Power Core Combiners Mudslinger with Destructicon Drones Toy Review

in 2010, Action Figure Review, Combiner / Gestalt, Decepticon, Power Core Combiners

Power Core Combiners

General Information:
Release Date: August 2010
Price Point: $19.99
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Dune Buggy Drone, Heavy Hauler Drone, Armored Truck Drone and Armored Junker Drone
Images: Image gallery of Mudslinger and the Destructicon Drones

Text from Transformers.com:
There was a time when MUDSLINGER might have considered joining the AUTOBOTS, but that was long ago. He's a robot of action, with no time for things like thinking, negotiating, or peace. In his opinion, the AUTOBOTS are a bunch of sissies. With his team in tow he's got the power to prove just how much tougher than them he is.

Power up for the ultimate robot battles! Your MUDSLINGER Commander vehicle is already a virtually unstoppable opponent in his vehicle and robot modes. But his strength gets increased five-fold when you convert him to Power-Up mode and convert his DESTRUCTICONS drone figures into his limbs! And the action doesn't stop there. With this Power Core interchangeable robot combination system, MINI-CONS (sold separately) and drone vehicles can attach to power up any Commander figure. Collect more packs and you can create tons of unique and fierce robot battler figure combinations!

Five-pack includes MUDSLINGER, Dune Buggy Drone, Heavy Hauler Drone, Armored Truck Drone and Armored Junker Drone figures. Ages 5 and up.

The second wave of Power Core Combiner five packs differs from wave one in that it does not rely on any tie in to previous Generation One Combiners. This wave is intended to introduce new characters that stand on their own with their own teams. The first of these is Mudslinger, a Decepticon who comes with four "Destructicon" drones. Each of these Drones are modified vehicles that have been heavily armed for battle. The term "Destructicon" is not a new one however and was used way back in "Robots in Disguise" as a sub-group for Scourge and Bludgeon. This was used in the G1 continuity as well in one children's book story, but that may have been an error or an offhand mention. Either way, the term is back now, referring to the Drones commanded by the Decepticon Mudslinger.

Mudslinger Review

Robot Mode:
There are times when a personality of a Transformer comes screaming through from his physical appearance. In the case of Mudslinger, this is clearly a tough-guy type who probably enjoys nothing more than smashing up enemies. To that end, his robot mode is perfectly sculpted to fit that personality profile. His entire outline is wide and powerful looking, thanks in part to his wide upper body which leads to arms that are out of proportion in length with his legs. With his arms reaching down past his knees, equipped with thick forearms and big monster truck tires on his shoulders Mudslinger looks like one big, bad bruiser.

The small details come into play here as well. His head sculpt has the top of the engine from the vehicle mode on the top with a big lower jaw that sticks out beyond his face, giving him a rough and tough appearance. All over his body particularly on his arms and legs you'll find spring designs sculpted into the figure. It gives the impression that all his parts are ready to unload some powerful kicks or punches. Without any weapons included with the figure, you really get the sense that this is a Decepticon who prefers to work his enemies over up close and personal instead of across the battlefield. Other cool details on this figure include strips of wires that lead from his neck to his shoulders. I also like the layered armor on the insides of his forearms and the tube designs sculpted into his neck.

Mudslinger is cast in four colors of plastic: neon green, black, silver, blue and dark blue. The neon green isn't used on a lot of parts in this form, but it's so bright that it sticks out a lot. The green is used for his lower legs as well as his upper body. Several smaller parts including the upper arms and thighs are cast in silver while his head and forearms are cast in dark blue. As you would expect, his big old tires are cast in black plastic. A blue that is lighter than the one used for the head and forearms is found on his mid-body and waist area. You'll find light blue parts visible in this mode as well, indicating the connection points for Power Core Combiner drones. I do admit neon green would not have been my first choice of colors for this guy (especially since his Drones don't have a hint of green on them) but it manages to work in the context of a "crazy" monster truck.

Paint applications on this figure are done in black, blue, silver and red paint. The black is found on his feet while the blue forms a pattern on his lower legs and fills in the grille on his chest. Silver is found mostly on the robot head where it is used to paint the engine section as well as the face. Red paint is used sparingly for the eyes, but they do give off a nice "glow" when contrasted against the darker colors that form the rest of the figure.

