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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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The Reverend's review: Slugslinger

Name: Slugslinger
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Air Defense
Sub-Group: Targetmaster

"The only way to survive a duel with me is to not show up."

A brawling, swaggering braggart, claims he'll challenge anyone to a duel, but prefers sneaking up and shooting enemies in the back. When his ammunition runs out, so does his courage. Paired with Caliburst, one-time Nebulan leading actor who only does this for the money. As an automatic machine gun, Caliburst can shoot armor-piercing shells at 1200 rounds per minute. In jet mode, maximum speed: 2400mph.

I remembered Slugslinger from the toy catalog and his brief appearance in "The Rebirth" as a snooty-talking Decepticon, but I hadn't really planned on buying him until one day when I was looking through Ebay auctions idly and stumbled on him listed only as "Transformer plane?", missing only his gun barrel, for something like $15-20. Bellomo's Transformers Identification and Price Guide gave him a favorable blurb, so I opted for "why not"...

Alternate Mode:

Slugslinger is a "dual-cockpit" jet fighter. Exactly what made Hasbro/Takara think of this is beyond me. Still, he's a fairly good rendering of one if there was such a concept to be had, with long nosecones, blue canopies, a large grey fuselage and angled wings, and finely detailed teal blue engines and afterburners at the rear with touchings of chrome. There's a marvelous amount of detailing and etching all over the top of the jet, with molded panels and vents everywhere. He also has air intakes represented on the outsides of each cockpit, and possible gun ports at the tip of each wing and on the outsides of the nosecones. The underside of the jet isn't really the mess of kibble one often expects with Transformers of the type, either. There's fold-up landing gear under each wing and at the center of the jet's underside (no removable, lose-able wheels here). There's a hole at the front of his fuselage to mount partner Caliburst in gun mode, if you're into that. It's an imaginary vehicle, but a rather good one.

Robot Mode:

Transformation is relatively simple, although elegant - the head pops out when the nosecones are pivoted back above the jet, the legs swing down from the rear (where they were forming the engines/tail fins segment atop the rear of the jet), the arms unfold from along the sides. Despite the fact that his wings don't go anywhere in robot mode, Slugslinger actually looks good in this form. He's mainly teal here, somewhat lanky, with longish arms and a well-molded face. He has joints at the hips, knees, and elbows, and some horizontal movement available at the shoulders, but only vertical movement at the wrists. This limits his poseability to the gunfighter stance, but as he's a Targetmaster I generally find this to be adequate. Unlike some of his other jet-fighter fellows in the ranks, Slugslinger's robot mode is well-proportioned - no stubby arms or weirdly angled head to imagine away. The attention to molded detail continues somewhat here, with some slight etching on his hips and arms, plus a few protuberances on his chest that look interesting despite their unidentifiableness. Pretty cool, really.


Caliburst is blue and grey - interestingly, the blue is darker than the teal that Slugslinger sports - with a red face and the gun handle sticking squarely out of his chest, and a slightly "flattened"-looking torso and arms. His legs fold up for transformation, but he has a removable barrel that needs to be attached for his gun mode. And that really sucks, because its hard as hell to find on the secondary market and goes for relatively high prices. The thing I really hate about Caliburst, though, is that instead of his legs being held on with a metal pin, the hip joint is just held on by tabs - a really obvious weak point in a piece that can be expected to endure a lot of play. For this reason, I don't bother transforming Caliburst anymore, as one broken tab means it's over for him. Still, my reservations aside, he looks good with his barrel attached - not the squat, stubby block of a gun many Targetmasters are.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 6/10. The legs' transformation from jet to robot is trickier than it looks, but it's still an easy process once you get the hang of it. Otherwise, it's a satisfying transformation - not too hard, not too obvious. Having the legs fold over the back of the jet as opposed to curling or folding up under it allowed the designers to avoid the problems that saddled Cyclonus.
Durability: 7/10. I've heard that Slugslinger is very prone to yellowing. That hasn't happened to mine. Caliburst is frustratingly fragile, though. The protruding wings and tail fins are a concern, but they're made out of thick plastic.
Fun: 8/10. I like Slugslinger a lot - although he doesn't have the nostalgia of the early Seekers, and the vehicle mode is a little on the weird side, I still think he makes an excellent Decepticon soldier.
Price: 5/10. You'll pay through the nose for one complete with Caliburst and barrel. But you really don't NEED Caliburst to enjoy the toy. I'd wager someone else's gun will fit in Slugslinger's hand if need be.
Summary: 7/10. Not too bad for a later entry in the line, much better than it potentially could have been. Snap it up if you can.
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