"Generations" Combiner Wars Bludgeon Toy Review
Release Date: September 2016
Price Point: $297 (for the Transformers Subscription Service 4.0 with a total of seven figures)
Retailer: Fun Publications Exclusive
Accessories: Swords x 2; Rifles x 2
Over the course of 2016 the Transformers Collector's Club has been releasing members of the new "Mayhem Attack Squad". Originally introduced in the Marvel Generation One comic books, this new version of the team is completely based on "Combiner Wars" figures. If you haven't had the chance, check out my reviews for the other members of this team:
The leader of this team is Bludgeon. This goes back to the Marvel comic books where he led the team in two of its incarnations. Thanks to the Marvel Comics, this Decepticon was saved from being an obscure G1 toy and instead became a recurring character in the "Transformers" toy line over the years. Going as far back as the early 2000's there was a "Robots in Disguise" version of the character. Years later he would appear in the "Revenge of the Fallen" toy line. In more recent years he has appeared as part of the "Prime" toy line and he even had a KREO figure! There is no doubt this character has a very particular niche in the Transformers universe and it is nice to see him pop up now and then in the toy line.
Bludgeon is a retool and redeco of the "Combiner Wars" Onslaught figure, which itself is a retool and redeco of Hot Spot. More recently this base mold was also used for Pyra Magna. Check out the Onslaught and Hot Spot reviews for a detailed look at this figure (and how it changed across releases). This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
Bludgeon is packaged in a cardboard box with a foam insert to protect the figure. The stickers that keep the box secure indicate he is the fifth figure in the fourth Subscription Service from the Collector's Club. The extra sword accessories included with the figure are underneath the foam along with the tech specs and instructions.
Bludgeon includes four accessories. The rifles are the same ones included with "Combiner Wars" Onslaught and Hot Spot painted lavender. He also includes two light grey swords which originally came with Optimus ExPrime. The swords are a nice nod to Bludgeon's use of a sword in the Marvel comics. Both have 5mm handles so the figure can hold them without a problem. While the swords are huge relative to the figure, they work well and make for great accessories for the Thunder Mayhem Combiner.
Bludgeon's vehicle mode is pretty much the same as "Combiner Wars" Onslaught's: a military style truck with two cannons mounted on top. This is appropriate since G1 Bludgeon (and a couple other versions of the character) transformed into a tank. The only sculpting difference that (literally) peeks out is the Combiner head for Thunder Mayhem. Instead of the familiar Bruticus head this head is much more organic looking with curved horns and a curved helmet section.
The beauty of this figure is the deco. Fans have come to expect outstanding decos from the Club, and this figure shows just why that is. None of the domestic releases of this base sculpt have the sheer amount of paint on it that this figure has. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start with the base colors. Bludgeon is cast in green, brown and black plastic. Those who are mostly familiar with Bludgeon's orange and brown Pretender shell may find these colors odd, but they are in fact based largely on the inner robot from Generation One Bludgeon. Perhaps the best example of a figure that merged these features is the "Revenge of the Fallen" version. Green makes up most of the vehicle, with brown appearing on smaller pieces that peek out in the front, middle and back. Black is used on the piece that covers the Combiner head and the wheels. This is not the most common color combination among Transformers toys, so to fans of G1 "in the know" this color scheme is almost instantly recognizable.
Now let's get to the really good stuff: the paint applications. Since these figures come at a premium price they deliver premium deco. A light grey/off-white color is used on the horizontal lines in the front as well as panel details on the sides. It is also used for rectangular details on the back. Silver is used for the sides of the wheels and panels towards the back. Finally, yellow is used for the light bar details towards the back of the vehicle. Overall this is a fantastic deco. It's not just the colors chosen but it's the sheer number of deco points on this figure that makes it so great.
The main functionality of this figure revolves around the turret on top. It can turn in a circle and you can move the cannons up and down. I tried to find a way to stash the swords so that they did not look odd or out of place but I coiuld not find one that made me happy. The most obvious place is to remove the cannons and put the swords there but that just looks odd to me.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
- Split the front of the vehicle and swing each half out to the sides and rotate it down.
- Straighten out each of the robot arms.
- Swing the green piece on the shoulders down.
- Swing the chest panel open.
- Swing up the robot head, then close the chest panel.
- Pull the rear of the vehicle up, then swing it back.
- On each robot leg, swing out the foot and heel pieces.
- Rotate the lower legs around.
- Place a rifle in each hand or they can remain attached to the back.
- The swords can be held in either hand or both in one hand.
Bludgeon's robot mode does its best to incorporate elements of both G1 Bludgeon's Pretender Shell and his inner robot. This is partly done through a whole new head sculpt! The head is a really interesting design. Part of it looks like the G1 Bludgeon's inner robot, complete with a rounded helmet section with a crest in the middle that leads out to a band around his head. He also has visor eyes like G1 Bludgeon. Where the Pretender Shell comes into play is the mouth/chin area which looks a organic, complete with rows of human looking teeth showing. I love this combination of details from the G1 figure. It looks robotic and slightly creepy all at the same time.
