Power Core Combiners Steamhammer with Constructicons Toy Reviews

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

Power Core Combiners

General Information:
Release Date: December 2010
Price Point: $19.99
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Airlift Mini-Con figure
Image Gallery: Gallery of Steamhammer and Constructicon Drone images

There have been dozens of combiner Transformers in the history of the toy line, but few are as imprinted into the collective Transformers fandom memory as the Constructicons. Originally a team of six Transformers who merged into the powerful Devastator, the term "Constructicon" would go on to apply to many Transformers in history, including The Energon team of the same name. That team included a Constructicon named Steamhammer. The name Steamhammer has once again been applied to a Constructicon, this time he is a Decepticon who commands a team of Constructicon Drones.

Steamhammer Review

Robot Mode:
The various Power Core Combiner Commander figures have varied in size and design. Steamhammer is one of the shorter figures in the line if you don't count the parts of his vehicle mode that hang over his shoulders. What he lacks on height, he makes up for in his bulky, tough appearance. Even cooler? His appearance takes some design cues from an insect, giving him a slightly extra creepy appearance.

Steamhammer's overall body structure is wide and squat. His chest is wide, the arms are squared off and his lower legs are rather shor and wide. The shovel from his vehicle mode hanging off his back adds to his bulk. He does gain a bit of height from the aforementioned vehicle mode parts. Indeed, they look like they could easily be cannons for him to use in robot mode, but the way they are sculpted they point down at an angle, which is a shame because the barrels at the end definitely look like the ends of a weapon. Part of me wonders if this joint was originally meant to be able to be turned since there is a part where a hinge would have fit in perfectly.

Many of the details on Steamhammer are quite different than your average Transformer. Let's start with his head design. His head has a huge brow, tiny little eyes with a bug jaw and a flat nose area. On top of his head are small protrusions sticking out the sides like tiny insect antennae. This gives him a brutish appearance that befits the rest of his form. His chest angle downward into a section that angles inward (which allows his waist armor to fold in when he's transformed). His waist armor has a shape similar to a segment of an insect, along with horizontal lines running across and extensions on the sides that look almost like mandibles. Attached to each arm is a dual clawed weapon, adding to his dangerous appearance. I really like the details on the figure. He differs from your typical Transformer and looks tough despite his relatively small size.

Steamhammer utilizes the most traditional Constructicon colors. Neon green, black, silver and light blue plastic are all used in this form. The neon green and black are both colors that often appeared on Constructicon figures including the Steamhammer from "Energon". Paint colors are done in silver, red and neon green (matching the neon green plastic). The silver is used for outline details on his chest as well as the face. Red is used on the eyes, and considering how narrow they are, I am again impressed by the accuracy of Hasbro's paint applications on these figures. The sides and top of the chest area are painted neon green (this part is cast in black, making this the best way to give the green some continuity on the torso). The neon green paint is also used on the sides of the lower legs. You'll see a bit of black paint used on the back of the figure were a Decepticon symbol is stamped onto the shovel from the vehicle mode. Personally i would have liked to see a bit more color added to the figure, specifically on the arms which have some nice sculpted detail that can easily get lost in the bright green color, but truth be told this is a minor quibble.

If you count his heel and foot pieces as articulation, Steamhammer has twenty one points of articulation including five points in each arm. This includes the ability of his claw weapon to swing up and down, which adds to his brawler/tough guy appearance. Despite having a big old shovel on his back, he has plenty of stability in robot mode thanks to his heel pieces. His fists are designed with standard holes that allow him to hold a variety of weapons including Energon weapons and Mini-Cons with the appropriate pegs.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Push the robot head into the chest.
  2. Swing each claw weapon down.
  3. Bend each arm at the elbow.
  4. Swing the two arms inward and connect them together.
  5. Swing the waist armor piece up.
  6. Swing the cannons from the vehicle mode down.
  7. Swing the waist's hinge joint up.
  8. Swing each robot leg up at the hip joint.
  9. Rotate the knee joint around and bend the knees.
  10. Rotate the lower robot legs so the neon yellow painted parts face out to the sides.
  11. Connect the piece with the robot mode cannons to the robot legs (there are rectangular gaps that tabs from the treads fit into).
  12. Connect the lower leg sections (now the back of the treads) to the main body using the tabs.
  13. Swing the heel pieces from the robot mode back.