Mudslinger has seventeen points of articulation. His shoulder articulation is interesting as it is not the standard "arm swings up and down" motion, but rather a ball joint set on the underside of his shoulder armor that allows the arm to move up and down. He also has a couple ratchet joints on his hips that allow for greater stability in his Combiner mode. The Commander figures in the Power Core Combiners series do not come with their own weapons, but his fists are designed to be able to hold most standard sized Transformers weapons and Mini-Con weapons such as Chopster. He also has a Mini-Con Powerlinx peg on his left knee, allowing you to attach a Mini-Con or weapon. If you pick a Mini-Con that can point its weapons "up" (which becomes forward here) it's pretty cool, but there is a bit of an odd asymmetry with having a weapon only on one leg!

Overall, I really dig Mudslinger's robot mode. He looks powerful, full of attitude and he's well detailed to boot.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Push the robot head down into the chest.
  2. Swing the mid-body/lower body section back on the central hinge, then press it into the slot in the middle of the back.
  3. Point the robot feet down.
  4. Swing the robot arms so they point back.
  5. Swing the robot arms down and connect the forearms together.
  6. Connect the lower legs together and swing them forward to form the top of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
Mudslinger's vehicle mode serves the double purpose of being a very slight (and perhaps unintended) homage while also fitting the character perfectly. Back in the late era of Generation One, there was a Micromaster Autobot with the name Mudslinger who transformed into a monster truck. Years later, this Mudslinger becomes the same thing, albeit one of a different design. While the front end of this truck is blocky and angular, the cabin section and everything behind it is actually rather sleek and curved. It's a cool combination of design elements that are not often put into the same vehicle. His big wheels are set pretty low here, but they still stick out at the sides enough to look dangerous to any cars that get in his way!

I do enjoy the little details and there are some cool ones in this mode. The engine has tubes leading out of it to the sides, where you'll find exhaust pipes right above each front wheel well. Right under his grille in the front appears to be a coil for what could be a tow line and on each wheel well you'll find spring details near the tires. Overall, the appearance of power conveyed in the robot mode carries over into the vehicle mode and it looks great.

In this form, the neon green color truly dominates, making up moset of the vehicle's upper section. Bits of silver details can be found here and there such as on the front end, but overall it's all about the neon green and big black tires in this form. Black, blue and silver make up the paint roster on this vehicle. the blue is used on the grille, the top of the vehicle and big chunks of the side. Silver is found on the front exhaust pipes, engine, the Decepticon symbol towards the rear and on the spring details near the rear wheels. I dig the striped blue colors used on the top of the vehicle and the blue is a nice choice for the sides. I do wish the paint job on the windshield and side windows were a bit better, but that's a small gripe. Finally, a bit of neon green paint is used on the front of the cabin section, helping it blend in with the rest of the vehicle.

Mudslinger rolls on all four wheels, though admittedly not particularly far on his own. His Mini-Con peg winds up on the top of the vehicle towards the back, which allows you to attach a Mini-Con or standard sized weapon with a hole in it in that spot, giving Mudslinger some much needed firepower in this form. If I were to cite one weakness of this mode it's that the panels that form the top of the truck tend to slip out easy and separate in the middle (where the legs connect). Everything else can be lined up and tight and then that part will split open, but I don't know if a majority of fans are as nitpicky about something like this as I am.

Armored Junker Drone
The Armored Junker Drone looks like someone in the Mad Max universe found a sleek Lamborgini and decided to turn it into a race car of destruction. Some of the Lamborgini-like lines can be seen on the headlights and sides of the vehicle as well as the back. However, many of these angular sections are covered up with armor plating like the cabin section which now has one large visor strip instead of a normal windshield. Take a close look and you'll find small circular indentations on the car that indicate sections of armor that have been bolted down. The underside of the car has some cool mechanical details and tubes as well. All that said, the main feature of this car is its huge blade, mounted in the front. I would almost call it a cowcatcher type device, except this looks like it was designed to inflict as much damage as possible to its target, not just push it aside. There something really silly and over the top about this design and it really appeals to me.

