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Slugslinger - Energon - Figure

Prototype Slugslinger

A late G1 Decepticon. Slugslinger was never really featured in the American cartoon and his toy was released as the line was starting its decline, so he never gained the recognition of the seekers and coneheads, but his unique design made him a standout among the later (and weaker) G1 toys. Click herefor a peak at the original toy.

Needless to say this was a toy I was looking forward to. With the last 2 months being bone dry for new toys, I finally broke down and purchased the Slugslinger prototype. I’d always wanted a proto for my collection anyway, and this seems a pretty good mold to take that place on my shelf. Sure I overpaid a little ($30) but I think it was worth it. I should point out that this toy has problems typical of prototypes (or so I understand) – it’s a bit floppy, the missile launcher is disabled, and there are no paint apps. That and a big old “not for sale” stamped on the body. I know 3 of these issues will be taken care of before release. If the floppiness is taken care of, this should be a great, great toy.

This Slugslinger is a deluxe sized toy. The prototypes colors of light gray, slate blue and olive green closely match the base colors of the final design (which looks to add gold/orange and metallic blue apps). Click here for Hasbro’s look at the final product:

Accessories

A missile. One measly missile. It’s a nice missile, light gray body with a translucent yellow warhead, but still just a missile. Starscream’s ubersword has no competition here.

Alt Mode

length: 14.7cm
width: 15.5cm
height: 2cm (nose)-4cm (tail)with landing gear deployed

It is in this mode where homage is paid to G1 Slugslinger. A unique twin-cockpit fighter, this vessel has a profile almost identical to the original. The sculpting of the plane is quite nice. Panels and vents seem to be logically placed, and small details like the VTOL fans, cockpit seats, and small gun ports go a long way to making this fictional craft believable.

The two sleek nosecones are mostly black with olive green tips. Translucent yellow cockpits (the same shade as the Energon Saber, or perhaps a half shade darker) each house a pilot’s seat. These are smaller and less detailed than Starscream’s, but it’s a nice touch nonetheless. Beneath each cockpit is a retractable landing gear with molded, non-rolling wheels.

The fighter’s body is mostly a dark slate blue, with two olive panels in the front center, light gray side thrusters, and a light gray “engine” in the rear. A Decepticon spark crystal sits atop the engine, and like the rest of the line it can be fitted with an energon star. The prototype’s housing is a bit too small to fit a standard energon star, but this will certainly be fixed for the toy’s release.

On either side of the engine block is a small, angled tail fin, held about 30 degrees above the body. Next to each fin is a hole for mounting energon weapons such as Ravage’s cannon and Divebomb’s… thingees. The pieces on which the fins are mounted can rotate freely, giving Slugslinger a pair of weapon turrets. If these fins can maintain a tight joint, this could be a neat bonus feature. If not I can see them being a major nuisance like Snowcat’s minicon-peg panel.

 

Small olive wings (about 3cm wide and 5cm long) extend off the sides of the body, each capped by a 5.5cm missile. VTOL-like fans are molded into each wing, with a minicon peg in the center of each. This is a welcome feature as the more recent Energon releases have been a bit slack in their use of the pegs. They are actually in a very useful location for mounting weapon-mode minicons. I don’t know if this is an intentional feature, but the wings can be angled up and down slightly.

From the rear the jet is mostly gray, with a couple of olive green thrusters. The back of Slugslinger’s translucent yellow head is very visible, but thanks in part to the head fins it is not recognizable as kibble. In fact, if I can have a Battle of the Planets moment here, it reminds me of the way Mark’s plane fit into the Phoenix.

The underside is a bit open, but I don’t feel that anything is obvious robokibble. Between the cockpits (and under the green paneling) is a blue missile launcher (disabled in the prototype). Four gray landing gear can be deployed (under each cockpit and tailfin). A small red Decepticon logo (surely purple on the final release) is visible in the rear.

Again my one and only complaint is that the toy is VERY floppy in this mode. There are pegs everywhere, so I am assuming this is a prototype problem. If not, the toy will be a big disappointment.

Transformation Slugslinger is the most complex deluxe figure I’ve seen in a long time. Not so hard that you can’t figure it out without directions, nor is it car brothers tough-to-align-and-cram-in-the-shell tough. There are just lots of little flipping panels and things that do not seem obvious from pics and packages.

Legs

1) Rotate the olive tips of the nosecones to make the feet.

2) Swivel around the air intakes to make the “bell bottoms.” This will also uncover the forearms and hands.

Head and Cannon

3)Open the back panel.

4) Swing out and raise cannon.

5) Lift head and snap pegs into holes in back panel, then close panel.

Torso and Wings

6) Rotate body panels up. This uncovers the torso. Position tail fins however you like.

