Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Snarl by Hasbro

It’s been a hard fought battle, folks, but I finally got a full set of the Power of the Primes Dinobots and today I’m opening up the last one, which just happens to be Snarl. I never had his toy as a kid, and since Fansproject snubbed him when it came to their Lost Exo Realm Not-Dinobots, I don’t even have a third party version. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited to pop my Snarl cherry. Eww, that sounded all kinds of wrong.

I don’t have much new to say about the packaging. It looks good, I like that they used the Dino modes as the character art for these figures. I also really dig how the bubble insert has a picture of the toy in his Dino mode right in front of the figure packaged in his robot mode. I’d say that as a character Snarl has been my least favorite of the Dinobots, but that’s not something he should be ashamed of, because somebody had to come in last even in a group of awesome Dinosaur robots! Let’s start with his alt mode…

When I was a kid this was called a Stegosaurus. Have the dinosaur scientists changed this yet? It seems like they’re always telling me the dinosaurs I grew up learning about never existed or they changed the names or some such nonsense. Pfft… Science… am I right? Anyway like all the PotP Dinobots, Snarl has a fantastic alt mode that pays respects to the original toy. And while I think he tends to be the least photogenic of these Dinos, I still think Hasbro did a great job on him. There’s plenty of sculpted detail in his body, from vents and panel lines to various other ports and mechanisms. They even remembered to put the tiny spikes at the end of his stubby tail! It kind of sucks that they decided to stamp copyright bullshit all over the outside of one of his back plates, but whaddya gonna do, eh?

The coloring is also spot on. You get some gray and red plastic making up the bulk of his body, both of which do a nice job of matching the colors on the original toy. He also features clear plastic over gold and silver to mimic that rather distinctive effect that the original Dinobot toys had. OK, I actually don’t remember Snarl showing that off too much, but I like that they included it here to make him match the other figures better. Snarl also includes some matte gold, which isn’t as snazzy as the metallic gold on the original toy, but it looks fine. The deco is rounded out by some black plastic on the side panels and rear legs, and some tampos on his back. He looks a little more patchwork in design than some of the other Dinobots, but I still dig him.

Articulation in Dino mode features basic stuff. The back legs connect to the body with ball joints and have hinges about halfway down. The front legs just rotate at the body. There’s no articulation in Snarl’s jaw, but two of his back spikes can hinge down and have footpegs to allow some Titan or Prime Masters to ride on his back. Cool!

And you just know that I have to bring up the size and how diminutive these Dinobots are, so let’s do it! Here’s a shot of Snarl’s Dino mode next to Chromedome from Titans Return in his Auto mode and I just can’t accept this. I think this mold would have worked fine as a Voyager Class and I really wish Hasbro had gone that route. But I’ve said all this a bunch of times already, so let’s move on to the robot mode…

All of the PotP Deluxe Dinobots have had solid robot modes and Snarl carries on that tradition nicely. The front half of the Dino mode becomes the legs, with the front Dino legs on the sides and the head spit and tucked behind them. I like how the spine bits run up the front of his legs. Snarl advertises his combiner port in the center of his chest, but to be honest it works with the overall look just perfectly. He also features an Autobot insignia stamped in the middle. Easily the most distinctive thing about Snarl’s robot mode is the way his tail splits and arches up behind his head and shoulders like a crescent moon. The deco is largely in keeping with the alt mode deco. I dig the gold forearms and the way the colorful tampos on his Dino back wind up front and center on his robot legs. He also has a few more tampos on either side of his chest.

From the back things aren’t too bad. I’d say the most unsightly thing here are the halves of the Dino head that hang off the backs of his legs, but as far as kibble goes, it’s not awful. I should note that I really dig the proportions on this guy, and that’s been the case for all the Deluxe PotP Dinobots.

The head sculpt is excellent, although I’ll confess to not being all that attached to Snarl’s likeness in the cartoon or comics. He has a very human-looking face, painted with brilliant silver and two neatly painted red eyes. I also dig the horns that come up off his “helmet.” They go well with the spiked crescent behind his head.

One of my gripes about these Dinobots has been their weapons. We all know by now that Grimlock didn’t come with a gun or a sword, which was criminal. As for these Deluxe figures, Hasbro basically sculpted a single gun and a single sword, and gave two of the figures guns and two of them swords. Snarl’s sword is cast in clear plastic, but otherwise it’s the same as the one that came with Swoop. I like the design, but it looks kind of puny in his hand. I’m also not a big fan of the clear plastic. I’d rather they just gave us another red one, or even better painted them both silver. Of course, Snarl also comes with a Prime Armor piece, which I’m going to totally ignore.

Shall I bring up size one more time? Why not. Here he is in robot mode with Chromedome and while his tail crescent actually does make him a bit taller overall, he still looks so undersized to me and even kind of puny. Chromedome looks like he’d have a fair chance taking down Snarl in a fight, and that shouldn’t be the case.

I can’t stress enough how much I love these figures on their own. They really are great little modern updates to the original Dinobots, keeping the iconic aesthetics but adding articulation and play value. Just having them all together on the shelf is making me so happy because I never owned a full set of the original Dinobots, and these guys look amazing together. It’s only when I display them with other Transformers that I get bummed out because of how small they are. I’m not inherently against the idea of Dinobots as a combiner team. It kind of makes sense, but I can’t help but feel sacrifices were made in favor of that gimmick and if Hasbro hadn’t gone that route, maybe we could have had these as Voyager Class figures with Grimlock as a Leader Class. Man, that would have been so cool!  Oh yeah, and in case you’re wondering, I’m not going to be reviewing the combined form of these guys. I just really don’t care enough and I don’t think the end results warrant the effort. It’s possible some day I’ll invest in a Third-Party upgrade kit, and if that’s the case I’ll look at Volcanicus as a means of reviewing the kit, but for now I’m going to leave it at that.

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Transformers “Power of the Primes” Sludge by Hasbro

If you follow me on Twitter, then you know how hard it has been to find me some Power of the Primes toys. Indeed, the poor distribution in my area and the scalper prices I’ve been seeing online played a big part in me justifying a roll back to three reviews a week and killing off Transformers Thursday. Thankfully I managed to bust that log jam and pick up the remaining Dinobots as well as the rest of the Terrorcons. And while I’m not about to bring back Transformers Thursday, I’d say it’s a safe bet that you’ll be seeing Transformers reviews dominating Fridays for the next month or so. So, hooray for more Transformers reviews! I’m really excited to get to the Terrorcons, but I feel like I should take care of unfinished business with the Dinobots first, so today I’m opening up Sludge.

