Cliffbee.com: Universe Sludge Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Sludge
Series: Universe
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Dimetrodon

Thanks to Griffin for loaning me Sludge for this review.



DIMETRODON MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 15cm Width: 5.5cm

   A cobalt blue dimetrodon with extensive gold paint markings on the back and sail, Sludge has a fair bit of black plastic peeking through, around the front shoulders and underneath the body of the beast. Rounding out the colours are small beady blue eyes and an Autobot logo stamped on top of his head. I should point out that dimetrodons were lizard-like reptiles with giant, bony sails on their backs, and were contemporaries with the dinosaurs, although not dinosaurs themselves. He's a repaint of BW Neo's Sling.

   Sludge's skin is well sculpted, with scales on the head an wrinkles on the body. There are veins on the sail, which makes sense since it would be skin over a boney plate. The jaws have unpainted teeth and there are moulded toes on his feet. The legs are moulded into a walking pose, with the left side legs contracted and the right side stretched, which is consistent with the gait of a four legged reptile.

   The legs are all on ball joints, but there's no real play value with the moulded pose (he's laying on undercarriage junk anyway). The jaw opens and shuts and there's a "trap" gimmick in the sail. The two sides can fold down and snap into place creating a flat, roughly hexagonal plate. This plate is painted orange with purple in the middle and there's a black button in the middle - pressing it releases springs causing the sides to fly up and clamp onto the unfortunate Autobot who steps on Sludge (or your finger, which will fare better). While it's a silly concept, it's very well executed and is a lot of fun.

   I would have liked some meaningful leg movement on this toy, and I really don't like how the beast head is held in place on by by joint tightness - there's a single ball joint at the bottom of the neck and nothing - not even a notch - at the top. It wouldn't have been difficult at all to engineer a catch at the top, and while this one is tight enough that there are no problems, it's a pretty obvious flaw that shouldn't have manifested itself.

   While there are some disappointing aspects to this beast mode, I think it's still pretty decent. The choice of beast mode is something different, the sculpt is quite good and the sail with built in gimmick works well. Some more leg movement would have been nice, but at a basic level this beast mode is pretty ambitious and comes off well overall.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   More or less a case of unfolding the toy, but Sludge's transformation is still fairly involved for a basic. I'm not going to go through every step since it's hard to describe this asymmetrical transformation. The back splits and becomes the arms, with the sail ending up on the left arm and the tail on the right arm. The head becomes a chestplate while the robot head and legs come out from underneath. The forelimbs end up on his back while the rear limbs hang off the tail.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 11cm Width: 12cm

   The width of the robot mode is taken with Sludge's arms by his sides - the kibble on the arms adds a _lot_ of width. Much of this robot mode is black, the feet and head are the only dedicated robot pieces that are blue. The arm kibble and chestplate are also blue, his face is red with azure eyes (and a toothed scowl on his face). The colours are okay, although he's very dark. The brightest part of this robot mode is actually the Autobot logo, now on his chest.

   The body itself is quite thin and slight, which makes sense really - it has to hide underneath the dimetrodon mode. The bulk is provided by the chestplate, sail and tail. The sail looks pretty good mounted on the outside of the left forearm while the tail on his right arm is pretty obviously just kibble - although at least it doesn't cause any stability issues thanks to the counterweight. It's also reasonable well placed as useless beast kibble goes. Okay, that doesn't say much, but there's an extra transformation joint to allow it to mount rather than hang, which is nice.

   The legs, groin and arms are all fairly well sculpted but in yellow there's not all that much point. Most of the finer detail is provided by the beast parts visible, the rest is on his face. The head has a sort of helmet, the unpainted green part and a crest on top, giving him a roman soldier kind of look.

   This is a very poseable robot mode and I'm happy to report that Sludge's kibble doesn't get in the way of articulation. The neck, shoulders, elbows, knees, hips and ankles are all ball joints while the waste rotates. It's hard to ask more of a basic, really. The feet are big enough for a lot of stable poses, and the leg joints are tight enough. Adding to the play value, the sail opens up, the halves now form a rather impressive shield. The tail on his other forearm forms a sort of melee weapon - a club if you will, although it's nowhere near as cool as the shield.

   This is Sludge's better mode, despite the dark colours and kibbly tail on one forearm. The play value is great, the shield looks great and poseability excellent. The colours don't bother me all that much, the tail is more of an issue really. Despite his visual flaws this is a good robot mode for display, even better for play.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. As mentioned, Sludge is a repaint of Sling.

OVERALL

   While there are some notable flaws, Sludge has an interesting beast mode - he remains the only Transformer dimetrodon (well, along with Sling), and the trap feature is a lot of fun. The robot mode has oodles of play value for a basic and displays quite well, so I recommend Sludge if you can find him for a reasonable price - 7/10

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