Monday, 13 December 2010

Power Core Combiners Sledge & Throttler

Power Core Combiner Sledge

Power Core Combiner Sledge is an excavator. He isn't the first Sledge to be a construction vehicle: The Micromaster, Energon & Classics toys with the same name have all been Decepticon Construction vehicles. His main colour is a dull yellow with black used for the tracks and most of the excavator arm and some patches of a dark purple. One end of the vehicle has a pair of shovels with a narrow gap between them through which can be lowered a spinning buzzsaw. Or should be lowered.... the buzzsaw mounting is attached to the stiffest joint I've ever seen on a transformer. At the same end of the vehicle, but off to one side is the driver's cab complete with a black Minicon post in the roof. On the other end of the vehicle is it's Excavator arm which bends at the base, mid point and at the end where it's connected to the shovel which this time points towards the toy. I've always thought the shovel on Energon Steamhammer looks odd facing away from the vehicle. There's another Minicon post mounted on the back of the shovel which allows you to attach Throttler's drill mode. Two of the Power Core connector cubes can be found at this end of the vehicle with the other two forming part of the suspension between the tracks and the rest of the vehicle.

Transform: Split the shovel bucket and arm in two down the middle and fold each half out to the sides via a joint mid way down the vehicle. Fold the tracks back behind the vehicle to form the legs and fold the shovels up to form the feet. Fold the cab to one side, then fold the buzz saw forward and down into the body bringing the head up out of the vehicle. Fold the cab back over then clip the crane arms onto the side of the vehicle to form the robot arms. Stand with the top of the vehicle facing forward. Rotate the arms at the bicep joint so that the yellow panel behind the shoulder is rotated round to the side of it. Fold the end halves of the shovel arm up pinning them to the elbow. The elbow is then turned 90 degrees to each side so that the shovel sits beside or covers each shoulder.

Sledge's robot mode mainly uses the same colours as the vehicle: the legs are black, formed from the treads, as are the centre of the chest, the head and shoulders. We get a little more purple in this mode one the forearms and hands. The shovel halves and their arms have ended up alongside the robot's arms. These can then be folded down to cover the forearms and folded round so the act as shovel hands. His articulation includes bending ankles & knees, thigh swivel, universal hip, ball jointed head & shoulders, bicep swivel & ball jointed elbow. His head is reminiscent of Robots in Disguise Megatron with a pair of panels folded out to each side. The ball joint for Sledge's head is quite small and the head can pop off easily especially when you're trying to bend the joint that's attached to the buzz-saw's mounting. One of the Power Core combination cubes is mounted on each shoulder while the remaining two each form a heel spur. He's got two Mini-con hard posts in this mode, one on the end of the shovel, the other on the cab mounted on the right of the chest. Attaching Throttler in drill mode to this chest peg does result in something a little suggestive (Nipple drill mode!). Fortunately the buzz-saw in the chest can be folded back a bit and the cab folded out to form a slightly arched panel over the chest with a Mini-con post in the centre, which is a much better configuration for mounting Throttler's impressive chest armour. Sledge's hands are useless for holding Throttler by his post. In my opinion *any* toy with a Mini-con should have 5mm peg hole hands but Hasbro doesn't share this view. However there is a 5mm peg hole under each wrist that allows Throttler (or another Minicon) to be mounted under the hand.

Like all the other Power Core Commanders, Sledge has the ability to covert to a torso mode and combine with drone limbs. Start by folding the control cab out across the chest. Close the flaps over the face on the head and turn the head 180 degree to reveal the newly exposed combined mode head complete with visor, face plate and horns. It's one of the few combined mode heads that looks small enough to be used with the smaller individual robot. The shoulder and the Power Core connectors cube on each side are mounted on a piece that rotates round a diagonal cut joint. Turn this to swap the position of the Power Core connector cube and the arms. Rotate the arms so they point backwards and then fold the shovels forward to cover the smaller robot's shoulders. Raise the upper leg diagonally to the side. Turn at the thigh so the silver side of the vehicle tread faces forwards. Straighten the knee at the usual knee joint and then fold down at a second knee bellow the first. Fold the shovel out to the sides, fold the Power Core connector cube down and then rotate the entire bottom of the foot so the shovel faces out the front. From this point attach drone limbs of your choice: I'm using the Combaticons because I only have the wave 1 5-packs and I don't like the Aerialbots ! We get an industrial looking robot with turning shoulders, albeit ones that sometimes cause the cut joints to move, universal hips , bending knees and a swivel bellow the knee.

