Cliffbee.com: Steamhammer Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Steamhammer
Series: Energon
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Power Shovel



SHOVEL MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 14cm Width: 4.5cm

   A lime green power shovel with some black on his treads, bucket arm and roof, with a splash of purple on the back for that G1 Scavenger touch. Steamhammer has quite a bit of silver paint, on the mechanical parts such as the sides of his treads, the sides of the bucket and panels at the rear. Rounding things out is red paint for the cabin windows, which is on the front left side. It's a decent colour scheme which clearly takes inspiration from the G1 Constructicons, although the green is brighter and has something of a G2 feel about it - although Steamhammer thankfully uses only one bright colour.

   This is a very top-heavy shovel, with fairly small treads supporting a giant cube of green - which forms the bulk of his robot mode. I don't mind this since he's not unstable and the block holds together for the most part - the cabin can be a little loose, but shouldn't really cause problems unless you deliberately wiggle it. The two silver side panels should be horizontal and flush with the block above them - every Hasbro picture I've seen has them on a slant and with a gap above them. The shovel hangs off the front, attaching on the right hand side, next to the cabin. There are twin powerlinx ports at the back of the block.

   The mechanical sculpting on this toy is fairly good, but most of it is lost amongst the green - the silver does bring some of it out on his treads. There are pistons on his bucket arm which _do_ come out nicely since they're painted. There's a spark crystal on the upper lip of the bucket, and teeth at the lower lip, while the bucket itself opens forward.

   I'm pretty happy with the play value here. You can pivot the arm so that his bucket faces backwards, which is an aesthetic option since the bucket opens to drop it's load. There are hinges at either end of the arm, which has an elbow and a swivel at the base. The base rotates, so he can turn 360 just as you'd expect. There are small grey wheels underneath the treads and as mentioned there are two powerlinx ports at the back, as well as two on the upper lip of the bucket, which point forward.

   While it's true that the oversized main block is a result of trying to fit the majority of the robot mode into this section, I do think they've done a decent job of it. The fact is that the bucket and treads - the two main features of this sort of vehicle - are the dominant features here. The play value is really what I'd hope for and the opening bucket is a nice touch I wouldn't have expected. Granted, the profusion of green does hide some detailing, but it also helps hide some seams as well.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold out the cabin and bucket arm to either side to form the arms. Unclip the main section of the green block from either side and swing the halves back to form his legs, rotate the waist and boots. Fold up his grey panels to form his waistpanels (again, every Hasbro pic I've seen leaves these out of place in the down position). Rotate the treads on his back, open the green panel on his back, flip up the head and close the panel again. Flip out his feet, position the arms and stand him up.

   Admittedly, with about 85% of this robot mode emerging from the solid green block, it's a fairly unimaginative transformation, although it comes off fairly well. I am slightly disappointed that they still copped out and made the bucket arm a robot arm, since a transformation as this would have allowed plenty of scope for Steamhammer to hide his bucket and have two proper arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 8cm (shoulders)

   Again predominantly lime green, with black supporting on his left forearm, head, thighs and ankles, as well as the treads sticking up on either side of his head (think Skywarp). The chest is painted purple with some red detailing, while there's a nice central octagon on his waist which is white with a raised purple Decepticon logo. The kneecaps are also purple while his hips are painted silver and moulded to resemble grilles. This is a good colour scheme, that makes good use of the contrast between the bright green and dark purple and black, while resisting the temptation to use too much silver. The G1 Constructicon homage is ever stronger now and the central Decepticon symbol rocks.

   Considering that this toy more or less unfolds during transformation, this is a pretty solid robot mode with surprisingly little kibble. The left arm is of course his bucket arm and the bucket itself is a "hand" of sorts, but otherwise the only kibble is the cabin sitting on the back of his right shoulder. I wouldn't call the treads kibble since they're quite well integrated and become a feature. His face is light orange with transparent blue eyes (and a reasonable lightpipe).

   I'm happy with the articulation here. The head doesn't turn but then there's no point with the treads either side. The shoulders rotate and there are swivels below the shoulders. Both elbows are hinged, and in the case of the bucket (left hand), the "wrist" hinges and the bucket of course opens. The waist rotates while the hips ratchet and swing out to the sides. His knees swivel and are hinged, and thanks to nice big heelspurs, Steamhammer is nice and stable in a variety of poses.

   Fans who like asymmetry should appreciate this robot mode, thanks to the vastly different arms. Personally I like the G1 homage and the solid feel of a robot mode formed this way, and I really like the way the treads are used. As I've already mentioned, I'm not a big fan of the lazy placement of the bucket, although it does do a decent job of being a limb. I do wish Steamhammer had a proper weapon, though the bucket is one hell of a melee weapon.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   A surprisingly good robot mode, a vehicle mode that's perhaps guilty of being a folded up robot, although it still works. The play value is good and Steamhammer's colours are very well done - he's a good G1 homage while still having his own feel about him. Of course the main reason for getting him for many is as a combiner, and considering that Steamhammer is the core of Constructicon Maximus, he's a pretty decent toy - 7/10

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