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with Airlift

Series: Power Core Combiners
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Commander
Year: 2010

The boiling clouds of an approaching thunderstorm hold terror for any Autobot caught in the open. Skyhammer manipulates the weather to generate ferocious winds, torrential rains and destructive blasts of lightning. As soon as his enemies are disoriented by the pounding storm, he descends from the clouds, smashing into opponents like a hammer.

Prelude: Many thanks to BlackZarak, who loaned me his Skyhammer for this review.

Robot Mode: Despite having a jet cockpit in the center of his chest, Skyhammer is not your typical jet Transformer. His jet wings don’t go onto his back, no, they form his shoulders and neck area. The head of the robot sits relatively far back, giving him a rather stocky look, but I like it. Looks very different and original. Sadly the shoulder wings don’t properly snap into place, so every arm movement tends to move them, too, but I can live with that.

Despite his slightly strange design, Skyhammer is a very nicely detailed and highly articulated robot. The annoying bright blue PCC connector ports are under his shoulder wings and out of the way, the other two form his heels and aren’t that noticeable, either. He can move with the best of them and isn’t really restricted in any way.

In terms of armaments Skyhammer has got two small guns on his forearms, which point backwards. That’s mostly because they are actually intended for the Power Core Combiner mode (see below), but you can swivel them foreward in this mode, too. They don’t hold that good in that direction, but it’s workable. His primary weapon is, of course, his Targetmaster Minicon Airlift, who can either become a hand-held weapon or attach to the peg in the center of Skyhammer’s chest as a kind of chest-mounted artillery module. Either way, definitely one of the better robot / Targetmaster combinations I’ve seen so far. So bottom line: Skyhammer is a very nice robot. No complaints here at all, though it would have been nice if there was a way to tab in the wings so they wouldn’t move all the time.

Alternate Mode: An SU-35 fighter jet serves as Skyhammer’s alternate mode and I must say that it is one of the best jet alternate modes I’ve seen in a long time in at least one very important aspect: the lack of an underbelly that holds most of the robot parts. Yes, even Skyhammer has a bit of an underbelly, but compared to most other jet Transformers you barely notice it and even the fact that his robot hip somewhat juts out the back can be ignored easily. The most noticeable things are the bright blue PCC connecting ports under the wings, actually.

So what else can I write here? A very nice-looking jet mode, a working landing gear, and no real problems at all. You can arm the jet with Minicon Airlift in weapon mode (see below), but that pretty much ruins the aerodynamics of the jet. To sum it up: a very nice jet mode. Two thumbs up.

Partner: Skyhammer comes with the Minicon Airlift, whom I consider one of the better PCC Minicons. Granted, much like with all the other PCC Minicons his supposed four modes are a bit of a cheat, but he does become a very nice weapon for both Skyhammer’s robot and jet mode, and even becomes a decent chest armor (though chest artillery is more like it). The robot itself isn’t spectacular, but nicely detailed and as articulated as you can expect at this size. So bottom line: a very nice Targetmaster Minicon.

Combiner Mode: Like all Power Core Combiner figures (that aren’t Minicons or drones) Skyhammer can transform into the torso of a bigger robot, which can then use any of the numerous PCC drones as limbs. Unlike most other PCC torsos Skyhammer doesn’t have a second head for the combiner mode, but rather just pulls a helmet over his normal robot head. The helmet even has something resembling flight goggles, a very nice touch.

Otherwise Skyhammer folds in his toes, flips the wings upwards and folds in his arms on the side with the arm guns now pointing forward, and you’re done. He retains his full leg articulation and the head also remains mobile despite the helmet. So basically a good implementation of the Power Core gimmick, though I must say I like Skyhammer better in individual robot mode than as a combiner.

Remarks: Skyhammer was part of the final wave of PCC figures before the line was cancelled, so unlike most other figures from the line he was never repainted and neither was his partner Minicon Airlift (he was released in the Japanese United EX line, though, under the name Airmaster). Much like his wave-mate Heavytread Skyhammer is among the best figures the PCC line produced, but sadly it was too little, too late for the line. Doesn’t change the fact, though, that Skyhammer is one fine Transformer. Probably not a classic for the ages, but definitely worth getting even if you’re not a fan of the Power Core gimmick and just like jet Transformers in general.

Rating: B+
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