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TRANSFORMERS TOYS AND MERCHANDISE SECTION

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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Pun-3X' review of: Slugslinger

Name: Slugslinger
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Aerial Warrior
Sub-Group: NA
" I rule the skies."

Slugslinger is a crude and vile Decepticon. His ariel speed and battle tactics are the two reasons that Megatron keeps him around. He takes just as much pleasure in starting trouble between his own teammates as he does fighting Autobots. In robot mode, this troublemaker possesses an impressive weapons arsenal. Many Autobots try to avoid a direct gun fight with him. In vehicle mode, Slugslinger's speed and endurance in the air are second only to Megatron.

Part of the Powerlinx Battles wave of Transformers: Energon, Slugslinger is a strong homage to a toy and character that was not a major highlight in the cartoons, and had only a bit more show in the comics. The dual-cockpit style was used in transformers twice. The original Targetmaster Slugslinger was one of these dual-cockpit futuristic jets released in 1987. This new Energon Slugslinger, while matching at least the look of its predecessor, is attempting to make its own name in the new line.

Vehicle Mode:
The toy comes packaged in its jet-mode, so the comparison between this Slugslinger and the original is recognizable immediately to those familiar with the old targetmaster. Many aspects of this new toy are a match. The dual cockpits, the design of the main wings and even the twin rudders/tails on the upper back portion of the ship are similar to the fins on the G1 Slugslinger. The colors are an interesting mix light gray, olive green, black and two shades of blue, with some minimal orange highlights. The weapon is placed directly between the two cockpits and helps to make the ship look menacing. A neat feature, also reminiscent of a feature on the original, is the landing gear. The toy has four, two on its legs and two on its arms. Each fold up and out of the way for flight, and each are pinned so they aren't flimsy and fall out. This is much better than some molds that have a simple solid-molded wheel system that just looks ugly on the toy (See: Armada Starscream/Thundercracker/Skywarp).

Overall, the look is very nice. The problem stems from its design---it's flimsy. They seemed to have used some of that soft-plastic that likes to bend and flex on some of the components. Sections don't really lock together well, so holding the toy doesn't feel very solid in this mode. Panels on the sides of the legs attach together with a small peg/hole system that is really too small to have any actual effect in keeping the panels steady. The arms sort of 'float' inside the cavities in these same panels, mainly to hide the fists and join the arms and legs together and create what looks like a solid piece. Problem is, it doesn't look very solid. Commonly, the arms slip out of the cavities because there's too much play-room. They aren't loose, mind you, but it doesn't take much handling to move parts around. Also, the legs--which is where the cockpits are--have no way of locking themselves down at all, so they just float out on their own.

All of these issues don't really come up all that much...until you convert the ship to its attack-mode. This mode is accessed by pulling the leg/arm assembly on either side straight out. The hinge-system (which I'll get to in the robot mode) allows the parts to pull away and reveal the center cannon that much more. This attack mode is extremely flimsy. The hinges are all too loose to hold this pose, so you have to hold the thing with both hands to make it all look straight. It also doesn't help that the legs and arms don't actually 'connect' with each other on either side of the ship. The concept might have been a good idea, but it just doesn't feel right when trying to make it work.

Robot Mode:
The robot mode, in appearance, is actually quite good, though it's in this mode that it resembles the least of the G1 Targetmaster. Now, the toy stands out on its own. One of the neat gimics to this character is that the central cannon in his alt-mode becomes a swing-out shoulder cannon in robot mode. It is non-detacheable, but it just looks too cool anyway. The limbs are nicely proportioned, and everything has a decent ammount of articulation. The legs have the common joint systems which are the ball-socket hip joints, a simple rotating knee joint and a final sideways rotating joint just above it. (He can do the Charleston, folks!) The face has a regular optic and a monocular viewing optic on the right. His mouth also has that half-snarl to match. Arms have the normal joints that allow for a lot of articulation at the shoulder (both up and down as well as outward), the elbow, and the rotating joint in between the two.

As good as this sounds, there's a downside. That's right, you guessed it....flimsy! The arms are hinged on a double panel that is supposed to fold over and attach to itself through the use of a single peg-hole system. And it doesn't hold worth anything. This issue seems to plague a few of the Energon toys, Energon Inferno included (See: hinge attaching head-and-body for Inferno). The same problem plagues the hips attaching to the upper body. You get a satisfying click into place, making you think everything is nice and tight, until you play with it a bit more and find the upper and lower body halves come apart easily. It really is too bad, because the figure itself looks excellent. The designers just need to ditch this entire peg-hole system they've got for something else. Hey, I'll even take a BETTER peg-hole system if they have one. In my opinion, though, nothing beats a small plastic hook-latch (with that slight extending lip that catches on the inside of the hole? These were actually quite nice, what happened?)

A final issue. Those landing gear I was talking about earlier? The ones on the arms now get in the way of the hinges on the arm panels, so you can't really push the arms backwards beyond the straight-down angle unless you pull the arms out to the sides just a slight. Which, of course, pulls the shoulder-panels out of their sockets.

Transformation: 8 - I give this rating beyond its difficulty to express transformation ISSUES with this toy. Primarily--the hinges! Though, transformation is pretty messy, and you will have to see the instructions at least once to figure out how to put him back together. Still, this toy isn't so much difficult to transform as it is annoying. The multitude of hinges and swinging panels (designed specifically for the poorly working attack-mode) become a pain when trying to transform this toy into either mode. And in the end, even this probably wouldn't be so bad if the parts could actually lock together properly in either mode.
Durability: 8 - I can't say this toy will break anytime soon with some of its parts made out of the softer plastic. And while parts don't stay connected well, I don't think durability is the issue
Fun: 4 - This is up for debate, I suppose. But, it's hard to play with a toy that shifts its parts when you touch it. If everything locked down nicely, you'd have a solid (pun intended!) toy here with all the articulation in its limbs. But the way it's designed might leave you annoyed trying to play with him.
Price: 6 - $9.99, retail. This is the standard price for the deluxe toys. The size of the figure is the same as most deluzes on the market. It's a decent spending if you're into collecting, but it might be costly if you're looking for higher quality toy at this price-range.
Summary: 6 - Perhaps I'm being harsh here. I really was looking forward to this toy. And I have to admit, the way it looks in both modes is very nice overall. Thing is, you just can't get a lot of fun out of it when it keeps coming apart. This figure was a big dissapointment coming out of the package. Personally, I'm probably going to see if I can't gum up the locking mechanisms and get everything to fit a bit more solid at least in robot mode. The alt-mode is rather stuck the way it is, as there aren't many places for anything to lock on to anyway. (Especially the cockpits/legs) If you collect these for display, then by all means pick this one up. If you're looking for a good time....don't call this guy. I can only recommend him as a pick-up to the hardcore collectors. The casual buyer will probably be dissapointed.

 
 
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