Age of Extinction Deluxe Dinobot Slug Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Age of Extinction, Autobot, Deluxe, Dinobot, Movie (2007)

Age of Extinction

Dinobot Slug General Information:
Release Date: May 12, 2014 (Online); May 17, 2014 (Stores)
Price Point: $14.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Swords x 2

Images:

*Images and text below from The Official Transformers Web Site:
This fiery warrior hates taking order, unless it means he gets to destroy something. He'll level anything in his path with a fit of white-hot dino rage.
Convert, arm, and attack with all the Transformers action you can handle! This Dinobot Slug figure is a high-powered fighter whether he's in robot mode or dino mode. With a sword in each hand, he's a double danger to any enemy in robot mode. When he converts to triceratops mode, he'll stomp any enemy flat! Keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever his foes dish out!

"Age of Extinction" features a kind of Transformer that fans have been wanting to see on the big screen since the first movie: Dinobots. Originally introduced in the "Generation One" cartoon series and toy line, Dinobots have appeared again and again over the years in the "Transformers" toy line. Going as far back as "Beast Machines", the Dinobots have represented a sub-group of characters that often played by their own rules and generally represented great power. The Dinobots Grimlock and Swoop even made an appearance in the "Energon" toy line. In more recent years, the Dinobots even made an appearance in the "Power Core Combiners" line as well as the "Generations" toy line. Dinobot Slug can trace his roots back to the G1 character named Slag. However, due to the word "slag" having negative connotations in some countries, the name of the character has been changed in recent years.

Beast Mode:
Perhaps the first issue that needs to be addressed with this figure is one of size. It's no secret that "Transformers" toys have been sized down in recent years, with figures of all size classes shrinking either in size or bulk. Dinobot Slug is no exception. Compared to some of the Dinobots of the "Beast Wars"/"Beast Machines" era, he's probably about two thirds the size of guys like Guiledart and definitely lighter. Now, it's important to note that size does not automatically mean diminished quality, but it is a concern many fans have so I thought I'd address it right off the bat.

Dinobot Slug's aesthetic is very much along the lines of the "Bayformer" look transposed onto a triceratops inspired creature. Lots of sharp, jagged panels and of course, overlapping armor panels. In addition to this, Slug has some more organic looking designs in this alt form than other Transformers who become vehicles. These details include the back panels on the beast mode, which feature a ridge of blade-like sections sticking out of the spine. His tail is lined with sharp looking spikes. The head features a frill made up of (you guessed it), jagged, overlapping armor panels. The head features three horns, two on the top of the head (complete with lines that make them look like drill bits) and one on the nose. He also features two additional horns on the bottom of his lower jaw, which is why I said above he's "inspired" by a triceratops. The armor plating is found on the legs and sides, with the most prominent details being the ones on the front legs, complete with armor that flares out to the sides in a dramatic fashion. For me, the finishing touch on the figure is the sculpting on the head, with eyes narrowed and a really dangerous looking set of teeth on the top and bottom jaw sections. In terms of the sculpt, I really dig this figure. I know the "overlapping metal plates" design is not universally loved, and I agree that at times it gets pretty boring. Yet here on this savage looking creature it totally works.

In the live action film, it appears the Dinobots are all mostly silver/grey if promotional images are to be believed. However, this figure is cast in purple, light grey and dark grey/gunmetal colored plastic. The purple makes up most of the figure, including large parts of the head, the front legs, the sides and the rear legs. The dark grey plastic is used for the spinal panels on the back and the claws on each foot. The light grey plastic is reserved for the parts that feature sharp designs such as his horns and tail. To conform with safety standards, all the light grey parts are cast in a rubbery plastic. Some fans will frown at the rubbery plastic, but I prefer they use this and give us sharp sculpted pieces than use hard plastic and sculpt the parts as stubs, which always looks a bit sad to me on a figure.

Slug's paint details are done in red, silver and a metallic teal color. The red is used on the frill, with a line extending across the sides of his face. It is also used to paint an Autobot symbol on the left side of the body. Silver is used on the sides of the head, right under the eyes leading to the frills. It's also used on the upper part of the front legs. The teal is used for the eyes. I have to say the purple color is not really my cup of tea. I'd much prefer he be gunmetal all over with other colors contrasting against it, or better, the traditional silver/gold/red/blue Dinobot colors - but alas that is reserved for a Japanese convention exclusive due out in June of 2014. The other colors all look great. I am glad some grey/silver detailing has remained, calling back to his appearance in the movies (I'm assuming he's in the movie, at this point no trailers have featured him).