This Drone is cast mostly in metallic tan plastic with black wheels. The underside of the vehicle and a bit of the top is a rust colored plastic, quite appropriate considering this vehicle's overall look. I was surprised to see the vehicle have four different colors of paint on it. Silver is used to paint the blade in the front as well as the armor on the top of the cabin section. Red is used on a horizontal set of lines in the middle of the car and black paint is used for the windshield strip and a Decepticon symbol above it. Blue is used for small details, specifically two fins mounted over each rear wheel well. The cumulative effect is a Drone that is much more detailed than I had expected.

The Armored Junker Drone rolls on all four of its wheels, with the blade in front raised slightly so it doesn't get in the way. Mounted on the back of the vehicle is a vertical Powerlinx peg, allowing you to attach Mini-Cons or Energon weapons. Want to make this vehicle even more over the top? Attach a missile launching tank on top and you've got something special going there. I dig this Drone a lot.

Armored Truck Drone
Continuing the theme of over-the-top vehicles, the Armored Truck Drone appears to be a heavily modified pickup truck. With a high front end, and wide sides, it reminds me of trucks like the Ford F-450. Now, generally you don't think of such trucks as the speediest things on the road, but whoever designed this truck decided to put that notion to rest! Mounted on the back of this truck are four huge thrusters, two of which even have vertical stabilizer fins on them! Leading to those thrusters are tubes going from the cabin to the back of the vehicle. Tube like designs towards the rear of the truck on the sides hint at additional fuel for these crazy thrusters giving this truck one outrageous appearance. Unlike the Armored Junker Drone, there do not appear to be any overt weapons sculpted into this vehicle. There are raised circles indicating armor plating, there appears to be a cage of sorts over the front grille and cabin section so it's well armored, but this truck looks like it was built to withstand damage and be fast, a cool and amusing combination.

The red, rust color seen on the underside of the Armored Junker Drone takes center stage here along with silver plastic. some of the metallic tan plastic is used on the front end of the vehicle where the grille is located. The wheels are, of course, cast in black plastic. Paint applications are done up in gold, silver and black paint, a combination that works well with the base plastic colors. The hood has a black Decepticon symbol on it while the windows are painted black as well. The two side thrusters with the fins on them are painted gold along with the raised sections that form the rear wheel wells. Silver paint is found on the side doors and on the sections that form the front wheel wells. Overall, it's a cool color scheme that stands out nicely against the other vehicles in the set, while still conforming to the color palette they use.

The Armored Truck Drone has a Powerlinx peg located right on top of the cabin section. Since it has no overt weaponry of its own, this gives you the chance to attach anything from an Energon cannon to a Mini-Con jet to give the Drone an extra boost of speed, firepower or both!

Dune Buggy Drone
With a large scale and medium scale vehicle covered by the Armored Junker and Truck Drones, a smaller type of vehicle is found in the Dune Buggy Drone. Unlike the recreational type vehicle most people associate with dune buggies, this vehicle is armed to the teeth! The basic shape is what you'd expect, an angled front end that angles upward towards the driver's seat. There is a cage over the passenger section as well. However, it's the extra stuff that is quite spectacular to behold. Mounted on the very front of the vehicle are two cannons, then on either side of the vehicle are gatling guns. On the top is one long central cannon flanked by two smaller ones. Underneath them are rocket launchers and in front of those are rectangular shaped weapons. Rectangular boxes are tucked away in the back, presumably containing supplies for the Drone's passengers. I really have to say that this is an insane amount of firepower for a Dune Buggy and it again illustrates the sense of humor that went into each of the components in this set.

There are some really nicely thought out details sculpted into the vehicle. Each weapon has distinctive details, especially the gatling guns which have cylinders for the cannon barrels and then rings that circle around those as if holding them together. Near the front wheels are springs that we can imagine the drone uses to land from crazy jumps and stunts. On the sides are small sideview mirrors sticking out. The seats inside the cage are sculpted with horizontal lines representing the cushions in them.

