The final released figure in the Machine Robo Devil Invaders subset was Baldas (though several other prototypes were made, finding their way into the last year of Gobots for the large part). The original Japanese version was red with silver wings. The figure was recoloured purple for the American release as Bladez. As with Creepy, the same name was used for the European release.

Unlike Creepy, Bladez arrived too late on the scene to get into the cartoon (possibly because the monster/mutant Gobots were largely established as creations of the Master Renegade, and having another one stashed away who hadn't bothered showing his face would have stretched credibility - oh, who am I kidding, they just got canned first). However, the Japanese version did show up in the Revenge of Cronos anime series, with the original figure being reissued for the tie-in line).


ALTERNATE MODE

Bladez' alt mode has got me bloody stumped. All the other monster Gobots just about turn into something that can be put into words, even if that word is 'rubbish'. Bladez turns into a sort of winged, two-legged crab-thing. It does look pretty nasty whatever it is, thanks to some excellent detail work - the spiky plates all over the wings, for example, suggests this is a weird thing best avoided.

However, the thing does look a lot like a folded-up robot - Bladez' arms and head are undisguised, used as the arms and head of whatever he turns into, while the obvious legs don't exactly blend in. The latter also work loose at the hip pretty easily due to the diecast thighs wearing down their plastic housings, and the things fall outwards a lot then, meaning his alternate mode looks even more like something someone made up in thirty seconds flat. The overall impression is that someone made a evil-looking robot, threw it at a wall and decided that the result would do as an alternate mode.


ROBOT MODE

Obviously these faults mean the transformation is pretty simple - just change the orientation of the head and arms, fold down the legs and move the wings around to his back, and you're there. Thankfully, the robot mode is a little more impressive. You can tell it's meant to be a robot, for one.

Bladez does look very unpleasant though, with good proportions. The head design and claw-like hands work well, as do the well-sculpted legs. The paint apps work nicely, blending with the main colour scheme, and it's nice to have some unpainted metal on display. Once again, there's a lot of excellent detail work on display. What really makes him fun, though, is the excellent articulation - three points on each arm, two on each leg. He's a little short of balance, but can still strike a bit of a menacing pose. He can look like he's performing an opera, too, which is always amusing.


SUMMARY

Bladez is a difficult one. He makes quite a fun robot that displays very well thanks to some remarkable articulation. However, Gobots really should be a bit more balanced - a bland alt mode, like that of Scratch or Block Head, can be compensated for by a great robot mode, but I really do feel these things should transform into something, anything. Bladez doesn't feel like a transforming robot, he feels like a toy robot that can fold up a bit.


THE FACTS
[Corrections? Let me know!]

RELEASES:
1985, Machine Robo Devil Invaders Series - MRD-104: Baldas (red version)
1986, Gobots Series 3 - 59: Bladez (purple recolour)
1986, Robo Machine - RM-60: Bladez
1986, Machine Robo Revenge of Cronos - MRGD-4: Baldas (red version)

PARTS:
None

WEAK POINTS:
Hips, shoulders, wings