Power Core Combiners Sledge with Throttler Toy Reviews

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

Power Core Combiners

General Information:
Release Date: August 2010
Price Point: $9.99
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Throttler Mini-Con figure
Hasbro Item Number: 19810
Images: Gallery of Sledge & Throttler images

*Images and text below from Transformers.com
It was his deep loyalty to MEGATRON -- and his deeper dedication to destruction and mayhem -- that won SLEDGE the opportunity to upgrade his abilities through combination. His partner THROTTLER is a vile little creature every bit as mean as SLEDGE.

Power up for the ultimate robot battles! Your SLEDGE figure is already a virtually unstoppable opponent in his vehicle and robot modes. But his strength gets doubled when you factor in your THROTTLER figure and his four modes! Convert this MINI-CON ally figure to weapon accessories for him when he's in backhoe vehicle mode or Commander mode. Then, convert your THROTTLER figure into an armor accessory for your SLEDGE figure's Power Up Mode! And the action doesn't stop there. With this Power Core interchangeable robot combination system, MINI-CONS and drone vehicles (sold separately) can attach to power up any Commander figure. Collect more packs and you can create tons of unique and fierce robot battler figure combinations! Two-pack includes SLEDGE and THROTTLER figures. Ages 5 and up.

Sledge was an interesting Power Core Combiner to me even before I removed him from the package, due in part to his profile on the back of the packaging. There are two interesting notes in the profile. The first is the mention of Decepticon leader Megatron. There has been some discussion about what "universe" the Power Core Combiners inhabit in the Transformers mythos, especially with the advent of the new "unified" continuity that has its roots in the "War for Cybertron" line. By mentioning Megatron, we know that the leader isn't someone like say, Bombshock, but it still begs the question as to which Megatron is being named here. Still, it's an interesting note. Another part I like about the tech spec is his loyalty to Megatron. So often Decepticons are portrayed as just evil, backstabbing and psychotic that it's refreshing to see a solider who's dedicated to his leader. All this and a new sculpt to boot made Sledge tempting from the beginning! Now let's get on to the toys.

Throttler Review

Robot Mode:
Throttler is an interesting looking robot. He is a mix of curved parts with some sharp looking parts, carry overs form his alternate "drill" form. since he doesn't have a blaster form or a vehicle mode, there isn't kibble from that types of forms hanging off of him, allowing the designers to focus on his robot parts. What caught my eye instantly was the head design. I a very rare and unusual choice, Throttler is sculpted with one eye, making him a cyclopse! His mouth is a raised mouthplate, resulting in a very serious expression on his face. The upper arms and legs are the most "robotic" of all the parts on him, with sphere shaped shoulder pieces leading to tube shaped upper arms and tube shaped upper legs. The lower legs and forearms are parts that make up sections of his drill form, so you'll see corkscrew type details on the sides, but his legs have small feet at the bottom while his arms have claws at the end of each. The corkscrew details add a rather disintctive texture to the figure while the more roboti bits wind up on his upper arms and legs.

Throttler is cast in two colors of plastic, translucent purple and black. These are quintessential Decepticon colors and I find it quite appropriate that a Mini-Con paired with a loyal Decepticon would have these colors. His head, upper arms and upper legs are cast in black, with the forearms, torso and lower legs cast in translucent purple. A bit of silver paint is used on his face to bring out the details. It's a very minimal color scheme, but it works very well for the toy, plus having the translucent plastic in purple looks really nice.

The chest panel on Throttler contains his Powerlink point, allowing you to attach it to any Transformers figure with the corresponding peg. Interestingly, this chest panel can be turned around in a circle, but the instructions don't mention any particular reason for this. Not counting the ability for his chest panel to move in a circle, Throttler has eight points of articulation, almost all ball jointed except for his knees. His feet are a bit unusual. The bottom section of each leg is sculpted with an angle in the bottom, so you have to bend his knees slightly for him to stand relatively straight. It's not a huge deal, and I'm guessing the angle has something to do with the drill alternte mode and his somewhat unique transformation.

Note: All transformation instructions below begin with Throttler in robot mode.

Transformation to Power-Up Armor:

  1. With Throttler facing you, swing each lower leg back so the drill points face downward.
  2. Move his arms down to his sides, then swing them out a bit.
  3. Connect Throttler to Sledge's chest panel by first swing that panel down, then connecting the two.

Power-Up Armor Mode:
Throttler's Power-Up Armor Mode is truly one of those "because we say so" modes. It really kind of looks like he's just bellyflopped onto the ground and assumed some type of Pilates position. That said, Throttler doesn't look bad in this mode at all. Indeed, if he is serving as some type of protection, the way his arms and legs spread out do provide Sledge (or any other Power Core Combiner Commander) pretty good coverage to block incoming blasts or impacts. So in an odd way, while not terribly imaginative, Throttler does succeed at being exactly what he's supposed to be in this mode: body armor.

Transformation to Weapon Mode:

  1. Swing the lower legs back so the drill points face downward.
  2. Swing each arm out to the sides.
  3. Rotate the lower legs so the insides face each other, then connect them together.
  4. Swing the legs up.
  5. Swing the robot arms forward and connect them.
  6. Connect the arms and legs together.

Weapon Mode:
It has been stated many times in the past the Mini-Cons were sometimes used as tools. Like wave one's Chopster Mini-Con, Throttler transforms into something that can be used as a tool or a weapon, so in a way calling this his "weapon mode" is a bit of a simplification. What is interesting about this form is that it serves as his weapon in two different ways in robot mode as well as his weapon for the vehicle mode. This consolidation of functions may seem a bit lazy, but to be fair he is a drill, there's not much variation to be created from that form and I would rather have two solid modes than say, three weak ones.

In this form, Throttler is quite dangerous looking with a large spiral shaped drill in front and teeth at the base. The back section is mostly made up of his chest panel from the robot mode, which here winds up looking like the very mechanism that spins the drill bit. There's no doubt that this guy could do some serious damage up close! Throttler can connect to Sledge's arm, which seems great if he's being attacked from the side or lunging at someone arm first, but doesn't seem particularly practical. What works much better is attaching the drill to the chest (in the same position as the body armor mode). This really has possibilities and the appearance is very reminscent of the Starrior Gouge from the 80's toy line of the same name (coincidentally created by Tomy, the company that now owns Transformers). I dug Starriors as a kid, so this is a nice throwback to that time for me. What isn't documented is that Sledge can also hold the drill mode using Throttler's head as the handle, a nice extra bit of functionality I had not expected! Just attach Throttler's head to one of the holes on the underside of the forearms and now you have a nice forearm mounted drill for him to use!

In Sledge's vehicle mode, Throttler attaches to his shovel, presumably allowing Sledge some offensive capability in this form behind whacking people with his shovel and running them over. It also could be seen as a tool to drill holes and search for resources. It looks really cool and resembles something you could imagine seeing in real life.

Overall, you get a lot of mileage out of one mode, and Throttler is a pretty cool figure by himself. He represents the aspect of Mini-Cons as tools and I like seeing that side of the Mini-Con sub-group represented.

Sledge Review

Robot Mode:
If there's one thing I like more than a loyal Decepticon, it's a loyal Decepticon who looks like he can kick all sorts of titanium plating on the battlefield. Sledge is a rather brutish looking figure, complete with a wide cheat, thick legs and arms with shovels on the sides for extra melee fun. Other parts simply make him look brutal including the shovel sections with teeth at the ends that make up his feet and the saw built into his chest. Indeed, this saw in the chest design is rather unusual for a Transformer, but again echoes the Starriors line where the character of Cut Up had a very similar feature.

The smaller details on Sledge look fantastic as well. The saw blade in his chest has smeall teeth sculpted into it and the torso section has raised rectangular shapes reminscent of the teeth on his shovel ends and tubes near the waist. The shovel arms halves on his arms have some raised circular "bolt" details on them and similar details can be found on his thighs. The lower legs have rough, rectangular sections that come from the vehicle mode treads while his hands are sculpted in a partially open position. The head sculpt is really nice, with a relatively wide head that has an evil glare sculpted into the face and antennae on the sides of his head sticking straight up the sides. They look almost like they could be smokestacks, which would be more than appropriate for a construction vehicle based Transformer.

Sledge is cast in yellow, black, light blue and purple plastic. The yellow and the black dominate, as you would imagine, with yellow making up most of the upper body and black making up lower sections like his legs and the base of the shovel arms on the sides. The purple plastic is distributed throughout the body on smaller parts such as his forearms and sections above his shoulders. The light blue is of course used to differentiate the Drone combiner points from the rest of the figure. I like this color combination and in a muted way, it is reminscent of the color schemes of the Generation One Constructicons, of which I consider Sledge a spiritual descendent.

Paint applications are done in silver, black, red and purple. None of these colors dominate the figure. Instead, they are used sparingly but to great effect on just the right sections. one prime example is silver, which is used most heavily on his saw blade and the ends of the shovel sections. Those are among my favorite details as they are not simply painted but rather spray brushed on, giving the ends of the shovels a worn look. You'll also find silver on small details like the wires on his upper body and his face. The silver on his face contrasts excellently with the red used for the eyes. The purple color is used here and there on relatively small details such as strips on his waist and Decepticon symbols on his arms. Sledge has a solid color combination that I really like, but the way in which his paint applications are applied elevate it a lot.

Sledge has nineteen points of articulation in robot mode. This includes ball joints on his shoulders and head along with swivel joints in the arms and legs. His saw can be spun manually by pushing on it. Coupled with the functionality using Throttler as described above, you have one fun robot mode to play with.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Swing each shovel arm on the robot arms down.
  2. Turn the arms so the shovels point forward.
  3. Swing the robot arms up.
  4. Point the robot feet down.
  5. Swing the sides of the torso out.
  6. Cover the robot head using the silver pieces on the sides.
  7. Swing the Mini-Con peg/panel out to the side.
  8. Push the saw blade down to switch its position with that of the robot head.
  9. Swing the Mini-Con peg/panel back into place.
  10. Swing the robot legs underneath the vehicle to form the treads.
  11. Connect the shovel arm halves together.

Vehicle Mode:
"Sledge" may be the name of this Decepticon, but perhaps "Gravedigger" may have been a more appropriate name! This vehicle mode seems designed primary to dig things up by combining two vehicles into one. One half is a backhoe, complete with the shovel arm and shovel at the end (this is the end you would attach Throttler to in drill mode). The other end has the saw blade out along with a shovel underneath, giving it more of an earth mover type form. Together, you can imagine that little can be buried and hidden from Sledge! Most of the detail seen in this mode was visible in the robot mode, but two sections of newly revealed details include the saw blade base and the tread details on the sides. The saw blade is attached to a mechanism that has tubes and wires sculpted into the sides on black plastic. As for the treads, he rolls on small wheels on the undersides but that didn't stop the sculptors from sculpting large and small wheels on the sides.

In this form there is some yellow paint revealed on the sides of the treads. The wheels themselves are painted silver. It is also in this mode you get more of a look at the spray ops on the shovels, which I still say look fantastic.

One usually doesn't talk about articulation in vehicle mode, but here it's worth mentioning. Most of the articulation here involves hinged movement. His backhoe arm can move in three places, the base, the middle and the shovel. On the other side, the saw blade can move on its base on a hinge, a nice and unexpected adition to the articulation on this figure.

As mentioned earlier, you can attach Throttler (or any Mini-Con really) to the backhoe shovel, but you can also attach a Mini-Con to the port near the saw blade, powering up Sledge even more. This adds a lot of fun to an already cool vehicle mode (and of course encourages adding more Mini-Cons!).

Transformation to Power-Up Mode:

  1. Swing the Mini-Con peg panel on the chest over the saw blade.
  2. Turn the lower legs so they point out to the sides.
  3. Swing down the Drone connection points on the legs.
  4. Swing the arms out to the sides.
  5. Swing the shovel arms out half way.
  6. Rotate the angled joint that connects the arms to the rest of the body.
  7. Move each shovel arm so it is at a right angle with the rest of the body, then rotate them so the shovels point forward.
  8. Rotate the robot head around and swing the silver panels out to reveal the Combiner face.
  9. Swing each leg up to the sides.
  10. Rotate the robot feet around so the shovels face forward.
  11. Swing the robot knee joints so there is a gap in the upper leg where the knee armor panel sticks out, then push that panel in.

Power-Up Combiner Mode:
I have to compliment Sledge for having a very different transformation from his fellow Power Core Combiners. Yes, his arms become the arm joints, and his legs become the leg joints, but the way in which those parts set into place differ quite a bit between the rotating robot feet and the way his shoulder joints rotate around. It's also interesting to note that Sledge is the only Power Core Combiner so far that technically only has one "head" piece. Of course, each side has a different face on it. At first, I confess to be slightly disappointed in this because I've really dug the concept of two different heads sculpted into the robot. However, this particular head design looks cool enough that my mild disappointment exited my thoughts rather quickly. I already commented earlier on how much Sledge looks like a bruiser and this head design reinforces that with a non-emotional looking "Y" shaped mouth piece and visor eyes and bull-like horns set on either side of the head. It looks really awesome and looking at it, I don't miss having a separate head piece at all.

For the most part, Sledge is a solid torso for Drone limbs. His legs are solid and look powerful. The only weakness I would point out is the arm joint. Due to the way the figure transforms, there is a rotating joint set at an angle, and then there's the arm joint itself, which can also turn. What happens is if you move an arm Drone up and down, the angled joint generally turns instead of the arm joint because it is so tight. This isn't a huge deal, but it's still slightly disappointing. I wish there had been a way to lock down the angled joint to prevent this from happening.

In this form you see most of the robot mode parts except for the new head. His head is cast in black, with red eyes and a silver mouth plate. All of his shovel pieces face forward so you get to see the cool silver spray ops prominantly displayed. You also get to see the silver and yellow paint applications on the sides of the treads, which wind up facing front here. Overall it features some of the best parts of the robot and vehicle modes in one form.

Final Thoughts:
Sledge is one solid Scout Class vehicle. His transformations are unique and he has a fantastic sculpt. I dig Throttler's unique form and ultimately, any problems I do have with this figure are minor (and not deal breakers in the least). Recommended with minor reservations.