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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Warcry's Review: Terragator

Most Transformers find that smelly, mucky environments clog up their circuitry. Not the half-croc, half-turtle Terragator. he prefers it. Terragator is most at home in the swamp lands and sewers. Part of the Predacon elite amphibious warriors, his specialty is land/water assault. In robot mode, he wields an impenetrable shield, and his hand reveals an awesome weapon.

First thing's first. Read Terragator's profile, then look at his name. Then read his profile again, especially the part where it says what he turns into. He's half-croc, and they named him Terragator. But crocodiles and alligators are two totally different animals -- this is the reptile equivalent of having Tigatron turn into a lion. My knowledge of the difference between the two isn't that great, but the toy sports a V-shaped head rather than the U-shaped one associated with alligators, so as best as I can tell the bio wins out over the name. It's not a big deal, but once I noticed it I couldn't unsee it.

Terragator is a Fuzor, and one with essentially no fictional appearances to his credit. Silverbolt and Quickstrike got a chance to shine in the TV show. Torca, Sky Shadow and Injector were repurposed and repainted as minions of Unicron in the Japanese series. But poor, unloved Terragator got the short end of the stick, and to date he's done nothing but get used as a punching bag in the IDW Beast Wars comics. He's essentially a blank slate and the toy itself really needs to impress if this guy is going to win a place in my heart alongside other, more memorable Beast Wars characters like Airazor or Rattrap.

Alternate Mode: Compared to some of his fellow Fuzors, Terragator is a pretty simple beast and it's clear from the get-go what he's made up of. He's a crocodile with a snapping turtle shell on his back, and that's it. Setting aside the impracticality (the shell would weigh a croc down enough to make him a worse hunter, not a better one) it's a strikingly badass beast mode and exactly the sort of thing I'd expect from a Predacon. Some Fuzors were a complicated mishmash of parts (Noctorro, Bantor, Buzzclaw and Sky Shadow come to mind), but Terragator gets the idea right -- he combines the best parts of two cool animals into something even cooler. Among his fellows, only Air Hammer and Silverbolt work better. As you might expect, though, his beast mode doesn't have all that much colour -- the shell is brown, with bone-white highlights. The rest of the beast is green, save for a white underbelly. That's a mild niggle, though, and overall he's great-looking.

Articulation is practically nil, though given the alt-mode I'm not sure what exactly you could articulate. His back legs are on ball joints...and that's about it. His front feet can wiggle a bit and his jaws move as part of his action gimmick (pushing on his tail causes his jaws to snap open and closed), but in beast mode Terragator is essentially a statue. A pretty statue with a very interesting design, but a statue nonetheless. Unfortunately, there's really not much to say about it.

Robot Mode: Conversely, there's a lot to say about Terragator's robot mode -- most of it bad. He's a Basic-sized figure, which already makes him pretty small. But half of the beast mode's mass peels away in the process of transforming him, leaving you with what is easily the tiniest Beast Wars figure I've ever had my hands on. He's a runt with twiggy arms and legs, no hands, a squashed, orc-like face and a crocodile head on one shoulder that's bigger than his torso. The whole thing is such a mess that I'm not sure how it could have been designed by the same people who created his elegantly vicious alt-mode. I realize there's not much you can do with a shelled beast and I appreciate that the designers didn't just ape the fairly bland Armordillo/Snapper design, but the execution here is a bit off-base.

Terragator is practically all green, but not as uniformly so as the beast-mode parts. He's still got quite a bit of crocodile green, but the robot mode also introduces a new shade of bluish-green to break things up. The two colours are split about evenly over his body, with the blue-green on his torso and legs, and the croc green on his arms, head and feet. He has a few bone-white highlights on his hands, head and shoulder as well, and his eyes are red. The green and blue-green don't contrast very well with each other, though, which means Terragator doesn't stand out as much as most Basics.

Terragator's runtiness does have some positive aspects to it, though. Since he shed so much of his beast mode, the remaining robot parts are very, very poseable. Like most little Beast Wars toys he's a pile of ball joints -- ankles, knees, hips, elbows and one shoulder (croc-head shoulder is jointed with a double swivel instead), with swivels at the neck and waist. He also has one articulated wrist, but the other is molded in a single piece and can't move. The hands themselves look pretty odd too, since they're actually crude claws made up of leftover chunks of his turtle shell.

The bits of alt-mode that you break off in the process of transforming him don't go to waste, thankfully, since they become accessories. The turtle shell can clip onto one of his arms to serve as a shield, and the tail-and-back-legs section becomes a double-barrelled gun that he can hold with the other arm. The shield is a good addition that helps to bulk the figure up quite a bit and make him seem far more imposing thank he is otherwise. The gun...not so much. Brandishing a croc's rear end isn't all that threatening, especially when it looks like you're holding into it with your fingernail. On the other hand, since the gun has legs it can be posed as a free-standing weapon, which is a bit more palatable as a display option.

Though Terragator's robot mode isn't crippled by basic design flaws like Drill Bit or the victim of genuinely horrid design like Rhinox, it still definitely leaves a lot to be desired. Most of the problems seem to stem from trying to give him an unconventional transformation and then not being able to pull it off cleanly.

Transformation Design: Terragator doesn't so much transform as disassemble. 1/10

Durability: Terragator has ball joints and no translucent plastic, along with a solid-looking design overall. That puts him close to the top of the heap in terms of of Beast Wars toy durability. 9/10

Fun: With a brick of a beast mode and an unappealing robot mode, Terragator sadly doesn't bring much to the table. 3/10

Aesthetics: Although I really like his beast mode, Terragator doesn't display well as a robot. Averaging the two out, he winds up with an average score here. 5/10

Articulation: Terragator is practically a contortionist in robot mode, but his beast mode is the definition of a brick. 6/10

Price: I paid $10 for the little guy, which is in line with aftermarket prices for most non-show BW Basics and Deluxes. It's not a huge chunk of change for a figure as old as he is, even if you decide like I did that he's nothing to get excited about. 8/10

Overall: A forgettable entry from a toyline that has much better to offer. Terragator isn't at the bottom of the heap and there's definitely a few things to appreciate about him, but he's fairly middle of the road when it comes to Beast Wars toys. 5/10
 
 
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