I have to say that I really like the transformation scheme this figure uses. It maximizes the use of several articulation points while being quite unique at the same time. This is definitely a figure that's fun to transform.

Vehicle Mode:
Steamhammer is a bulldozer in vehicle mode. This is quite appropriate as bulldozers have long been part of "Constructicon" themed teams. In this mode, it's all about the shovel and the power it represents. Instead of being a small scoop in the front, this one is a huge one that covers up most of the vehicle when viewed directly from the front. The shovel has cool sculpted details including sides that slope into the main shovel itself. The middle features many lines distinguishing sections of armor and there's even a layering effect at the top where one layer of armor meets another (right near the Decepticon symbol). The rest of the vehicle has quite a bit of detail as well. If we were to go by the scale represented by a human vehicle, Steamhammer is positively gigantic! On the sides near the driver's area are ladders sculpated into the sides. These details are so small in relation to the rest of this figure you can't help but think this is one gigantic bulldozer! Other cool details include having the claws in the back as if to plow into the ground and tube and piston details sculpted into the arms connecting the shovel to the treads. Just as he looks tough and powerful in robot mode, Steamhammer makes quite an impression in vehicle mode.

All of the same colors seen in robot mode are represented here, with neon yellow still making up much of the color scheme. You'll find a bit of black on the front section's sides (right behind the shovel) and on the driver's area. My favorite paint details are found on the shovel itself. Using silver paint, the designers had several "scratch" details painted onto the shovel, giving it the appearance of worn vehicle that has seen much use. Perfect for a robot in disguise! I do wish a bit of silver had been used on details such as the aforementioned ladders, so fingers crossed on these details getting some attention in a redeco!

Steamhammer rolls on small wheels built into the underside of the treads. On the top of the vehicle is a single Powerlinx peg that you can attach Energon weapons or Mini-Cons to. The only downside is that his shovel is locked into place, but I still think he's a cool example of a Constructicon created in the modern era of Transformers toys.

Constructicon Drone Reviews

Drill Drone:
The Drill Drone represents type of Constructicon vehicle we have not seen before in other "Constructicon" oriented sets. We've had tons of bulldozers, cement mixers etc. but not a treaded vehicle that has a big honking drill attached on an arm. There's no doubt that this is one powerful looking vehicle that can do some serious damage to enemies! The drill is the main feature of this figure. The drill sits at the end of an arm with rails and tubes leading up to it. This then connects via a hinge to the vehicle itself. The vehicle is asymmetrical, with the left side containing the driver's area and several details including a ladder, L shaped tubes and more. The left sidelooks more like it is the housing for the drill, with tubes and armor covering the section that leads up to the drill arm. It's a really nice sculpt and I love how little details like the ladders give you a sense of the scale of the vehicle.

The Drill Drone is cast in a blue-grey plastic, silver and black. The blue-grey color makes up most of the vehicle, with the treads cast in black. The drill arm is cast in silver. Paint details are done in silver, black and yellow. The silver is found on the right side, where it is used to paint a wire running along the vehicle's side. The black is found on several sections including the windows and a Decepticon symbol on the top of the driver's area. On the back section are two rectangular yellow sections (the one on the left is larger). It's not a bad paint job, but nowhere near as intricate as the one on the Steamroller or Snowplow.

The drill arm on this Drone can be moved up and down on the middle hinge. This gives you the neat bonus of being able to point it forward at enemies or pretend to have it drilling into the ground. As you might expect, the vehicle rolls on four tiny wheels connected to the bottom of the treads. The requisite Powerlinx Peg is located towards the middle of the vehicle on the left side. It has a fair bit of clearance, but I could see the drill arm getting in the way of some larger Energon weapons. Mini-Cons however should have no problem at all.

