Price Point: $10.99
Retailer: Wal-Mart Exclusive
Packaging: Bubble Card Two Pack Release Date: March 2003
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3 (Advanced)
The year 2002 saw the expansion of the Transformers line with sub-lines such as the Go-Go-Gobots. 2003 continues this trend with the promised "Transformers Universe" toys coming later this year and sub-lines which loosely fit under the "universe" category. One such sub-line is the "Transformers Dinobots" sub-line. Mostly consisting of previously released molds (with two exceptions), this line is a Wal-Mart exclusive. Altogether, there are six Dinobots in this assortment. Each package has two Dinobots, a deluxe sized one and a basic sized one. This review covers Snarl and Sludge, who come packaged together.
Sludge is one of the names that comes directly from the original line of Dinobots. There, Sludge was a mechanical brontosaurus (an outdated term, I know). This time around, Sludge is a techno-organic Dimetrodon. It's nice to see that the name Sludge has survived the years since there has not been a Dinobot Sludge toy since early Generation One. Sludge is based on the Beast Wars Neo Sling mold, which has never been released in the United States before by Hasbro. You can read those reviews for a more detailed look at the toy, this review will cover the changes made to the toy for this release.
Before someone lectures me, yes, I know a Dimetrodon is technically not a dinosaur. It belongs to the group pelycosaur and was more of mammal-like reptile than anything else. In fact, some argue that the Dimetrodon actually has more in common with humans than dinosaurs!
Factoids aside, this mold was still a welcome sight during the run of Beast Wars Neo. It was an original creature that the Transformers line had not seen previously, making it a cool toy to add to your collection. In his US debut, he has much less stereotypical colors than his previous release (which had copious amounts of green). This guy is mostly dark metallic blue. The webbed part of his sails and the stripes on his head down to his tail are gold. Black can be seen near his neck area. The beast mode eyes are green. The gold really contrasts well with the dark blue color, giving it a striking visual element.
All the Dinobots of this line have an Autobot symbol imprinted on them somewhere, and Sludge is no exception. His is right on the top of his beast mode head, near his neck.
Sludge's robot mode adds an even darker color into the mix: black. His arms, legs and central body are all black. His feet and head are dark blue. The robot face is orange with green eyes. The orange was a good choice for the face since so much of this toy is dark, it needed a bright point to bring out the features of the robot face, including the cool toothy gritted teeth look.
Sludge's Spark Crystal is a modified one like most of the other Dinobots have. It is a small marble ball with some lines in it (cracks? or deliberate designs? I'm not sure). On top of the crystal is an Autobot symbol. I'm impressed that the heat transfer of the Autobot symbol onto the crystal is so smooth since it's a curved surface. A very nice job there.
Snarl is one of the names that comes directly from the original line of Dinobots. There, Snarl was a mechanical stegosaurus. This time around, Snarl is a techno-organic stegosaurus. Out of all the Dinobots in this group using classic names, Snarl here is perhaps the one that is most apt to take the name. Snarl is based on the Beast Wars Neo Saberback mold, which was later released as Striker in Beast Machines' Dinobots sub-line. You can read those reviews for a more detailed look at the toy, this review will cover the changes made to the toy for this release.
Snarl's beast mode is a stegosaurus. Rather than a purely mechanical one, this one appears almost all organic in beast mode. I've always loved the rich detail that went into this mold, and now they have put the perfect color scheme on the beast mode. Snarl is mostly a dull silver, but there are gold spray ops on all four lower legs which gradually blend with the upper legs. Some of this gold to silver blending also occurs on the sides of the beast mode, where the creature's ribs would be. The eyes are orange and an Autobot symbol rests on the top of the dinosaur head. The plates running down the spine are red, and the stripes coming out from the center are black and white. What I love about this color scheme is not just that it utilizes the classic "red, black, gold and silver" Dinobot colors, but it does so in a very nice way. The color blending is beautiful and really looks fantastic.
Snarl's robot mode adds some new colors into the fold. His head and waist sections have red and yellow on them. His chest is a shade of black with red utilized for the designs around his Spark Crystal. The Spark Crystal appears to be a clear one with some white line patterns in it (to resemble electricity perhaps?). On top is an Autobot symbol (heat stamped) onto the crystal. Metallic green seems to be a color that the designers liked. Snarl's eyes and the interior of his weapon have copious amounts of the color. The center of the "flower" inside the weapon is green and the area around it (the petals if you will) are yellow. White designs are painted into the interior of the weapon, contrasting nicely against the metallic green. Although this was probably not intentional, the yellow around the green resembles the Autobot Matrix, which had a yellow casing, and (in the comic books) was green in the center.
On a more mechanical note, the mechanism which allows you to lock the weapons' three sections into place is a bit harder to lock down than those of the previous two releases of this toy. You really have to push back quite a bit to get it snap into place. Your other option is to push the three parts wide open and then lock the red tab into place.
I'll go on record as saying that this is probably my favorite out of all the six Dinobots in this line. It's not just the mold and sculpt (which is superior), but also the color scheme, which you can tell a lot of care went into. If you're only going to get one of the two packs, get this one.