"Age of Extinction" Dinobot Slug versus Stinger Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Age of Extinction, Dinobot, Wal-Mart Exclusive

Age of Extinction

Dinobot Slug General Information:
Release Date: August 2014
Price Point: $19.96
Retailer: Wal-Mart Exclusie
Accessories: Tail/Missile Launcher; Missile

Images:

Preceding the release of "Age of Extinction" on Digital, Blu-Ray and DVD by about a month or so, Wal-Mart stores began to receive a set of exclusive figures inspired by the movie. As with most store exclusives, these were all redecos or reissues of pre-existing figures. One of these releases was a two pack featuring Decepticon Stinger versus Dinobot Slug. Stinger is a redeco of the
Legends Class Sideways, who in turn was later given a new deco as Override. He was also given a new deco and retool as Mirage. The smaller size figure was selected to contrast in size with the "giant" Dinobot Slug.

Slug is a redeco of Guiledart from "Beast Wars Neo", who in turn was given a redeco and retool as Killerpunch in the same line. The same sculpt was once a Wal-Mart exclusive already over a decade ago as Triceradon. Needless to say there are plenty of previous reviews for you to check out to see my thoughts on the base sculpts for these figures. This review will focus on the changes made to each figure for this release.

Decepticon Stinger Review

Images:

Stinger was one of Galvatron's Vehicon/Decepticon troops in the "Age of Extinction" film. This figure makes for one of his first debuts in the toy line (there were two other Legends Class figures released at the same time as Wal-Mart exclusives representing Stinger). It is not a new sculpt of course (see my notes above). However, this sculpt does transform into a sports car and there are some very superficial details that resemble Stinger as he appeared in the film. This includes the front of the vehicle forming parts of the torso and the streamlined look of the robot head (complete with thin eyes and a curved head). It's a very superficial resemblance, but for a store exclusive redeco I think it's okay (not spectacular, just "good").

Stinger is cast in red and black plastic, both colors seen on Stinger in the "Age of Extinction" film. Red makes upmost of his form with black on the middle of his body and the lower legs. His paint colors are light grey and black. The black is used for line details on the edge of the chest are and a Decepticon symbol in the center. Light grey is found on the headlights and face. The deco serves the purpose of making this guy different from his previous two releases and call back to Stinger's appearance in the film.

The joints on the figure are nice and tight. It should also be noted that this hands have been modified from the original release as Sideways. Both hands have a curve in them that allows them to hold weapons with 3mm pegs. He also has a hold on the side of each arm that allows you to attach additional weapons. This was done during his release during the "Dark of the Moon" era.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Swing the chest piece up.
  2. Push the windshield piece down.
  3. Swing each lower leg up against the thighs and push them together.
  4. Rotate each arm back and then push them in.

Vehicle Mode:
Instead of the Pagani Huayra vehicle seen in the movie, this version of Stinger transforms into an Audi R8 styled vehicle (with enough modifications to avoid licensing issues). In this form he's mostly red with light grey windows and black stripes on the front, sides and top. In a way I can see this as an "alt universe" version of Stinger, but in this form the differences between this figure and the CG model used in the movie are very apparent. He doesn't look bad mind you, it's just unfortunate that this is pretty much the only version of Stinger available right now (and no "Generations" style figure has been announced as of yet).

The holes on the sides of the vehicle allow you to attach 3mm peg weapons, giving the car some offensive firepower in this form.

Dinobot Slug Review

Beast Mode:
The original Guiledart beast mode was meant to represent a Transformer that had integrated organic material into its form. That means the beast mode is designed to look like an organic creature down to the skin having distinct wrinkles and organic patterns sculpted into it. The horns on the head have line details like those found on bones and he even has a tongue!

I go through all the details above because it's a fascinating contrast to the actual "Age of Extinction" Slug since that character/figure design is completely mechanical/metallic in nature to the extreme down to its jagged edges and medieval knight inspired armor patterns. In my personal fan canon (or "fanon" if you prefer) this represents an alternate universe version of Slug perhaps when he visited Earth in the past (a la "Beast Wars"). It's a playful way to come up with a redeco and re-release a figure that hasn't been on the market in years.

Like his "Age of Extinction" Deluxe counterpart, Slug uses purple as his primary color. This time out however, it's mostely purple plastic from head to tail. Some smaller parts that peek out (like the robot mode feet) are cast in black. Paint applications are done in red, black and blue. The red is used on the horns on his head and parts of the frill behind the horns. It's a really nice pattern and looks great. The black is found on a patteron the back that leads to triangular points on the sides of the body. Finally, the eyes are painted blue. This looks good in terms of reflecting Slug's colors from the other figures in the line.

