Hasbro faced a unique conundrum with their Transformers movie toys: there were only so many different characters in the film, but the toys proved really popular. Knowing that Transfans wouldn't stand for the same kind of shenanigans usually seen in movie lines, where new costumes never seen on film fill out the ranks. Look at Mattel's Dark Knight line which seems to comprise nothing but variants. There isn't a vanilla figure to be found in the lot. Now, the TF movie did some of that, with things like Nightwatch Optimus Prime or Stealth Bumblebee, but it was limited. Instead, Hasbro made new characters and, in some few cases, did repaints of those.
Another of the new Autobots brought to life by the final, energetic bursts from the AllSpark, Salvage doesn't really have a lot of ambition. Before being brought to life, he worked with Sparkplug & Son Salvage, and he's pretty sure he was happy then. He's certain he's happy now, with a load of scrap in the back, and Sparkplug's hands in their accustomed place on his worn old steering wheel. It's a simple life, but it's one he prefers to hunting Decepticons and fighting all the time.
Salvage is a repaint of Dropkick, one of the videogame-inspired toys. I don't know if "too lazy to fight" was a personality trait used in any of the previous TF bios, but it's certainly a nice change from the legions of gung-ho warriors ready to lay down their sparks for the Autobot cause.
The vehicle mode is a sporty pickup truck.
Some folks think it looks like a Chevy Silverado, but they're smoking crack: there's nothing about it that's particularly more "Silveradoish" than any other pickup. The hardshell cap on the bed, the lowrider suspension, the air intake on the hood and the ground-scraping front fender don't really seem to suit a junk truck: this should be an old beater, not a fancy car show model.
Salvage is actually a sort of double homage: the name "Sparkplug & Son" on the doors is obviously a reference to Sparkplug and Spike Witwicky from the G1 cartoon, while the truck itself (including said logo) is based on the truck from Sanford and Son - much different model, of course, but the parallel is there. Even better since you can remove the lid from the truck bed and have a proper pickup - the rear gate even folds down.
Transformation is nice, though you are left with a lot of kibble when you get to the robot end of the equation - centered mainly about his head and shoulders. Because of the way the legs fold out from underneath, you can kind of make a gerwalk mode, which is fun. Dropkick didn't use the usual "one giant lens" head most of the videogame Decepticons had (and the toys based on them), but rather a variation on the standard "faceplate" Autobot noggin. Thus, Salvage looks very natural here.
As far as these "non-movie" movie TFs go,
Salvage is probably the "moviest" of them all; that is, the robot mode really captures the live action aesthetic, from the crooked animal legs to the preponderance of car parts laying about the body. His torso is obviously meant to be the truck's fender, grill and engine. He has double guns under each fist, and though the legs may seem a bit thin, that's just because the torso is so thick.
Salvage has one accessory/weapon thing, but it's kind of lame. Slide a knob on the bed cover you removed earlier, and a big claw pops out. Tucn the knob, and the claw pinches. It basically looks like someone just pressed the head of their pliers into plaster and molded that. The "claw" has the teeth, the brushed metal texture and even the wire snipper you'd see on a normal pair of pliers. This thing is exceedingly lame. Oh, and because the truck's rear gate folds down, you can even deploy the claw in vehicle mode. Yay.
If you're looking for a new TF to fit in seamlessly with your movie collection, Salvage is boss. He blends in so well, you'll be checked the deleted scenes on the dvd to make sure you didn't miss him. Yes, his proportions are wonky and his accessory is dumb, but this is still a very neat TF.