Dinobot was one of the first break out characters in beast mode. Once a Predacon, then a Maximal, Dinobot embodied what many fans thought a good complex Transformers character should be. The toy was different in many ways from the television show's CGI model, but that didn't matter and Dinobot was scooped up very quickly by fans and collectors.
The Dinobot mold was also popular. The basic mold of Dinobot was used in several repaints and one remold. In the Beast Wars Transformers toy line, he was repainted as the former Autobot/Dinobot Grimlock, then repainted again as part of the Fox Kids! line of toys. In Japan, Takara repainted him to have more show-accurate colors as part of their Beast Wars line. Later, the basic Dinobot mold would be reworked to create Thrustol.
In beast mode, Dinobot is a powerful velociraptor. His primary color is flesh pink, with black stripes and details around his eyes and on his nose. His beast mode eyes are orange. His beast mode teeth are colored white.
In this form, Dinobot suffers from "undercarriage junk" syndrome. The parts which become his robot legs in robot mode act as his underbelly, but are a bit large and look out of place. However, the rest of the mold is very nicely executed with cross hatching designs used on the dinosaur "skin" and sharp looking claws. In beast mode, Dinobot has thirteen points of articulation. This includes his mouth opening and closing as well as five points of articulation on each beast mode leg. Overall, this is a nice beast mode, but the underbelly junk destroys a lot of the "robots in disguise" illusion.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
Begin Dinobot's transformation by removing his tail. Split it open to reveal his sword weapon. Detach the sword and keep the tail piece open as the "spinning blade" weapon. Set these aside for now. Next, flip up the hind piece where the tail piece attached. Fold down the robot legs and flip out the halves of the robot feet. Flip up the flanks of the beast mode and fold down the beast mode legs to form the robot arms. Now swing down the dinosaur head and twist the robot head around. The robot head has "mutant head" halves which can be opened up to reveal the robot head underneath. Finally, attach each weapon to the holds in his hands, and the transformation is complete!
In robot mode, Dinobot strikes an impressive figure. There is a lot more of his flesh-pink color in plain sight now, including his sword. The inside of his spinning blade weapon is painted red. His robot head is primarily brown, and the faceplate is blue.
Detailing has always been a strong point of Beast Wars, and it is nice to take a look at this mold and see where the care for detail began in this line. Although his outer skin is "organic", the insides of the spinning blade clearly show a mechanical layer. His robot legs are designed to look like the internal structure of an organic being. The sides look very much like rib bones, and the front sections look like there is one huge bone on each leg. The knee area shows what looks almost like a mouth with sharp teeth in it. Pressing the button on the spinning blade toys makes the blades spin like a rotor. This is a nice action feature and something the character did regularly on the show.
Overall, this toy holds up well over time. Although there have been many toy advances over the course of the Beast Wars Transformers line, this toy is a great look at where things began with this line. It's also a fun toy, and a cool character. A+
Updated Thoughts (January 30, 2022):
Dinobot toys have come a long way since 1996. Thanks to both the Masterpiece line and the more recent Kingdom line, fans have had more "show accurate" Dinobots in toy form for years now. That said, this figure retains a very specific charm. In many ways, it is a time capsule of ideas that predate the television show. I love organic details like the "teeth" on the halves of the Mutant Head, the organic detailing on the insides of the chest and the rib-like bone details on the legs. Dinobot is a beautifully sculpted figure and lots of fun to boot. To this day I think every Beast Wars fan should have a version of this figure in their collection!