"Beast Wars Transformers" Dinobot Toy Review

in 1996, Action Figure Review, Beast Wars, Deluxe, Maximal

Beast Wars Transformers

Dinobot General Information:
Release Date: 1996
Price Point: $9.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target etc.)
Accessories: Tail/Spinning Blades, Sword

Tech Specs:
Name: Dinobot
Beast mode: Velociraptor
Allegiance: Maximal
Function: Frontline Combat

As if torn from the pages of earth's prehistoric past, a vicious velociraptor breathes again! But Dinobot is no ordinary 'raptor, he's a robot in disguise battling beside his heroic teammates, the Maximals! Armed with a spinning cyber-slash tail weapon and always hungry for battle, Optimus Primal considers him a natural combat expert who has clawed his way to the top one victory after another!

Strength: 8.0  Intelligence: 5.0  Speed: 9.0  Endurance: 5.0
Rank: 6.0  Courage: 9.0  Firepower: 6.0  Skill: 6.0

Beast Mode:
Extremely well made. He is one of the deluxe Maximals and his transformation sequence takes more than just two steps. He's got roughly six steps to his transform. His velociraptor mode is extremely well done and was actually based on the Jurassic Park 'raptor. There is a noticable amount of undercarriage weight (where his legs go) in 'raptor mode so the mode is not perfect, however, he has a great paint job and does look quite ferocious in dino mode.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the tail. Split it open and remove the sword.
  2. Swing the front part of the dinosaur down to begin forming the robot legs.
  3. Swing the halves of each robot foot out.
  4. Rotate each lower leg around.
  5. Swing the side panels up and rotate the arms around, then push the claw halves together to form the hands.
  6. Swing the panel on the top of the chest up.
  7. Swing the beast mode head down to reveal the robot head.
  8. Swing the panel from the base of the tail up.
  9. The weapons attach to the holes in the hands.

Robot Mode:
In robot mode, he carries two weapons, one is a spinning blade which has a push button feature which makes the two halves of the blade (his tail in 'raptor mode) spin. His other weapon is a blade which is the bone detached from the spinning blade/tail section. He (like all the other deluxe Beast Warriors) has two heads. One is his 'robotic' head and the other is a 'mutant raptor' head which is formed by pushing up two halves of the 'mutant' head up onto the robot head. In terms of posability, Dinobot was done very well. His head turns, his knees bend, legs twist, arms rotate and bend at the elbows. A+

Updated Thoughts (1/9/18):
Wow, after looking at my original review for this figure I could not believe how incredibly short it is. Then again it was written over twenty years ago so I won't beat myself up too much about it, but I thought I would share more thoughts here to make this review feel more complete.

Keep in mind that "Beast Wars" beast modes were not meant to represent mechanical version of animals like those we saw in G1. Instead these were meant to be fully functional, organic beast modes. Given that, the designers really worked hard to incorporate both organic and some fairly gory details in this design. There is beautiful texture featuring lots of organic looking lines criss crossing on the "skin" of the figure. However, things get a bit gruesome when you consider that the legs in front of the beast mode are essentially his rib cage sticking out in front (the sculpting definitely resembles bones). Even better? If you look at his sword it looks like parts of a spinal column or tail bones. Consider that the interior of the spinning blade weapon is painted red and basically you are looking at the "inside" of the character's "organic" tail! Fun and gross isn't it? However you look at it, this was a radical departure from traditional Transformers design at the time and to this day I am amazed at the boldness of the design.

The robot mode may seem a bit odd in retrospect because the animators of "Beast Wars" changed it so much for the character's appearance in the show. His head, the proportions of the torso, even the design fo the back were all altered. Of course, twenty something odd years later we are getting a "show accurate" Dinobot. However it is important to keep in mind the toys came first, so this toy really does represent how Dinobot was "meant" to look. Besides, at the time toys different from their animated counterparts was hardly a new thing (I'm looking at you G1 Ironhide).

Appearance aside, the robot mode is a really solid figure. There are fifteen points of articulation (depending on how you count them) and all the joints are nice and tight. The spinning blade weapon is the type of gimmick you do not see much of anymore in Transformers toys and I enjoy how it can be used as a shield and weapon. The "Mutant Heads" are fascinating and when I first purchased this figure I imagined that it gave the character some type of beast-based power boost (this was months before the show aired on television). In an interesting footnote, the tail/weapon was designed to be able to attach to the back for storage. This was not mentioned in the instructions at the time, but fans figured it out as the years went along.

While not "show accurate", this Dinobot figure is a really fun piece and a great part of Transformers history that belongs in every "Beast Wars" collector's Maximal army!