Front End Loader Drone:
Part of the goal of this Constructicon team seems to have been to create Constructicon Drones that did not take on the typical form of say, a bulldozer or cement mixer. In this case, we have a Front End Loader, and unlike your average one, this one has a shovel arm that scoops into a platform that leads to a conveyor belt that ends at the rear of the vehicle. This is one complicated looking piece of machinery. on the right side you have the area where the driver would sit, steps leading up to the conveyor belt and small details on the sides including tubes, vent lines and more. The other sidehas platforms, more steps, vents towards the back and even coils of what could be wires or hoses. All this sits on top of treads on either side that are half covered with armor plating. Overall this is a fantastic sculpt and I really love all the little details like the steps and rails next to them. It adds an element of realism to a toy that we know is meant to be more than meets the eye!

The Front End Loader Drone is cast in orange, black and silver. The silver is found mostly on the front, where the shovel arm and ramp are located. The conveyor belt and treads are black with the rest cast in orange. Light blue, silver and white paint are used for paint applications. The light blue is used for the windows and the silver is found on the sides. On the left, it colors the vent panels in the back. On the right it is used for a Decepticon symbol towards the back of the vehicle. The white color is used in bold strokes, painting the side panels that cover the treads.

There is one point of articulation on this vehicle, specifically the shovel arm, which can swing up and down on a hinge. The vehicle rolls on four small wheels connected to the underside of the treads. On top of the driver section is a Powerlinx Peg, allowing you to attach Energon weapons or Mini-Cons. What's nice about the location of this peg is that it is high up enough that no other part of the vehicle really impedes what you can connect there. You can take Energon weapons (which are relatively long compared to the vehicle) and attach them without a problem and there's enough clearance on the front and sides for almost any Mini-Con to fit.

Snowplow Drone:
The Snowplow Drone appears to be a heavily modified dump truck with a large shovel attachment in the front (which is sometimes the case in real life). Instead of having the typical design of a flat front end, with an open truck bed in the back and a tiny cabin section, this truck is a lot more proportional. The front end is actually curved, leading to a wide cabin section with two seats inside (and a control panel between them to boot!). The truck bed is on the back, coming to the center in a "V" shape while the relatively tall wheels on the sides are covered with wheel well panels that stick out to the sides a bit. I'm actually rather impressed by how the designers managed to give a Snowplow of all things a relatively sleek appearance. The shovel in front curves to a V point in the front, the cabin comes to a V shape in the front and the sides have a slight curve in the front that leads to the back. Combined with excellent details like hydraulic tubes attached to the plow and platforms on the sides of the vehicle and you have one really nicely done sculpt in this Drone!

The Snowplow is cast in black, silver and off-white plastic. The white makes up most of the vehicle while silver is used for the plow. The black is found on the wheels and on the connection point for the Combiner mode on the back. Off-white plastic is used for a majority of the vehicle mode including the lower half and the truck bed. Paint applications are done up in orange, black and green. The black and green are used together to paint the cabin and truck bed respectively, with the siren on top of the cabin section painted orange. Following the theme of giving the vehicle a "worn" real world look, black paint is applied in faint brushstrokes on the plow itself, giving it the appearance of a device that has been used repeatedly. I really love this look and hope we see more of it in other Transformers in the future.

The vehicle can roll on all four wheels and the Powerlinx Peg is located right on the top of the vehicle in the center. This is ideal as it allows for a good amount of width and length for an Energon weapon or Mini-Con to fit without being obstructed.

