Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Power Core Steamhammer & Constructicons


Construction vehicles combiners have been a Transformers staple since 1985's Constructicons. So it's no surprise to see a Power Core Version. In fact the name Steamhammer has been used before on Constructicons: Steamhammer was the leader of the Energon Constructicons.

Steamhammer is a tracked bulldozer, like the original Bonecrusher. Mainly neon green in colour he has black tracks and a grey elevating shovel. On the top of his control cabin is a Minicon port allowing you to augment him with the smaller Minicons - Mine's been using Chopster as a cannon, turning him into a tank.

Transformation: Pull the cab up, then fold the front of the tracks out to the sides. Pull the rear of the sides back and in to form the legs - excessive force may be required as they are quite firmly attached in place under the bulldozer. Fold the legs down under the bulldozer, the Power Core Blocks back as heel spurs, and fold the front of the legs forward as feet. Rotate the knees in 90 degrees so the legs bend in the right direction and then turn the lower leg back so that the feet face forward again. Split the cab in two and fold out to the sides then down as arms. Reach into his back and slide up the grey tab to raise his head, which then needs to be pulled into position. Fold the front track halves against the shovel then fold the shovel down onto the robot's back. Raise the tracks up as guns.
Fold the claws up under his hands.

Our robot is mainly neon green but with black lower legs, waist and chest. He feels very slight compared with the other Power Core commanders, with a large part of his mass being made up of the shovel which is now on his back, and he's dwarfed by Sledge, another Decepticon construction vehicle Power Core Commander. The head looks like it's designed to be lightpiped but isn't, with a square piece inserted in the back of the head but in the same colour as the rest of the head. Articulation is good with a swivel above and bellow the bending knee, restricted ball jointed hips, ball jointed arms, swivelling biceps and bending elbows. The hands are 5mm peg holes sunk right through so he can hold Chopster's axe mode, but he lacks a chest Minicon port to use any of the armour modes. In fact the only Minicon port in this mode is found on the back of his left elbow which is possibly the worst placed Minicon port ever. He's got a pair of claws under each hand which give him a little bit of a Wolverine look.

To form Steamhammer's combined robot mode start by bending the arms and swinging them back 180 degrees at the bicep. Fold the shovel forward so it covers the robot's shoulders revealing the combined mode head stuck to the underside. Fold the arms back till the claws lock onto the back of the shoulders. Fold the legs up to the sides so the clips on the side of the upper legs lock onto the waist as the do in vehicle mode. Fold the chest plate down to cover the waist. Bend the knees back, and then rotate down at the thigh so the lower legs points down. Fold the Power Core connector blocks down under the legs, and rotate the lower legs in 90 degrees.

Although Steamhammer's core torso mode can be used with any drones he's most suited to the Constructicon Drones which come with him:

Drill Drone: A grey tracked vehicle with a drill arm on the font. The drill can be pointed straight a head or bent downwards so it's drilling in front of the vehicle. A Minicon port is found on top of the cab. Push the back of the vehicle onto a shoulder Power Core Block and he transforms into an arm which then needs the thumb folded out. The arm has a moveable wrist.

Front End Loader Drone: An orange tracked vehicle with a ramp on the front, a moveable scooping arm above it and a conveyor belt leading back from the ramp. Minicon port on the cab roof again. Push him onto a shoulder port and he becomes an arm, again with a fold out thumb.

Plow Drone: The plow drone is off white, with a grey shovel and painted green roof atop which is his Minicon port. Fold the plow up and plug him into a leg mounted Power Core block to form a combined robot leg.

Steamroller Drone: I'm not sure there's ever been a Transformers Steamroller before. In fact I think all these drones are vehicles new to Transformers. We have a yellow vehicle with rear wheels and a large black roller at the front. A Minicon port is mounted towards the rear of the vehicle. He too turns into a leg.

Steamhammer's combined mode works. The common construction theme running through the toys helps of course. The Torso is transformed from the smaller robot with the new upper body being provided by the back of the shovel with a new neon green head with triangular eye occupying the entire face which again looks like it should have a functioning lightpipe, maybe it will on the single carded repaint? Unlike virtually all the other 5-pack commanders, Steamhammer has a fold out Minicon port on his chest that lets him wear Minicons in armour mode, thought mine's currently using Throttler's drill mode. His articulation consists of turning shoulders that raise up to the sides, turning hips, a thigh swivel and bending knee.

My one real complaint here involves turning the toy back to robot mode, and it's the same problem that afflicts Steamhammer moving from vehicle to robot: the smaller robot's thighs are locked round his waist. Excessive force is required to release them which usually results in the thigh swivel coming to bits - "helpfully" the open side of the thigh swivel points down here meaning it's easier for the joint to come apart than the leg to unlock!

Fine toy, better than most Power Core combiners. The only problem is he pales beside his case mate Grimstone, who is superb.


I suspect the drones in this set will rematerialise with a repaint of Sledge, possibly all in a coherent green. The Steamhammer core I see being repacked as a single figure, with one of the other Minicons in with it probably in either yellow like Movie Rampage or red like NEST Rampage.

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