When Transformers go horribly, horribly wrong.
I was excited when these guys came out ages ago. Hanging on to the tail end of the hit and miss Energon line. Well, most of the Autobots were a miss, but the Decepticons were quite cool. I was surprised to see two Dinobots make an appearance and they came in a double pack, so no extra hunting required.
I love the G1 Dinobots. Robot dinosaurs are pure awesomesauce, on the meat of fantastic in a winning sandwich and so I was pleased to see how faithful Grimlock looked to his original self and thus I blindly bought this set. Of course, back in those days, video internet reviews were nowhere near as commonplace as they are now. Had I watched some I might have changed my mind…
The main gimmick of the Energon (or Super Link as it was known in Japan) was that you could combine two Autobot together to make a stronger Autobot. This has been carried on with these two Dinobots. It almost worked with the rest of the Autobots and an effort has certainly been made with these two, but as the Transformers catch phrase goes, there is More than Meets the Eye.
Not a good thing in this case.
Let’s start with, Grimlock of course!!
As you can see, it quite effectively pulls off the old view of the Tyrannosaurus Rex shape, with the slow strong look and the tail dragging behind. The colours are pretty good and the overall look is very familiar. He has the yellow on the shoulder area, which is gold on the original, yellow on the groin and end of the tail. One thing added is the Autobot insignia on the stomach area. Another addition is a large gap in his neck. Oh dear.
You can have him a bit more horizontal, but the look isn’t all that great. The dinosaur mode is obviously designed for the old stompy stompy rex. First let down in the dino mode are on the feet. Although he has claws, the main base of the feet don’t actually touch the ground.
Underneath it is fairly open as well.
There is a lot of nice sculpted detail, however in an odd twist of uh, fate, the robot sculpted bits don’t actually fit together from one part to the other. Strange.
That is not all that is strange.
He has another head underneath the dino neck. On mine, it looks a bit like too much paint was applied to the tail, but once again the sculpting is nice and it doesn’t match that well to the rest of the body.
The had is nice and strong looking and heavy classic T-rex. Although the head does looks too large when considered in scale with the rest of the body.
Now for robot mode! Transformation is pretty much exactly the same as G1 Grimlock. Since most of the designing has been done, one would think it would be a pretty good little figure. Um. Sure. Ok…
Robot mode is very top-heavy. He lacks waist movement, but arm and leg movement is pretty good. He has some heel spurs that fold out of his calves but they are fairly useless as they start to fold back up the minute you put him on the ground.
Chest details are fairly basic. I do like the sculpt for the head though, it has a War Within styled look with the markings on the cheeks, but he has also been given owl ears which is a little quirky.
His arms are very weird as well. While the hands have a fist sculpt on them, it’s fairly sloppily done and looks as if they were trying to make a single sculpt for the left and right hands. They almost lack any definition. The dino claws can be folded forwards and look a bit like Wolverine's claws, which is a nice touch. He does have a large gap about the arm joint underneath where the shoulder should be. A very strange thing to have and almost leads me to think (along with other odd things) that both Grimlock and Swoop are a small part of an originally grander plan.
One major flaw of the robot mode is derived from the combined mode. His waist splits incredibly easily and it is very frustrating. Usually any attempt to pose his legs results in this waist splitting apart.
So I guess that for this amount of travel it is an OK figure. The problem lies mostly with Swoop I think and then the two of them together brings Grimlock’s major issues to the fore.
There we have Swoop. One thing that irks me a lot is his species change. Judging by the lack of a crest on his pterosaur head, he has dropped in size from a relatively impressive Pteranodon to a somewhat less impressive pterodactyl. This sucks, as once more it compounds Grimlock’s flaws. But moving on.
As you can see, he has some massive jets on his back. I can live with that, after all he is a robot dino. One nice addition from the G1 version is that his wings are attached via a ball joint and can now be flapped and posed.
Swoop is very floppy though. Pick him up by the jetpack and his robot legs will unfold. Strangely there is a slot in the legs that looks like it should match with a corresponding tab on his back. One can attach to the tab, but the angle is out and attaching one will make the other leg go out of place. As a result, you just have to have the legs resting over the back piece. Very weird. Another piece to my theory that there may have originally been planned a few more Dinobots perhaps…
It just doesn’t fit!!
A you can see by that photo, the robot head isn’t hidden at all and from underneath robot parts abound! It is cool to have a Swoop that can flap his wings though. The dino feet can be moved around as well.
Transformation is simple, but often the chest/groin piece will come apart.