The rest of the figure remains the same as Onslaught including the chest panel with the highly detailed mechanical elements on it. Even the angular and somewhat blocky form of the Onslaught body seems to call back to the very blocky G1 Bludgeon's inner robot (who was basically a transforming rectangle). I would definitely say the "spirit" of the character works well using this sculpt.
With regards to the deco I am once again floored by just how much paint is on this figure. See, a lot of this mode is cast in green plastic (with some silver and brown). However, to accurately reflect the look of G1 Bludgeon, a lot of brown paint has been applied to parts including the forearms, the waist, chest panel, head and even a bit on the shoulders. It's very uncommon nowadays to see a Transformer where a significant body part such as the forearms would be completely repainted to create a certain visual but there it is! Orange is also found on this figure. It is used to paint panels on the shoulders, which acts as a visual callback to G1 Bludgeon's Pretender shell design. The chest has grey and yellow on it. The yellow is used on angled details which call back to similar details on G1 Bludgeon (though those were painted grey). The head has lavender on the middle of the helmet with black used for the "headband" that wraps around the head. The face is a cream color (calling back to G1 Bludgeon's inner robot) and the eyes are orange. The finishing touch is a large Decepticon symbol in purple and white tampographed on the middle of the torso. Add to all that the details carried over from the vehicle mode on the legs and it is amazing just how much detail there is in this mode.
All the articulation points are nice and tight on my copy of this figure. In some cases such as the thighs it is tighter than my Onslaught! I did notice however the rifles do not sit as snug in the fists as they do in other versions of the figure. They're not loose, they're just not particularly tight.
Note: This base sculpt has a line-wise knee issue that will affect the figure's ability to stand/pose in some cases. If so, you may want to check out this link for a fix. I did not disassemble my figure but I believe this is something all the iterations of this sculpt have in common.
Transformation to Torso Mode (from Vehicle Mode):
- Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
- Swing the chest panel open, swing the head in and then close the panel.
- Swing the forearms up against the shoulders, attaching them using the small tab and peg.
- Swing the panels on the sides of the shoulders up, then swing down the sides of the shoulders.
- Rotate the robot arm/shoulder sections up.
- Flip the figure around and rotate the back pack.
- Swing the cover over Bruticus' head up.
- Swing the cover piece to the back, fully revealing Bruticus' head.
- Swing the side "wing" like panels on the torso armor out. The tabs on the back of the "wings" connect to grooves on the robot arm pieces.
- Swing the lower section of the armor down.
- On each lower leg, push the foot and heel pieces up.
- Rotate the lower legs outward.
- Swing each lower leg up over the thighs.
- The weapons can be attached to the sides of the back or held in Bruticus' hand.
The "Combiner Wars" Combiners have thus far been new characters or new versions of Combiners from previous eras of the "Transformers" toy line. In the case of Thunder Mayhem however the Combiner takes inspiration from a G1 character while also giving us a new character. In this case Thunder Mayhem is inspired by Thunderwing, a character who was obsessed with finding the Autobot Matrix of Leadership in the G1 Marvel comic book. This form represents a form where this corrupted Matrix is part of the character. In case you're wondering, a Matrix accessory was included with Windsweeper.
This torso form features a new head sculpt based on Thunderwing's comic book appearance. This includes a curved helmet section with raised lines on the sides, a curved horn/crest section on the top and an organic looking face with a pointed chin. If you're wondering why a robot had an organic looking face, Thunderwing was a Pretender, a robot who lived inside a "shell" that was partly organic. This head sculpt represents the comic book interpretation of the character very well.
The rest of the body is the same as Onslaught's complete with the "winged" chest armor. The deco is focused on green plastic, which makes up almost the entire torso. Green is not out of character for Thunderwing (or in this case, Thunder Mayhem). The way Thunderwing was drawn in the G1 comic book, he featured plenty of green - especially after he gained the power of a corrupted Matrix.
The more "traditional Thunderwing" colors come into play on the torso and head. Light grey is used on the torso and head. The face is painted yellow with black lines around the eyes and blue is used on the crest/horn section. The chest also has a light grey base with some green, black and blue details around it. The finishing touch is a large tampographed Decepticon symbol in the center.
Additional deco points include large black sections on the legs, which really help keep the thighs from looking unfinished. Add in some of the brown and orange bits that stick out in this mode and you once again have more deco in this mode than the other versions of this sculpt.
Like the other members of the Mayhem Attack Squad this figure is absolute win. The deco is amazing and having two new head sculpts truly helps make this figure something special. As the finishing act of the five figure Thunder Mayhem set Bludgeon delivers beautifully.