Cliffbee.com: Dinobot Magma Type Toy Review

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Name: Dinobot (Cruellock)
Series: Superlink
Allegiance: Destron
Alternate Mode: Tyrannosaurus rex



DINOSAUR MODE
Height: 11cm Length: 17cm Width: 6cm
exact dimensions depend on pose

   A mecha Tyrannosaurus rex, Dinobot is a repaint of Cruellock with a volcanic theme. His head, back and tail are dark red with brown painted details, the belly, hips and ankles are brown while the tailtip and claws are transparent yellow. There's bright red on his forearms and ankles. His mouth area is painted silver and his eyes are light yellow. While there's still a pretty obvious Godzilla tribute here, the colours are more typical of a Transformer than Cruellock's - and they're far more unified since there's no orange outburst here.

   Dinobot sports spines down his back, almost plates - but in a mecha way rather than a Stegosaurus way. His lower jaw opens and he has some teeth on his jaws. His chest has the obligatory spark crystal, which isn't really visible because in most poses it's angled down.

   It's a fairly poseable T-Rex, with the opening jaw as mentioned, ball jointed shoulders, hips and elbows, hinged knees and ankles. Curiously there are ball joints on his hindclaws, but there's no movement - they're probably only so the claws pop rather than snap off. The tail is heavy and tends to weight him down, so some care is needed when posing him if you don't want him tipping backwards. You have the option of posing him in typical Godzilla pose (think Grimlock and his dragging tail) or in the correct T-Rex stance, with the tail as a counterbalance. I prefer the former, partly because it's more natural, partly because the toy seems designed to stand this way, and (mainly) because he looks more dynamic when he's not resting on his tail.

   In many ways this design is atypical of Transformers beast modes, which isn't surprising since it's inspired by something else. There's a very "mecha" feel to his aesthetic, including segmentation of his body, lots of angles, joints and connections and the giant blade that is his tailtip. I am happy that this repaint feels much more like a Transformer than the original Cruellock. That's not a criticism of the originality seen in the original, just personal preference.

   I love the colour scheme here, and I do think that the original suffered with the orange paint, so this repaint _is_ an improvement. The main flaws here both relate to his transformation mechanism. There's a big gap at his waist where his hips close onto one another for the robot mode. If this was poseable I'd be willing to accept it, but as it is it's a rather needless gap. Secondly, Dinobot is a little flimsy in this mode, his neck tends to wiggle around and his hips and shoulders tend to partly transform when you don't want them to.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Split the tail and remove both the blade and the pistol stowed inside. Pushing the hips together theoretically completes most of the transform, but it's tricky to actually clip them together properly. Once you manage to do so, a series of internal gears and springs will push out his shoulders and flip his head back. All you're left to do is straighten his limbs, rotate his head and give him back his weaponry.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 12cm Width: 5.5cm

   There's more brown now, on his torso, upper arms, thighs and ankles. The darker red is now all on his back, the brighter red is prominent on his forearms while his claws (hands) and feet are transparent yellow. There's some sulfur yellow on his chest and mouth while his eyes are silver. The spark crystal is smack in the middle of his chest. His shoulderpads sports some red painted details, and there's a red stripe across the top of his chest. The colour scheme is again attractive, and again it fits into the volcanic theme. I love the fact that we get brimstone (sulfur) here.

   He has pseudo hands inside his hooked claws, in which you can place his piston or blade. The pistol kicks ass and takes names, the blade holds its own. The pistol is a cool sawn-off shotgun type of firearm, a big fat cylinder that looks like it packs a wallop. Meanwhile the blade is a giant machete that looks big and unwieldy. They combine to form a machete for bigger Energon toys, see, and so the blade isn't really scaled for poor little Dinobot. Still, on the whole I don't mind since the pistol is enough for me and he can still wield the machete if you want him to.

   The articulation is pretty good here. His head and shoulders rotate, on top of his shoulders having ball joints - impressive. The elbows and hips are also ball joints, while his knees and ankles are hinged. The heelspurs and ankles conspire to make him nice and stable in a _lot_ of poses - he's able to hold his giant blade, too, which is good engineering.

   This is Dinobot's better mode. Aside from the clearly visible T-Rex head sitting behind his head, I can't fault it. The tail halves sit on his rump but don't get in the way over overbalance him. Yes, they're kibble, but not kibble that has any adverse effects. Great colours and good play value make this a good mode.

VARIATIONS

   A repaint of the original Cruellock, as mentioned. This repaint was sold exclusively in Japan.

OVERALL

   The beast mode is designed to be a Godzilla homage, which brings some unusual design elements with it. The transformation is a little too cute for its own good, since it introduces some problems, but it does result in a fun robot mode that's difficult to really fault. The colours are a distinct improvement on the colours of Cruellock, since the orange hurt an otherwise good colour scheme there. The volcanic colour theme is attractive and well executed. Recommended even if you have Cruellock - this is a great repaint of a fun toy - 8.5/10

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