"Age of Extinction" Deluxe Snarl Toy Review
Release Date: August 2014
Price Point: $14.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Blade weapon, Club weapon/tail
Official images and text in italics below from Amazon.com:
Snarl lives up to his name. If you see him smile, it usually means he's about to turn you into a pile of scrap metal. The thrill of battle is the only thing that makes him happy. Convert, arm and attack with all the Transformers action you can handle! This Snarl figure is a high-powered fighter whether he's in robot mode or dino mode. Weapon in hand, he'll be a match for any enemy in robot mode. And when he converts to hardcore stegosaurus mode, no enemy can hope to handle his charges! Keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever his foes dish out! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
The Dinobot Snarl was one of the characters released as part of "Age of Extinction" who did not actually appear in the film. However, the Dinobot team had several members with forms analagous to some of the Generation One Dinobots, so it was cool that a Stegosaurus based Dinobot was included in the toy line. The sculpt actually came out as a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive in G1 red/gold/black colors before the mass release. Check out my review of the SDCC version. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
By the time I am writing this review (October 2017) fans have become accustomed to the style of Transformers packaging where the logo sits vertically on the side while artwork of the character dominates the top part of the backing card. However, this was still a relatively new style of packaging at the time. The backing card has the "Age of Extinction" logo along with artwork of Snarl in beast mode (interestingly, the art is in dark colors, not the bright green of the toy). The bubble has the vertical Transformers logo on it and the insert shows off his name and affiliation. It's a very clean looking package and definitely refreshed the look of the line for years to come.
Like his G1 counterpart, Snarl transforms into a Stegosaurus. Unlike many popular portrayals of the dinosaur, the plates running down his back to the tail all sweep back at a dramatic angle instead of pointing up, giving him a very dynamic appearance. Indeed, much of his armor design has parts sweeping back at angles including the head, legs and the armor on the front half of the figure. The plates on his back are sculpted in such a way that they look almost organic, with distinct lines on each plate. His head also looks cool complete with layers of armor on his snout and teeth sculpted into his mouth. No mold changes were made to this figure for this release.
Snarl is cast in a bright, metallic green, grey and translucent green plastic. Since the character did not appear on screen, there really is no "screen accuracy" to worry about here, but given that his packaging drawing shows a mostly grey/silver Snarl, this would seem to be the way the designers decided to distinguish Snarl from the other Dinobots who also had a variety of bright colors such as the teal and bright green on Slash. I have to say the way the translucent and metallic green plastic work together looks brilliant. The grey parts enhance the deco by offering a nice, darker contrast to balance the look out. Several parts including the front half and tail have metallic green paint on them to help offer some continuity with the metallic green plastic on parts like the legs. A bit of metallic purple is found on the top of the beast mode towards the middle. The eyes are painted red, giving Snarl an aggressive appearance. Meanwhile a small Autobot symbol is found on the left, rear leg in black. Overall I really like the deco on this figure. I think it is distinct and draws the eye.
The blade weapon that forms plates at the top of the beast mode still sits in the groove between the two middle plates, but it does not hold very tightly. Your best bet is to spread the two blade halves apart at an angle and have them sit in the slot, leaning against the two plates. The tail weapon attaches just fine.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Pull the top most plates on the back off and swing them out to form a blade weapon. Set it aside for now.
- Split the tail and swing each half out.
- Remove the weapon from the tail halves and set it aside.
- Swing the middle section of plates back.
- Pull the robot head up.
- Rotate each of the front legs up against the sides of the beast mode.
- Swing up each of the rear legs to form the robot arms.
- Swing each of the tail halves forward, connecting the groove on each tail half to the tap on the back of each upper arm.
- Swing the halves of the middle plate section out.
- Swing the front half to the beast mode forward then down.
- Split the front half of the beast mode to begin forming the robot legs.
- Swing the robot feet forward.
- Swing the beast mode head/neck in against the lower left leg.
- Each weapon can be put into one of his fists or they can be combined.
Snarl's robot mode looks like it was designed, in part as a homage to the G1 character. Like that figure, the rear of the beast mode becomes the torso, the rear legs become the robot arms and the front half of the beast mode become his legs. The plates from the beast mode also wind up on his back while the tail halves are behind his arms. That said, many of the smaller details are different. His head sculpt looks almost like a robotic version of his beast mode head, complete with four "spikes" formed by parts sweeping back at angles and a mean looking pair of eyes that are thin like he is staring down an enemy. The chest has what look like turbines in them and there are lots of angled details such as a series of designs on his thighs and even the "toes" on his feet. The main complaint many fans had about this figure involves the arms, which have hands that rotate at the wrist, but cannot push in more, so if you want his elbows to bend up, the hands look like they are at an odd angle. This does not ruin the figure for me, but I can see why it annoys some fans.
This mode uses the same colors as the beast mode. Some more grey appears on the inside of his legs and on the head. The metallic purple seen in beast mode winds up on the top of the chest and in the middle of the torso. Some silver is used in the mid-body as well. Thanks to the way the paint is arranged (on the tail behind the arms and on the legs) this mode really does not need more paint to look good. I would say the only part that the designers could have painted for more detailing would be the chest "turbines".
All the joints on my copy of this figure are nice and tight. The weapons can still be held separately or combined into a serious looking melee weapon.
Snarl is a cool figure. I like the way the design echoes G1 Snarl with a contemporary twist. The arm design in robot mode is the most problematic aspect of the figure, but if you can get past that it is a fun toy with a great deco. Recommended if you are into the movie Dinobots.
- Detailed and stylish sculpt.
- Pays some homage to G1 Snarl while still looking original.
- Beautiful deco.
- Forearm design is odd.