Simon Furman has a lot to answer for. I guess most of the General Public have never heard of him, or his crimes, but everyone in Transformer fandom certainly has. You see Simon Furman wrote a great deal of the Transformers comics in the 80s (and plenty more since). He was pretty good at it too. Actually that's a lie - some of the best comics I've ever read were written by Simon Furman, writing a comic that none of the Powers That Be really cared about as long as it was out there advertising toys.
Hasbro didn't really care much about what Furman wrote, beyond an insistence that any new toys they were making featured in the story. Most licensed comics of the time were not very good and the writers generally didn't seem to care much either. But not Furman. He created sweeping epics, with detailed characterisation. He made you care about this bunch of robots and their adventures.
Which is all well and good, but. Which brings me onto his toy-related crimes...
The characters Furman liked to write about best weren't always the most commonly available ones to buy in the shops. Grimlock, sure. But Nightbeat? Thunderwing?
These figures were, to be completely fair, not particularly good toys. But thanks to Furman writing amazing stories about them they now command stupid prices on the secondary market.
Possibly top of Furman's favourites was Bludgeon. Thanks to Furman's stories Bludgeon soon became my favourite Transformer. Of course I didn't have him back in the 80s, which meant I faced the dreaded ebay to get hold of him.
Thankfully I did this about five years ago and not today. At that time I saw him on sale for £40, went 'ooo, that's a bit pricey but...hmm...alright I'll do it!'
Today you can slap another £100 onto that price. Eep.
And it's all down to Furman as he made Bludgeon a favourite with almost everyone else who read the 80s comic too.
Bludgeon is a Pretender, which means that he's a little transforming robot inside a large plastic shell. The shell, in the case of Bludgeon, is a sort of samurai skeleton. He comes with a little hat. I mention the little hat to soften the blow that toy-Bludgeon looks no where near as cool as comic-Bludgeon.
Inside the shell is a little green and maroon robot. He's a bit basic, to say the least. His transformation is incredibly simple, even by 80s standards (swing his legs round and push his head down). The tank is...well, you can tell it's a tank but it's not great.
But it is Bludgeon. And Bludgeon is awesome. So stunningly awesome is the character that any deficiencies in the toy really don't matter. I love him to bits.
Sadly, so does my 5yo. It's at times like this that I think hard about going back on my rule that 'toys are meant to be played with'. For while Bludgeon is pretty sturdy, there are a few little pieces that can get lost and, well, it's a pretty darn expensive toy now. If Bludgeon breaks, I won't be getting another one.
I have impressed on my 5yo from an early age the importance of Expensive and so, generally, he takes care of such things. He does take care when playing with Bludgeon and so while Bludgeon doesn't live in the regular toy box, my 5yo is allowed to play with him whenever he likes.
I just have panic attacks when his non-trained friends come over...