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Transformers Generations
by yo go re

Guess who's back, baby!

Sludge isn't the smartest bot on the battlefield. Most of his targets end up crushed beneath his thundering feet, sometimes completely by accident. What the big, lumbering warrior lacks in intelligence he makes up for with his incredible strength.

It's a good thing Sludge is completely dedicated to the Autobot cause, because he hates taking orders from Optimus Prime. He totally stans for Grimlock, even more than the rest of the Dinobots do (which may have something to do with Sludge being as dumb as a barrel of hair). But because he hates the Decepticons more, he puts up with the soft, weak-willed Optimus.

Sludge was one of the three Dinobots I had as a kid, so you can believe me when I say this sloping head, which looks like nothing so much as an upturned bucket, is inaccurate - this is the way he was drawn on the cartoon, while the old toy had a more normal shape. That's okay though, because this makes him look more distinct from his buddies (though it does seem to owe a bit to Cliffjumper).

This toy seems to share a few parts with Slug - namely, the upper arms and the legs. That's really not so much, in the grand scheme of things, just enough to keep them looking like related 'bots, while Sludge's unique forearms and his more angular chest differentiate him and keep him from looking like a clone. The big black panel on his torso calls to mind the little compartment all the old Dinobots had, which were a holdover from the Diaclone days. His black forearms are similarly a callback to the old toy, and unlike poor Slug, Sludge actually gets to keep his "body wings. Of course, if you choose not to fold them open, you can make Sludge look like he's got the robotic equivalent of dad bod.

1985 Sludge was one of the better-articulated Transformers, so this toy isn't as huge an upgrade as some are. He has a swivel neck, biceps, thighs and waist, hinged elbows and knees, and balljointed shoulders and hips. His big feet help keep him stable when you pose him, and he's armed with the same kind of gun that Slug had, plus of course the hand-foot-gun-shield that "Power of the Primes" introduced.

Converting Sludge is simple enough, though you do have to lift up a little flap in the dino's neck to fit it over the robot head, and the waist spins around to get the legs in the right position. The dino's back legs have to be swung around a couple times to keep them out of the way during the process and then to get them into the right position, but since those joints are just swivels, it's easy enough to do.

Several of the Dinobots have lost their names over the years, but poor Sludge is the only one who lost his species! In the '80s, he was a brontosaurus; then some utter killjoy came along and insisted that there was no such thing as a brontosaurus, that it was just a misidentified apatosaurus. Boo! But in 2015, scientists revealed that yes, in fact, bronotosauruses existed and had all along - suck it, everybody who ever insisted apatosaurus was the only right name! The brontosaurus existed, it's officially recognized at last, and Sludge (as always) turns into one! Yay!

He gets the usual Dinobot colorscheme of silver, gold and red, with a few accents in black. He has the brontosaurus's long neck and broad head, and his rear feet get backward-facing toes (or at least spiked heels), just like the old toy did. The jaw is articulated, and while the original Sludge kept the dino legs shrt by folding the robot's arms under the body, effectively making robot elbows into dinosaur feet, this one just bends at the elbows.

The Dinobots are part of the "Power of the Primes" imprint, which is really sort of a hodge-podge line that brings back several gimmicks from previous years - in their case, it's a flashback to "Combiner Wars." Get all five of them, and you can build Volcanicus. Per the instructions, Sludge becomes the right leg, but interchangability means you could just as easily assign him to be the left arm.

It was a long journey for the brontosaurus to get official recognition, but now the apatosaurus can go back to being a second-rate knockoff, just like the torosaurus: real, but unimportant. And since Sludge no longer needs to be called "Slog," this toy marks a return to form in more ways than one.

-- 06/05/18

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