Arms

7) Detach and open side panels.

8) Raise arm and shoulder panel.

9) Flip over side panel (side showing mechanical detail should now be facing out) and snap back onto body.

10) Lower arm and snap shoulder panel into side panel. Position arms and wing. Watch out for kitten.

Hips

11) Swing hips around and to the back.

12) Snap right and left hips together and push into back.

13) Swing up hips and peg into torso.

Done!

Robot Mode

height: 13.0cm (add 0.5 for head wings, and up to another 6.0cm for the shoulder wings)
width: 8.0cm shoulder-to-shoulder (up to another 15.5cm for the shoulder wings)
thickness: 4.0cm

Here’s where the G1 homage stops. This sleek modern model can never be confused with his blockier forbearer. I’m not sure if there are any older robots that would perfectly fit his design (though at least one person has mentioned G1 Cyclonus, and I suppose that could be the case if he’s referring to the cartoon version). Color changes from mostly blue to mostly gray, with black shoulders, collar and lower legs. Like the plane mode, Sluglsinger’s bot mode has plenty of nice details.

Slugslinger’s head has already received plenty of attention. No question his face is not a pretty sculpt, nor is it intended to be. His mouth is sculpted into a half snarl, and his right eye is covered by a round targeting sight. No question he bears a strong resemblance to Two-Face, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Mr. Archer snuck another Batman homage into this line. Unfortnately the cheap, unpainted olive plastic doesn’t serve the toy well. This will need a nice paint app to make it work. The back of the head is translucent yellow to allow for light piping. The green plastic over the face is very thin and lets a lot of light through, so it is tough to tell if this feature will work as well as it did on Landmine. His head is able to turn side to side, but there is no vertical movement.

To the left of the head is a shoulder cannon. It can flip over and hang off the back, so I imagine that this will be one of the lamer hypermodes

Most of the torso is formed from the jet mode’s engine block. As such the spark cystal lies dead center (as it should be) and the whole torso is nicely framed by cooling tubes. His back is rather plain, but at least its not wide open like most of the deluxe Autobots. Sadly there is no waist articulation, just about the only major joint missing from the toy.

Slugslinger’s legs are start out lean and shapely, and slowly widen towards the bottom, where the jet’s air intakes flare out like bell bottoms (groovy baby!). His black shins, formed from the nosecones, extend well up past the knees so he sort of looks like he’s wearing black thigh-high boots. Whatever turns the bots on. I do like the look of the golden cockpits on the dark shins. As for articulation, the legs are in Car Robots territory. Nearly unrestricted ball joints on the hips, a mid thigh swivel, hinged feet (can point down only), and, yes, knees.

Arms are mostly gray with black shoulder pads, with the tiny red Decepticon logo on his left shoulder. The jet mode’s wings come off the forearm and thanks to a double hinge they can be positioned a few different ways. In terms of weaponry, each arm has a molded missile and minicon peg on each wing, and a molded cannon on the forearm. No sissy swords for this Decepticon!

The arms are almost as well articulated as the legs, though a little kibble hampers some movement. There are the standard elbow hinges as well as a bicep-swivel. Double joints on the shoulders allow the arms to move back and forth and out to the side. Unfortunately a hinge sticking off the torso keeps the arms from being lifted over the chest unless you pop the panel the arm is attached to. This is worsened a little by the tiny landing gear on the inside of his upper arm, and the green cone (the jet’s thruster) extending from his tricep. Basically to freely swing the arms back and forth they have to be held a bit to the side. Finally the rather complex system of panels used to transform the arms makes the whole system rather touchy, and the panels tend to pop free whenever the arms are moved. Think BW Silverbolt and you get the idea.

The only other kibble on the toy (if you can call it kibble) are the long blue and olive “wings” extending from the shoulder. These are not actually formed from his wings (again those are on the forearms) but from the top panels of the jet. Long and thin, they do not have a very wing like shape, but it still fits a classic TF motif. The wings can be rotated, but not removed. They can be brought out to the sides, stood straight up, or anything in between. Arm kibble prevents moving the wings into any sort of down position. Lastly, those rotating tailfin panels from the jet mode are on the back of the wings. This makes those weapon mounts useless, though changing the position of the panels will allow you to slightly alter the wing’s silhouette.

Overall

With a nice homage, detailed sculpt, ample articulation, and a complex transformation, Slugslinger promises to be a good toy. Whether he is merely good or amazing will depend on how well Hasbro tightens those loose pegs in the plane mode and the arm panels in bot mode. If all goes well, I truly believe that this may be the toy that dethrones Energon Starscream from his perch. Prototype Grade: A-



ReviewerMichael T. Dunleavy  
DateMay 8th 2004  
Score 9 stars (9 out of 10)  
Reads15426
Link  




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