"Age of Extinction" Universal Studios Deluxe Snarl Toy Review
Release Date: July 2017
Price Point: $29.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: Universal Studios Exclusive (later found at discount stores such as Ross)
Accessories: Blade weapon, Club weapon/tail
When "Age of Extinction" debuted in 2014 it brought the Dinobots to the live action movie universe. While he did not appear on screen, the Dinobot known as Snarl received the toy treatment as both a Deluxe Class and Power Attacker figure. With "Age of Extinction" a distant memory for most fans, it came as a surprise when "Age of Extinction" Snarl popped up as an exclusive figure at Universal Studios in the summer of 2017. Even better, this figure featured a brand new deco based on the way the Dinobots looked in the film. In many ways this figure "completes" the set of Dinobots released in the "Dinobots Unleashed" 5 pack during the "Age of Extinction" era. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release. Check out my original Deluxe Class Snarl review for a detailed look at the sculpt and functionality.
Snarl is packaged in a bubble attached to a card. The design and graphics are different from the "Age of Extinction" line. The card features a light grey to white background with faded graphics (including Decepticon symbols etc.). On top of that is Snarl's box art, reused from his "Age of Extinction" Deluxe Class packaging, but reversed so he looks like he is walking towards the left side instead of the right. Next to Snarl's artwork is a large Universal Studios logo. The figure is packaged in robot mode inside the bubble. In front of the figure is an insert with the red, vertical "Transformers" logo on one side and an Autobot symbol in what looks like a stylized falling star pattern. The insert also mentions Universal Studios.
The back of the packaging shows the figure in both modes along with a small write up. It indicates 15 steps to transform the figure. Towards the bottom is the logo for the Transformers Ride. Overall the packaging is nice and focused on being an exclusive. Despite the lack of the "Age of Extinction" logo it made sense to add it into this sub-line since the packaging still has elements of the "Age of Extinction" packaging and the figure itself has a deco that seems to have been intended to go with a previously released "Age of Extinction" boxed set (the aforementioned "Dinobots unleashed" set).
There have been no obvious tooling changes made to the figure for this release. As far as I can tell it is a straight up redeco. That works for me since i found Snarl's design to be really dynamic and powerful looking. The forearms and wrists are still a bit weird since they are set at a very particular angle, but at the time this figure was designed the Transformers team was undergoing some changes and still adapting to a new working style so oddities such as this would pop up time to time. Still, it is an imposing and cool looking figure.
In terms of color changes, they are quite dramatic. When the Dinobots appeared in "Age of Extinction" they were very different than the brightly colored figures on toy store shelves. For the most part each Dinobot was some combination of gunmetal grey, metallic brown, silver and black with some shading hinting at the colors used on the toys. The figures in the "Dinobots Unleashed" set used that as their template and now that same design philosophy has made its way to this figure. The opaque parts on this figure are now all gunmetal grey, metallic brown or black. A note on the brown color: it is much less obvious under different lighting conditions. Under white fluorescent lights I could barely see it, but under my photo lights it became more obvious. The translucent parts (mostly the weapon blade and the dinosaur plates on his back and shoulders) are a smokey translucent grey. Gunmetal grey almost always looks great on Transformers figures and this one is no exception. It is a bonus that it matches the visual theme of the Dinobots in "Age of Extinction".
To give Snarl some added detail, silver, black and rust colored paint are used on various parts of the figure. The silver is found mostly on the torso, where it is used on the middle and sides. There is also some on the head. Black paint is used on the sides of the forearms and the head. The eyes are painted red and they contrast beautifully against the black paint. Perhaps the nicest deco points are wherever you see the rust colored paint. You'll see this on the shoulders, chest and legs. On each part the color looks like it has been very carefully sprayed on or brushed on to give his armor the look of wear and tear. This gives the figure a particularly gritty feel that you do not see in many Transformers figures nowadays.
The joints on my copy of this figure are just as tight as my "Age of Extinction" version, so no issues there. He can still hold his axe weapon in either hand.
Transformation to Beast Mode:
- Detach the weapon and set it aside for now.
- Push the plates on his back together.
- On each leg, swing the feet back. There is a joint with a rectangular groove on it which lines up with a tab.
- Swing out the beast mode head (located on the left leg).
- Push the lower legs together.
- Swing the front beast mode legs down.
- Push the robot head down into the chest.
- Bend the figure at the knees, then swing the chest forward, there are tabs on the top edges of the lower legs that connect to grooves on the bottom of the chest section.
- Swing the robot arms back and down.
- Rotate the forearms around.
- Detach the axe blade from the handle.
- Fold the axe blade into a V shape then attach it to the groove on the top of the figure.
- Take the axe handle and connect one of the tabs on the end to the groove on the inside of the tail, then swing the tail halves together.
This mode shows off all the same colors as the robot mode with the opaque colors making up a bulk of the body while the translucent colors make up the plates that run down the back of the figure. This mode gives you a look at the beautiful rust colored paint applications running along the sides of the body. Some of the translucent plastic on the tail is painted silver on the sides. In a bit of a visual callback to the robot mode, the beast mode head has silver on the snout and red eyes. There is a black Autobot symbol on the left side, rear leg which would be easy to miss if you are not looking for it. Overall I really love the deco on this figure.
All the joints on this figure are nice and tight. He also suffers from having the axe blade "plates" on his back falling off way too easily, unfortunately but that could not have been changed without some retooling.
This Snarl redeco is a beautiful piece of work. It is not my favorite version (that goes to the G1 inspired deco) but it is definitely in second place. Unfortunately being an exclusive it is relatively difficult to obtain at a reasonable price. Recommended mostly for those who really love variants.
- Detailed and stylish sculpt.
- A great way to "complete" your "Dinobots Unleashed" set.
- Beautiful deco.
- Forearm design is odd.
- Price is rather high and exclusive nature makes it difficult for many people to obtain.