Tetsuro's Review: Headrobots Blood
Blood the Dark Warrior (RotF Bludgeon upgrade kit)
The designs for a new version of Generation 1's Bludgeon date as far back as Cybertron
but nothing ever materialized from it; it wouldn't be until the Revenge of the Fallen
toyline that we would see a new version of the fan-favourite character. Why he was released under the RotF line as opposed to Generations or whichever concurrent G1 homage line we had going at the time is presumably to keep up with the assortment requirement for Voyager-size toys.
Naturally, this means that the Bludgeon we ended up getting did inherit several traits from fellow live action toys, namely a much more robotic face which resembles the skull of a goat rather than human and chicken feet. Some minor criticism arose regarding these design choices, but ultimately they were easily overlooked, and fandom rejoiced...at least, until they tried fiddling with the swords. The large one in particular bent easily, especially when inserted inside the barrel, assuming it wasn't bent out of shape already in the package. I also discovered that because the barrel doubled as the sword handle, it was far too thick to fit into Bludgeon's hand properly and would scratch and bend even more.
Enter Headrobots, one of the several "third party" companies producing stuff for TF fanatics. Having already produced new accessories for several other toys, such as Universe Hardhead, they now bring us a new upgrade kit, replacing both the head and the swords of this figure.
Installing the new noggin on Bludgeon is reasonably easy; all you need is a small phillips screwdriver. Turn the head 90 degrees to left and right, allowing you to undo the screws behind the head and detach it. The new head pops in on the neck joint easily and stays on reasobly solid, if a little loose.
Blood has two faces; one with a distinctly G1-inspired design, and another "masked" one, which apparently draws inspiration from the character's appearance in the IDW comics. Switching between the two is a breeze; simply pull off the helmet, turn the head around and plug the helmet back in. The head is cast in an off-white plastic, appearing less yellow than the painted face of the original head, and has painted on red eyes on the "skull" face and dead black ones on the "mask" face. The helmet is also a slightly brigher shade of red than the original, matching that of the G1 toy closer.
With the helmet on, there isn't quite as much clearance for the head to turn around as with the original, severely limiting posability, and with the "mask" face on, I can barely turn it at all. The helmet is also connected to the head extremely loosely, making transformation back into tank mode quite difficult as it keeps popping off every time I slide the spine to it's place.
It's difficult to say where the real meat of this set is, but the swords are probably the most essential addition. Cast in solid ABS plastic, Blood comes with a replacement for both swords for the sake of completion. Both are cast in dark green, matching Bludgeon's colour, with metallized chrome blades.
Where to even begin? They actually look like swords
for one thing, rather than the bendy rubbercack sticks of the original. The handle for the big sword is also a lot smaller, matching that of the smaller sword, meaning it slides into Bludgeon's hands easily yet he grips on it firmly enough to allow for great posability. The larger sword also has some sculpted detail on the handle, as well as the base of the blade. They're actually quite sharp as well at the tip, so try not to jab your fingers with them.
Since the handle of the large sword no longer forms the barrel in tank mode, instead we get an additional piece that fits rather loosely over it, also matching the colour of the turret, resulting in a much better looking tank mode as well. However, being a rather loose fit, it spins around the handle easily but I'm willing to overlook this. When in robot mode, this extra piece attaches to the ammo box of the machine gun on top of Bludgeon's turret for storage too. Cool!
The only problem with the large sword is shared with the original; sliding it inside Bludgeon's barrel is a rather tight fit and I've noticed there's already some small scratches near the end of the blade, so this can be quite the hair-raising experience for some; the metal finish seems rather sturdy and despite the scratches, the (presumably) green plastic beneath is not yet visible. The small sword has no such issues. Both also slide easily into the scabbards on his hip.
In the original announcement, it was advertised that these swords can also be used with the original G1 Bludgeon toy, but the packaging makes no mention of it, and since I do not own the original Bludgeon, I really cannot comment on this.
7 - The actual connection where the base head attaches to the peg of the old one is very loose and there's a bit too much wiggle space, while there's inconsistency over how much rotation clearance you have depending which face you have displayed.
8 - The chrome seems to sport all the typical problems, so you'll want to be careful when sliding the large sword into the barrel.
9 - Not only you get a much nicer looking pair of swords, but you don't have to bend and scrape the handles fitting them into Bludgeon's hands either! They are a bit too
: 10 - Both of the alternate faces look really nice, to a point I can't quite decide which I prefer more. Both of the swords are a massive improvement over the old ones.
8 - For about 19 dollars at kapow toys, this upgrade kit is particularily cheap for a third party addon.
9 - If you have RotF Bludgeon, you will want this kit for the swords alone.