"Robots in Disguise" (2015) Warrior Class Blastwave Toy Review
Release Date: January 2017
Price Point: $14.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General release (Toys R Us, Target etc.)
Accessories: Sword, Dual barreled blaster
Official images above and text in italics below are from HasbroToyShop:
Collectible Transformers: Robots in Disguise Combiner Force Warriors Class figures are larger-scale figures that feature classic Transformers conversion and awesome weapon accessories. This Warriors Class Blastwave figure changes between robot and tank mode in 13 steps. Figure comes with 2 sword accessories. Scan the Autobot shield on this Blastwave figure to unlock a token in the mobile app (see below for app details).
With Blastwave, there’s no such thing as, “hold your fire.” Especially when it comes to Decepticons. The Autobot operates as the high-tech weapons base for the Autobot team, knowing just the right equipment to take out the Decepticons. Mess with Blastwave, and prepare to get blown to bits! Join the battle with this figure based on the Transformers: Robots in Disguise animated series.
Early 2017 kicked off with a whole new wave of Warrior Class figures in "Robots in Disguise". Some of the characters in this assortment were just repacks of figures that were released previously (such as Grimlock and Strongarm). Other figures however were brand new characters! One of these is a new Auobot named Blastwave. This figure is an extensive retool and redeco of the Megatronus figure released in 2015. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release, so I do suggest checking out the Megatronus review as reference.
Blastwave is sealed in a bubble attached to a backing card. The card maintains the aesthetic of the previous years with a white background (sharply contrasting with the black background used on the "Generations" sub-line). The Transformers logo is set vertically on the right side (if you are facing the card) and above that is the "Robots in Disguise" logo. The figure is in robot mode inside the bubble while a photo of the toy in vehicle mode is found on the insert. The insert also uses the "Combiner Force" logo, which represents the theme for the line in 2017.
Some Transformers fans will look at this figure and instantly recognize it as being based on the design of the Decepticon Bludgeon. Originally introduced as a "Pretender" in Generation One, he would later appear in both the "Revenge of the Fallen" line and more recently as a club exclusive "Combiner Wars" figure. However, the package art does not look like the figure at all. Sure the general shape is about the same and some features carry over, but two of the big details are different. First his head design does not have the "skull face". Second, the chest panel in the artwork looks almost like windshield windows, whereas on the toy they are clearly stylized eye sockets from a skull design. So what's going on here? Well, it was announced months ago that there would be a Warrior Class Bludgeon figure, but this character gave Hasbro another use of the sculpt. The artwork was changed up to make him seem more unique, even though he really will just be a straight forward redeco when the figure is released as Bludgeon.
The back of the packaging features the toy in both modes along with the 13 step instructions. Below that is information about the official app and legal information in several languages.
When you use the term "retool", that can mean everything from just changing the robot head or one piece of the vehicle. In other cases such as Blastwave it means a lot of parts get replaced to create a figure that looks dramatically different. Here's the rundown of what has been changed between Megatronus and Blastwave:
- The head sculpt is new and based on Bludgeon's complete with a Samurai style helmet and a skull face.
- The shoulder pieces are new, complete with tread details on the sides and two large circles in front.
- The forearms are new pieces featuring tread-like details on top that also resemble the way Samurai armor has layers to it.
- The chest panel looks like two large eye sockets from a skull. This is inspired by the look of the "Revenge of the Fallen" version of the character.
- The pelvic area is a new piece complete with a layer of armor on it that resembles traditional Samurai armor complete with layers of detail.
- The knee armor pieces are new and resemble both tank treads and Samurai armor.
Overall I am very impressed by how much has been changed on this figure. Sure the head is the obvious piece to redesign. However I had not expected parts like the forearms and knee armor to also be changed. As retools go, the designers really went the extra mile here. The only issue I have is that these parts make the character look so much like Bludgeon that it is tough to buy him as a different character no matter what the packaging says. I think it might have been best if the head sculpt was totally different to distinguish Blastwave from Bludgeon.
Blastwave is cast in green, metallic blue, silver and gunmetal grey plastic. This is a very interesting color combination. The green plastic winds up calling out the connection to Bludgeon even more since he too has this color. However the other colors break that association, especially the blue. I do appreciate how all the colors are broken up on the figure. The colors on this figure never get monotonous. Paint colors include red, white, yellow, green and silver. The most bold colors are the white on the face and yellow on the chest. Red offers some nice contrast on the shoulders. There is a symbol on his left shoulder that you can scan in the "Robots in Disguise" app. Oddly, this does not unlock the character in the app. Instead you get "tokens" to use in a Mini-Con slot machine. When I used them I permanently unlocked "Hero Bumblebee" and Beastbox. This was a surprise since Warrior Class characters are generally available to unlock in the app.
There are sixteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes four in each arm and waist articulation. Blastwave comes with two accessories. The first is a Katana style sword (though it lacks the slight curve usually associated with that kind of sword). This has a 5mm handle and can fit in either fist. The sword is cast in green plastic. The blade is painted silver. His other weapon is a cannon with two barrels. This weapon can be held in either hand or you can connect it to a 5mm port on the back of his head. This allows the cannons to wind up over his shoulders. The cannon is cast in green but is mostly painted silver with some yellow bands in the middle. I was surprised an accessory would have this much paint but it looks great. All the joints on my copy of this figure are nice and tight.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the sword and cannon and set them aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Rotate the arms so the top of the forearms face outward, then swing the arms up into the shoulder armor.
- Swing the chest panel down.
- Rotate the head around.
- Push the head down.
- Rotate the arms at the shoulders so the shoulder armor faces upward.
- Swing the two arms in and connect them together.
- Swing each leg out to the sides.
- Swing the knee armor out of the way, then pull the middle and lower parts of the lower legs out, extending them into the sides to form the treads. The treads connect to a tab on the armor from the back of the robot mode.
- Attach the cannon weapon to the port at the very front of the turret section.
- Attach the sword to the port on the back of the robot head.
Like Megatronus, the tank mode is a futuristic "H" style tank with big treads on the sides and a small center section with a large turret on top. Like the robot mode, this form shows off new parts since the mold's use as Megatronus. The front part of the tank in between the treads looks like a shrunken down version of his robot mode chest plate, complete with "eye sockets". The turret looks completely different from Megatronus' since the parts that form it are different. I actually like this turret a lot more. From a functional standpoint it has a bit more functionality than Megatronus did thanks to the design of the cannons. The cannons in front can actually move up and down and the turret can move around in a complete circle. Overall it looks very cool.
The same colors seen in the robot mode carry over here, but the are clustered together a lot more. The turret is mostly green for instance (with blue and silver on the ends) while most of the gunmetal grey winds up on the treads. The "skull face" section in the front is metallic blue with yellow "eyes" painted in. The silver on the cannon really pops nicely against all the darker colors.
As mentioned above, the turret can turn in a complete circle. The cannon barrels can move up and down (even with the sword attached!). Each of the treads has a 5mm port in the middle that allows you to attach extra weaponry.
Blastwave is a fantastic example of how to retool a figure into a different character. There is a world of difference between Megatronus and Blastwave. However, Blastwave is so obviously meant to be Bludgeon it's distracting. For those who do not want to go crazy buying multiples of a sculpt, I would hold out for Bludgeon. However if you want a new Autobot to join Team Bumblebee, this figure makes a great choice.
- Extensive retooling.
- New parts are all detailed.
- Unique and nice deco.
- Fun accessories.
- Features a new character.
- Blastwave should have had his own distinct head sculpt to differentiate him more from Bludgeon.