And here’s the in-packaged shot, showing off some pretty rad character art. I like the fact that they’ve been using the Dino Modes for the card art, even though the figure comes packaged in his robot mode. It also makes me happy that the Copyright Gods allowed Sludge to keep his name, unlike poor Slag… I mean, Slug. I’ve yet to see these guys in the wild and for the longest time they were selling for around $35 at my usual online sources, but just last week Amazon dropped them to regular retail and I jumped on them. Let’s start with Sludge’s alt mode…

So, I don’t even know what’s going on in the world of dinosaur taxonomy these days, but back when I was a kid this was called a Brontosaurus and since we all know dinosaurs are an invention of The Illuminati anyway, I’m sticking with that name. And he’s a pretty great looking little dinosaur. Hasbro went nuts with the sculpting on these Dinos, giving them all sorts of panel lines and and little vents. Sludge also has some open panels on his back plates that allows you to see into his inner workings, which is kind of neat. He also has some peg holes on the sides, just in case you want to weaponize him. Hasbro even slapped some stickers on him to recreate the circuitry behind the vents on his back.

I really dig the way Hasbro managed to recapture the deco of the original toys by using clear plastic over gold for part of the head. The tail and back legs are also clear with what looks to be silver painted in from the inside to create a similar effect, along with some gold circling the joint. The gray and red plastic looks pretty close to the original toy too. Throw in some black and gold paint, and you’ve got a deco that does the old G1 release proud.

The articulation is serviceable. The front legs are ball jointed where they meet the body, have hinges in the knees and swivels halfway between. The back legs only rotate at the body and there’s no tail articulation at all. The jaw will open a bit, and there’s a swivel at the neck, which is there for transformation purposes, but it can be used to make Sludge tilt his head from side to side. So far so good, but then we get to size…

All in all, if I were looking at this alt mode in a vacuum, I’d have very little nitpicks, but I keep coming back to how ridiculously small these guys are, even for Deluxe Classes. I’ve been a Transformers collector almost all my life and I’m willing to overlook a lot of scale issues, but it’s hard for me to overlook this one. Just check him out next to Generations Wheeljack. As Grimlock might say, “Dino not same size as car! Why Dino same size as car?” Actually, Sludge looks a little smaller than Wheeljack’s auto mode. In a perfect world, I think modern Dinobots should be Leader Class, but I would have happily accepted Voyager Class. These guys are supposed to be big and imposing, but here he just looks puny and pathetic. Oh well. Let’s transform him and check out his robot mode.

There’s nothing too complicated going on with the transformation here and the resulting bot is pretty damn good. The dino hind legs are a little kibbly on his lower legs, but I do like how the two halves of the tail fold to the back and serve as additional heel spurs. I think the biggest departure here from the Sludge design I’m used to seeing is the way the wings are lower down on his torso and not up over his shoulders. It’s not a big deal to me, and you can actually just swing those all the way back if you want to give him a cleaner look from the front. It’s worth noting that Sludge’s combiner port lands on his back, giving him a clean and distinctive torso design.

He’s not quite as tidy in the back, but there’s nothing here that’s too terrible. The dino neck and head hang down his back, forming a pretty copious backpack, but that was something I expected. The deco in robot mode is more or less the same as in his alt mode. There’s more black and red showing and I still think all the colors look great. It’s hard to imagine a Deluxe sized update to Sludge turning out better than this guy.

The head sculpt is quite solid too. Sludge always had a sad and derpy look to me, and this expression here carries that pretty nicely. The paint used for the face and eyes looks great. Here you can also make out the tiny Autobot insignia printed on his chest. Much like the alt mode, I’ve got no major  complaints with the robot mode, until we get to that ugly issue of size and scaling.

Here’s a size comparison with Generations Wheeljack in robot mode and this just doesn’t work for me at all. Wheeljack looks like he could probably take Sludge in a fight and that’s not right. Oh yeah, and I forgot to turn his forearms around in this photo… my bad.

Sludge comes with two accessories, a gun and his Prime Armor piece. You should know by now that I’m not going to waste any time on the Prime Armor piece, other than to say it looks like the same one we got with Swoop and Slug. The gun is also recycled and is the exact same one that came with Slug. I wouldn’t mind so much if Hasbro had given us guns with all of the Dinobots. I mean, come on, Hasbro. If you’re saving money packing in the same gun, just go ahead and arm all of them. On the plus side, I do really dig how Sludge can hold the gun with both hands.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, my feelings about Sludge are the same ones I had with Slug. He’s features a great sculpt, fantastic coloring, and has excellent robot and alt modes, but in the end he’s too small to interact with my other Transformers. Maybe I can have them fight Combiner Wars Devastator, but that’s about it. As an isolated team, I think the PotP versions of the first three Dinobots look great together, but I just can’t get past the scaling issues. Only Swoop escapes this problem, because I can get behind him being a little smaller. The saddest thing is that I think these molds are detailed enough where they could have worked as Voyager Class figures. Has anyone done up-scaled KO versions of these? Because that needs to happen. Next week, I’ll wrap up my look at these guys with Snarl!

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Grimlock by Hasbro

With this being my first week of regular content since the New Year, what better way to kick off 2018’s Transformers Thursdays with a look at the very highly anticipated new Voyager Class Grimlock? I actually got this guy in right around the turn of the year and I’ve been chomping at the bit to open him up ever since. I’m also just a wee bit nervous, because not everything I’ve been hearing about Grimmy has been good. Will PotP Grimlock be Bozo or King? I guess I’m about to find out!

This is the first boxed figure that I’m reviewing from PotP and as you can see it’s not much different from Combiner Wars or Titans Return. The character art is great, but I’m really ready for Hasbro to change up the packaging deco for the next Transformers line. I was never a big fan of this layout. It just feels bland and boring and generic, and it’s getting more than a little stale for me. But who cares about the box? I’m just going to trash it anyway. The figure comes packaged in his robot mode and as we’re about to see, that was a good choice on Hasbro’s part. Let’s jump right in to Grimlock’s alt mode.

Oh, boy. So, I knew I was going to be in for a rough ride here, but I’ll say straightaway that the T-Rex mode is at least instantly familiar. Unfortunately, It’s also a veritable symphony of good and bad execution, and the emphasis is leaning toward the bad. I’m tempted to say that I’d be fine with the main body if the legs didn’t seem to jut out so far to the point where they’re really awkward looking. Then again, I think a lot of that has to do with how wide the body is. He looks like he’s wearing a pair of big gold diapers, and they’re starting to sag. Let’s just say that the proportions on this T-Rex are a mess. I think he looks passable when viewed at a three-quarter turn, but looking at him dead on, or from above, or from either side makes me want to ball up my fists and scream, WHYYYY? And the answer I keep coming back to is simple: Because they made him a Combiner. That tail is chunky because that’s where the Combiner’s leg ports are. Those legs are so horribly misshapen because that’s where the Combiner’s shoulder ports are. I didn’t ask for Dinobot Combiners, but I’m not earnestly against the idea. But in this case, a lot was sacrificed in favor of a Dinobot Combiner gimmick, and I can’t say I’m very happy about it.

