Cliffbee.com: TFU Blastcharge Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Blastcharge
Series: Transformers Universe
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Missile Truck

Thanks to Dave Van Domelen for supplying me with Blastcharge



TRUCK MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 13cm Width: 8cm

   A black six-wheeled armoured truck with silver camouflage patterns (identical to the red patterns on the original) and dark purple tyres with rough tread. Blastcharge looks more like a tank than a truck, since there is a turret mounted at the back of the vehicle rather than a straight missile launcher. Still, there's an armoured cabin cabin at the front, so there are armoured truck aspects here also. The front section has some silver paint where the original was covered in chrome - so while they dispensed with the chrome at least the paintmask is different. There's some grey plastic and the missiles are transparent blue along with small windows on the front which are quite easy to miss. The Hubcaps are silver. This colour scheme is both striking and strikingly different from that of the Vehicon on which this toy is based. I actually prefer it to that of the original - not something I can say for most Universe toys.

   The level of detail here is pretty good, which is to be expected of a Vehicon mould. The sculpt of the front section really gives the impression of this being one tough vehicle - and the small windows reinforce this. The bumper, turret and tyres are also quite detailed. The only spot which is relatively bare is a grey and transparent block on the back of his turret which is the robot head - it's not meant to grab your eye in this mode. This block is more visible than it was in Beast Machines - the price of an added lightpipe. Incidentally there's a small Decepticon logo stamped where the front license plate would go if he were street legal. It's small and easy to miss, but is a very nice touch.

   There's a lot of play value here for a deluxe. The turret can turn right around, and there's a little wheel at the back which will cause it to turn in the opposite direction (there's obviously a gearing mechanism inside the toy). His turret also lifts up and holds three missiles. The two missiles on either side sit in storage holes while the central missile fires courtesy of a small purple button on top of the turret - which is a lighter purple that the tyres. I'm impressed they used two purple colours here - they're close enough to work together yet show that someone cared about this repaint. It's almost a shame the Transformers: Universe line stops with this toy just as they started to get things right.

   The wheels all turn, and will happily roll on a surface with some traction (although being plastic they don't do so well on flat tables). There's a silver button just behind the chromed front section which will pop forward about 2cm when the button is pressed. There's a joint in the connection, allowing Blastcharge to bend around corners now, which is pretty spiffy.

   On the whole Blastcharge's truck mode is a lot of fun - lots of play value, good colours and great detailing make an excellent deluxe. The only real drawback is a tendency for the two sets of wheels on the back section to detach and flop around a little. But this is easily offset by all the positives here. As I've already stated, I prefer this colour scheme to the original's, although I'll concede that the purple tyres are a little strange. This doesn't bother me, mind you - it's not like he's a real truck.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Extend the front, detach the rear wheels and swing forward. Lift the arms out from underneath and rotate the front and back. Fold the front underneath the toy to become the backpack and swing the turret up to become his chest. Lift up and rotate the head, lift up the front wheels to form shoulderpads and clip on the backpack. The rear wheels contort to become his legs, with the support struts as thighs and the tyres themselves pile on top of one another as shins, while the feet and heelspurs flip out from the rearmost hubcaps.

   This is actually a rather involved transformation for a deluxe, and while there's nothing difficult it takes a while and certain things need to be done in the right order. There's an official third mode, a Wheeled Robot mode which is little more that the robot mode with legs still folded up as wheels.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13cm Width: 10cm

   Again black and purple with extensive grey. The torso is mainly black with the transparent blue missiles that protrude from his chest very prominent. The head, thighs, feet and forearms are grey while the dark purple tyres are very noticeable as shins and shoulderpads. The lighter purple is visible on his shoulders and hips and there are splashes of orange paint on his head, chest and groin. His face has blue eyes with a working lightpipe that the original lacked.

   This is probably one of the most distinctive and unusual robot modes the Transformers toyline has seen. With a giant missile rack sticking out on his chest (that puts Warpath to shame) and tyres for shins, Blastcharge is unmistakable. He does end up with a strange bodyshape, including legs that attach to the sides of his hips (like those of reptiles) and the impressive rack, but the overall look is so unusual and powerful that the shape isn't at all a liability.

   There's nice play value here again. The hips allow the legs to swing back and forth, as well as lift out to the sides. The head turns while the shoulders are ball jointed and the elbows hinged. You can detach two of the missiles for use as clubs (they work very well as clubs, too), while the missile in the centre can still fire. The missile rack no longer lifts up - well not without popping the head off. For some reason there are springs inside the lower tyres on his shins (the ankles, I guess), allowing Blastcharge to bounce up and down.

   Blastcharge does have his shortcomings here. There's nothing stopping the lower wheels from spinning, and when they do the feet move around with them. On the one hand this does mean he can stand in a "spread toes" stance, which looks very natural, on the other hand the feet spin out of place easily. The missile rack is a pretty menacing weapon, but there's no option to fold it out of the way, which would have been nice.

   Despite the problems, this is still a fun robot mode with a lot of detail and some standout features that make Blastcharge a great display piece. Granted, if you hate the missile rack or the tyre theme this robot mode is likely to annoy you, but as intentional features both work well. The tyres don't stand out as much now, since they're dark on a dark toy, which could be good or bad depending on how you look at it. The added lightpipe is a definite plus, mind you.

VARIATIONS

   None that I know of.

OVERALL

   Probably my favourite repaint in the entire Transformers: Universe line, and he's the last gasp of that failed line. Both modes are good and the blue plastic brings something the original lacked. A repaint of a good toy that's both markedly different and appealing in it's own right, this is one Universe toy I'd recommend even if you have the original (and strongly recommend if you missed it) - 8/10

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