Transformers (Studio Series 86): Gnaw by Hasbro

Hasbro has been turning out some excellent figures from the original Transformers animated movie through their Studio Series. I’ve covered quite a few of these, but I’ve still got some catching up to do, so today I’m going to have a look at Gnaw the Sharkticon!

It was about five years ago when we last saw Gnaw on the pegs, and that release was a tiny Legends Class, whereas now Gnaw is getting a proper Deluxe Class treatment. As always, the character art for the Studio Series packaging looks great, although I’m still not a fan of the black and red deco with the Transformers logo running up the side in sterile typeface. Also, it looks like something was gnaw-ing at the top of this box, which is fine because I’m about to shred it open. One thing I dig here is the Quintesson faction symbol next to Gnaw’s name. I’ve never noticed Hasbro using that piece of art before and It looks pretty badass! I think I’ll break tradition here and start with Gnaw’s robot mode.

In robot mode, the Sharkticons are the oompa loompas of the scrapyards. They’re short and stocky, and they don’t look too dangerous when they’re solo, but get a pack together and they just overwhelm. Hasbro did a beautiful job here updating the original toy, which has a robot mode that has not aged well. Here we see some great proportions, nice sculpted detail and beautiful colors. Hasbro borrowed the mauve and blue, dark gray and off-white from the original toy and streamlined it to resemble the animated model a lot more. Still, I would have loved to see some silver paint in place of the chrome from the original toy. At least on the teeth!

From the back, this guy is pretty damn tight, with his back dominated by a slab of black, almost like a turtle shell, and his tiny beastly arms hanging off his shoulders. All the beast mode kibble here is well placed, looking like they were style choices, rather than just some random place to tuck them. Everything about this bot mode feels polished to a fine shine. And for such a stocky guy, there’s some great articulation here, right down to the ankle tilts to keep his feet flat on the ground.

The head is a great homage to the original toy’s noggin, sporting a very distinctive “helmet” and a broad face. There’s a lot more detail here and a very displeased expression. I like to imagine that the Sharkticons are just in bad moods all the time because they’re always hungry for more Energon. I also love how well protected this guy’s head is. It’s right in the middle off a perimeter of teeth! I think the only thing I would have changed here would be to get some bright crimson paint on those eyes.

The Sharkticon comes with two weapons for his robot mode. The first is a rather large blaster rifle, which is almost as long as he is tall. The second is a spiked flail, which forms his tail in his beast mode. And speaking of which, let’s check out that beast mode!

I really like what we got here, even if it feels like the emphasis was on the robot mode over this one. The transformation is pretty simple, and yet rather clever at the same time, and everything locks together to make a solid little eating machine. The legs are set pretty far back, but they do a nice job balancing him upright. The hip joints have a habit of dropping him every now and then, but for the most part he stays standing, even without using his tail as a support.

The face is spot on perfect to me, with it’s metallic green bug yes and it’s giant maw of teeth. The jaw is hinged so he can bite, although there isn’t a whole lot of room inside that mouth. On that note, the robot head is unfortunately right inside, albeit facing down. You don’t really see his face, and I suppose the back of the head just works as some kind of weird bulbous tongue. Still, I would have liked to have seen it fold up inside the body, rather than be hanging out there. My only other nitpick is the arms. They swivel at the shoulders and have hinges in the elbows, which isn’t bad, but the shoulders should have been ball jointed.

As mentioned, the flail weapon becomes the tail, and you can also plug the rifle into the Sharkticon’s side to give him some extra firepower.

And here’s a couple comparison shots of the new Gnaw with the previous release. I seem to recall liking the Legends Gnaw when it came out, and to be honest I still do. As a Legends Class toy, it’s a lot simpler, but I think it did a fine job for what it is. And I think it displays really well with the new release, as some sort of less developed version of the Quintessons’ attack dogs.

Also, in keeping with the past Studio Series releases, the package does include a little display backdrop. I really love these, but if I’m being honest with myself, I probably won’t keep them. It would just take up way too much space to display each figure on one of these, and I don’t really want a whole tote full of them taking up more space in the closets.

The 86 movie Transformers figures hit the shelves at a time where I was still watching the cartoon and still taking note of the toys, but I wasn’t really playing with or buying them anymore. As a result, I never owned the original, and I’m happy to see this guy get such an gnawesome treatment. I grabbed up three of them to match the number of the Legends Class version I have, and I think that’ll probably be enough, although if I can find them at a good deal, I won’t say no to a couple more.

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