Proportions aside, assuming I’m able to overlook them, there’s some great stuff going on with this sculpt. There’s plenty of panel lines, vents, circuitry, and other doodads that really makes the detail come alive. I’d also argue that the head is spot on perfect, as are the tiny little arms, which are ball jointed into his body. It’s true that he’s really damn f’ugly from the top top down, but I’m surprised at how little that bothers me. The deco is also brilliant. Like the other PotP Dinobots, I really dig the mix of gray, red, and black plastic, along with those gold sections under clear plastic. Add in some foil stickers, and you get a deco that perfectly invokes the G1 Dinobot aesthetic, and matches Slug and Swoop pretty well. He scales fairly well with them too.

I do have some problems getting the seam running down his dino chest to close up all the way. Some silver paint for the arms and teeth would have been cool, but all in all, there’s some stuff to love on this T-Rex and just about all of it is from the chest and arms up. But I don’t think it balances out with the awkward, clunky proportions. Let’s move on to his robot mode.

And here is where the figure starts to shine a bit. The big barrel-shaped gold chest covered in clear plastic works for me, although I would have liked a little something between it and his pelvis. I think it’s called abs and Grimmy here just doesn’t have any. Regardless, I think the arms are great. They look powerful, I love the high shoulders, and while the diminished claws didn’t help him much in T-Rex mode, they look OK here on his wrists. It’s below the waist where things get a little dodgy. The legs could have used a bit more bulk to them. They look fine on their own, and I like the way the colorful foil stickers invoke that G1 spirit, but his lower half is a touch too scrawny for that powerful upper body. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a deal-breaker for me, but there’s room for improvement. Maybe he would have benefited from some actual feet.

The back of the figure advertises how the transformation doesn’t stray too far from the old G1 engineering. The T-Rex neck and head still flops down the center of the back, the chest opens up into “wings” and the tail, instead of folding up the sides of the legs, go to the back to serve as heel spurs. About the only thing out of place here is that giant hip plate, which is obvious Combiner kibble.

The head sculpt is simple, but wonderfully slavish to the G1 design. Here’s one thing that I wouldn’t have changed at all.

And just as things were getting better, Hasbro punches me right in the balls with the decision to not include any weapons. Nope, no weapons. No sword, no gun, nothing. It’s an omission so ridiculous, that I can scarcely believe it. You do get a couple of Combiner parts in there, and a power chip called the Dinobot Enigma. But if you want your Grimlock armed, you’re just going to have to steal the sword and gun from his fellow Dinobots.

The Combiner Parts double as Prime Armor and can attach to him at various points. The most useful place seems to be on his arms, as it gives him some claw-like thingies. They look OK and they’re probably fun for the kiddies. The Dinobot Enigma is basically like a Prime Master that doesn’t transform. Or maybe like a Dinobot Matrix? Either way it fits into any of the Prime Armor pieces you have. You can probably tell that I’m not at all vested in the Prime Armor power gimmick, although I do applaud that it’s a feature that actually requires kids to use their imaginations. And don’t you worry… I’ll be looking at some of them Prime Masters coming up real soon. Hey, before wrapping up, let’s take a quick look at him with the last Voyager Grimlock, from the Generations Fall of Cybertron line…

When it comes to the robot mode, I’ll take FOC Grimlock over this one in a heartbeat, but in fairness they are two pretty different looks. I like the deco on PotP Grimmy a little better, as it really does a splendid job matching the G1 aesthetic. But with that having been said, the proportions and overall sexiness of FOC Grimlock still impresses me. Not to mention he comes with a sword and a shield, which he’s probably going to have to learn how to share.

The T-Rex modes tell a very different story. I had really good memories of FOC Grimlock’s T-Rex mode, but dear god, it has not aged well. While PotP Grimlock looks bloated and ill-proportioned, the FOC version looks like a hollowed out husk of a T-Rex. As many problems as I have with this new Grimlock’s alt mode, I have to say it looks like a goddamn work of art beside the older FOC figure.

In the end, Grimlock here is disappointing, although the pretty decent robot mode helps keep him from being a total disaster. There’s a hint of greatness in his alt mode, at least in the top half, but when you get down to the legs, the whole thing just falls apart for me. It’s a real shame, because the original G1 Grimlock toy looked pretty damn great in both robot and T-Rex mode, so modernizing it should really just be a matter of adding articulation and cleaning up some of the proportions. And yet here we are with a modern update that looks worse because of the Combiner gimmick. Now, obviously, I won’t pass judgement on the Dinobots as a Combiner Team until I have all the figures to combine, but as things stand now, I’m not very happy with this trade off. Am I being too hard on this new Grimlock? I dunno. You tell me.

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Legends Class Slash by Hasbro

I had originally planned on doubling up Slash with Swoop on the last Transformers Thursday, but I’m so crazy busy this month, I decided to save him for some quick content today. Indeed, juggling content and work is going to be pretty nuts for the rest of the month. So, let me cut right to the chase and check out Power of the Primes’ tiniest Dinobot of them all… Slash!

Yes, as if intentionally sticking a thumb in my eye over my gripes about the size of the Deluxe Dinobots, Hasbro shows me just how small small can get. A Legends Class Dinobot… what will they think of next? Slash comes packaged in her robot mode (Yup, she’s a she!), but I’m going to start with her tiny little alt mode.

And she’s an adorable little robotic raptor. Is this a great looking alt mode? Nah, not really. There’s all sorts of robot mode shenanigans on display here from the robot legs forming a less-than-convincing chest to the robot hands literally holding the raptor feet. Is it a terrible alt mode? Nah, not really. It’s a newly designed Dinobot in a Legends Class and I’ve got to respect what they tried to do here, even if I would maintain that this size class is no place for a Dinobot to be in, unless you’re making the alt mode a Compsognathus. And I suppose you can just call this a Compy if you want. Or at least I can, because I’m not one of them dinosaur scientists.

On the plus side, I love that Hasbro kept the familiar Dinobot deco here from the translucent yellow plastic on the back plate and upper head to the gray, red, and black that matches Slug’s color palate so well. She’s even got those translucent yellow discs at the tops of her dino legs, like Slag does. Slash also features some decent articulation here, which includes a hinged jaw.

Transformation is pretty simple, especially since you can see just about everything that’s going on in the alt mode, but with that having been said, Slash’s robot mode is pretty fantastic. I will, however, admit that there’s nothing to the design that really stresses she’s a femme-bot to me. I suppose the face sculpt is a little softer, and maybe those tabs on her chest can double as… nevermind! I don’t want to go down that road. Point is, I dig this mode a lot. It also manages to hold onto the whole Dinobot aesthetic, while bringing a new character to the table. And other than the raptor arms pointing up behind her robot arms, there’s not a lot in the way of dino-kibble to complain about.