The Dune Buggy Drone is cast in gold, white and black plastic. There is a large section that looks like it may have been cast in gunmetal, but more likely it was painted on afterwards. The white color makes up a large portion of the vehicle, with the gold color filling in parts like his cage mounted weaponry and the seat sinside. The wheels are each cast in black plastic. The paint applications here are fairly simple. Apart frm the gunmetal speculation above, the buggy has purple on the hood and the sides. On the hood, the purple has an orange flame detail on top of it with a Decepticon symbol at the base of the flame. Silver paint is used for the two cannons directly connected to the cage. Again, we have here a simple color scheme that looks very cool.

The main cannnon on the top of the vehicle has a Powerlinx peg at its base. You can attach a Mini-Con or Energon weapon to it and you can move it up and down, which is a nice, extra little touch.

Heavy Hauler Drone
So if you're a team primarily composed of ground based vehicles that expect to get wrecked on a regular basis, you need someone to haul these guys around when they're banged up right? That's where the Heavy Hauler Drone comes in. This vehicle is a tow truck with some extra armament tacked on. Of the four Drones, this is perhaps the one that is most ordinary, and in a way that makes it refreshing to have the "rescue" vehicle the one that is least modified. The front end is a cube shaped end, not a longnose and it has many requisite truck details including a wide windshield, large grille, smokestacks and spare tanks mounted onto the sides of the vehicle. A towing arm is mounted on the back and at the very back of the vehicle is a row of four missiles. Instead of looking like the vehicle is built to fight, these weapons look like they are being stored here with the intention of being distributed to other Decepticons.

There's quite a bit of sculpted detail on this vehicle. The front end has horizontal grille lines while there are lines indicating the seams of the doors on the sides. Sideview mirrors stick out the sides as well and the smokestacks have small rectangular details running along the cylinders. From an overhead view you'll see pistons sculpted into the center sections underneath the towing arm, hinting that the arm is partly controlled by that mechanism - really nice!

Like the Dune Buggy Drone, the Heavy Hauler is mostly white with some gold parts. The gold is used for the missiles, Powerlinx peg and the towing arm as well as part of the grille in front. Each of the wheels are cast in black. Paint decos are done in black, yellow and red, all of which contrast heavily against the white plastic. Red forms hazard lines and stripe details along the sides. Yellow is used on the fuel tanks on the side and black is used for the windows of the truck. A tiny Decepticon symbol is painted on the front of the vehicle, right under a section of the windshield. Overall this looks really great. In a way this is the most "neat" looking of the four Drones, as if this is the guy that sees the least action since it's so busy rescuing everyone else.

Functionally speaking this vehicle has the most moving parts. The towing arm can move up and down, and you can swing the missiles out to the sides, creating a clear area on the truck bed to fit small vehicles. There aren't many Transformers that would fit well here. Indeed, I think the ones that would fit in best in terms of scale are the "World's Smallest Transformers". Also included is a Powerlinx peg that can actually tuck down and out of the way. Swing it up and you can attach a Mini-Con or Energon weapons on top, giving the Heavy Hauler Drone some much needed firepower.

Transformation to Power-Up Combiner Mode (starting from robot mode):

  1. Push the robot head down into the chest.
  2. Swing the robot waist/mid body section back and tuck it into the slot in the center of the robot.
  3. Swing the Combiner head up and turn it around.
  4. On the sections with the front wheels, move each section with a blue combiner point up.
  5. Swing the forearms over the tires that are facing forward.
  6. Swing each of the thighs outward so they are pointing out to the sides.
  7. Fold the legs so Mudslinger's feet press right up against the tab on the inside of the thigh sections.
  8. Swing the lower body combiner points down.
  9. The Armored Junker and Truck Drones can become legs.
  10. The Dune Buggy and Heavy Hauler Drone each become arms.

Power-Up Combiner Mode:
The first two Power Core Combiner sets that were released each harkened back to a Generation One Combiner in some way. However, this time around Mudslinger is more of an "original" piece, with some fascinating aesthetics at work in his combined form. Overall, the impression I get from this robot form is some type of mythological creature turned into a mechanical giant. His head has odd handlebars on the sides and the compression of Mudslinger's robot parts gives the creature a wide and imposing looking torso section. His arms are set wide apart, each without anything close to a proper hand. Instead, one has two giant claws and the other has two guns that almost resemble claws. The legs are a bit more mechanical looking overall, but the Armored Junker's foot piece looks like it could do just as much (if not more) harm as the giant claws that stick out of the Heavy Hauler. It's a pretty fearsome looking form Mudslinger has, but as always, it's the details that make the figure.

