Thursday, November 8, 2012

Transformers Prime Star Hammer (Jackhammer)

Presenting the Transformers Prime Star Hammer AKA the Jackhammer.

It actually took me a while to find any information on the Star Hammer despite the fact that I've seen it in action in the cartoons. The reason being that I had not paid attention to the Transformers Prime cartoons enough to realize that the Autobots referred to Wheeljack's one-man space exploring craft as the Jackhammer not the Star Hammer.

I'm not really sure where or why someone decided to change the name. It probably has something to do with Star Hammer being a class of ship and Jackhammer being the name of the ship - in the same way that a lot of people are confused with Firefly (ship class) and Serenity (Ship name).

The Jackhammer obviously gets its name from its owner and loner pilot, the former Wrecker known as Wheeljack AKA "Jackie" (Thanks to Bulkhead).

Unfortunately there's not much written on the blister card of the Transformers Prime Star Hammer that talks about the Star Hammer.

Instead the blister card talks about Wheeljack: "Wheeljack works alone, not because he prefers solitude but because the missions he takes on are just too tough for most other Autobots. All he needs is his trusty Star Hammer starship, his swords, and enough Energon to keep him moving."

It's quite different from what I've seen in the cartoons and from what his wiki describes. Personally I'm of a belief that Wheeljack really does prefer solitude. His history reflects this: He could have tried to find other Autobots when Cybertron went dark, instead he went off in the Jackhammer to explore the universe.... alone.

Maybe he just got tired of all the killing - he was after all a Wrecker.

What's to like about the Transformers Prime Star Hammer (Jackhammer)?

I think the first thing to like about the Transformers Prime Star Hammer is that is that it is not a redeco of the Ark. Some time after the Ark was released, images of the Jackhammer started appearing on the internet as part of this year's toys to be released. It looked incredibly like the Ark and I was disappointed that Hasbro would seemingly reissue in different paint what they had just released. So I'm really, really glad to be proven wrong. The Transformers Prime Star Hammer is an entirely different and new mold - slightly smaller than the Ark but boasting of a capacity of three people versus the Ark's single passenger (Though of course, the Ark does transform into a multiple character wielding base, but that doesn't count). The Transformers Prime Star Hammer also does not have any sound-effects built into its electronics.

As you can see the from the image below, the Transformer Prime Star Hammer's design deviates sharply from the boxy yet clean image of the actual Transformers Prime Jackhammer.

However I actually prefer the more cobbled-together, mad scientist look of Hasbro's Transformers Prime Star Hammer, especially since a) Wheeljack keeps getting shot down and keeps jury-rigging the Star Hammer to keep flying, and; b) After years wandering in space it really doesn't make sense for the Star Hammer to still be in pristine shape. Personally I feel that Wheeljack's Star Hammer should have more in common with the bashed up look of the Millennium Falcon than how it appears in the cartoons. So I definitely appreciate the mismatched paint job and wires hanging out of the back.

I swear though that I've seen this design in Star Wars before. I keep thinking of the Xanadu Blood, but that's not quite it.

Now in true Transformers fashion, the Transformers Prime Jackhammer has a secondary gun ship mode activated by pushing back a simple lever on the rear of the ship. It's a simple transformation that cants the Jackhammers wings - probably to provide the ship with more atmospheric stability:

The transformation of the Star Hammer also moves forward two blockish spring-loaded cannons that can be manned by Autobots:

Kinda reminds me of a pirate ship. It'll look even more like a pirate ship if you start mounting random weapons to the various mounting ports strewn throughout the body of the Star Hammer.

Now there is a small button at the center rear of the Transformers Prime Jackhammer that if pressed provides the Jackhammer with an "Energon Boost" that lights up the small plastic gun that Wheeljack is holding here:

That's about it for the electronics of Hasbro's Star Hammer which is a bit of a downer actually - though it is nice that the weapon can be detached and hand-held by Wheeljack or any Autobot - note that the weapon itself is connected by a wire to the battery case within the ship. You can actually hide the wire - if you prefer a cleaner looking Star Hammer, inside a small compartment on the back that is actually not mentioned in the manual:

I don't recommend it though as it does put a strain on the wire.

Wheeljack is a typical Legion class figure. Outright you may be disappointed with the blandness of his chestpiece which is a far cry from his regular Deluxe version that we just reviewed. But I am a fan of his swords again and love how you can cross them on his back - again with the pirate theme.  On the down-side, you won't quite know what to do with them in his car mode. Mounting them looks really weird.

What's NOT to like about the Transformers Prime Star Hammer (Jackhammer)?

Aside from the discussed lack of decent electronics, the blechish looking chest piece of Wheeljack and his weird car mode swords, the only other thing wrong with the Star Hammer is the capacity of the forward cockpit. While it is true that Wheeljack's ship is built only for one pilot, it has been seen to carry two Autobots in the cockpit at one time.

That's not going to happen here.

The other bad thing about the Transformers Prime Star Hammer (Jackhammer) is that it is available on Amazon for US$ 19.99 (Roughly PhP 840 plus shipping). This particular Star Hammer was purchased at retail for PhP 1,539.75 (PhP 36.66). I like it but I should have waited for the price to drop like the Ark's did.

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