Cliffbee.com: Constructor Squad Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Constructor Squad
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticons
Function: Battlefield Fortification
Components: Stonecruncher, Excavator, Sledge, Hammer, Grit, Knockout



Stonecruncher

CRANE MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 4.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A boxy yellow crane, Stonecruncher has dark grey windows, four black tyres and a red crane arm with a light grey base. The crane arm is a single piece, which can lift up and down on it's rotating base. The hook faces forward, which is unusual for a Transformer crane. On his own, Stonecruncher is a fully functional vehicle, although he's quite short for a crane. The yellow really works for him, even if such a light colour scheme is a little unusual for a Decepticon.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Rotate the cabin to form his boots, stand him up and pose his arms, if desired.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 2.5cm

   Again boxy, Stonecruncher has yellow arms and boots, an orange chest and head, a red face and light grey thighs. Ugh, the red hides any facial detail, and you hardly see it against the orange backdrop anyway. Excavator got a light grey face, Knockout and Hammer scored yellow, so why couldn't Stonecruncher have a lighter face? Granted, the facial detail is very simple, but it's simply a slightly-darker patch, rather than a discernible face. The rear wheels are on his arms, the kneecaps are the dark grey windshield.

   Poseability is limited to his arms swinging up and down, making for a fairly uninteresting robot mode. Factoring in the face, this is a disappointing robot mode.

OVERALL

   A nice crane mode, on it's it's probably the best of the set, but the robot mode's ruined by the red face. A worthwhile part of the set nonetheless - 5/10

Excavator

CRANE HALF MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 5cm Width: 2.5cm

   Like Stonecruncher, Excavator is a boxy yellow with a red crane arm, but he lacks the cabin. He's little more than a box with a crane arm sticking out the back, with a connecting hinge nestled into the box itself, which means it can only lift up and down. Like his partner Excavator has four black tyres and a hook that faces outwards. This isn't really a self contained vehicle - Excavator is best when combined with Stonecruncher (or another front half).

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold over the front, connecting part of the box, to form his boots. Stand him up and position his arms. If you like, you have the option of swinging the crane arm down so it's not visible in robot mode, although he looks better with it visible.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm Width: 2.5cm

   Like Stonecruncher, Excavator has yellow arms and boots, as well as light grey thighs. His chest and head are violet, while his face is white with a moulded nose and mouth, both of which come out quite well. Additionally, the chest is fairly detailed although it's largely lost on the violet plastic. The red hook sits above his head, and makes for a rather nifty feature in my opinion, but you can get rid of it if you like.

   The arms swing at the shoulders and I suppose you could hang stuff from the hook (rings and stuff). That's really it for his play value here. This is a good robot mode for a combiner, even if they combining pegs are on his boots. The colours work well, much better than those of his partner.

OVERALL

   So Excavator got the better vehicle mode, but Stonecruncher has a better robot mode. The vehicle mode really needs to be combined, but the robot mode is nifty all on it's own - 6/10

STONECRUNCHER & EXCAVATOR COMBINED
Length: 9.5cm Height: 2.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A long boxy yellow crane truck with a poseable red crane arm on the front and a towing hook on the back. It works quite well and the colours work well. For a combined toy this is very unified, although there's still got scope for fun mixed combinations.

Sledge

DUMP TRUCK MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 3.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   An orange dump truck half - on his own Sledge isn't much more than the cabin and whatnot of a dump truck. There's really very little happening here - blue windows on the right-side cabin and two sets of black wheels, allowing him to roll on his own. Really the most significant thing about it is that this is a pretty nifty mix-n-match idea, and Sledge works in that respect.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Spin his half of the tray around which will unlock the headlight section, which flips out to become his legs and spin the tray back around. Stand him up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   The orange plastic is now limited to his boots and the tray which forms a backpack. The torso and head are yellow while his face is painted a light orange - halfway between the yellow and orange, which I can't say I like - and the arms and thighs are light grey. While the facial details are reasonably good, the face is small even for a Micromaster, making them tough to see, and sadly there's a large screwhole below his face (the screwhole has to be big to accommodate a washer, which holds the spring that allows the tray to spin). This screwhole detracts from the face, and it's rather visible against the yellow torso.

   Sledge's shoulderjoints are next to his head, which looks pretty bad, especially for a toy with short arms - it gives the impression of a robot in a permanent shrug. You can swing the shoulders, but I recommend against it. The boots are hollow and lack any feet - indeed there are hollow spots where he would have big toes, which only serves to highlight the lack of feet. The hollow feet make for a robot mode that'll stand only on flat, level surfaces. The end result of all this is one of my least favourite Micromaster robot modes.

OVERALL

   The name is cool, but that's Sledge's best aspect. The robot mode sucks, quite simply, and while the vehicle mode makes for a good combiner, on it's own it's not much. This one really needs to be part of the set to be appreciated, I'm afraid - 2/10

Hammer

DUMP TRUCK MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 4cm Width: 2cm

   The orange back half of a dump truck, which means that Hammer is little more than a sloping tray on wheels. Like his partner, Hammer's got a pretty cool name, although it really doesn't fit. If we're going for simple nouns, maybe "Tray" or "Bucket" would have been more appropriate - although I'm quite happy with the name in itself. There are three sets of black wheels, the back and front set roll and have metal pin hubcaps, while the middle set are moulded with black hubcaps. The tray is more or less a rectangular depression, with some protrusions towards the front which act as heelspurs in robot mode.