Steamroller Drone:
It's interesting to think that after so many years of Transformers vehicles being produced, a steamroller is not one of the ones that has been made before. This Drone has all the major details you'd expect from such a vehicle including a huge drum in the front, large "tractor" style wheels in the back and a driver's area cover in the center. Interestingly, I tend to think of the large drum as being in the front of the steamroller since so many models are built this way, but in this case it would appear the drum is the back of the vehicle. Take a close look and there are two seats sculpted into the vehicle facing away from the drum, complete with rails on the sides. On the left side is a control wheel for the vehicle. Other details that I like include vent lines on the sides of the arms connected to the drums and steps leading up to each of the seats. The designers did a great job on the sculpting of this vehicle.

The Steamroller Drone is cast in three colors: yellow (with an orange tone to it), black and silver. The black is used on the drum, the wheels and the cover in the middle. The orange makes up most of the rest of the vehicle with silver used for the stand and bar near the drum. Paint applications are provided in four colors: red, silver, yellow and black. The red is used for stripes running along the sides of the vehicle. The yellow is used on the side of the wheels, and aside from giving it more detail on the side, it also really helps contrast how strong the yellow plastic color is. Black is used for a Decepticon symbol on the front edge of the vehicle. Silver is used for the aforementioned vents, but it is also used for my favorite paint deco on the vehicle: the drum. Look at the drum and you'll see faint, irregular "scratch" lines painted in silver, indicating wear and tear on the drum itself. This is a really sweet detail, much like the wear lines on Steamhammer's shovel. It's cool to see a drone get this much paint deco attention!

The Steamroller Drone doesn't just look good, it has some functionality to boot! The drum and the wheels both roll, which sounds like an odd thing to point out, but I was partly worried that the drum would be a static plastic piece with a tiny wheel on the bottom, but nope, the whole thing moves so you can pretend to squash enemies with it! Or just pave roads, whatever tickles your fancy. Towards the front of the vehicle is a Powerlinx Peg, allowing you to connect Energon weapons or Mini-Cons for some added firepower.

Combiner Mode

Steamhammer Transformation to Power-Up Mode (starting in robot mode)

  1. Swing the shoulder cannon sections out to the side so the light blue combiner points face out to the sides.
  2. Rotate each leg so the front of the feet point to the sides.
  3. Fold in the pieces that form the front of the feet.
  4. Swing down each of the combiner connection points on the robot legs.
  5. Swing up each of the legs at the hip joint and bend the knees, using the clipis on the upper legs to connect to the waist.
  6. Rotate each of the lower robot legs (now the Combiner Mode's upper legs) around so the treads face front.
  7. Swing the shovel piece over the robot head to form the chest and head of the Combiner.
  8. Swing and rotate the arms back so they are under the shovel.
  9. Rotate the lower arms around so the claws wind up sliding over the vertical fins on the shovel.
  10. Swing the shoulder cannon/tread pieces back so the cannon ends are pointing down.
  11. Point the antennae on the Combiner head up.
  12. The Drill and the Front End Loader connect to the arm joints to form the Combiner arms.
  13. The Snowplow and Steamroller both connect to the leg joints to form the Combiner legs. You will have to raise the Snowplow Drone's shovel manually before connecting into one of the Combiner ports.

Power-Up Combiner Mode
Whenever you take a bunch of construction vehicles in the Transformers line and put them together, there's almost an expectation they should combine in some way. This isn't always the case, but when they do it jogs excitement within the fan community. It is that excitement that is invoked with Steamhammer in his combined form. This is truly one of those Power Core Combiners where I feel that every element of the figure was put together just right to be a combiner, balancing visual appeal with functionality. Taken as a whole, Steamhammer looks awesome. The width of the Commander figure plays a huge role in making the torso section look wide and powerful. This visual effect is then extended by how wide each of his shoulders are, thanks to the way the vehicles that form his arms unfold. Each leg is solid and stable thanks to wide feet and parts from the vehicles that form stable sections in the front of the foot. Steamhammer beats out most of his fellow Power Core Combiners in the stability department, and for that I am very appreciative. But let's get into the nitty gritty shall we?