Overall: Decent robot and vehicle mode, OK torso mode albeit with one where the arms could be a little further from the body to allow decent clearance from the legs. Factor in a superb Mini-con and you're onto a winner.

I would have placed money on Sledge being recoloured green and being made the centre of the new Steamhammer & Constructicons 5-pack but it appears as if Steamhammer is an all new mould. Nevertheless I expect to see Sledge in Constructicon Green at some stage as a repaint and I look forward to trying either version with the Constructicon drones as limbs.

Power Core Combiner Mini-Con Throttler

Throttler is a purple Mini-con robot that's supplied with the Power Core Combiner commander Sledge, who's a yellow excavator. Throttler is a clear purple Mini-con who has a black head and upper limbs and a painted silver face. There's a Mini-con port dead centre on his chest,and if you look closely from the top you'll see that his head is a Mini-con post which will allow you to have some fun. I've already mounted Chainclaw, Icepick's Mini-con on it in weapons mode to give Throttler a missile launcher head :-) There's some nice moulded detail on the toy including the hands inside the parts that form the arms. The lower legs are at something of an angle and point forward when going from foot to knee and gives him pointed knee caps. His articulation is tip top, with ball joints at the elbows, shoulders & hip, a thigh swivel and bending knee. These last two joints could have been combined if Hasbro had given him ball jointed knees too.

To convert Throttler into armour mode, fold the lower legs back 180 degrees at the knees so the lower legs cover the upper ones. Point each leg diagonally out to the sides then turn the Mini-con over and round so it's back is facing you and it's head points down. Fold the arms up so they now run diagonally under the underside of the legs. Pin onto Sledge (or any of the other commander figures) using the chest mounted Mini-con port with the larger robot's head looking out through the V formed by the legs.

This is probably the best of the Mini-con armour modes that I've seen so far, really works for me giving the impression of being some sort of jagged electrical bolt mounted on the larger robot.

To transform into weapons mode, fold the lower legs back 180 degrees at the knees so the lower legs cover the upper ones. Twist each leg round at the thigh swivel so that what was the open front of the folded up leg now faces inwards. Fold both legs back at the hip and bring them together - there's a small tab at the bottom which has a slot it fits in to to hold both parts loosely together. Fold each arm back and slide the tab on each arm into the slot on the flat surface of each leg.

What you get out the end is a clear purple drill. And it's the work of genius: a multi faceted cone that looks convincing as what it's meant to be. Any robot with a 5mm peg hole hand can hold Throttler as a hand weapon but since the back of the drill is the robot's chest complete with Mini-con port he can be mounted on any decent facing Mini-con peg. There's one on Sledge's shovel that allows Sledge to use him in vehicle mode as a drill attachment. Our old friend and favourite Armada toy Hoist was to hand when I opened Sledge and Throttler and quickly appropriated Throttler to peg onto the Minicon port on the inside of his fist. And of course any of the Power Core Commanders can attach him to their chest port to use him as a chest mounted drill. It was at this point I tried to turn Throttler figuring that if he's a drill he might as well go round when mounted on a Mini-Con post. Turns out the post fitted a bit tightly but Throttler still turned thanks to a pivot mounted between the chest and the rest of the body. So while the chest stayed still the rest of the toy, now the drill, span.

Overall: What a superb Minicon! Looks good in a robot mode which is full of articulation, is a decent armour mode and while, compared to some of the earlier Power Core Minicons, he only has one weapons mode is a good one that works, has some functioning articulation and is appropriate to the toy it's initially packed with. Superb stuff. Longarm is feeling that his "Best Minicon" status is threatened!

I fully expect a repaint to show up later packed with a different toy.

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