If you were unfamiliar with the previous versions of this sculpt, it would be easy to accept the deco as is and leave it be. However, there are a lot of details that were not painted that were painted on previous iterations of this sculpt. Most of these are smaller bits like the nails on his feet, the tongue and pointed edges of the frill area. This is likely due to cost cutting (something that the toy industry in general is suffering from nowadays) and honestly, some of these details are so small you'd never realize they weren't painted in unless you stared at it. The most egregious of these unpainte details however are found if you swing open the side panels of the beast to reveal his "ribs". In previous iterations of the figure the ribs and "meat" inside were painted to really drive home the techno-organic nature of the creature. Here they're unpainted and it's a very glaring omission. If I were to knock this figure for one thing, this would be it.

All the joints on this form are nice and tight. This is great given how many times the sculpt has been used. I even gave it what I like to call a "shake test" by picking the figure and shaking it a bit and nothing flopped around at all.

Transformation to Trap Mode:
Guiledart's transformation to "Trap Mode" is best done beginning with the beast mode. There is not that much to do really, but the mode's results are a bit comedic and gruesome all at once. First, press the horn connected to his beast mode nose and the tongue will stick out and his eyes will roll back. Then simply open up the panels on either side of his body to show his bones and rib meat and lean him to the side.

Trap Mode:
The success of the "Trap Mode", where Slug would "play dead" is very dependent on the ribs and tongue being painted. They draw the eyes to the details that make him look "dead". Unfortunately, none of those are painted so in this mode Slug basically winds up just looking like the beast mode lying down with little other context. You really have to kind of stare to see the "rib" details and the tongue is small and purple so it blends right into the rest of the beast mode head. In effect, a lot of the "shock value" of this mode is neutered due to the lack of the necessary deco. It is amazing how much of a difference a couple deco details can make.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Remove the tail and fold down the handle on the bottom and insert a missile. Set it aside for now.
  2. Fold out the robot legs from the hind beast mode legs.
  3. Straighten out the feet and the robot legs are formed.
  4. Fold out the panels on the sides and pull back on the rear section from the main body.
  5. Fold down the beast mode head and fold up the beast mode's back.
  6. Twist around the upper body and push the two halves of the waist together.
  7. Fold the rear section up in the back and move the flank panels down.
  8. Swing the arms down and place the missile launcher in the left fist.
  9. Raise up the triceratops feet in the air and swing out each of the antennae in side.

Robot Mode:
If you're looking for parallels between the design of this sculpt and "Age of Extinction" Slug's design, don't. The Guiledart sculpt was designed in a very different era of "Transformers" history and meant to represent a robot that mirrored design aspects of the beast mode. An example is the head design which has three "horns" on it. Other elements of the design may seem odd to those who didn't follow "Transformers" during the "Beast" era such as the right forearm being composed of the beast mode head, but for the time these were very normal design elements.

Slug still has plenty of purple parts in this form, but a lot more black plastic shows this time out. It's used for the left arm, right upper arm, torso and parts of the legs. It contrasts nicely against the purple, though I confess the two colors together really wind up making Slug look more like a Decepticon than an Autobot. Paint colors in this mode are white, red and blue. The white is used on parts like the face, chest, mid-body and knees. Red is found on the circular detail on his chest and parts of the head. Matching the beast mode, the robot eyes are painted blue. Combined with some of the color details that carry over from the beast mode, this mode is very colorful and looks good.

One interesting note is related to his missile launcher/tail piece. During the "Beast Wars Neo" era of Transformers, many had a "Spark Crystal" or a rounded section that was clear with a symbol inside of it. These sometimes represented the character's Spark, other times they were decorative. The Guiledart sculpt had this as well, built into the weapon. That piece is included here as well, but the crystal is clear with an Autobot symbol tampographed over it. I took apart the weapon to get a look at the "crystal" and it turns out it's actually the "Beast Machines" era "Dinobots" symbol, making the tail/weapon at least a redeco of Dinobots Triceradon instead of Guiledart.

Unfortunately, the figure suffers from a similar problem as the beast mode if you have familiarity with the mold's previous incarnations. Several parts that were painted on previous verisons of the figure are left unpainted here. It's not so much that it looks bad, but it feels like there is potential here to do more and make it better that wasn't taken advantage of. Examples of this include paint details on the right shoulder armor and on the mid-body area. It doesn't look bad mind you, just a bit incomplete.

In terms of functionality, the joints in this mode are nice and tight and his weapon works just fine. A consequence of the design is that he can't quite take advantage of all his articulation points, but he can hold his weapon up and you can move his legs to pose him. It's good his joints are still nice and tight since the design makes the robot mode rather top heavy and he'd easily fall over if his joints weren't tight.

Final Thoughts:
As I reviewed this set, the thought that kept popping up in my head over and over is that this is a weird "other universe" set of figures representing Stinger and Slug if the events of "Age of Extinction" had played out differently. Now to be fair, for most kids who are not hung up on "CG model accuracy" the way hardcore fans can be, this is not a huge deal and it can make for some real fun play value, especially given the size differences between the two figures. Is it worth the $20 price tag? Absolutely if you don't have these figures from their previous releases. If you have the previous releaess, I'd only grab these if you are a completist.