Cliffbee.com: Animated Voyager Bulkhead Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Bulkhead
Series: Animated
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Armoured Personnel Carrier

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Bulkhead for this review



APC MODE
Height: 8.5cm Length: 15cm Width: 9cm

   An army green truck with some black here and there, including a painted slit-window at the front and six black plastic tyres with silver hubcaps. Bulkhead has white stars on either side, red strobes on his roof and gold headlights flanking a bronze and silver grille. The green is easily the most dominant colour here with black adding some definition - the other colours are merely highlights. It's a decent colour scheme - the green defines the military vehicle well without being interesting in itself.

   As with most Animated toys, Bulkhead is stylised, although this vehicle is functional and no-frills anyway so he's still the solid-built lump that you'd expect of an APC anyway. The vehicle is perhaps more rounded that a real APC and the details are simple, but this still a fairly believable APC. There's a gap on top towards the back which detracts a little but otherwise it's a good vehicle mode. There's not really much play value here, which is to be expected of this sort of vehicle, although you'd expect more than rolling wheels for a Voyager. The upside is that this is a very solid vehicle which won't come apart unless you want it to.

   A very simple vehicle mode by design. It's not terribly interesting but works well as a simplified APC. The relative lack of colour and detail do make this a forgettable vehicle mode in some ways, but it's to be expected. The gap on the roof is the only real flaw here.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Pull the strobes down to either side, the sides will eventually come loose and fold back. Fold down the rear which will cause the upper rear (where that gap is) to swing forward and form arms - there are posts which need to be anchored in place. Pull down the front wheels to form heelspurs - the legs will swing out as you pull them down. Pivot the front of the truck up to form the chest and lock into place - this will cause the head to pop out of the roof. Split and push down the rear section sitting behind his head, forming shoulderpads of sorts. Fold away the strobes, position his arms and you're done. There are quite a few springs and automorphs here, making this a fairly easy transformation - easier than it is complex.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 13cm

   Again centred around army green, Bulkhead sports black here and there while his face is silver with blue eyes, the claws on his hands and his thighs are a metallic light brown. The grille and headlights are on his torso while there's a silver Autobot logo just below and in front of the head. Again the colours are straightforward and fairly uninteresting - since they carry over from his vehicle mode. Incidentally, the white stars now on his forearms are joined by another pair on his shoulders, which is a nice touch. Again the level of detail is fairly low.

   While many Animated toys have unusual proportions, Bulkhead's robot mode takes this to extremes. His torso is a huge single piece - the front of the truck - while his legs are very short and his head quite small. The arms are big, especially his forearms. Essentially, he's all forearm and torso. This bodyshape is bizarre as Transformers go, but there's a balance to it. I personally don't like the idea here, but I can't fault the execution. Some Animated toys have unusual proportions couple with unbalanced features, but the shape here has that balance, with the torso and forearms working well together. There is a bit too much kibble on his back, which is my main complaint with this robot mode.

   There are two gimmicks here. Pulling out a lever on his left arm causes a black ball hidden underneath his claw to pop out - it's attached to a white cord maybe 15cm long. There's a very visible black lever on the right elbow which causes the forearm to spring up - if straight. The wrecking ball gimmick is great, the spring-loaded elbow doesn't impress me - the visible lever looks bad and the gimmick itself isn't enough to justify it.

   The poseability here is okay - Bulkhead's unusual shape inevitably limits some joints. His head rotates a little, but it's set close to his chest so the effective range of motion is small. His shoulders swing and lift out to the sides, his elbows are hinged with rotators in the upper arms. There are no wrists although the three claws on either hand open and close independently, revealing the ball (and a false equivalent on the other side) nicely. There is no waist to speak of. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees are hinges with rotators. His feet and heelspurs are fixed. While his arms are very poseable and he has an integrated hand weapon, the effective range of leg motion is fairly narrow, since his feet are fixed and there's quite a bit of weight on his back.

   A good robot mode for what it is, Bulkhead's colours work and the paint job is considered despite being fairly simple. The proportions aren't going to suit everyone, but there's a balance to them, which isn't always the case in Animated, so I'm happy enough with the shape here. The poseability is about as good as I'd expect of this toy. The wrecking ball is a great gimmick - beats yet another generic mangled gunfire sound - the other gimmick feels like an afterthought and is pretty forgettable.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   My main criticism of this toy is that it's fairly simple for a voyager - the paint job is uncomplicated and the play value is fairly low. Bulkhead has good reasons, however. The truck mode is basic and functional while the engineering here concentrates on his transformation, which is effective and clever, although it does create some kibble in robot mode. The paint job is not lazy - this is a simple character and he is well portrayed. I would have liked to see some more play value here, but I'm not unhappy - better a good transformation like Bulkhead's than another generic electronics set forcing the toy to shift parts around a central block. As a Transformer, Bulkhead is unorthodox, and the bodyshape won't appeal to everyone. For fans of Animated this is a good toy - the larger version will scale better, but lacks the wrecking ball. While I can't unequivocally recommend such an unusual character, I will recommend this toy if you're interested in the concept/character/series - 7.5/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.