   While it's simple and in a way boring, I can buy a mobile tray vehicle more than the front half of a dump truck - even if there's no locomotion, since there _are_ dump trailers out there (although they don't quite look like this). As with Sledge this mode works well for mixing and matching.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold down the front and stand him up - simple even for a Micromaster.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   Just as the orange is restricted on his partner, Hammer's turquoise is on his boots and back. His torso and head are violet and his arms light grey. His face is yellow with an eyestrip and a mouthplate, and while white would have worked better I'm happy with yellow here. Despite the low detail he has a better face than his partner - the larger head sees to that. This is a stocky robot mode, and the proportions are fairly good. The tray forms a backpack, but it's close to his body and doesn't really stand out or overbalance him.

   The arms swing at the shoulders his knees bend, allowing for a walking pose - those heelspurs come in handy. His arms carry two wheels each, and the hands are cleverly done as fueltanks. A much better robot mode than that of his partner - one of the better robot modes amongst the Micromaster Combiners in fact.

OVERALL

   Something of a misnomer, but his name is better than a lot of Micromaster Combiner names and otherwise I have no complaints. Both modes work well and the combining potential is there. Something of a mismatch really, since his partner is nowhere near as good - 7/10

SLEDGE & HAMMER COMBINED
Length: 8cm Height: 2.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   An orange dump truck with ten wheels, four sets are real with the fourth set along for the ride. It's slightly longer than you'd expect, mainly because they had to squeeze wheels onto Sledge. The orange is a good choice here. It's a good vehicle overall, whose real value is in the mix and match potential - there are a lot of nifty combinations possible.

Grit

TRUCK MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 4.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A violet truck which resembles an armoured car at first glance, but looks more like a truck housing a generator than one carrying cash. The front features a grille and headlights and the cabin has sky blue windows. The dark colour does hide some of the detail here but it's a fairly low detail type of truck anyway so I'm happy enough.

   The black wheels roll and this works very well as a self-contained vehicle. My only real complaint here is that Grit works on his own so well that he's a somewhat boring toy to combine.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold out the rear of the vehicle, flip up the grille, stand him up and position the arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   The violet is retained on his limbs, his torso and head are yellow and his face orange while the thighs are light grey. The light orange face comes off a lot better on Grit than Sledge since this toy isn't covered in orange plastic. Perhaps the aspect of this colour scheme that's most surprising is how different Grit looks to Pipeline (of the Autobot Tanker Transport), with whom he shares this mould. The yellow gives Grit a chunky looking torso, something that doesn't come to the fore on his Autobot counterpart, incidentally.

   Grit's arms swing and his hips and knees can bend as one. The legs don't really offer any meaningful poseability, however. The fact that the boots are stuck together bugs me, and the violet makes the seam between the two pieces of plastic hard to discern. It's still a decent robot mode (although Pipeline's colours work better).

OVERALL

   Grit is unusual amongst combiners in that his vehicle mode works well on it's own, but it only really combines well with Knockout. His robot mode is pretty good, although the boots bug me - 5.5/10

Knockout

DIGGER MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 4.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A violet trailer digger with a red bucket arm at the end, but Knockout's grey fenders make for a somewhat disjointed colour scheme. Otherwise it's a decent little trailer, with a lattice grip underneath the permanently-crooked arm. There's not a lot to this mode - there's no cockpit or any hint of self-propulsion, but it does have four wheels.

   The digger arm moves up and down, and while this doesn't rate that highly on it's own it combines well with Grit's truck and makes for a good mix-and-match rear half.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the front down to form the legs, stand him up, position the arms and straighten his legs. You can fold the bucket out of sight but it looks cool hanging above his head.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm Width: 2.5cm

   Knockout's robot mode has surprisingly little violet - it's restricted to his boots, while the torso and head are orange with a lemon yellow face and grey arms and thighs. While there's a lot of colour here it's more unified that his digger mode, and the yellow face brings out the mouth, eyes and nose well. Of course, you've also got red in the mix in the form of the red bucket which sort of floats over his head - a strange feature, but a nifty one.

   The arms swing and the knees and hips can bend as one, but just as on Grit, there's no meaningful leg poseability here. As with his partner, the seam between his boots is lost amongst the violet, although it doesn't bother me as much on Knockout for some reason.

OVERALL

   Both modes have a lot of colour, and while the trailer isn't really a stand alone vehicle, it does look cool on it's own as a trailer. The combination possibilities are good, and the robot mode is decent - 5.5/10

GRIT & KNOCKOUT COMBINED
Length: 9cm Height: 2cm Width: 2.5cm

   A long violet digger with grey rear fenders and a red bucket arm at the back. You can really see how Grit & Knockout's vehicle modes were designed separately with this end result in mind. It works well, despite being a very long truck (with eight wheels). The breakouts of grey on the back aren't as bad now as on Knockout's vehicle mode since there's a lot more violet to anchor the colour scheme. While this is probably the weakest combined mode in the set, it's still pretty good.

VARIATIONS

   All three pairs share their mould with various Combiner Transports - Stonecruncher and Excavator with Retro and Surge (Autobot Missile Launcher), Sledge and Hammer with Terror-Tread and Cement-Head (Decepticon Cannon Transport) and Grit and Knockout with Pipeline and Gusher of the Autobot Tanker Transport. There are no actual variants of this set that I know of.

THE SQUAD OVERALL

   There's definite mix and match potential here and some good individual Micromasters - with Hammer and Excavator the highlights. While Sledge is a lowpoint, the set as a whole is pretty good and I'd recommend it to Micromaster fans, although I'm not sure if I'd recommend this set if you already have the transports - 6.5/10

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