When the concept of the Power Core Combiners was announced, it was met with mixed reaction by fans, myself included. In some cases, such as the wonderful Bombshock and his Combaticons, the commander didn’t suffer; he had three very solid modes.
However, Steamhammer doesn’t live up to this. His robot mode is an odd-mishmash; basically a small robot carrying the combined mode’s head and shoulders like an awkward backpack. To up the awkward factor just a bit more, the front part of his treads — which, oddly enough, have detailing that looks like they could serve as guns, but have no way of being positioned that would allow them to be used as guns — protrude far out and up from his shoulders. But wait! It’s gets even better, the sides of his alt mode’s cabin area extend backwards from his forearms, awkwardly hindering his arm range-of-motion.
I don’t know, maybe we’ve just had too many Constructicon permutations? His alt mode is a bulldozer, and… well, that’s really all I can say about it.
The paint applications on the shovel are a nice touch, just not enough to save the whole thing from mediocrity. One thing I can say is, though there have been a good assortment of “Constructicon” vehicles over the years, by utilizing a drill, a plow, a steamroller, and a front-end loader, the choices of vehicles for these Constructicon drone units is definitely unique.
The combined mode is definitely where most of the design went. Steamhammer’s drones — at least two of them — do something that none of the rest of the Power Core Combiner sets has done: thumbs. Steamhammer’s combined mode has two actual, well-defined hands. Of course, he continues the awkward random pieces jutting out and up from both of his upper arms, but that’s pretty common to Constructicons in general.
Those hands, with their clawed fingers, really make it, though. Varied and detailed drones makes for a pretty decent combined mode with actual hands; thereby managing to salvage what is otherwise a snooze-inducing commander figure.
Oh well, here’s hoping we have better luck with Grimstone and the Dinobots. We have to, right? I mean… it’s robot dinosaurs. Robot dinosaurs are always cool.