Not-Dinobots… everybody is doing them!!! Yes, folks, these days if you’re in the market for pricey third-party versions of the Dinobots you have a lot of choices. And unless you have all the monies and display space in the world, you’re going to have to do some serious research and make some serious choices. Some are Masterpiece sized, some are Voyager sized, some are even combiners! In the end, I went with Fansproject’s Lost Exo-Realm series, mainly because… hey, it’s Fansproject! I’ve got a couple of shelves full of their toys and these guys have never disappointed me. The other reason I went with the LER Dinos is because they are doing their own Not-Grimlock and it’s really important to me to get a matched set of all of them in the same size and style. Their first release is Columpio, aka Not-Sludge. I’m featuring this guy in two parts, because there’s a lot to talk about and it’s too much for me to accomplish in just one day. Today, we’ll look at the packaging, the dino mode, and his little buddy Drepan, and tomorrow we’ll look at his robot mode and get more into his weapons. Let’s go!
Ahh, this is some amazing packaging! Columpio comes in a rather large, landscape orientated box with a front flap that opens upward and is secured with velcro. The entire box has a nice matte finish and is loaded with artwork. The front panel features a bitchin piece of character art with Columpio in robot mode wielding Drepan in his weapon mode. The back of the box shows photos of the toy in both modes.
Open the flap and you get a die-cut window that looks like you’re viewing the figure inside through a cave entrance. The inside of the flap has more shots of what you’re getting inside the box. Columpio comes packaged between two clear plastic trays in his dino mode with Drepan in his robot mode and all the weapons laid out around them. While I frequently toss the boxes to many of my “over-the-counter” toys, I always save the packages for my third-party convert-o-bots, and while it tends to take up a lot of room, it’s presentation like this that makes it worthwhile.
On the other hand, Fansproject seems to have poured all their efforts into the box and not much into the ephemera. There’s no profile card or comic book. You only get a three page color instruction “booklet” and the middle page isn’t even stapled inside. I’m not really complaining, but some folks who look forward to those little extras may be disappointed. Let’s start off with his dino mode.
And here is Columpio in all his Dino Mode glory. When I was a kid, this dino mode was known as a Brontosaurus, but I guess that’s not considered scientifically accurate anymore and Apatosaurus seems to be the accepted name these days. Why? Because science! Either way, Columpio is a four-legged cybernetic behemoth with a long snake-like neck. I don’t usually start with the deco, but in this case it’s worth pointing out that the initial con exclusive release had vac metal gold, whereas this regular retail release gets by with just gold paint. I say “gets by” but in person the regular gold paint on display here is pretty damn sumptuous looking. It’s got a sexy satin finish and it is beautifully applied. I think in the end the question of which deco is superior will come down to a matter of personal taste, although the exclusive con version will always have that special level to gravitas to it. Personally, I like what we got here and he still manages to sport some bling via the metallic silver paint on the plates behind his neck, just like on the original G1 toy. The rest of Columpio is comprised of a nice gray plastic with some black, red, and a little blue showing here and there. The coloring definitely delivers on the G1 vibe that I was looking for. I couldn’t be happier with the way this deco turned out.
As for the sculpt, there are some great panel lines and vents and whatnot to accentuate his cybernetic form. The gold vent pieces on his back are more prominent than the original G1 toy, but they serve a purpose that we’ll get to in a bit. The legs on this guy are wonderfully proportioned and feature excellent articulation, which includes some lateral movement in the “shoulders” and hinges in the “knees.”
The head sculpt features some nice personality to it, at least for a robot dinosaur. The eyes are red and there are matching discs embedded in his jaw hinges. The mouth does open revealing not a whole lot inside other than his sharp teeth. Of course, one of my favorite things about this guy is the design of the neck. It’s segmented with joints between each, allowing for a beautiful degree of poseability.
Moving on to Drepan, Columpio’s little buddy and homage to the old Diaclone pilots that came with the original releases of these molds. Fansproject went the extra step and they’re making these little robots transform into weapons for their Dino-formers. He’s a bit bigger than I expected and a very nice sculpt. He’s also very nicely articulated with ball joints in the shoulders and hips and double hinges in the knees and elbows. His head can even rotate. On the downside, Drepan has a huge handle coming off his back. I did not expect that and it’s rather disappointing. Of course, let me qualify that by saying that these partner robots were not a big selling point for me and the LER line, so when I say that huge protuberance disappoints me, it’s not really putting me off my purchase and I still kind of dig Drepan for what he is.
And hey, this little guy even comes with his own little axe and shield. The axe fits into the hole in either of his hands and the shield can peg right onto his arm. All in all, Drepan is well thought and a lot of fun and as we’ll see tomorrow he can transform into a pretty cool weapon.
Drepan can also ride on Columpio’s back and that’s where those vents come into play. They can rotate around to make a pilot seat for the little guy. It works OK, but if I ever display Columpio in dinosaur mode, Drepan will probably be chilling out back in the box.
While I’ll be dealing with his weapons more tomorrow, I did want to just point out that Columpio’s gun and sword will attach to his dinosaur mode very much in the way Hasbro’s Generations Grimlock’s accessories attached to him. I’m not a big fan of this as a display option, but it’s a nice option to have nonetheless.
And that’s where I’m going to call it quits for today. So far Columpio is hitting all the right points. His Dino Mode looks great and is lots of fun to play with. Tomorrow we’ll get Columpio transformed and check out his robot mode and other goodies!