The size works perfectly too, so long as we’re talking about the pocket universe, solely inhabited by the PotP Dinobots, that I had to invent to make the scale work for these bots. As a result Slash looks great besides Slug and Swoop, although I’d still argue that I would have rather she been a Deluxe to level out the robot mode. But then we’d be talking about a whole new figure, so let me just backpedal and say, she’s fine.

And fine she is! The raptor mode may lean toward the f’ugly side, but this is still a fun figure to jam in my pocket and take along for adventures on my desk at work. I’ll confess that when I had her in hand at the store, I actually waffled a bit over whether I needed a Legends Class Dinobot in my life, but I’m glad my lack of discipline and willpower sided in favor of picking her up. She is most definitely a fun little toy and she will display wonderfully with the team. And just maybe she’s softened my heart a little... JUST A LITTLE… to the idea of smaller scale Dinobots.

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Swoop by Hasbro

In case you missed it, Power of the Primes is hitting the shelves and last time on Transformers Thursday, I got really long winded over a very little Deluxe Dinobot named Slug. This time, I promise to control myself and not get as carried away. I’ve also decided that I’m not going to spend any time on the actual Prime Master gimmick, because it doesn’t do anything for me and I don’t have any Prime Masters anyway. Oh, I’ll get some eventually, but I just don’t plan on doing a lot with them and the Prime Armor. And with that preamble out of the way, let’s get this party started…

SWOOP!!! If you were expecting a big re-branding for PotP, then behold the visage of your disappointment. It’s more or less the same packaging we saw for the last couple lines. Nice character art, though. I’ll also throw in how odd it is that Hasbro has lost so many copyrighted names over the years, yet somehow managed to hold on to one as common as Swoop. Sure, they call him Dinobot Swoop, but couldn’t they have just called Slug, Dinobot Slag? I’ve also just realized how both fun and ridiculous it must be to be an actual toy lawyer. Anyway, this guy comes packaged in his robot mode, but we’re going straight for the Pteranodon.

Much like his comrade, Slug, Swoop’s alt mode is an excellent update to the original toy, with just a few minor quibbles here and there to keep him from achieving a state of Cyber-Pteranodon nirvana. My favorite thing here is the complexity of the sculpt. We saw it last time with Slug, and there’s plenty more here where that came from. The gray plastic body and wings are practically littered with detail including panel lines, vents, wires, and all kinds of the cool little things that make up a RoboDino. The body features a rather squared off back which speaks to the robotic design, while the wings are a bit more organic in their shape. There’s some black paint on the panels on top of his back, and he also has some nice red paint work on the sides. Swoop also has some little pegs on his back and wings so you can load him up with Titan Masters or Prime Masters. Fun!

The head clearly succeeds in its G1 Swoopiness. It features a red pointed crest and a long beak, which consists of a translucent shell over gold plastic. The eyes are painted red, as is the lower jaw, and he has a crisp Autobot emblem stuck right on the top of the base of the beak. Those old Dinobots had such a signature look to them and this guy delivers it in spades.

From behind you can see his two little red and silver bird feet trailing out the back, and if you turn him over, you’ll see some robot shenanigans, including his arms and hands tucked in the sides. This mode pegs together fairly well, with the one exception unfortunately being the head itself. The hinged part of the dino head that covers Swoop’s robot face will sometimes stay put, but it does like to drop down quite a bit as well. There’s really nothing holding in place but a wee bit of friction and a lot of prayers. Getting it to stay in place can be frustrating. Also, Swoop doesn’t come with anything to resemble his G1 missile launchers, and that’s a shame. Yet another reason one of those third parties should step up and do a weapons pack for these dinos.

I really dig that Swoop’s alt mode is designed so that it can be displayed in flight, or standing up. Articulation in the wings include hinges that allow them to flap in and out at the base, and points that allow them to fold in and out a little further along the wings. The beak can open as well.

Size is still a bit of an issue here, although not as much as it was with Slug. I don’t know much about the actual scale of Pteranodons, but in my mind they don’t need to be huge. Either way, I think he scales perfectly with Slug, and honestly, I think he scales OK with Legends Class Bumblebee. Swoop always was the runt of the Dinobot litter anyway.

Transforming Swoop is pretty simple and doesn’t hold a lot of surprises. The legs unpack from the back and body, the arms come out from the sides, and his beak splits to reveal his face. It’s all familiar, and it results in one fabulous looking robot mode. The proportions are great, I love the way the birdy feet are integrated into his lower legs, the wings fold up so that they aren’t in the way. He also looks very polished from the back. There’s still more sculpted detail on the undercarriage of his wings, and oh, that’s where they’re hiding his combiner port!

You’ve probably noticed that Hasbro went with the Diaclone blue over the Dinobot red for Swoop’s chest. It’s a weird choice, but not something I’m going to get all worked up about. Otherwise the robot mode deco features more of the same gray and black from his alt mode. You get some stickers on his chest, and some really pretty emerald green paint on his wrists.

The head sculpt is perfect. What else is there to say? The silver paint looks fabulous and he still retains his red crest from his alt mode.

In addition to the Prime Armor piece, Swoop also comes with a sword. It’s read, it has that distinctive elongated diamond-shaped blade that I tend to associate with the Dinobots edged weaponry. For the life of me I can’t remember whether the G1 toy came with a gun, but I’m almost positive he didn’t. Just those two missile launchers. I’m guessing that plastic went into the Prime Armor.

As much as I loved just almost everything about Slug (apart from his size), I think I dig Swoop here even more. His size isn’t quite as big an issue because of the nature of his alt mode and he always was the smallest of the Dinobot crew. The omission of his missile launchers, on the other hand, does irk me a bit, but like I said, maybe someone will step up and remedy that. In the meantime, Swoop and Slug look fantastic together and I’m getting really excited about completing this team. Next week, I’ll have a look at the newcomer to the Dinobots… Legends Class Slash!

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Slug by Hasbro

Let’s all take a moment to bow our heads and mourn the passing of Titans Return. I think it was one of the best modern Transformers lines Hasbro has ever done. Bold statement? Yes. But that’s how I feel. Oh, I’ve still got more reviews coming from that line, but as far as Hasbro is concerned, it’s done and its replacement, Power of the Primes, has arrived. I thought I should at least check some of these new figures out while they’re still fresh, and where else better to start than with the Dinobots, Slug and Swoop!

Behold, the Power of the Primes packaging! The presentation is nearly identical to Titans Return and to Combiner Wars before that, which suggests just how much Hasbro is trying to tie these lines together.  This deco has never been my favorite, but then I don’t save the packaging, so it’s not a big sticking point for me. I do, however, really dig the character art on the card, and in case you haven’t guessed, Slug is the new name for Slag. We’ve had some modern Dinobots over the years, and plenty of Grimlocks, but never has Hasbro given us a full on team of G1-inspired Dinobots until now. We’ll see them all released in Power of the Prime, and like it or not, they will be a Combiner Team.

