Energon Toy Reviews: Duststorm

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

Energon

General Information:
Release Year: October 2004
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $6.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 2
Accessories: Energon Claw, Energon Star

Images:

Early in the Transformers toy line, a cool concept arose: several Transformers combining into one combined form. The first of these Combiners were the Constructicons, six Transformers who transformed into construction vehicles and who could join together to form the powerful robot Devastator.

Energon has, in large part, served as a toy line that pays homage to many classic Transformer designs, characters and concepts. The latest concept to return are Combiners, but not just any combiners. These have themes borrowed from the G1 era. In this case, the Constructicon concept returns in the form of the Constructicon Maximus team. Duststorm is one of the members of this team.

Vehicle Mode:
Duststorm is a crane vehicle in this form. His G1 equivalent would be the original Constructicon Hook. The design is fairly standard. The front has sections for drivers/passengers while the back has the base of the crane with another control seat for the crane. The designers used a liberal amount of line detail which can be found from front to back. The crane base has nice cross hatching at the floor and the front windows even have windshield wipers sculpted in.

Duststorm's color scheme was quite surprising. While his fellow team member Sledge is mostly green, reminscent of the G1 Constructicons, Duststorm is mostly black and light blue. Parts like the crane arm, the base of the crane and the lower half of the vehicle are mostly black while the upper half and tires are light blue. The windows are painted red, which looks nice against both the light blue and the black. A bit of silver is used for detailing. Regular metallic silver can be found on the base of the crane. The color combination really works well.

The crane arm can extend and the base can turn. Near the base of the crane arm is a Decepticon Spark Crystal where you may attach an Energon Star. What's really neat is that the crane arm actually has a post it can snap into to rest. Not only does this give it a place to go, it helps keep the vehicle straight since the middle section is on ball joints. Another nice feature on the crane arm is a Mini-Con Powerlinx point near the hook. On the other side of the peg is a hole that will accomodate an Energon weapon.

Duststorm comes with an Energon claw (and a rather large one at that). This can attach to the crane arm in the hole for Energon weapons and acts as an additional way for him to lift up objects. The claw opens and closes and it itself has a peg that you can use to attach an additional Energon weapon.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach any Energon weapons attached.
  2. Lift up the crane arm.
  3. Push down the support for the crane arm.
  4. Split up the front of the vehicle in half.
  5. Flip the top halves of the front portion up and the bottom halves back.
  6. Rotate the base of the crane around so the crane arm is pointing up.
  7. Swing the crane arm and the crane control compartment out to the sides.
  8. Swing the lower arm out on the right side and rotate it around.
  9. Flip the section with the robot head down and rotate the robot head panel to the center.

Robot Mode:
Duststorm's robot mode put me off a bit at first because his left arm is basically just the crane arm with no fist or anything. However, aside from the crane arm being a robot arm too, the rest of the design is nice and simple because it does not use too many parts that are obviously vehicle mode bits in the robot mode. The part which fits this the most is the chest, which is hidden in vehicle mode. It has a layered design with square, line and circular details. The waist is has a Decepticon symbol cut into the center instead of being raised. The head is a typical central crest/eyes/nose/mouth design. Another detail I really like is found in the lower right arm which has a part sculpted like a piston on the inside.

Duststorm has twelve points of articulation. The point where the upper legs attach to the waist are ball joints, but they are a bit loose unfortunately. A bit of clear nail polish on the ball joints will solve this so it's not a big deal.

Despite my reservations about the crane arm, I do have to give the designers credit for making sure the elbow joint on that arm is a ratchet joint.

Duststorm can hold Energon weapons in his hand and in the hole on the crane arm.

Final Thoughts:
The biggest thing I have against this toy is the huge crane arm. I really would have preferred the crane being on the shoulder or on the back and Duststorm getting two real arms. However, that's not enough to make this a bad toy. Recommended with minor reservations.