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Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Pretender
Year: 1989

To know your own limits, you must first know your foe's limits.
A merciless, emotionless master of Metallikato, the deadly Cybertronic martial art. Attacks his enemies' fracture points while remaining outside their line of fire. High-powered antennas produce electric fireballs with a range of over 400 yards. Battle armor secretes ordorous, mucus slime. Smoke generators in legs produce billowing clouds of black smoke that disorient the enemy. Inner robot armed with high-voltage electric cannon.

Prelude: I first wrote a review for Generation 1 Bludgeon way back in 2007, but it was based upon a rather incomplete one (no turret, no tank gun). This year, however, a buddy loaned me a complete G1 Bludgeon, so I figured it was time to give this old Pretender here another go. Back then I gave him a B- rating despite his incomplete status. How much has my opinion of him changed in 15 years? We’ll see. Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: Bludgeon is a second year Pretender (1989), so his Pretender Shell is a good deal smaller than those from the first year. Unfortunately it hasn’t improved its articulation, as the shell is just as stiff as all the others. You can rotate the arms at the shoulders, that’s it. In terms of looks, though, Bludgeon brings his A-game. He is a demon samurai, complete with removable helmet, skull for a head, and... yeah, strangely enough there is no sword. In the comics he always had one, but the figure? Nope. But his Samurai armor is nicely detailed and there is very little to complain about his looks. For a weapon he has the turret of his inner robot’s tank mode on his arm and a separate handgun.

Opening his shell, you see Bludgeon’s actual robot mode. He, too, has shrunk considerably when compared to the previous year’s Pretenders, but at least Bludgeon is not a long, thin beanpole, but a stocky, strong-looking robot. It is easily apparent what he transforms into. The tank’s turret goes from the shell’s arm onto his back (or not, your choice) and the barrel can be used as a handgun. Bludgeon is moderately articulated for his time, at least he has knees. I do like his look and I think the brown-green paintjob works pretty well.

So bottom line: a nice robot in a cool-looking Pretender shell. Of course it has the same drawbacks in terms of articulation that pretty much every figure had during this time.

Alternate Mode: A very simple transformation (lie down, fold in legs, done) turns Bludgeon into a tank. A green tank with a purple barrel kind of reminds one of G2 Megatron, but if you consider the dates, it’s clear that Megatron stole the look from Bludgeon, not vice versa. The tank is small, but nicely detailed and a few well-placed stickers fill in the rest. The turret can turn, but sadly the barrel cannot be raised. In total, though, a nicely done tank mode. Nothing special, but good.

Remarks: Bludgeon is one of those figures that has stood the test of time mostly due to the character it portrays. I mean, honestly, how many people remember Pretender Pincher, who came out at the same time? Exactly, almost no one. But Bludgeon was in the Marvel Comics, a member of the Mayhem Attack Squad. He briefly served as Decepticon leader in the G2 comics and played role in both the Dreamwave and IDW comics, too. So clearly, he has a pretty big bonus for extensive media appearances.

Character aside, the figure itself is good. Of course one needs to keep in mind the year it was released. There is nothing negative to say about Bludgeon that would not have to be said about all of the figures from this time. A great-looking Pretender shell, a nice little tank robot, all good. I fear, though, that the question of why one would release a Samurai-themed figure without a Samurai sword will never be answered to anyone’s satisfaction. In total I think I can stand by my original assessment of this figure. Recommended to all fans of Pretenders or the character Bludgeon.

Rating: B-
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