With that said, it’s time for full disclosure: I was thrilled when these Dinobots were first revealed, but a lot of that exaltation burned off when I found out that they were going to be a Combiner Team of Deluxes with Grimlock as the torso/Voyager Class. Now, I’m not inherently against making the Dinobots into Combiners. I respect Hasbro for trying new things. But by making them combiners, they were locked into these size classes, and that’s the root of my disappointment. In my opinion, proper Dinobots should have been Voyager Class figures with Grimlock as a Leader Class. Obviously, I knew this going in, but it’s still going to color my reviews. OK, let’s start with Slug’s dinosaur mode.

Well, this is pretty damn good! Just one look and there’s no doubt who this cybernetic Triceratops is supposed to be. Aesthetically, Hasbro did an admirable job giving us a proper update to G1 Slag. Hell, I’d even go so far as to say that this is one of the best sculpts we’ve seen in a Deluxe Class figure in a while. Just look at how much detail they packed into this little guy. There are panel lines, little hatches and vents, segmented joints in the legs, and the pattern in his collar looks fantastic. I also really dig the sculpted circuitry that can be seen through the translucent plastic discs in the hind legs and in the tail. You even get some pegs to put some Titan Masters or Prime Masters on his back.

The deco is also pretty spot on to what I would want in a modern Slag. Much of Slug’s coloring is derived from his rich gray plastic, but you also get some black and gold paint, as well as the previously mentioned yellow-tinted clear plastic. A little red can be glimpsed from his undercarriage and his horns are red as well. There are even a couple stickers near the base of his tail. The only thing I would have added would be some silver paint to his collar, but I guess you have to leave something for Takara to do in order to tempt the importers.

The articulation here is very basic, but not too bad. The front legs are ball jointed at the top and have ratcheting hinges in the middles. The back legs rotate at the tops and have hinges in the middles as well, but these middle hinges can only work backwards. His mouth can also open thanks to a hinge in the lower jaw that is also part of the transformation. In truth, there’s not a whole lot to work with here, but at the same time, it doesn’t really feel like he’s missing a lot, except for maybe a swivel in the neck.

Slug comes with two accessories: His gun and his Prime Armor. I’ll get to the Prime Armor at the end, because it involves this line’s running gimmick, and is not something I’m going to focus on in any reviews after this one. I mention the rifle now, because you can plug it into his back if you want your Triceratops to have some added firepower. Before moving on to his robot mode, let’s do some size comparisons…

Aaaaand, Yikes! Not only is Slug a Deluxe Class figure, but in his Dino mode, he’s a damn small Deluxe Class figure. He’s barely bigger than Legends Class Bumblebee and Deluxe Class Hot Rod practically dwarfs him. And here’s where the disappointment sets in. Now scale has always been a funny thing when it comes to Transformers, but The Dinobots are supposed to be giants and this scaling just doesn’t work at all for me.

Transforming Slug into his robot mode is pretty easy and mostly involves just folding the back half into the legs. It’s not that dis-similar to the G1 toy, assuming I remember that correctly and the result is that this damn fine little Dino turns into a damn fine little robot. Like the Dino mode, Slug’s robot mode hits almost all the right points that I’m looking for in my updated Slag. The rear Dino legs land on the lower legs, the lower jaw becomes the chestplate, and the top part of the Dino head frames the robot head. It all looks great, and the deco matches almost perfectly. His proportions are fine, although I think he could have used some more bulk. It’s almost like something is missing.

Oh yeah, it’s his wings, and this is my only real sticking point with the robot mode design. The Dino mode’s back actually looks like it’s sculpted with a fake hinge, which is kind of like a big tease. I think if this part did hinge open and press in closer to the back, it would have made this robot mode perfect, instead of just really close to perfect. Maybe that was too much engineering for a Deluxe Class, but considering how relatively simple everything else is, I don’t think that’s really the case. Oh well.

The head sculpt is fantastic and the red painted eyes look especially nice. They’re so bright and vibrant it actually looks better than a lot of the light piping effects I’ve seen int he past. You can actually turn Slug’s head, which is something I wasn’t counting on, but I’ve only been able to get it to turn a bit and I really need to get your fingernail in there to do it.

As already mentioned, Slug comes with a rifle, which e can hold in either hand. Alas, he does not come with a sword, which is a real bummer. I’ve been trying to swear off Third Party Transformers and kits lately, but if someone out there cares to make a weapons pack for these Dinobots, I’d probably pull the trigger on that.

Unfortunately, size is an issue in robot mode as well as in Dino mode. It’s not quite as egregious here, but still an issue nonetheless. At least he’s bigger than a Legends Class now, but as you can see, he’s roughly the same size as Deluxe Class Hot Rod. If he were a little bulkier, I might have been a bit more forgiving, but he still seems really puny for a Dinobot. OK, our last stop is going to be a quick look at the Power Armor, because it’s the key to unlocking the entire gimmick behind Power of the Primes

And as gimmicks go, it kinda sucks. This giant plastic albatross plugs into the chest and yes, it is as unwieldy in person as it looks in this picture, if not more so. The idea is that you take the clear plastic cover off and plug one of the Prime Masters into it. That’s supposed to give him enhanced powers based on whichever Power Master he bonds with. The powers are outlined on a card that comes with the figure. Unfortunately, this is more of a pretend kind of thing, whereas the Titan Master gimmick was a practical part of the design. Yes, these are toys for kids, and that’s great, but I’m not getting anything out of it. It’s worth noting that the Power Armor will double as Combiner parts as well. The other bummer is that unlike the Titans Returns figures, which each came with a Titan Master, here the Prime Masters are sold separately. I haven’t picked up any of those yet, but in a fine example of Transformers Body Horror, the Titan Masters are also compatible with the Power Armor.

And holy shit! It’s like, hey “Hot Rod, let me borrow Firedrive, so I can get some of his powers. Also, I’m going to use your face to deflect laser blasts aimed at my chest! Sound good?” Oh wait. This is supposed to be Slug talking. “Me, Slug use your face as shield!” OK, this isn’t really the intended use, because Prime Masters turn into chips and not heads, but I’ll still happily choose to ignore this gimmick. On the plus side, it doesn’t really effect the toy itself if you just choose not to use it. Also, the Prime Masters come in G1-style Pretender Shells, and that makes this nonsense all worthwhile!

Wow, that seemed like a really long write-up for a Deluxe Class Transformer, but I had a lot to say. And in the end, Slug turns out to be quite the mixed bag for me. Taken on his own, he’s a great figure and a superb homage to G1 Slag re-imagined as a Deluxe Class release. And that’s what makes the downside all the more of a bummer, because his size really is a deal-breaker for me. No, I’m not sorry I bought him, because it’s going to be cool to have a cohesive G1-style team of Dinobots, but they just don’t interact all that well with the other figures. It’s a case of Hasbro coming sooooo close, but not quite. Next Thursday, I’m going to double down and check out not only Swoop, but we’ll also see that the Power of the Primes Dinobots can get even smaller with Legends Class Slash!

