Cliffbee.com: Animated Snarl Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Snarl
Series: Animated
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Triceratops

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Snarl for this review



TRICERATOPS MODE
Height: 6.5cm Length: 16.5cm Width: 7cm

   A medium grey Triceratops with red on his rump and on all four hips, Snarl has gold paint on his face, tail and toenails. His horns, including a beak-like one on the nose, are composed of a cloudy transparent red plastic, his eyes are baby blue white there's a subtle silver Autobot logo on his nose which is almost lost on the gold. The colours are a tribute to G1 Slag, along with the rest of the toy, although the red chunk at the back is more reminiscent of G1 Snarl. It's a decent colour scheme, if quite dark as Dinobots go.

   The "cartoony" aspect of the line isn't all that apparent here - his limbs are probably the most cartoonish element. Snarl does have some problems here. The tail sits far too low - there's an awkward drop at the back of his body to the tail. On top of the rump is what looks like crown jewels - clearly the top of the robot head. The transparent red beak-horn is awkward, and Hasbro's stock photos (which I've used) don't seem to realise that it should be flipped up in this mode as a horn. His legs aren't well spaced, there's not much room between his front and rear legs. While it's not a complete disaster and is clearly a Triceratops, Snarl has a messy bodyshape. There are some nice details mind you, such as veins on his frill and recessed black lines on his face.

   Then there's the name. At some point Hasbro decided that Slag was inappropriate to use for a Transformer name since it has a slang meaning in the United Kingdom, so they named this toy Snarl, despite the fact that it's clearly not a tribute to Snarl at all. Considering this is the same company that gave us Scattor as a Transformer name, I don't see why Slag - which has another, well established, meaning can't be used. A new name would have been preferable to the wrong one, quite frankly. I find myself having to stop and think everytime about this toy's name, which makes me dislike the toy - it's just not fun thinking about a confusing toy.

   The poseability here is pretty limited, since he's quadrupedal with legs quite close together. The front hips are fixed, the legs can only swing back. The hind legs can swing at the hips and the feet can swing. It's actually tricky to find a standing pose where all feet are flat on the table, let alone a walking pose that looks natural. The tail and head are fixed, although the lower jaw opens and shuts on a stiff hinge. There is no way for Snarl to use or store his weapon in this mode, which is disappointing.

   A disappointing beast mode with some poorly designed aspects such as the all-too-visible robot head, a hard to see Autobot logo, close together legs and large weapon which can't attach at all. The colours are decent and the detailing is nice, but there are just too many problems here.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Swing the forelegs down and together, pull the hindlegs out to the sides. Swing the forelegs back and down to form robot legs, swing down the beats head, plug the throat panel into this groin, forming a groinplate. Fold the beak down and swing back the horns, smoothing out the chest slightly. Rotate the beast hip panels on his shoulders, flip out the hands and open the digits. Split the tail on his black, flip out his heelspurs are swing up the hip panels from his knees.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 12.5cm Width: 11.5cm

   A grey robot with black elbows, hands and thighs, Snarl has extensive red on his torso - in fact only the beast head chestplate is grey. His head is grey with a silver face, baby blue eyes and three transparent red horns, one on either side and one at the front. The silver Autobot logo is on his chest, but it's barely visible. The club is transparent orange.

   As is often the case in Animated, Snarl has very unusual proportions. The limbs are short and squat, and are still shaped like the beast limbs they are. The head is short and wide, flat on top - the Triceratops-like horns are a great touch. The chestplate is really just a mash of beast head, floating awkwardly above the torso itself, which has large gaps in it anyway. Nothing clips together on the upper torso, even the outsides of the actual torso don't clip in properly. He's meant to look brutish, and the limbs do achieve that, but the mess of a torso makes Snarl look half-transformed. The beast head as a chestplate is a good idea, mind you - but the execution here is terrible. The split tail on his back looks good.

   There's an action gimmick of sorts, and while it stays out of the way it's also underwhelming. There are little grey buttons on the back of his shoulderplates, pressing them causes transparent orange flame trim to pop out maybe 3". The idea is good but the impact is minimal. At least they match the club, I suppose. The club clips into his open palm, and the fingers are then wrapped around it. On Goktimus Prime's I can't seem to clip it into his right hand, so this one is a southpaw. I'm not sure if this is common issue so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

   Poseability is okay. The head turns but it's surrounded by a collar, so you can only turn it maybe 30 before Snarl gets in his own way. The waist wiggles. The shoulders swing and the elbows lift up maybe 20, while the thumbs and fingers open and close. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees and ankles hinge back maybe 30 each. He has solid heelspurs, although he could probably get by without them (I'm not complaining, mind you). The club is quite light, so it doesn't affect his balance.

   While there are some great ideas here such as the crown of dinosaur thorns, the head on his chest and the flames on his shoulders, this robot mode is littered with problems. The torso doesn't clip together well, the beast head is a mess and the arm poseability is too limited for a guy with a big club. Frankly, this mode offers neither play value or display value, and doesn't manage to really tribute either G1 toy.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   I have mixed feelings about this toy. I hate the choice of name - this is a company that named a Transformer using a word that can only describe going to the toilet, but won't use a word with a common and well established word because of a slang meaning - it really hurts the tribute. I like the fact that the Dinobots are being revisited, but I wish it wasn't like this. both modes have significant design flaws and while I won't be critical off Animated's odd proportions in themselves, the floating dinosaur head in robot mode, the visible robot head in beast mode, the misplaced tail in beast mode and abysmal play value all count against Snarl. I can't recommend this toy - 3/10

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