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Series: Revenge of the Fallen NEST Global Alliance
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Voyager
Year: 2009

Bludgeon was nearly destroyed by a fight with the Metallikato Master Whirl. Forced to retreat and hide, he scanned a new vehicle mode and disappeared into the Southeast Asian jungle. He is desperate to prove himself against an Autobot, however, so he has caused just enough chaos locally to attract the attention of Ironhide. Now he lies in wait for the Autobot, ready to spring his trap and destroy his victim in an instant.

Robot Mode: Just in case there was any question on the matter, ROTF Bludgeon is, of course, a homage to the original G1 Bludgeon and it shows in both modes, but especially here in robot mode. Bludgeon's look is that of a skeletal samurai warrior, which was pretty much the exact look G1 Bludgeon had going for him. For this figure here the 'skull' looks more like a skull-mask than an actual human skull, but I prefer that look actually. One can imagine Bludgeon customizing himself to the point where he looked like a scary demon warrior right out of Asian myth. So two thumbs up for the look.

Despite being best known as a bad-ass swordsman, this is actually the first Bludgeon toy that actually does carry a samurai sword as a weapon. Two swords, actually, a long and a short one. The long is actually the front barrel of the big tank cannon on his back, while the other is hidden in a 'sheath' inside the tank turret. Speaking of the turret, some might look at the pictures above and say "hey, he mistransformed him!" and to this I answer "yes, I know the turret is supposed to split open for the robot mode (such as is seen in the fourth picture), but I like it better with the barrel pointing straight up. Live with it!"

A few things I'd like to mention in random order. Bludgeon can store his two swords in a hip sheath as well, as there are two slits on his left hip. This serves the added bonus of giving Bludgeon a hip cannon reminiscent of Movie Leader Brawl when he's got his sword stored there. Bludgeon is also one of very few Tank-Transformers were the tank threads are actually separate parts. They hang loose here in robot mode, supplementing his samurai armor. A very nice detail. Speaking of details, Bludgeon has tons of them, all very nicely done. His posability is also good, nothing to complain about here, either.

This thoroughly great figure has but one flaw: The hands. They don't have wrist movement, which would have been nice, but the real problem here is the thumb. Bludgeon has a very pointy thumb which is turned inward. Wouldn't be a big problem by itself, but there is the fact that the handle of Bludgeon's samurai sword is the barrel of the tank cannon and it's made from rather soft plastic. Which means the thumb scratches it every time you put the sword in Bludgeon's hand or remove it. Doesn't matter which hand, both have this problem. Meaning after a few back-and-forths the tank will have a thoroughly scratched barrel. Sorry for going on and on about this, but this is really the only flaw of an otherwise near-perfect figure, so I ramble.

So the bottom line here is: A very, very, very good robot with a tiny, but all the more aggrevating flaw. Still, well worth it.

Alternate Mode: Bludgeon transforms into a Japanese Type-90 tank. The tank has a main turret with a smaller machine gun on top and two four-tube missile launchers on the sides. The turret can rotate freely, giving the tank a wide field of fire. The detailing is quite good here and no robot bits are visible unless you look at the tank from below. The figure's one and only flaw comes into play here, though: The muzzle of the tank's big cannon is, as I wrote above, the handle of the samurai sword. So it's not only easily bent out of shape, but also covered in the scratches from Bludgeon's rather pointy thumb. You can leave the sword out, but the left-over tank barrel is really too short to be realistic without it.

Apart from that one thing, though, there is nothing to complain about here. The tank mode does a fine job both as a realistic-looking tank and a homage to the original Bludgeon's alternate mode (seen the few times he stepped out of his Pretender shell and actually transformed). So thumbs up here.

Remarks: In 1988 Hasbro first released the Pretenders. Robots that could hide inside human-looking shells in order to 'pretend' to be humans themselves (or, in case of the Decepticons, humanoid monsters). In a remote way this was the genesis of Beast Wars' organic Transformers, but most of all it was a pretty bad idea and went a long way toward the ruin of the first Transformers toy line. Nevertheless despite the Pretender line's shortcomings a few memorable characters emerged from it. Chief among them: Bludgeon, the Master of Metallikato. He never appeared in any cartoon, but played a huge role in the Marvel comics, where he even took over as leader of the Decepticons for a good long while before he was blown apart by the returning king.

Except for some repaints Bludgeon didn't make another appearance for many years until artist Don Figueroa first designed an updated Bludgeon for the Energon/Cybertron toyline. The design went unused, but later evolved into the Bludgeon character we saw in the pages of IDW's Stormbringer series. The concept then further evolved and was intended to be released as a toy in the Universe line. But seeing as the Universe line apparently containted "too many tanks" Bludgeon was then shifted into the ROTF line. As far as in-media appearances go, Bludgeon's sole credit is an issue of the British Titan Magazine.

This is actually the second Bludgeon in the ROTF toy-line, though. The first was a repaint of Wreckage and packaged together with Whirl (a repaint of Blackout). The figure's bio references this by saying that Bludgeon was nearly destroyed by Whirl and ended up scanning a new vehicle mode, thereby getting a new body.

So much for the Bludgeon history, now let me put this short and sweet. Bludgeon is among the best Transformers figures to come out these last few years. The only reason I'm not giving him a straight A is that he needs different hands (or a different sword grip), but apart from that there is nothing bad I can say about him at all. Go and buy him! Now!

Rating: A-


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