Lost Exo-Realm Severo (LER-04 DX Edition) by Fansproject, Part 2

Welcome back, Convertorobo Fans, to the second part of my look at the fourth release in Fansproject’s Lost Exo-Realm series of Not-Dinobots. It’s Severo, a figure that is under no circumstances meant to resemble a certain Transformer named Grimlock. Yesterday, I checked out his T-Rex mode and now I’m all ready to get him into robot mode. Transforming Severo is very similar to many past Grimlock figures. The dino legs become the arms, the robot legs fold out of the tail, the dino chest splits in half, and the neck and head are worn down the back. The tolerances and clearances on this figure are all fine, but it does take a little work to disengage the tabs that lock him together in his dino mode. With that having been said, I was able to change this guy from robot to dino and back for the first time in a while without having to consult instructions, so I consider that to be fairly intuitive. In fact, I’d say he’s the second easiest of the LER figures to transform, with Volar/Swoop being the easiest.

Behold, Severo in his robot mode. I freaking love this guy! He looks like a goddamn powerhouse and he walks that fine line between hitting all the important Grimlock tropes while still offering something of a unique edge to his design. The gold chest with clear chest-plate is easily recognizable, as are the dino claws that frame his fists on the tops and bottoms of his chunky forearms. The proportions on this big guy are perfect to me, and that goes a long way to make up for some of the sacrifices made to the T-Rex mode’s proportions. I think my favorite design element here are those high and massive shoulders. Not only do they look damn imposing, but they’re practical in that they help protect his head from getting knocked off in a melee fight. The robot mode retains a lot of the same deco as his T-Rex mode, but also adds some very bright red to his abs and pelvis.

From the back, we can see some more familiar Grimlock elements. The two halves of the T-Rex chest form “wings,” but here they actually peg into place to keep them from flopping around. And while they look like a hollow eyesore now, I’ll come back to them in a bit with a way to fill them out as weapons storage. The dino hands can be positioned in a number of ways, but I prefer them straight out with the claws pointing down. By turning the T-Rex head around it tucks in pretty nicely along his back. Although this piece does not peg into place, it tends to stay put pretty well. The lower legs are a little unsightly from the back, and you can easily see where the tail folds up. Oh yeah, they can be a little tough to see, Severo has some exhaust ports coming off the back of his shoulders, which make for a nice homage to War Within Grimlock.

The head sculpt borrows heavily from the Grimlock we all know and love, it’s just more stylized and angular and looks terrific. He has a lovely translucent red visor with two light piping panels on the top of his head. Sadly, these don’t seem to work that well. Even with a direct light source, I can’t seem to get his visor to illuminate. Oh well. The head shot above also gives a closer look at the plates that the shoulders connect to. I’m going to assume that these were meant as another homage to War Within Grimmy, as they look to be sculpted a bit like treads. Even if it wasn’t intentional, I can sure see a connection in the design and I love it.

Severo’s articulation is excellent for a bulky guy and I’m happy to say that he’s bristling with strong ratchet joints. This is probably a bit of overcompensation brought on my Columpio’s somewhat loose hips. In addition to rotating ratchets in his shoulders and hips, he has double hinges in his elbows, hinges in his knees, swivels in his wrists, biceps, and thighs. His head is ball jointed, he has a waist swivel, and his ankles feature feature swiveling hinges to help keep his feet flat, even in those wider stances. His fingers are also hinged with all the fingers fused as one. Severo has a fair amount of lateral movement in his arms. He can’t quite get them up at a 90-degree angle from his shoulder, but what’s here fine for me. Now, let’s check out some weapons!

I showed off the giant mini-guns with his T-Rex mode and obviously he can dual wield them in his robot mode as well. Severo is already a formidable looking bot, so what do you get when you equip him with these bad boys? Probably a lot of Decepticons shitting their pants. The mini-guns peg right into his fists and they have hinged trigger guards that close up over the knuckles on the hands. These weapons feature nicely detailed sculpts as well as some translucent red pieces near the breeches, which do include a nice light piping effect. Equipping both of the giant mini-guns also shows how well those ratchet joints hold up.

Did I mention Severo can store most of his weapons on his person when he’s not using them? The mini-guns tab securely into slots on his “wings” which makes them angle up over his shoulders and gives him a cool and very distinctive silhouette. They also help fill up that hollow look behind the wings that I mentioned earlier.

If the mini-guns are a little too overstated for you, Severo comes with a double-barrel rifle that’s very reminiscent of Grimlock’s trademark weapon. It’s a single molded piece of black plastic with two translucent red pieces that plug into the ends of the barrels. This thing looks OK, but I feel like maybe it’s a little too big and the red tips on the barrels look a little obnoxious to me. It’s nice to have it, but I doubt I’ll be displaying him with it a lot.

Severo can store the rifle behind either shoulder by pegging it into either of his “wings,” but you can’t store it there if his mini-guns are in place. Technically, you could have him wear it on his hip, by pegging it into the socket there, but it’s very unwieldy and I wouldn’t recommend it. Besides, the hip works much better as a place to store our next weapon…

Next up is his sword. Each of the LER figures came with an energy sword, and each one has been a completely new design and sculpt. Severo’s is a no-nonsense weapon with a simple cross-guard and some great detail work in the blade. He can hold it well in either hand, although the top claw can sometimes get in the way of the cross-guard, so it helps to angle it.

Much of the promotional art shows Severo wearing the sword on his shoulder. That’s certainly an option, but I think it looks rather awkward there. Thankfully, he also has ports on each of his hips, so he can wear the sword in a more normal fashion. I really love being able to store it on his hip and I wish all the other LER figures were capable of doing this as well. Let’s move on to his last weapon, the Weapon Masters War Hammer!

Remember these goofy guys? Well, they combine into this…

Now, I’m not going to get into the ethics of one sentient robot using other sentient robot beings as a bludgeoning implement, but if you don’t think too hard about it, it’s pretty bad ass. It’s not the prettiest weapon in the world, it’s just a big block of destruction with spikes sticking out of it, but it’s ridiculously heavy looking and Severo looks great wielding it. I would imagine it could make quick work of a Decepticon head. It’s really the perfect weapon for a prehistoric robot warrior. But Severo is not just any robot warrior, he’s king. And every king needs a throne…

The throne is the biggest incentive to go for the Deluxe release of the figure, and it is indeed quite the showpiece. It’s cast in durable plastic with the back portion hollow and unfinished. The front and sides feature all sorts of panel lines, exposed pipes, vents and other bits of detail. It’s also painted with a wash to give it a dirty, oily, and overall well-worn look. The hole in the back is there to accommodate the T-Rex head hanging off Severo’s back. Not only does it allow him to sit, but it helps hold him in place quite nicely too.

