Decepticons that look like Samurai; but for Bludgeon, it’s a devotion to an ancient and twisted code of honour; for Banzaitron, it’s an efficient way to make a quick buck.
Thanks to the amazing articulation of this mold, both of them can wield their swords in a two-handed fashion.
My only complaint with the Headrobots set is that the piece that slips onto the end of the tank cannon to cover the sword handle doesn’t fit tightly enough to hold on. It simply sits on the end and can be rotated freely. If it is tipped forward, it actually falls off. It’s a minor complaint though, this guy will certainly be displayed in robot mode (did you see that robot mode?!?)
You can tell me that these guys are “movie-verse” if you really want to try, but I’m not buying it. These two belong on the Classics shelves with the other recent Generations releases especially the newly upgraded Bludgeon.