Transformers Animated Toy Reviews: Snarl

in 2008, Action Figure Review, Animated, Autobot, Dinobot, Transformers Animated

Transformers Animated

General Information:
Release Date: July 2008
Price Point: $10.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Club weapon

Images:

*Images from Hasbrotoyshop.com.

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
One of the first robots to life on Earth by the power of the AllSpark, SNARL has a lot in common with the dinosaur whose form he takes in beast mode. He’s almost impossible to hurt, first of all, and he really likes smashing stuff with his tail, or ramming it with the horns on his head. He prefers his beast mode to his robot mode because he has more options for how to smash stuff as a triceratops. He doesn’t take delight in random destruction the way some DECEPTICONS do – he just really likes being strong, and breaking stuff seems like the best way to enjoy it.

Join this mighty AUTOBOT defender in pursuit of the AllSpark! With pop-out armor flames and a club that fits into his hand in robot mode, this fearless SNARL character figure is ready for battle. When it’s time to call in the toughest of beasts, convert the robot figure to triceratops beast mode and help the AUTOBOTS win the battle against the DECEPTICON forces!

Figure comes with a club accessory.

Back in the legendary days of Generation One, the Dinobots were a team of five dinosaur-based Transformers who represented a powerful force to be reckoned with. While the Transformers toy line has given us Dinobots in many forms over the years, many of these versions sought to reinterpret original characters in new decos and created some brand new ones outright such as the likes of T-Wrecks and Dinotron. "Transformers Animated" brings back Dinobots in very pure forms as dinosaur-based Transformers created on Earth with Cybertronian and Earth technology. More to the point, they have been designed with the G1 aesthetic in mind and are all new sculpts rather than being redecos of pre-existing figures. Part of this contingent is Snarl, a triceratops based Dinobot. If you're thinking the name sounds off somehow, you're right. The original triceratops Dinobot was Slag, but unfortunately Hasbro has shied away from using that name or term in Transformers due to its negative connotations and thus the name Snarl (who was a stegosaurus in G1) was given to this figure instead.

Beast Mode:
When it comes to creating a robotic triceratops, you can only vary the design so much. It's going to have four legs, horns, a pointy face, a tail etc. That said, it is refreshing how this Snarl looks different than his G1 predecessor while evoking the spirit of that character very well. His is a very bulky looking beast, with four very thick legs and a large frill behind his head. The main body and the base of his tail are also thick, leading to sharp points at both the head and the end of the tail.

If you look at the larger parts of the main body and legs, Snarl seems to be rather plain, but a closer inspection reveals some very nicely sculpted detail. Running along his frill are small circuit pattern designs. On the sides of his head are inset lines and sculpted eyes. My favorite details are a series of gears found on the inner sides of the top of his rear leg armor. On the center of his head is a raised section meant to accomodate an Autobot symbol, which conforms to the spot where G1 Slag had an Autobot symbol in beast mode.

Despite the name of the dinosaur he is based on, Snarl only has two horns and a beak. This is not an accidnet as not all triceratops necesarily had a third horn on their snout. The two horns are made of a soft plastic, so while theylook sharp, there is no danger of a child hurting him/herself on them.

Snarl is cast in black, translucent red, dark grey and solid red plastic. These colors are riffs on the traditional Dinobot colors which include silver/grey and red. Gold also plays a role, but is applied here using paint applications on parts such as the head, tail and toes (another nod to the original Slag). Red paint is used on the panels protecting the upper legs. Grey paint is used on the front of the frill to match the rest of the figure since it is cast in translucent red (the same soft plastic as the horns). Black is used for outline details such as lines on the face and one around the tail. A bit of light blue is thrown in as well, found in the beast mode eyes - a nice touch and nod to the color scheme used on G1 characters to denote affiliation.

Snarl has nine points of articulation in this form, which isn't bad for a beast mode. His rear legs are interesting in that they don't bend forward at the knee, but rather they bend back, which allows for some very nice poses resembling him bracing for an impact against a foe. The front legs bend at the elbows and his horns can move up and down as well.

Snarl includes a club weapon, but there is nowhere to put it in this form, which is a bit of a bummer. I'm a huge advocate of weapons that Transformers can store/stash/use in both modes, and it's a shame that Snarl does not have this feature.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Pull the rear legs out to the sides, separating the red mid-section of the dinosaur body and then reconnect them to the middle of the body using the pegs in the red panels and the holes right under the "collar" around the robot head on either side.
  2. Swing down the front legs and connect them together in the middle.
  3. Flip out the robot heels from the front beast mode legs.
  4. Swing the dinosaur head up on the chest and collapse down the horns.
  5. Swing the hip piece up so the notch faces the armor panel under the beast mode head and connect them together.
  6. Swing the top panels on the rear beast mode legs to the front to form shoulder armor.
  7. Flip out the robot hands.
  8. Split the beast mode tail in the back and swing the halves out to the sides.
  9. Attach the club weapon to either hand.