It appears to be designed this way, which is odd, as it isn’t needed for the combined mode or normal robot mode. Once again, perhaps there was more to this than just these two…. It easily snaps back together. The Transformation is how you’d imagine it. Flip over the legs, rotate the side arm bits up, drop the dino head into the chest, flick up the robot head’s crest. Why does the robot have a crest on his head but the dino only have a small nub????
Robot mode looks like this.
The blue pieces that the shoulders are attached to look like they should clip into the side of his chest, but they don’t do it very well. Or at all for that matter, so his arms are pretty much free-floating and whenever you move his arms or hands, the will flop down. Man, the thing I hate most in a toy is when a moving piece isn’t clipped down like it should be!!!
The chest detail and head sculpt are nice enough. Nothing super duper fancy but it does the trick. A nicely stamped Autobot symbol and some nice blue eyes. As you can imagine from the way his head is, limited head movement. It does swivel ever so slightly though!
One thing that really annoys me are his shoulder covers, they never seem to stay down and are huge. Everything about this Swoop is out of scale with the other bits. It’s only slightly less annoying than his breaking in half groin piece. Grrr! It pops apart at the slightest provocation and there is NO reason WHY! I don’t really understand this…. Unless, it was meant to accommodate combination with other Dinobots… Somehow. Ooooo!
Now, having a look at them next to each other and you can see one major issue. Grimlock is smaller than Swoop.
Look at that!! The sizes are the opposite way around!!! Grimlock looks a little pigeon toed as well… Poor guy.
Energon’s Gimmick was that the Autobots would combine together, usually with one becoming the feet/legs and the other becoming the torso. Usually this means that both the individual robots and the combined mode suck and befitting of the rubbishy weak Dinobots, two crappy robots combine and make a crappy super Dinobot, imaginatively named Mega Dinobot!
Did I say crappy? because I meat incredibly crappy. Bloody awful and down right embarrassing would be pretty accurate I think. It combines, and the combination is a horribly slamming together of two toys that anyone could come up with. Seriously, it look like a kid took them and plonked them on top of each other. To prep them, they end up looking like this.
The joined mode doesn’t get any better in case you are wondering.
It’s hard to see what is supposed to be what on this ‘Mega Dinobot.’ He has arms and legs all over the place, tails, wings hanging off left, right and centre and they are joined by a weak, badly made joint that slides over Swoop’s head. Once again on the back there is a part that almost looks like it will clip the wings into Grimlock’s back, making a sturdier figure, but again, it either doesn’t work or match up. Therefore the wings always flop down and upset the balance, which is bad enough as it is. The only way I have managed to keep the wing ‘backpack,’ as it were, in place is by using the wing tips to press up against the legs.
From the front, it looks like a mess, the back is even worse. The tail that split in half could have been cool if they didn’t angle down all the time and could be posed with the proper wings behind them. But they can’t. And it just looks like a load of crap.
He does have a nice new sculpted Mega head hidden in the top of Grimlock’s head. Although that certainly isn’t enough to save this dire combined mode from being an embarrassment to Transformers.
There is no mention as to whether Mega Dinobot has a personality of its own, or if either Grimlock or Swoop are in charge. That wouldn’t make any difference anyway I suspect. It’s just too ugly and badly designed.
It is fairly tall though. That’s because it is two deluxe(ish) Transformers slapped on top of each other.
Bah! From any angle this toy looks like crap. There is no other word really for it.
I hate to say it, but I hate this toy. From my expectations of cool when I first saw it, and then being horribly let down by an unstable, short Grimlock, to the lanky, bulky and floppy Swoop, just to have it compounded by the overall piss-poor combined mode makes me really dislike this toy. I hate hating a toy, usually I try and enjoy the good thing of a toy, after all they are meant to be fun, but there is little here that I like. The only reason I keep it in my collection is because I thin it is sooooo bad. It’s almost laughable at how many levels of failure this toy manages to project in every mode.
However I strongly suspect that this is partly due to us receiving a partly completed group. All of the extra bits of articulation that Swoop has and some of Grimlock’s abilities, as I shall refer to them as do set off my investigation feelings and had say Snarl, Slag and Sludge been deemed appropriate, more combinations of Mega Dinobot may have been possible. Perhaps even a large 5 group combiner might have been in the works, but with Hasbro’s decision that Dinobots don’t really fit into the Transformers logic (being not really robots in disguise), they may have just given up. Although they did come out at the end of Energon and after Energon we had Galaxy Force. However Galaxy Force had enough re-uses of other lines toys as recolours, so I don’t see why they couldn’t have continued with the group.
Hmm, Perhaps there is something to ask one of the big-wigs of Hasbro design if I ever actually get my butt to Botcon and into one of the panels one day. I’d be most curious to find out now…