Series: Animated It's hard not to like Bulkhead. Despite being huge and strong, he's the kindest, most gentle of the Autobots, and he always has other people's best interests at heart. He's also a klutz. That's why it's so terrifying when the Headmaster takes over his body. Bulkhead regularly engages in wholesale property damage purely by accident. With the Headmaster in charge of his body, will anyone be able to stop the tide of destruction?
The first thing one notices about Bulkhead's robot mode is that it's big. And seeing as that was the main problem of the Voyager version
of this character, that's a pretty good start. As a Leader-class figure Bulkhead is still not as big as he should be in comparison to the Deluxe-class figures, but at least he now does tower over them by a significant margin. So one problem solved.
Leaving comparisons aside, Bulkhead is also a very good-looking robot. The basic look and feel of the Animated cartoon character has been captured nicely. He has the same bulky torso, short and stubby legs, the clawed arms, and the big-jawed head. Nicely done. The head could probably sit a little lower on his torso to enhance that 'hunchback' look, but that's just a minor detail. So look-wise I find very little to complain about.
Bulkhead's posability is also pretty good. The legs are as posable as stubby legs can be, the arms can move in all possible directions, and you can even fold down the 'wings' on Bulkhead's back as he did in one episode of Animated to form himself a chair. The only limitation here is that Bulkhead's head can only turn to the left and doesn't really stay in that position, either, as it's part of his voice gimmick.
Which brings me to my one big gripe about this figure: The gimmicks. The voice gimmick is pretty good, no complaints there. Three sentences spoken by the original voice actor are played when you press the Autobot symbol on his chest. "Time for the Big Guns.", "Sorry, my bad." and "Let's do it, buddy!". There is a fourth sentence included that can only be heard when Bulkhead is taken over by the Headmaster (see below).
The other gimmicks Bulkhead features in robot mode are a buzzsaw on his right hand, which can be made to spin via a lever on his forearm, as well as twin missile launchers on each forearm. Also, his left arm features a lever as well, which causes his clawed hand to open. Now don't get me wrong, all these gimmicks are fine and nicely implemented. The problem is, they're the wrong gimmicks. Bulkhead never had missile launchers in the cartoon and if he ever had a buzzsaw, I don't remember it. His major feature, though, the wrecking ball, is completely absent here. I get that they probably wanted this figure to be somewhat different from the Voyager version, but why leave out one of Bulkhead's main characteristics?
So all in all, a very nice robot mode, but with one major point against it for getting the gimmicks wrong.
Bulkhead transforms into a kind of military armoured transport vehicle, not sure what it's called. It's basically a big green brick on wheels, but it does look pretty good and all the robot parts fold away nicely. The one major difference between Leader Bulkhead and the Voyager version
is that Bulkhead's robot head doesn't flip down into the inside of the torso. Rather it is covered by a kind of helmet that serves as a small gun turret on top of the vehicle. I don't really have a problem with that, but it is another deviation from the cartoon counterpart.
The same problem present in the robot mode persists here. The missile launchers are now on the sides of the vehicle and while they do look good there and can even be turned to fire upwards or backwards, I once again wonder what they're doing here in the first place. Bulkhead's vehicle mode in the cartoon doesn't feature any armaments.
I can't really say all that much more about the vehicle mode. It's good, it's solid, but once again one has to ask why the designers felt the need to include features and gimmicks not seen in the cartoon.
Partners / Add-Ons:
In one episode of the cartoon Bulkhead got his head cut off and his body was then taken over by the Headmaster, a juvenile madman who built a flying head-unit that could control all kinds of robots. This Headmaster unit is included with Bulkhead. You don't have to cut off Bulky's head, though, the Headmaster fits over it like a helmet.
While I don't particularly like the look of this replacement head, it is very close to the cartoon counterpart and features a special added sound effect. Pressing on Bulkhead's Autobot symbol now produces one of the Headmaster's favourite lines: "Ownage! Total Ownage!". The Headmaster helmet can also be used with Leader Megatron
, though without any added sound effects there. We'll see if it fits on Leader-class Ultra Magnus as well.
Bulkhead is the strongman of the Earth-based Autobots and pretty much the largest Autobot of them all (not counting Omega Supreme). He's also the most gentle and kind and he's got the soul of an artist. He loves painting (even though it's not easy with his huge claw hands) and he's also considered the number one authority on space bridges, even though most of his fellows can't quite believe it. So to sum it up, Bulkhead is an all-around nice guy. At least as long as you're on his good side.
As a figure Leader-class Bulkhead has his good sides and his bad ones. In terms of scale he's much more compatible with the other Animated figures than the Voyager version
, but he does lose some points in terms of gimmicks and some details. The best Bulkhead would probably be a fusion between the two versions, but if I were forced to choose, I guess the Leader-class version would win by a very tiny margin, mostly because I like to have my various figures in scale to each other if at all possible. Still, considering that most of Bulkhead's problems could easily have been avoided, I can't award him more than a good B.
Since quite a few people have asked to see a picture of the "chair mode", here it is: Bulkhead is sitting down: