Energon Toy Reviews: Steamhammer

in 2004, Action Figure Review, Constructicon, Decepticon, Energon, Superlink

Energon

General Information:
Release Year: November 2004
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $9.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3
Accessories: None

Images:

Over the years, there have been dozens of Transformers that turned into construction vehicles, both Autobot and Decepticon. However, none strike a chord with long time Transformers fans quite like the Constructicons. They were the first set of combiners released for Transformers during G1, and their mystique holds its own to this day in the Transformers universe. With Energon being a line choc full of homages, it was natural that one of the Energon Combiner sets would wind up being a set of Constructicons.

At the time this review is being written (November 2004) only three of the five members of the Constructicon team have been released, so this review will cover Steamhammer only. Once all five members are available, a separate review will be done for Constructicon Maximus, the giant they all combine into.

Vehicle Mode:
Steamhammer is a loader construction vehicle of some kind. A quick google search did not turn up an exact match, but I do not profess to be an expert in construction vehicles either. Basically the vehicle is a huge engine block on top of treads with a passenger section and a shovel arm. This looks a tad odd at first, but this is actually
a pretty fun toy.

First, the entire top part of the vehicle can rotate on the treads in a complete circle. The treads don't function, but rather there are four wheels on the underside. The arm itself has five points of articulation, allowing you to move it side to side a bit, up and down and move the shovel itself. The shovel can even open up to "dump" its contents (though this is more a function of the transformation than this form). This form has four Minicon Powerlinx points. Two are at the back of the vehicle on top. The other two (surprisingly enough) are in the shovel itself, along with the Decepticon Spark Crystal. The two Powerlinx points at the top are easy to use almost any Mini-Con or Energon Weapon on. However, the ones in the shovel are much less flexible. Pretty much off the cuff the Makeshift mold was the only one I could think of to use there, though I'm sure with some manipulation others could go on just as easy.

Most of the detail in this mode can be found on the treads, which have a lot of tech detail on the sides. The rest of the vehicle is pretty much standard detailing for a construction vehicle, with some lines, tubes and vents here and there. The shovel itself has teeth at the ends and the arm has some cool hydraulic details. Not too much, not too little.

The primary color on Steamhammer is neon green, the same type of shade used on the original G1 Constructicons, solidifying the link between the old and new generations. Black, silver and purple also appear either molded into the plastic or painted. The color distribution works in such a way that the green is broken up, keeping the vehicle from looking like some glaring eyesore. Cool colors overall.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Flip up the green panls on either side of the vehicle (in the middle).
  2. Swing the rear sections of the vehicle (with the Powerlinx points on them) back.
  3. Rotate the parts with the Powerlinx points around.
  4. Rotate the treads around so the green parts face forward.
  5. Swing the back portion of the vehicle all the way back to form the lower body and legs.
  6. Swing the passenger section and shovel arms out to the sides.
  7. On the back, flip down the green panel and push the robot head out then put the panel back.
  8. Flip the silver foot pieces on the legs down.
  9. Open up the shovel/hand.

Robot Mode:
When I saw preview pictures of Steamhammer's robot mode, I wasn't too fond of the shovel arm. Often, I feel that using a shovel arm is just a cheap way of not having to think about the mode any further. However, Steamhammer is nice enough of a toy that the shovel arm is not a problem at all.

Steamhammer has a good bit of detail in this form. His chest has six missile port details on it (at least, that's what they look like) and a nice sculpted Decepticon symbol right in the center. On the sides are raised line details and some cool tech details resembling tubes. The head design is really nice too, with visor eyes, a ridged helmet on top and three cylinders on either side.

In robot mode, Steamhammer has twenty points of articulation. His unusual design places a good ortion of these in one arm. The shovel arm by itself counts for six points of articulation alone. Unfortunately, I cannot count the robot head, even though it does have the ability to move. The head is stuck between the two tread ends, so it really has nowhere to turn. This is perhaps the greatest weakness of this form, which really says a lot about its strengths.

There are five Mini-Con Powerlinx points in this form. The four from the vehicle mode carry over, two on the shovel, one on either knee. The other, previously out of sight is the one on the right upper arm. Again, the points on the shovel are a bit tricky to use, but the ones on the knees easily work with any Mini-Con. The easiest to figure out is the one on his arm. You can use these points with Energon weapons of course, and there are two additional spots you can connect Energon weapons to: the hips. Each one has a silver panel on it with a hole that's just the right size for an Energon weapon peg. Though he doesn't come with accessories himself, his potential for using weaponry makes up for it.

Final Thoughts:
Steamhammer is a really cool toy. He's fun in both modes, and of course add to that his being the center piece of Constructicon Maximus and you have one awesome toy. Highly recommended.