Alternate Mode: Payloader
Height: 5.5cm Length: 6cm Width: 6cm
A green payloader with lime green on the pneumatic arm and some grass green on the engine at the rear, Sledge has big black plastic tyres with silver wheels, black steps on the sides of the cabin and transparent blue windows on the cabin itself. The greens are vaguely reminiscent of the G1 Constructicons, but with only a hint of lime green and an enclosed canopy, I'd hesitate in calling this a Scrapper tribute. It's still obvious the green is meant to remind us of G1 - especially when you place Sledge next to his teammate, Steamhammer. This is a pretty good colour scheme, since the greens work together and the black, blue and silver are used well and not overdone.
Sledge's spark crystal sits in the middle of the pneumatic arms, on an angle so it's visible from in front or on top. There's some silver on the engineblock and in the bucket, which has five teeth on it's lower lip. From most angles this is a very believable digger, although from behind you'll clearly see his robot thighs. Still, for a basic this isn't unacceptable, and thighs or knees visible is pretty common on construction vehicle Transformers. At any rate there's a lot of detail in the sculpt elsewhere, so you don't really notice the thighs.
The play value here is a mixed bag. On the upside, the pneumatic arms hinge as one at the base, and the bucket is also hinged, allowing Sledge to lift loads. The tyres all roll, and ridged tread adds a bumpy feel as he rolls. The downside is that in this mode the Energon weapon can't do much except attach to the rear, forming a reaping sort of claw.
Great colours, some really nifty details like the placement of his spark crystal and the steps on either side of the cabin make for a good payloader. This is the best of the three vehicles modes in the Energon Constructicons, and even if the weapon isn't much here, the payloader is cool enough that I don't mind the lack of a weapon.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Lift up the bucket and fold underneath the pneumatic arms. Swing back the rear tyres, unclip the engine block to form his legs, swing the legs and chestplate to which they're attached underneath the vehicle, clip the groin into the front of the vehicle to form the main torso. Rotate the waist, swing up the front wheels - onto his back - and then swing out and down the steps to form the edges of his chestplate, which will also swing the folded arms into place. Unfold the arms, rotate the head and give him his weapon.
This is a clever and elegant transformation, and is quite complex for a basic. It's actually a notch above what I'd expect of a basic.
Height: 12cm Width: 9cm
Still a mixture of greens, but now the lime green is dominant - on his upper arms, chest and thighs. The grass green is on his groin and boots while the darker green is limited to his head and shoulderblades. The black is more prevalent - on his forearms, chest fringes and feet. The knees, fists and face are all silver and his eyes transparent blue, but there's no effective lightpipe, since the payloader cockpit sits directly behind his head (although if you rotate his head sideways you'll see a decent lightpipe). There's a moulded Decepticon symbol on his chest, painted purple with white relief - which is a great centrepiece. The greens all work well together here and the black and silver are well used. Other than the non-event that is his lightpipe, this is a good colour scheme.
Sledge has a considerable backpack, since the bucket is tucked away under it's own arm and the front tyres form quasi-wings behind his upper arms. There's also the cabin behind his head. The good news is that it's all close to his body so stability isn't an issue. He has decent heelspurs and you can lie the rear wheel struts flush against the table, which will actually allow for some stable poses in which Sledge is leaning back!
The Energon weapon has three configurations, which depend on two hinges. If it's straightened out, he can hold it like a staff (well, ok, he's holding the base of the shaft). If the top hinge is bent and the lower one straight, it'll resemble a two-pronged sickle. If the lower hinge is bent it becomes a giant claw-weapon. It's a great melee weapon, and depending on the pose, different options work better. This reason for this weapon's failure in the vehicle mode is now apparent - it was really designed with this mode in mind. It's quite big compared to Sledge, so if you want to give it to Steamhammer, you can.
The facial detail is pretty good and the silver paint really brings it out. The Decepticon logo really works, and the black panels on either side are a great way to use the steps from the payloader mode. The waist section is a lime green grille section, which is actually the underside of the vehicle (which lacks a grille, ironically).
Sledge is quite well articulated and this translates to good poseability. The head turns while his shoulders, knees and hips are all ball joints. The elbows are hinged and the waist rotates. The arms are somewhat hampered by the wings, but only in that they can't swing backwards (sideways motion is fine). The heelspurs and poseable struts really add to the possibilities here.
A great robot mode, and while Sledge has a fair bit of kibble, it's all out of the way minding it's own business. The layout of this robot mode is impressive - from the well stowed kibble to the well designed torso to the poseability. My only real complaint is that his lightpipe has been neutered, but then I'd rather no lightpipe on a poseable toy to a lightpipe on an unposeable toy. The colour scheme is good and has G1 undertones.
None that I know of, although Bonecrusher is a repaint.
A solid payloader mode and a very good robot mode, good colours and a nifty transformation, and Sledge still manages to form an arm or a leg of Constructicon Maximus. His Energon weapon only really works in robot mode, but the most important thing is that it works for his Devastator modes. Of course, you'll need Sledge to form the Gestalt, but even if you're not getting the set I'd really recommend Sledge - 9/10