Regular readers of this site know that I’m a big Transformers fan. But the actual transforming doesn’t do anything for me. I like the robots. I like the way that they look and I like the personalities they’ve been given in the comics, cartoons and other media. I really couldn’t care less that Optimus Prime turns into a truck. I found it such a pain in the ass as a kid to change all of the robots into vehicles so that they could drive from their bases to the battlefield only to change them all back into robots for the fight. I preferred quick and simple transformations over complicated ones but unfortunately simple transformations lead to simple, stiff, and blocky toys. This is why my Transformer collection remains in robot mode at all times. I don’t know if there are fans out there who display them as vehicles but that just seems bizarre to me. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been a car guy. I’m 35 and I still don’t have a driver’s license. My ideal line of Transformer toys would be cartoon accurate, super posable non-transforming figures. Some of those do exist out there but I’d like to see a complete line constructed that way so that I could get all of my old favorites; not just the 3 or 4 most popular characters.
I should specify, before I condemn all alt modes, that I do tend to like the transformers who change into animals. The Dinobots, Predacons, and Insecticons just wouldn’t be the same if they were stuck in their robot forms. I guess I saw those as two toys in one, and I never really felt that way about the vehicle bots because I never cared about the cars. Oddly enough I never cared for the Beast Wars series of Transformers. I think I was a little too old when that series came about and I was already set in my Generation 1, 2D animated ways.
Then of course there was another class of Transformers altogether, the ones that turned into household items. There were Transformers who turned into tape decks, hand guns, cameras, and microscopes. I used to have a knock-off Transformer who turned into a working watch. One of the most popular Transformers that turned into an object was Blaster, whose alt mode was a ghetto blaster. He was the Autobots answer to the Decepticon’s Soundwave who transformed into a Walkman. They made for excellent foils as not only were they enemies but so were the multitude of transforming cassette tapes housed in their chests. Rewind and Eject faced off against Rumble and Frenzy, while Steeljaw and Ramhorn could take on Ravage and Ratbat. Having a robot that transformed into a cassette player would have been pretty sweet in the 80s if it was able to play real cassettes, but Blaster and Soundwave couldn’t. Therefore they just seemed kind of weird. There was never any good reason for Blaster to change into his ghetto blaster mode when playing and even if there was it seemed ridiculous to have a stereo bigger than a dump truck. Transformers writers have tried their best to explain away the whacked out scale of Transformer toys by creating concepts like “parts compression” and “mass conversion” but there’s no denying that the scale issues were distracting. So as much as I nostalgically love Blaster as a ghetto blaster, he really needed a change, especially considering how outdated cassette players are now.
This version of Blaster was released by Hasbro very recently. In my opinion it’s the first decent version of the character we’ve received since the 1985 original. My brother Doug owned the original when we were kids so this is my very first Blaster. I was stoked to finally own one as he’s been a favorite of mine ever since he first showed up in the Marvel comic back in 1986. His story from issues 17 and 18 was the first time that the writers ventured from Earth to Cybertron to tell a tale of Autobots who didn’t leave their home planet on the Arc. It was a great read that introduced an awesome new villain in Straxus.
This figure is primarily made up of the previously released Soundwave from the “Fall Cybertron” toy line, inspired by the G1-centric video game series. I quite liked that version of Soundwave because it retained all of the iconic elements of his vintage robot mode even though he now transformed into a more practical Cybertronian tank/car thing. The mold works well as Blaster too. The designers have tweaked it just enough to keep it from looking like a straight repaint. Blaster features a brand new head as well as a new chest piece which is reminiscent of his classic boom box chest.
I really like this new head. He got a humanoid face with his big yellow goggles on his forehead. In the early Marvel appearances he had big yellow eyes like this and I believe this is the first time that they’re shown to be googles that he can lift off of his face. The goggles on the figure unfortunately are not adjustable.
The colors are well done here and are pretty close to his original red, yellow and gray design. The figure is very posable and can be displayed in several positions, the polar opposite of the stiff original. This version, like Soundwave, turns a Cybertronian tank and I’m fine with that. The robot mode is a decent approximation of his 80s robot mode and that’s all I really care about. The tank looks pretty cool from the pictures I’ve seen but I’ve never transformed my Blaster and likely never will.
Blaster came packaged with a laser rifle which resembles the electro-scrambler gun that came with the original which I very much appreciate. He also came with a new version of Steeljaw the lion who still fits in his chest but now turns into an info disc (a circle, basically). The Steeljaw is pretty weak but he makes for a nice freebie I suppose. Overall I think this is a great new version of an underused classic Transformers character. 8 out of 10.