Steamhammer forms the torso, head, hip and upper leg joints of the Combiner Mode. Instead of being some type of Devastator knock off, the designers gave Steamhammer a look all his own. This is most heavily illustrated by the head design, which has a triangular face set against an oval head with long antennae sticking up the sides. In many ways, the head design is reminscent of the heads of Veritech fighters from Macross. The chest section is quite impressive as the shovel piece manages to give the figure a totally different look than say, having Steamhammer's regular chest or back acting as the Combiner's chest. Instead, we see the back portion of the shovel forming cool details including rows of vertical lines and curved tubes on either side of the head.

Steamhammer reveals more neon green plastic and paint in this form via the head and chest respectively. Red paint is used for the triangular part of the face with silver used on circular details right underneath. Near the shoulder joints are vertical indentations painted red. The color scheme is nicely done and remains consistent with what we saw of Steamhammer in his other modes.

Steamhammer brings thirteen points of articulation to this form including two points on each shoulder joint and four in each leg. More articulation is provided by the Drones themselves, in particular there are thumbs on both arm Drones (more on that in a bit) and you can move the shovel on the Front End Loader and the drill on the Drill Drone, bringing the articulation total to seventeen points. The center of the chest has a Powerlinx peg that you can swing out to attach a Mini-Con, giving him the potential to utilize armor that he did not have in his regular robot mode. I like the way the peg swings up to look like just another part of the chest.

Drill Drone
In this form, the Drill Drone reveals a lot of extra black plastic in the form of the arm sections revealed in this mode. His arms lead to three black claws, which are complemented by a silver thumb piece that can swing up or down, allowing the Drone to either be the left or right arm of the Combiner itself. His fingers look rather sharp and dangerous, almost like a skeleton's fingers while the thumb is thicker and more robotic looking. The Powerlinx peg is on top of the shoulder now, an appropriate place to attach some extra weaponry or Mini-Cons!

Front End Loader Drone
The Front End Loader Drone extends a bit further down than the Drill Drone in its arm form. Black and silver plastic are revealed in abundance, with the hand mostly cast in silver except for the thumb, which is cast in black. There's some really nice detail including curved, raised lines where the wrist is, indicating some type of Cybertronian musculature in that spot. As with the Drill Drone, the Powerlinx Peg winds up right on top of the Drone's shoulder area, giving him some symmetry in terms of weapon placement between the two arms.

Snowplow Drone
The Snowplow Drone doesn't seem to undergo a whole lot of change in this form, but it definitely does. Once connected, the front wheel wells and the tubes behind them swing down to form heel pieces while the shovel acts as a good "front end". Most of the newly revealed details involve the rails/tubes connecting to the shovel itself. Thes eparts look great and really give a sense of a machine that is combining with others. The truck bed actually pulls up against the knee section, forming knee armor but also strategically placing the Powerlinx Peg right in the same spot. This allows you to attach any Mini-Con or weapon, adding to Steamhammer's power!

Steamroller Drone
The Steamroller Drone forms a rather stable leg itself, thanks to the silver frame around the drum forming a heel piece and the driver's section cover folding forward to create the front of his foot. The back section of the vehicle slides forward a bit, revealing extra silver details on what would be the very front of the vehicle. The front foot piece has some nice detail sculpted into it, and I dig the way the Decepticon symbol is upright and faces front in this form. Like the Snowplow it has a peg that is near the knee joint, allowing for extra armor/weaponry etc. to be attached.

As a whole, this is one impressive combiner figure. It looks great and menacing and I really have to say how happy I am to see a Power Core Combiner giant with two regular hands. It sounds silly, but after a few figures with odd, ambiguous claws and so on, it's a nice change of pace. Add to that the sheer stability of the figure and I am just super impressed.

Final Thoughts:
Cool vehicles that we haven't seen a lot, nice sculpting, great paint jobs and an awesome combiner mode to boot. Really, there's very little to not like here, so this set is definitely highly recommended!