It’s impressive to me that such a bulky figure design can not only sit on this thing, but look great doing it. Originally, I wasn’t sure I was going to go for the Deluxe version, because the whole Grimlock wearing a crown and sitting on a throne gimmick doesn’t do a lot for me. But seeing him seated on it, really sells it. There are also a bunch of peg holes on the throne so that you can hang his mini-guns on it, and you can even place all the LER Dinobot swords on it, Game of Thrones style.

There is room for one more sword too, in case Fansproject ever gets around to releasing Snarl. Fabulous!

And yes, he does come with a crown too, if that’s your thing. I’m glad they stopped short of giving him an apron and a tea tray.

Phew… even for a two-parter, this was a lot to talk about, and my thanks to those of you who are still with me! The Deluxe version of Severo retailed at most sellers for around $139.99, which was only about $20 more than the regular version. Of all the LER Dinobots, he’s the only one that seems to have sold out at the regular places I visit, at least the last time I checked. I’ve enjoyed each and every one of the releases in this series quite a bit and now that I have the LER versions of the original three Dinobots, as well as Swoop, I’m all the more pleased. These make for a damned impressive display, which only begs the question… where’s the LER version of Snarl? Well, Fansproject actually showed off a painted prototype of Snarl, designated LER-06 and named Pinchar, sometime last year. Although since then the LER-05 and LER-06 slots have been taken up by a couple of Femme-Dinobots that transform into raptors. These are slated to be released any time now, and I like the idea that they’re thinking outside the box. Again, my favorite thing about these dinos is that they’re original interpretations and not just straight copies. But it’s undeniably frustrating to be getting those before Snarl. And there’s still some question over whether or not Pinchar is going to release at all. Fansproject is claiming it will happen, but the longer the delays get, the less likely it seems.

Transformers Animated: Snarl by Hasbro

Why is it that Hasbro can’t give us a full set of proper Dinobots in any of the modern continuities? In Energon we got that crappy Grimlock and Swoop combiner. Prior to that we got those terrible Walmart Universe two-packs. Now, in Animated we got Snarl, Swoop and Grimlock, but no Slag or Sludge. Well, that sad fact has nothing to do with the particular figure we’re looking at today, Deluxe Class Snarl from Animated, but alas I’m not terribly fond of this figure, so I thought I might as well start with a bitch-fest and keep it going.

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You get the standard Deluxe carded package with Snarl carded in his dino mode. First problem: He’s a Deluxe. I don’t think the Dinobots should ever be produced smaller than the Voyager Class. Maybe Swoop… maybe. Now, keep in mind, I’m not saying I’d want to see this figure produced larger, but I think if they started off as a Voyager, it would have been a better designed figure. I guess it makes sense that Grimlock is the leader so he’s bigger, but Snarl is just waaaay too small to be a proper Dinobot in my eyes. At the very least, he should have been a much beefier Deluxe.

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Apart from his size, I actually don’t have a lot of issues with Snarl’s dino mode. Yeah, the top of his head is obviously peeping out the middle of his back, but that doesn’t bother me all that much. At least you can’t see his face. This dino is that crazy mix of angles and contours that matches Grimlock fairly well. His legs have some decent movement too making him a pretty fun little Dino. He has a silly little spring loaded flame-armor gimmick that pops out of his shoulders, but it’s not much to write home about. The coloring is pretty good. As with Grimlock, Snarl’s deco mostly makes use of gray colored plastic with a fair amount of black thrown in. The gray is notably darker than Grimlocks, but it’s close enough. You also get some of that lovely gold paint.

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I am rather torn on the dino head. The translucent red horns are cool, but I don’t like the beak. It looks like he’s been dipping his nose into the… wait for it… JAM! There it is. The huge exposed screwhead in the side of the face doesn’t help and the gray paint on the crest that surrounds his face was pretty scuffed up right out of the package. And then there’s the robot mode…

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Ugh. Where to begin. Well, I’ll start by throwing out a compliment. This bot mode matches the Animated aesthetic quite nicely. As for the rest? Well, let’s start with his size. Putting aside what I said about Dinobots shouldn’t be Deluxes in my eyes, this guy is even short for a Deluxe. He makes up for his height a bit with his stocky frame, but still… he’s shorter than Bumblebee for crying out loud! I do like the fact that his dino head forms his chest, that’s very Beast Wars-y of them, but it sticks out really far and totally obscures his face if you’re looking dead on at him. I wouldn’t want to walk around with that albatross hanging off the front of me.

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His head sculpt has personality in spades, I love it, but I literally had to fold down his whole dino-head-chest, just to get a shot of it. It’s also sunken in the center of that raised ring. It feels like you should be able to grab the head and pull it up, but nope. That’s the only position and as far out as it comes.

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The articulation is decent enough, but his stocky build gets in the way of a lot of pose-ability. There’s not a lot of range of motion in those elbows and no lateral movement in the shoulders. He can get a pretty wide stance thanks to the ball joints in his hips, but the hips themselves always come un-tabbed when I’m playing with him, and that gets annoying.

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Snarl comes with an energon club, which is basically just an elongated blob of translucent orange plastic. I actually kind of like it, because it’s a futuristic energy-based weapon based on basically the most primitive weapon design you can imagine. For some reason that just makes me smile. Afterall, he’s a Dinobot, so his weapons should be based on cave man weapons, right?

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Am I being too hard on this little guy? Am I missing out in the fun and whimsical spirit of TF: Animated? Maybe. Overall, I think Animated Grimlock turned out so well, Hasbro missed an opportunity to follow through on the others in a similar manner. I don’t hate this figure. I’ve certainly spent ten bucks in worse ways. But he just has a bunch of nagging issues that keep him from being solid. I suppose there’s still a chance for more Dinobots in the Generations line, and yeah we still have those Dinobot Power Core Combiners coming, but it’s just not the same. Maybe I’m just going to have to hunt down the original G1 Dinobot toys again and get my satisfaction that way.

*This Feature was updated with new photos on 6/12/16.

Transformers Animated: Grimlock by Hasbro

Ok, so yesterday I figured out that Animated Shockwave wasn’t exactly awesome, today let’s give it a go with another Animated Voyager Class figure I picked up on clearance at Marshall’s last week. It’s everyone’s favorite Dinobot, Grimlock. Yes, he is your favorite… don’t lie to me!!! Apart from giving him the show’s super stylized treatment, Grimlock’s design doesn’t change all that much from G1 to the Animated series, and I’m happy to say Hasbro managed to clearly convey that through this figure’s simple, but elegant design.

