Cliffbee.com: Animated Leader 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: 12cm Length: 20cm Width: 9cm

   An army green truck with some black here and there, including a painted slit-window at the front, six black plastic tyres and a black above the front fenders. 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. These colours are very similar to the voyager version.

   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 are a few added details which make this vehicle more than just a lump, thankfully. There are missileracks on either side, each houses two gold tipped black missiles. While the missiles don't actually fire, they detach and reattach firmly. There's a hatch between the strobes with grey antennae on either side, which can be lofted up or folded down.

   While these added features offer some play value, there's only one real gimmick here - if you press down on his transparent red Autobot logo, the logo and his strobes (which are also transparent) flash red while he emits a siren sound. This will continue as long as you hold down the logo. I like the idea but I wish the relief of the logo was painted white - when the logo is not a button, it looks bad in an Armada kind of way. All six wheels roll and the hubcaps stay still, which is a nifty feature. The play value here is acceptable for a leader, and the toy holds together well.

   While this is a pretty simple vehicle mode, I'm glad they've spiced him up compared to the Voyager, which was very sparse. While he's still at the simple end of the leader class, Bulkhead doesn't feel underdone. The idea of this vehicle is fairly interesting but he works well as a simplified APC - and the scale serves the character well.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Lift up the hatch and split to either side, revealing his head. This step will activate a slow transformation sound (different tempo to the usual one), and cause amber LEDs behind his eyes, inside the windshield and on either side of his head to flash. Unclip his legs from underneath, fold them down, splay them slightly, pull out his groin and clip into the peg behind it. Lift up the door panels on either side, lift up the rear end, swing the arms out from either side. Lift out the front slightly, clip the shoulders into place. Slide up the rear wheel assembly, fold away the wheels and fold the assembly down. Fold the door panels down, fold down and split the rear door section and swing out to the sides as wings, clipping the door halves over the hatch halves. Position his arms, rotate the missileracks.

   While much of this transformation is dedicated to folding up the back half of the truck, it works well. Bulkhead has a very solid torso, but he's meant to be short and bulky, so this works well. The end result is a satisfyingly involved - if not really complex - transformation for a Leader class toy.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 21.5cm Width: 21cm

   Again centred around army green, Bulkhead sports black here and there while his face is silver with amber eyes, the claws on his hands and his thighs are silver. The red Autobot logo sits on his chest while there are stars on his shoulders and the grille assembly is on his waist. Again the colours are straightforward and fairly uninteresting - since they carry over from his vehicle mode. The effect is again similar to the smaller toy, although we have the added missileracks here.

   While many Animated toys have unusual proportions, Bulkhead's robot mode takes this to extremes. His torso is a huge bulbous affair with the front of the truck taking centre stage 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 lot of kibble on his back, but it hugs the front well and fits nicely into his bodyshape - better than on the voyager.

   There's quite a bit of play value here, and none of it really fails, which is nice. The missileracks are still available while there are gimmicks in either hand activate by sliders inside his wrists. The slider on the right activates a circular sawblade between the claws, and while it spins against the bite, it still makes for a nice weapon. The left slider causes the three claws to open out (or close when you slide it back). There are, of course, light and sound gimmicks. Again these are activated by the Autobot logo, and all involve the amber LEDs. He'll cycle between three phrases, "You can do it, buddy"; "Sorry! My bad!" & "Time for the big guns!". As he speaks his trapjaw-style lower jaw will open and his head tilt to the right (like a puzzled dog). The head and jaw will stay as long as you hold the button down, even if the electronics have stopped. Unlike the Voyager, there is no wrecking ball here.

   Bulkhead comes with a purple "Headmaster" helmet accessory - a Mask in the style of Jim Carrey's film. It features a grey face, white eyes and the typical off-kilter Animated smile. There are also large colourless horns. The colours and shape are completely different to the rest of the toy - it really doesn't fit, which is the whole point, since it's _meant_ to be parasitic. When you plug it over his head a different voice will yell, "Ownage! Total ownage!" and the array of LEDs will flash, and this time in red. While I don't like the accessory's jarring fit, I have to credit the switch in LED colour - they've done it well. If you press the logo button while the Headmaster is attached, the ownage callout will activate.

   The poseability here is okay - Bulkhead's unusual shape inevitably limits some joints. His head rotates a little, but only because of that gimmick, and only to the right. His shoulder swing and lift out to the sides - both joints are ratcheting joints and both are loud and firm. His elbows hinge inwards and have rotators above them. His wrists are fixed, which makes sense with those slider gimmicks present. His waist is fixed while his hips swing and lift out to the sides - again using loud and firm ratcheting joints, while the knees are hinged (more loud ratchets) and rotate. The feet fold back, and incorporate built in heelspurs.

   A very good robot mode and while it's not quite as feature packed as some flagship toys, this Bulkhead toy's features all _work_, so it's a good toy. He's short for a leader, but massive enough and the shape works in it's way, and suits the character well. His poseability and colours are what you'd hope for from this toy - the poseability is good and not too hampered while the colours are simple but effective. The Headmaster is a unique and somewhat strange accessory, but it's done thoughtfully.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   A satisfyingly complex toy for a Leader, despite simple colours, this toy feels like better value at his pricepoint that the Voyager and makes good use of the sizelcass for this character. Both modes work and the proportions in robot mode are what you'd hope for from this character. While that wont suit everyone, those seeking the character should be pretty happy. His transformation is clever without being difficult and the electronics don't hold Bulkhead back. I'd recommend this over the Voyager if you can afford it - 8.5/10

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