Posted February 11, 2012 at 1:40 am
When news hit that most of the "First Edition" toys weren't gonna be making it into the United States, I was out a Bulkhead (and some other things).  A day or so later, Big Bad Toy Store put up a preorder for a restock of the Takara figure.  I threw that into my stash, sort of hoping I'd find an alternative in the meantime.  But the preorder got restocked sooner than I thought it might (it's February already???) and now I have a Japanese Bulkhead.

Given the choice, I would have gone for the American version.  I think its lighter, oliver green looks more accurate, and I was afraid the shiny finish would stand out too much from my other figures.  In person, I don't mind the darker, more forest green as much as I'd feared.  It's not ideal, but it's not as conspicuous as the sparkly gold Takara Animated Bumblebee I have.  (Eep.)

The toy itself is crazy, possibly in an awesome way.  Bulkhead transforms from a pretty small SUV for a Voyager Class toy into a huge ball of a robot.  It's like he explodes into something twice his mass.  (So probably exactly what he does in the cartoon.)  Part of this is because the robot mode compresses as much as possible into vehicle mode.  I don't think there's a sizable gap anywhere inside.  And the transformation unwinds the vehicle into this multidirectional ticker tape of plastic which reassembles into the surface area of a torso with limbs.  Bulkhead's got a spine back there, but most of his gut is empty air.  The way the panels form the torso's surface area is amazing.  Everything goes where it should according to the animation, with doors on top of panels on top of other panels, but the animation makes it look implausible.  And yet here we are.

That Arcee should probably be about half-again as tall, but the Deluxe is taller than Bulkhead.

It is not a simple toy.  Its complexity approaches the event horizon of Oh My God Why, but pulls back just short of being an annoying mess.  My awe in its engineering manages to eclipse any potential rage.  I'm not sure exactly where that particular threshold is, but this toy really skirts it.  Well, maybe flirts with it is more accurate.  Its complexity is playful.

Which is all heartbreaking, because I want to recommend the toy, but it's not an easy toy to come by.  I hope it gets released somewhere for cheap so others can share my infatuation.

And hopefully by then there'll be a Miko to buy to hang out with him.