There are ten points of articulation in this mode. I'm being generous with the term, because each of the rear legs can technically move, but they're meant to stay in place. His lower jaw can also open and close, which adds to his fierce appearance. Slug includes two swords, and if you look on his sides, the holes of his robot fists show. You can slide the sword handles into each fist and he winds up with sword weapons sticking out his sides. It seems odd at first, until you imagine him running into a crowd of enemies, horns in the center, swords on the sides and you realize he could do some major damage! There is one point of weakness in the design. The rear legs are supposed to be held in place using tabs on the legs that connect to corresponding grooves on the rear panels. Unfortunately, they don't connect very well, and just moving the figure around a little (or trying to pose the rear legs) takes them right out of the slots. Honestly, it's not a huge deal and I think the figure could have done without the connection points, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the swords if attached and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing the tail up against the rear panel it is connected to.
  3. Swing the rear panel up.
  4. Push each of the rear claws down.
  5. Swing the rear legs out.
  6. Swing the robot feet forward.
  7. Split the beast mode head in the middle, and swing each half out. This will reveal the robot arms and head.
  8. Swing down the frill panels over the shoulder armor.
  9. Swing each robot fist out.
  10. Fold the side armor over the area where the fists were to form the forearms.
  11. On the back, rotate each of the front beast mode arms so the pointed sections point up.
  12. Bending the lower legs of the front beast mode legs, you'll see a tab at the "elbow" section, connect that to the corresponding grooves on the sides (near the "spine" area).
  13. Each sword can fit into a fist.

Robot Mode:
Early information on the Dinobots seems to indicate they are Transformers who have been on Earth for a very long time, hence their prehistoric looking alt modes. Their robot modes also take an ancient inspiration: medieval armor. Slug's twin sword weapons already hint at him being a more ancient type of warrior (and it's a nice callback to the original Dinobots, who all had swords). However the head and foot designs on this figure also appear inspired by medieval armor. The head is oval shaped with a thin, visor eye and a mouthplate piece that sticks out in a V shape, reminiscent of an Armet. The feet are thin and have pointed toes that angle upward. These are reminscent of Sabatons, though they generally don't point up in the same way. The rest of the design seems to draw more on the "beast" part of Slug's design including boney like structures on the chest and sections of armor in the middle of the body that look like they could be parts of a spinal column. Slug also has a very dynamic looking shape. His shoulder armor, large forearms and lower legs all flare outward, offering a very striking appearance. I really like the design of this figure.

The purple plastic is still very much present in this form, however we get more silver and dark grey parts. Silver is used on the upper arms, fists and thighs. The dark grey (similar to a gunmetal color) form the torso, feet and joints at the shoulder. The red from the beast mode frill shows prominently here on the top of the robot, but also shows in the mid-body. There's some silver on the top of the head and the metallic teal color from the beast mode appears here for the robot eyes. The Autobot symbol from the left side of the beast mode now shoes on the left forearm. My gut instinct told me that this form should have more color - except I realized that to be "movie accurate" it would actually be less colorful, only having silver with dark grey and black accents. Even without a ton of paint applications, this is probably already more colorful than the actual CG model, so I'm not going to complain. In fact, since the plastic colors break out so well, any additional paint details would likely just take the form of accents or "battle damage" and not bold, broad painted details.

There are fourteen points of articulation in this mode. This includes two in each arm and four in each leg. The head can also move side to side, but the frill pieces can get in the way of your fingers a bit. The arms have a ball joint at the shoulders, so there's a good range of motion there. The legs also have ball joints, along with swivel and hinge joints, making the legs nice and posable. Slug also has waist articulation, but moving him side to side could dislodge the beast mode legs from their slots on the back a bit. It's hardly a big deal if you're just posing the figure, and if you're playing with the toy and thrashing it around, I don't think loosened beast mode legs will ruin the figure for you. Each of the fists have 5mm ports, allowing Slug to hold weapons with 5mm pegs.

Final Thoughts:
Dinobot Slug is hardly a perfect toy. He is a bit smaller than Deluxe figures from previous years and there are a couple of design issues with tabs and pieces staying in place. That said, the figure has a cool design in both modes and the transformation is totally fun. The toy looks good and it's fun. Recommended!