Robot Mode:
Snarl's robot mode fascinates me, and for a very particular reason. Almost every character in Animated with a G1 name has his or her form extrapolated from their G1 counterpart. Snarl is one of those exceptions (like Prowl) whose form is very much a reimagined form of the character without many physical trappings from the original. Only two, small features carry over from G1 Slag to this figure and they are parts of his head design and his lower arms. The head design has vent/air intake styled pieces on either side of his face, something G1 Slag also had on either side of his cheeks. The arm design is very similar to G1 Slag's since the fists fold out from two of the beast mode's legs. Other than that, his design is unique to him.

Snarl uses a very top heavy design. The entire upper body from his head, to torso and arms are slightly larger and out of proportion than his waist, legs and feet. This gives him a very brutish and powerful appearance. His upper body's bulk is enhanced by his shoulder armor. The shoulder armor panels are the large, six sided panels with the diamond shaped designs inside of them and visually they seemingly add another half inch or so to the width of his shoulders. His forearms are huge, giving him an almost "Popeye" type appearance to convey his power. His legs are relatively short in porportion to the rest of his body, but that enhances the sense that most of his power is in his upper body (though I'm sure getting kicked by Snarl is no fun!). I find this robot mode design very appropriate since the triceratops body is a very compact form (minus its tail). I enjoy this type of continuity between beast and robot modes, especially when you're talking about a creature based alternate form, which is a bit harder to work with than more boxy or angular vehicle modes.

Like many "Animated" designs, Snarl is not overwhelmed with designs, but rather has just enough detail to make the sculpt interesting. His head design is fairly intricate. It's flat and wide, matching the look of the wide upper body. His head actually has three horns on it, offering a visual connection to his beast mode. Look carefully and you'll even see two small bumps on either side of the central horn, giving him a more organic appearance. His face has regular eyes with a nose and mouth (as opposed to G1 Slag who had visor eyes). On either side of the face are vent lines on the helmet portion of the head. His face actually has a couple layers on it. An outer layer makes up the left and right sides of his cheeks while the inner portion is set lower, making him look like he has a mask on.

Other cool details include his hands, which have each finger sculpted slightly apart from the other instead of the more traditional clenched fist or open palmed positions. His knees have six sided armor pieces in the center and the armor panel designs on his hips are smaller versions of the ones on his shoulders. With the bottom of his dinosaur head frills showing, you now can see circuit patterns there facing forward, and that looks great. While his packaging art has his horns pointed up, I prefer them down to compact the form, though I guess up would be the "correct" way. His waist is covered by a piece of armor that looks like a loincloth complete with line details. All these details work together well to give Snarl a distinct look and add detail just where it is needed.

Snarl's primary weapon is a club, which is cast from translucent orange plastic and shaped to look like it is covered in flames. This is a simple, but great looking weapon that matches up with the melee weapons the other Dinobots have. Each of the shoulder armor pieces have buttons that reveal flames on his shoulders when pressed. These translucent orange flames match up well with the club. Snarl has seventeen points of articulation in this form, five on each arm and three on each leg. His hands have some finger articulation, with one hinge on the thumb and the other for the other four fingers. I do wish his arms could swing outwards more and that he had waist articulation, but these are hardly dealbreakers.

While the grey plastic is still very prominant in this form, it is broken up more by the red on the central body and black on his arms and legs. Red and black paint are used for most of his details including the outlines around the diamond shapes on his hip and shoulder armor pieces and the sides and chin piece on the head. Gold can be found on the beast mode head resting on his chest as well as the beast mode claws, found here on his arms and legs. While it's a tad hard to see, a silver Autobot symbol is right in the middle of the beast mode head, effectively placing it on the center of his torso.

As I mentioned before, this robot mode does not borrow heavily from G1 Slag, and to me that is its strength. It is an effective new take on the triceratops to robot conversion that has been done a few times in the Transformers line while still managing to pay homage to G1 Slag with its colors and beast mode. I do still wish the weapon could have been stashed away in beast mode and that he had a tad bit more articulation, but other than that this is a good figure. Recommended.