Since I first saw the combined form of the Destructicons, the one thing that stood out a lot to me is the head sculpt. From a distance it seems weird, a couple of handles on the head? Why? So enemies can grab it and rip his head off? But an up close look tells the tale. They're not so much handles as they are mechanical parallels to horns. The design of the face has a very distinctive snout that sticks out in the front. Combined with some scary looking eyes and what you have is a design that looks a lot like a bull. Given his humanoid body, I fancy that he's actually a bit of a Minotaur inspired combiner, which is a neat concept in my book. Mudslinger's other details are mostly ones from his other modes, but in this form you get to see some detailing on the legs in the form of tubes and springs that are not as readily visible in his other forms. I especially like the three springs right above his Drone connection points. They look almost like exhaust pipes that are constantly spewing out smoke as this machine rages across the battlefield. I also like the detail of having the vehicle mode engine wind up on his chest, it looks cool especially with the tubes coming out from either side to form chest detail.

There are no color surprises here since everything except the head was visible in other modes. The head itself is cast in black plastic with red and gold paint. The gold is used to color the central crest and snout while the red colors in the eyes and the middle sections of his "handlebars". As with the other Power Core Combiners, his connection points are cast in light blue, but the parts they in turn are attached to are black, which helps blend the parts in with the rest of Mudslinger.

Mudslinger isn't the only Transformer here to reveal new parts. Each Drone shows off some new machinery as well:

  • Armored Junker Drone: The Junker Drone reveals some added machinery detail set between the rear section of the vehicle and the foot piece in front.
  • Armored Truck Drone: The Truck reveals two fairly large tubes that connect the foot to the rest of the leg, suggesting a pair of pistons.
  • Dune Buggy Drone: The Dune Buggy Drone reveals several well detailed hinge sections that pop out from the underside of the vehicle. The gold cannons from the front of the Dune Buggy form makeshift fingers here that can double as cannons.
  • Heavy Hauler Truck: This is the Drone with the biggest "reveal out of the four. Similar to the Dune Buggy Drone, the Heavy Hauler has some hinged pieces that come out from the underside of the vehicle. Also, at the end are two huge honkin' claws that really add to the whole appearance of the figure.

I really like the design of the legs. Both the Armored Junker and Truck have cool looking mechanical details that are revealed in their leg modes and the feet offer good stability to the figure. The arms are a mixed bag. I love the fact that each has weapons already built into them and I love the jagged look of the claws on the Heavy Hauler Drone, but I wish there was something resembling thumbs or a digit that made them look more like functional hands than just slashing weapons attached to arms. That may be a slight complaint, but it is the only real major nagging point for me on this figure.

Color-wise, the Drones mostly show more parts made of the same colors you've already seen. The Armored Junker Drone shows a bit more of the rust color, the Truck shows more silver where the foot and pistons show while the Dune Buggny shows more gold detail and the Heavy Hauler shows off more white plastic. The Heavy Hauler has the biggest paint applications in this mode, with each of the aforementioned claws painted gold. In this respect, the first two Power Core Combiner giants were much more successful, I think.

Mudslinger's combined mode has fifteen points of articulation. This includes the ability for his arms to swing back part way and two points of articulation on each of his arms and legs. What I was pleased to see is that each one of the Drones and Mudslinger himslf have pegs to attach Mini-Cons or Energon weapons. Since he can't really hold anything, this is a nice compromise to give him more firepower in this form. The best pages are the ones on his back and shoulders while the ones on the legs may require you to find Mini-Cons or weapons that will be able to fit on an area with very little clearance (it's possible, but you just can't say, slap any ol' Mini-Con on there and expect it to stay in place).

Final Thoughts:
Mudslinger is a fun set of figures and despite my reservations about the arm designs, I have to say I really do enjoy messing with this figure. I also dig attaching extra stuff onto him and really adding to his "engine of destruction" appearance. I think it say something about the figure when I note that I'm actually looking forward to seeing redecos of these various sculpts. Recommended.