After last weekend’s look at the Growing Pains Custom Kit (review here) I thought it might me fun to look at another head/weapon upgrade kit, but this time by a completely different manufacturer. Fortunately, I still hadn’t opened the Blood: The Dark Warrior upgrade kit (available now at TFSource) for the ROTF Bludgeon so I knew exactly which third-party accessory I had to review next. Enjoy!
While not anywhere near as nice as a full box, I can say that these clamshell packages — last seen in my Corbot V Carnage Axe review — are inexpensive and do a great job of displaying and delivering the upgrade parts to us. The artwork on this one is especially nice, including the shot of both heads shown on the back of the card, and overall I say this works without adding a lot to the cost of the kit. Thumbs up!
The back of the package also gives the assembly instructions; above you can see the most frustrating part of preparing Bludgeon to receive his new head: the base toy minus its factory head. You’ll need a tiny screwdriver to extract the factory screws, but as long as you’re patient and slowly remove each screw you won’t have any problems. It’s not a difficult process, but it really is annoying because the angle is tough to work with and if you try to go too fast you may strip the screw. Trust me, take this step slow.
Once you get both screws out then it’s an easy matter to snap the old head into its separate parts and remove it from the toy. What should you do with the old head? I’m not sure, but above you can see what I decided to do with it (at least for this one shot; now the head’s going into a box of parts to be forgotten).
Blood: The Dark Warrior includes a new head and separate helmet piece, two new blades, and a barrel extension for the toy’s main tank cannon. Starting with the new head — with two faces! — I can say that the upgrade kit does an excellent job of making Bludgeon look either more like his Generation One design or the Bludgeon we’ve seen in IDW’s comics. Starting with the Generation One head, above, I can say that this is a significant improvement over the movie-style head and if you’re at all a collector of the third-party accessories this one’s great for making Bludgeon look a lot better with any “Classics” collection.
Above is the IDW-style Bludgeon head. It’s also quite nice and a good fit for the source material, but I’m personally going to display Bludgeon with the Generation One-style head; I just prefer the human-like skull to the more mechanical design of the IDW character. Regardless of my personal preference, though, I have to admit that it is a nice sculpt and that I can see where fans of the comic would be happy to display the toy with this face.
And since changing the face is as simple as slipping the helmet off, rotating the head, and then snapping the helmet back into place you can change your mind as often as you like. Changing the face is really easy.
The new blades are also a great upgrade. Above you can see Bludgeon with his original sword in his right hand and the firmer, chromed upgrade sword in his left hand. The upgrade sword is a superior item in every way, with a semi-sharper tip, the chromed blade, a better sword handle (which is hidden by the barrel extension when the toy is in tank mode), and a more rigid plastic that doesn’t leave Bludgeon with a sagging sword. Seriously, even if you’re not all that bothered by the factory head you may still want this set just for the two new blades.
This is the one place where I wish Headrobots would have put a little more effort. The blades and barrel extension are fine as they are, but the faces really could have used a black wash to bring out the details. Anyone with a little customizing skill can make this paint upgrade on their own — I’m seriously considering giving both faces a quick wash — but I wish that the kit had come with a wash already applied. Some of the sculpted details are getting a little lost and Headrobots could have turned this into a must-own kit if they had just made the face details pop more.
Still, that’s honestly just a minor issue that’s easily solved.
While not quite as nice as the Growing Pains Custom Kit (review here) this Blood: The Dark Warrior set is quite nice and does exactly what I expect from third-party Transformers accessories: the kit slightly modifies and improves an official toy for what is, in the end, a reasonable price.
This one’s recommended to anyone who is a Bludgeon fan and is looking to turn the official ROTF Bludgeon toy (available at TFSource) into a better toy that holds weapons that don’t droop and has a face/head that’s either more like the original Generation One Bludgeon or IDW’s comicverse Bludgeon.
Philip Reed spends his days working away in the game industry and whatever spare time he can steal goes to the toy website, battlegrip.com, where he writes about a lot more than just Transformers.