"Transformers Universe" Blast Charge Toy Review

General Information:
Price Point/Size: Deluxe
Retailers: General (K-Mart, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Kay Bee)
Release Date: May 2005
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3
Purchased at: Target (Linden, NJ)
Accessories: Missiles x 3

Transformers Universe generally takes one toy, gives it a new deco and a new identity. Now and then, it seems we get a new iteration of a character previously released. In this case the Beast Machines Vehicon Blast Charge has returned with a new color scheme and a slightly altered name ("Blastcharge" as one word instead of two). For a detailed review of the figure's mechanics, read the Beast Machines Blast Charge review. This review will focus on the changes made to this figure for this release.

Vehicle Mode:
Blastcharge's vehicle mode is a six-wheeled attack vehicle. Part of the concept behind many of the Vehicon vehicle modes during Beast Machines was to give them some personality, not too dissimilar from the way a beast mode gave additional personality to a Maximal's aside from his/her robot mode. In this case, the idea was to create a threatening vehicle. You would think that a vehicle with six large wheels and a triple-missile launcher mounted on the top would be threatening enough, but the designers made it a point to make the front of the vehicle look like a skull. The two front windows look like eyes, and the grille under them look like teeth on a skull.

Menacing mechanical bits aren't all there is to this sculpt. There are plenty of mechanical looking parts including engine detail in the center, cross hatch detailing on the sides and line detail etched into the plastic.

The colors chosen for this sculpt are much more in line with the traditional Decepticon color set than Beast Machines Blast Charge. The primary colors here are black, silver and purple (in various shades). The front and top of the vehicle is mostly black, with metallic silver used for the "skull" details in front and camo details on the back. Silver plastic is used for the front bumper section and parts in the middle as well as the main junction from the main body to the tires. The tires themselves are metallic purple. Press the button in the middle of the vehicle to extend the front out and you'll find the junction between the two halves of the vehicle is flat purple. Check out the front grille for a tiny Decepticon logo.

The missiles have been done in a translucent blue plastic, which is much more see through than the red ones used on Beast Machines Blast Charge. I like this look as it makes them look almost like energy blasts in the shape of missiles (and somehow, in the context of Transformers, that makes sense). The wheel mechanism which rotates the missile launcher works just fine. Still, only the center missile fires. I would've loved to have the designers make it so all three would fire.

Robot Mode:
Blastcharge's robot mode truly reflects the goal of the designers in trying to create different types of robot modes than the ones fans had seen in the past. Blastcharge is a basic humanoid shape, but with some interesting design features. First off, the robot head design is sculpted to be evocative of his vehicle mode's front section, something that many Beast Machines Vehicons did, but Blastcharge is definitely one of the more effective ones. His legs are the parts that irritate many people for their odd look (tires stacked on each other). However, I have found this look rather interesting and unique. Not amazing by any means, but still cool in its own way.

The primary problem I have with this design is the chest being the missile launcher. While this would not be a problem if you could fold the launcher down (without breaking the toy) but It is pretty much stuck as is. Even without the missiles inside of it, it looks rather odd, like he's wearing some type of weird tie that won't stay down.

Blastcharge has eleven points of articulation with no particular focus, each part of the body has some type of movement except the waist, which is locked into place due to the transformation scheme.

Blastcharge can still use his missiles as hand held melee weapons, a really nice touch.

Color-wise there are not many surprises here. The eyes on the robot head are translucent blue to match with the missiles. His upper body is mostly black with orange and silver details. His arms and legs are part silver and part purple. Truly the traditional Decepticon colors come through very well here. What is important is that colors such as the orange are not overused so they do not look cheesy.

Final Thoughts:
Blastcharge is a very cool redeco of the Beast Machines toy. I like the traditional Decepticon color set a lot so I actually prefer this scheme slightly over the original (not that the Beast Machines one was bad or anything). If you like this toy's odd design at all based on the pictures above you may want to pick this guy up for yourself!

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