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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Denyer's review: Steamhammer

Name: Steamhammer
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Constructicon Maximus Team Leader
Sub-Group: Constructicon

"Intelligence is a greater weapon than brute strength"

STEAMHAMMER is a dark and stoic DECEPTICON warrior. His ability to jam enemy transmissions has earned him a high-ranking position in GALVATRON's army. His primary function is communication and espionage but when called to action, STEAMHAMMER can battle with the best of them. His powerful fists are deadly weapons. LANDMINE is one of the few AUTOBOTS that will dare face him in fist-to-fist combat. In vehicle mode, he has been known to literally flatten his enemies. Although he is a seasoned warrior, STEAMHAMMER prefers breaking codes to breaking heads and tries to avoid getting involved in battles.

I'm going to disagree with Auros on this one... I don't think much of the alt mode, and find the robot one rather charming even though I'm not usually a fan of asymmetrical design or big bits of stuff hanging off in place of a limb. Maybe that's helped by having randomly found Steamhammer in a charity shop, having an irrational 80s-spawned attachment to lime green construction vehicles, and him sharing a name with a hi-then-die character in one of Furman's best UK annual stories, The Magnificent Six.

Vehicle Mode

The transformation is actually quite tricky if you don't have a photo to work from. What you wind up with is a cartoonishly proportioned digger, with what may or may not be intended to be a hopper behind the tiny cab. There's quite a bit of kibble on show, including those black panels at the front and the blue knob on top of the shovel arm, which I presume is to do with connecting other figures to make the gestalt Steamhammer forms the core of. Not a terrible alt mode, but the scale of the cab against the shovel makes it look like something out of Dreamwave or All Hail Megatron. Being released in 2005, this wasn't an entirely uncommon aesthetic -- Energon is the line that gave us a Grimlock and Swoop combiner, as another example.

Robot Mode

You can get at least one decent pose, thanks to plenty of pivot points in the right arm and knees made extra-versatile by the fact they factor into the transformation. The shovel does look a bit ridiculous, in a campy Bond-villain or Army-of-Darkness kind of way that involves replacing body parts for fun and mutilation potential. Having the tracks behind the head is fairly original, and if you want you can give him a Zaphod Beeblebrox two-heads look by unfolding the gestalt noggin that's stored inside the vehicle cab.

One thing that's a bit poor about the figure is that the Decepticon logo was painted purple over white, and double-layering toy paint is rarely a good idea. It'd started flaking lightly when I got him and the rest came off easily. The other paint apps don't have this problem, and (moving on from what's quite a minor criticism) the palette of colours chosen actually create a pleasantly balanced effect. Definitely a nice addition to a Constructicon army.

This mould was later re-released without reference to the gestalt ability in Universe (also in 2005) and subsequently redecoed into Classics Scavenger (2007) with a less lurid paint job that places emphasis on black and silver. Both should help availability.

Ratings

Transformation: 8 - surprisingly tricky due to also being a central gestalt piece.
Durability: 8 - aside from that Decepticon symbol paint app it seems solid.
Fun: 7 - you either like lime green construction vehicles or don't...
Price: 9 - likely to be cheap on the second-hand market and found in mixed lots.
Summary: 7 - lots of character for a rank-and-file Decepticon.
 
 
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