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Transformers: The Movie
by yo go re

Slowly but surely, Hasbro is unearthing the Studio Series Dinobots.

Sludge breaks down the courtroom door and crashes the Quintesson trial.

In a group not particularly known for their smarts, Sludge is the dumbest of the dumb. He honestly just does whatever Grimlock tells him, or at least tries to - the instructions have to be pretty basic, and the goals can still get messed up if nobody's watching out for him. There's something ineffably "dumb" about the sculpt, too; maybe it's that his eyes are more than halfway up his head, making it look like there's less room for a brain inside? Couldn't say, but it's noticable.

Measured to the top of the head, Sludge is just a little taller than Slug, though of course Slug had the benefit of his triceratops "hat" to make him taller overall. Sludge's design is more blocky and angular in the chest, though the legs show more roundness. Considering this is about twice the size of the vintage Generation 1 toy, the sculptors have had plenty of surface area to cover in small techno details. Most of this is all visible in dinosaur mode, too, but it's not like they took it easy on his chest or the inside of his "wings."

The wings (actually flaps of kibble that will create his dino sides in the altmode) came unattached when I was getting Sludge out of the packaging, but like the instructions always say, "some parts designed to detatch if excess pressure is applied" - in other words, they weren't broken, I just had to put them back in place. Unfortunately, his left wing didn't fit in securely, and I thought I might need to get a replacement. Luckily for me and my free time, when changing him to dino mode, closing everything up made the panel snap into place where it's supposed to be, and now the piece stays on pretty well.

Sludge moves at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and rocker ankles. The panel the head is attached to doesn't lock into place in any way, so it will move up and down when you try to move the head, which could be fun or annoying, depending on how you're feeling at the moment. All the kibble on his back does make him lean that way a little, and the knees could use some slightly stronger ratchets to help keep him stable. He comes with an up-sized version of the missile laucher he came with in G1, though it doesn't launch any missles, and in fact only has a rather shallow opening where one would fit in.

The Studio Series aims to create cartoon-accurate Transformers in both modes, which means much more complex conversions than the olden days. 1) point the arms forward, 2) rotate the hands, 3) fold them away, 4) turn the forearms over, 5) bend them down slightly, 6) adjust the elbow hinge upward, 7) raise the dino head, 8) adjust the front legs and 9) feet, 10) turn the waist around, 11) fold the robot's feet in half, 12) pull down the halves of the tail, 13) raise the shins and 14) drop them to the sides, 15) fold the legs down into the new opening and 16) flip the lower legs over, then 17) press the pieces together followed by 18) the tail.

19) raise the former shins back up, 20) lift the arms overhead, 21) pull the entire chest down and then 22) rotate it and 23) fold it over. 24) drop the robot's head, 25) raise the dino's into place, 26) open the "wings" so you can 27) fold out the front legs, 28 rotate down the rear legs, 29) close the flaps to be the sides, 30) fold the extra panels out of the shins, and finish up by 31) notching those pieces onto the back.

Sludge's altmode is a brontosaurus, big and round with a long neck and surprisingly stumpy tail. On real brontosauri, the tail would make up about half the total body length, with the torso and neck each taking up another quarter. No way that would work on a toy! It's true to the G1 shape, though, as are the fairly short legs. Considering how large a brontosaurus is, it's a bit disappointing he's barely even taller than Slug. Gotta stay true to the animation, though. Like Slug, he gets faux kibble on his back: since his real toes end up underneath him, the ones on his back are faked.

The gun can be stored under the dino's chest, which helps keep it from looking so hollow. It's also vaguely reminiscent of how the G1 toy had the robot's arms in between the dino's front legs. Definitely beats the way Slag's gun was used to finish his tail. There's a little bit of poseability in the legs, plus you can raise or lower the neck, and the jaw opens. Upon seeing the color change from grey to gold on the neck, I thought they really should have put a joint there - it turns out they did, and you can swivel his head to face different directions!

Sludge doesn't come with any tiny companion figure, like Grimlock's Wheelie or Slug's Daniel, but that's fine - those were no good anyway. Maybe the extra plastic saved went into making his neck? It certainly didn't go into bulking him up anywhere else. Still, it's nice to get another addition to the Studio Series Dinobot ranks. Three down, two to go.

-- 11/15/22

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