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Grimlock comes packaged in his T-Rex mode in the typical Animated Voyager Class box. I don’t have much new to add about the packaging, but I will say that I’m glad that they made him a Voyager. If there’s one thing that Classics Grimlock proved to me is that he doesn’t work well as a Deluxe Class toy. He should be large, hulking, and bigger, or at least as big, as Optimus Prime.

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The T-Rex mode is the spitting image of the new Animated style. It’s very angular in the body and features some contours in the legs. I really like the strong mechanical look to his giant hinged jaw, which features that massive under-bite that makes him look like he’s related to a backhoe.There’s also a lot of play value in this mode. There’s a button on the back of his neck that gives him chomping action, and his legs have a satisfying amount of articulation, including two hinged “knees,” hinged toes, a swivel above the ankle and universal movement in the “shoulders.” He can balance pretty well too. The only downside about this mode is that his belly has a hollow look to it, but unless you’re turning him over, you probably won’t see this much.

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The coloring here is damn nice too. Grimlock gets by with a lot of gray plastic, mixed with some maroon and gold accents. The gold paint has a great metallic finish to it. He also features a silver Autobot insignia on his upper left leg and he has bright blue eyes.

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Transforming Grimlock should feel like Deja Vous to anyone who has owned or still owns the original G1 toy. He’s a very easy figure to convert and the resulting robot mode is both pleasing and familiar. I particularly like the way the legs pack together to form heels and the tips of the tail tab in to the sides of his legs. The production photos I’d seen of the the toy made him look really squat, but in hand he is far better proportioned and he really doesn’t suffer from Lugnut’s tiny legs syndrome as I had feared he would.

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The head sculpt is pretty awesome, and I love how he retains that heavy mechanical jaw look even on his robot head, as it gives him a ton of personality. He also sports some mighty impressive light piping in his blue visor. The colors in robot mode are pretty close to his dinosaur mode, only with a little more of that lovely gold paint on display. His chest features a sculpted transparent plate with some cool circuitry patterns sculpted in behind it and a silver Autobot emblem centered proudly on his chest.

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Grimlock’s articulation in robot mode is decent enough, and look… he can do the hurt RoboCop pose! I love that! His arms are exactly the same here as his legs are in T-Rex mode, so all of that articulation carries forward. His legs feature ball joints in the hips and hinges in the ankles, and his head is also ball jointed.

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Grimlock comes with a huge flaming sword with a play feature of its own. If you put it in his hand and turn the hand, spring-loaded flames will pop out of the edges. I didn’t say it was a great play feature. Truth be told, it’s not all that noticeable, but the sword still looks great. It’s got a molten lava motif going on and features some very pretty translucent orange plastic.

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If you read my look at Classics Grimlock from last week, you may remember I had issues with the way Hasbro over complicated his transformation. It was like they were intentionally trying to just be different. Animated Grimlock takes the wiser and simpler route and maintains almost the same conversion process as the G1 toy, with just a few added tweaks and bobs. What we got is a toy that is surprisingly more faithful and ultimately a lot of fun. Granted, this toy is riding on a fondness for the Animated design, but if you count yourself among the fans, than this guy should satisfy. It’s quite simply a beautiful rendering of that quirky Animated style in plastic form.

*This Feature was Updated with new Photos on 6/11/15.

Transformers Classics: Grimlock by Hasbro

No doubt top on the list of many a fan’s wishlist for the Classics line was Grimlock. Hasbro did right by us all by getting him out of the way sooner rather than later. Afterall, considering how insanely popular he is among the fandom, Grimlock and the Dinobots haven’t gotten a lot of love throughout the years. [No, the Universe Dinobots don’t count, because true Dinobots shouldn’t look like real dinosaurs, they should look like robot dinosaurs. -FF] So, I wanted to make sure I gave Grimlock here his props during Classics Week.

Me, Grimlock think me should have been biggerer.

Yeah, I agree. Generations seems to be shunning the larger sized toys in favor of being a Deluxe Class only property [I’m still unclear whether Grapple will be in Generations or Hunt for the Decepticons packaging -FF], but back in the days of Classics and Universe 2.0, we did get some of the larger size toys. I really think Grimlock would have made a great Voyager Class. It’s not that I think the sculpt or the aesthetics of the figure would have been that much improved, but he should have been able to stand at least as tall as Optimus Prime.

That having been said, I think Hasbro did an amazing job upgrading Grimlock’s dino mode. There’s a little more rounding to the sculpt, but not enough to give him too much of an organic look. The head is awesome and the mouth opens up nice and wide so he can chomp on Decepticon fools or eat Minicons like popcorn. There’s also a ton of sculpted panel lines and other details all over his body. The biggest departure here from his original mode is the back-mounted missile launcher, which can be taken off if you’d like a more old-school look. The colors are excellent and faithful to the original. He looks like he has some wash over his primary grey color and the gold is great looking. The amount of articulation in the tail alone is pretty respecable too. Grimlock’s dino mode is just a great looking and really fun toy.

Transforming Grimlock is surprisingly different than his original version, and I’m wondering if Hasbro did the figure a disservice by over complicating things, or inexplicably trying to get away from the old style conversion. Normally, I wouldn’t care, but it effects the design of the figure with the head splitting apart to become the feet. I think that by keeping the original style of conversion, [Which was subsequently used for the Animated Grimlock. -FF], would have resulted in a much better homage to the G1 toy. How about it, Grimlock?

Me, Grimlock have teeth for toes! Why? Why have teeth for toes?

I have no idea, Grimlock. The new conversion just seems needlessly complex and fidgity, but it goes pretty quick if you know what you’r doing. Unfortunately, it also results in removing the tail, which the figure can hold as some kind of sword/bludgeon weapon. I absolutely hate when parts are removed from Transformers to make them work and then turned into shitty afterthought weapons to make it seem like a good idea.

Me, Grimlock not like holding own ass.

Nobody does, Grimlock. So let’s cast the tail aside and look at the figure. It’s not bad. It definitely shares some design elements with the original toy and the animated, but it also deviates a bit too much for my taste. The gold chest is nice effort, but that huge red orb in his chest was a strange choice. I already commented on the head splitting into the feet. If it were any other figure, it would be fine, but I don’t like it on my G1 inspired Grimlock. The shoulders suffer from the same backward assembly as my Ironhide and Ratchet, showing off the ugly screws. The head sculpt is excellent, though, and the light piping works really well on this figure.

His articulation is good, with rotating shoulders that have some lateral movement and hinged elbows. His head turns, but is very tight on my figure. His hips are ball jointed and his knees are hinged. You can get some decent poses out of him.

Honestly, I wish Hasbro had taken a different route with this figure and stuck more with the original look. They could have kept the original transformation while still adding articulation and updating the sculpt and I would have been much happier. On the other hand, he’s a really nice looking and fun figure on his own right. He’s definitely worth hunting down and buying, especially since this character hasn’t really received his due over the years.