Price Point/Size: Deluxe
Retailers: General (K-Mart, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Kay Bee)
Release Date: June 2003
Transformation Difficulty Level: 2 (Intermediate)
Accessories: Tail/Axe weapon
Transformers Universe is a line that focuses on redecos of past molds. In this case, the mold is Snarl, the lion from Beast Machines. This review will cover the changes made to this toy for this release. For a more detailed review of the toy itself, please read the Beast Machines Snarl review first.
It would seem part of the point of Universe is to use color schemes dramatically different than the original, to the point where the differences are striking. Although he retains the name (and most likely identity) "Snarl", the colors on this toy are so different from the original that you'd think you were looking at a whole new character.
Snarl's primary color is now a dark, dark gray. This gray contains metallic flakes, giving it the appearance of some type of metallic alloy. The
translucent blue plastic parts on the Beast Machines Snarl are replaced with translucent red plastic, a wonderful contrast color with the dark gray. The metallic blue decos on Beast Machines Snarl have been replaced with red while the silver colors on Beast Machines Snarl have been replaced with yellow. The lion's mane on Universe Snarl is gold, with beautifully done silver patterns with red and yellow edges, simulating fire. Combined with the other red and yellow on his main body, this gives Snarl the appearance of having power surging through his body. Even his eyes are red and yellow, giving him a fierce gaze.
In the realm of smaller, yet nice detailing, purple is used for several details that were not colored in the Beast Machines Snarl. On his front paws there are four "knuckles" on his hand guards that are now colored purple, another oval on the arm section above the paws is also colored purple. His rear paws have a great dark gray spray op on them, which blends very well with the translucent red.
Slide the panel on his rear, left side leg and you'll find a Spark Crystal with an Autobot symbol greeting you. The Autobot symbol is heat stamped onto the Spark Crystal, covering up whatever is behind it. This also gives you more of a look at the translucent red plastic under the panel, which has various mechanical details on it.
The function which allows you to turn Snarl's beast mode head and have the mouth open is still intact and works like a charm. I've always liked little touches added to the toy like this, and I'm glad to see the feature intact.
The one to one color replacement described for the beast mode pretty much remains intact for the robot mode. All the translucent blue parts on Beast Machines Snarl are now translucent red. The silver color has been replaced with yellow. His hands and head are mostly gold, but a darker, less shiny shade than the Beast Machines Snarl. The upper part of his face is dark gray (the same metallic one as his main body) and his robot eyes are bright red. The top of his head is gold, but has a streak of silver, red and yellow, an allusion to his mane in beast mode. Note: the red color on his head and eyes border lines on a bright orange.
One interesting note, the joints where his limbs connect to the main body (the shoulders and the upper legs) were sculpted to resemble muscle tissue, with lots of fine lines in a pattern converging on one point. This was neat to see as Snarl is meant to be techno-organic, but now that these parts are colored red, it's even more interesting since they look even more like muscle tissue now.
Snarl's gimmicks remain intact. Press the button on the top of his head and his mouth opens and closes as if he were talking. Press the button on his right shoulder and his lower right arm extends in a striking motion. Turn the dial on his left shoulder and his arm moves up and down, a chopping motion that makes putting his tail/axe weapon in that hand ideal.
Universe Snarl is a cool redeco of the original. It manages to contrast sharply with the Beast Machines one and it has retained all the features of the original.