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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Osku's review of: Dinobot (Transmetal 2, both versions)

Name: Dinobot
Function: Special operations combatant
Sub-Group: Predacon

An eerie and amoral regeneration of the former Maximal hero, Dinobot was synthetically reanimated on-line as a vicious combat expert. Silent and utterly depraved, Dinobot wields his deadly warrior skills at Megatron's beckon call. A skeletal hybrid of organic and Cybertronian life, he slices through any substance with Transmetalized talons. Moves at lightning speed with reptilian cunning. This ruthless clone paralyzes his prey by channeling Rampage's noxious Spark energy, which now fuels his existence.

The original Dinobot toy was released as a Predacon, but in the cartoon he switched sides to the Maximals, back to the Predacons and back again to the Maximals before his heroic death saving the proto-human tribe. A big mistake if you ask me, as it led to increased proto-human activity in season 3.

Transmetal2 Dinobot, or Dinobot2 as it's sometimes called, is a different character. A clone possessing Dinobot's memories and half of Rampage's spark as can be read from the tech spec. I didn't like the new character, and I wasn't impressed with the toy when I bought it. During the years I've grown to like the mold, despite its faults.

For some reason Hasbro decided to release two colour versions of Dinobot, a bone white and bright white version. It came as a surprise to me when I happened to get another version of the toy as a part of bigger lot of loose toys. To my knowledge both versions were as common. In this review both versions are reviewed. (Note: Prowl, a maximal TM2 owl, also had two versions.)

Robot Mode:

The robot mode has many good and bad points. I'll start with good ones. The mold has a nice, almost scary looking appearance. There are lots of sharp edges, sparingly used chrome paint (no chipping problem with my toys), excellent head sculpt and lots of molded details. The raptor head becomes the chest and can be opened to reveal the Predacon symbol. There are 18 points of articulation that affect posing, which is impressive for a deluxe-sized toy.

About those bad points: this mold has some serious problems. Firstly it's very top heavy, almost all the mass is above the waist and the many points of articulation are rather wasted as it sooner or later falls over in most poses. The raptor tail can be detached and attached to the little tab on the left claw to be used as hand weapon. This wasn't shown in the instructions and I didn't notice it before reading it in another review. Displaying Dinobot with the tail weapon made it jump off the shelf, so now it's displayed with the tail attached to the back. Clawed hands are a nice touch, but the cable prevents the figure from using the longest "blade" so much that I've actually considered cutting it off. The shoulder pads are way too big compared to the rest of the body.

Bone white colour scheme:
Judging by the box art and cartoon, bone white is the default version. This was also the version I bought from the store. I really don't like this colour scheme in robot mode; I understand using bone white main colour, with dark blue details, as it fits the character's hunter image, but it's just ugly/dirty to my eyes. Purple chrome paint and almost unnoticeable use of orange help, but not enough. Red colour was used for the robot and animal eyes. Like with so many other Transmetal2 toys, many molded details are left unpainted; the legs suffer from this most and I'll propably customize this version to be more cartoon accurate sometime in the future. The ball joints on the legs are too loose to display Dinobot properly or wield the tail weapon. I'd recommend getting clear nail polish to use on the joints to make it stand better and not fall off shelves.

Bright white colour scheme:
Character-wise bright the white and blue colour scheme is rather stupid: with these colours, Dinobot would be spotted pretty easily by the optic sensor. Toy-wise it looks better, partly because I've always liked the mix of clean white and blue, and the chrome paint seems to be a bit brighter. Sadly there is the same lack of painted details in this colour scheme. The joints are much tighter in this version (and not just on my toys, judging by comments I've read from other people.) This adds display possibilities and Dinobot can actually use his weapon (see picture). Yay! Though if you try to use the tail's gimmick in this mode, it'll probably fall out of his hand.

Beast Mode:

The better mode in my opinion. Though it has limited articulation, it can be posed rather nicely. It has fairly sharp edges and the jagged Transmetal2 look is carried well from robot mode (or vice versa). The body is more balanced, tail doesn't look too large and the "sweeping" gimmick can be used in this mode. What I really like, though, is the head sculpt. The mouth can be opened to reveal a tongue on loan from "Alien", and the forehead can be opened to reveal a Predacon symbol. The mold's five colours are all used for the head.

Limited articulation of legs and hands is rather a minus. I also don't really understand the reason for white parts above the chrome parts on the sides of the raptor. As a nice extra detail (if you want) you can see the shape of the Vehicon symbol (from Beast Machines) on the upper chrome part of the raptor's back.

Bone white colour scheme:
In this mode I like this colour scheme better. Bone white colour looks superior when it's not so dominating. It also helps that paint details are better shown off in this mode. If the spikes growing from spinal column on the back and tail were painted I'd have no serious complaints about this mode. Well, the claws could use some colour.

Bright white colour scheme:
Not much to add about this colour scheme, except that in this mode colours seem too bright and "kiddy" for my taste. While I still had room to display both versions, this version was never displayed in beast mode.

Transformation: 8 - Rather intuitive. You shouldn't need instructions, as long as you remember that legs become hands and vice versa.
Durability: 10 - Toy has fallen off the shelf more times than I want to think. No broken pieces, no chipping paint.
Fun: 6 - Lots of articulation, but serious problems with loose joints and balancing. More like frustrating than fun. Should have play value for kids though, which gives a few extra points.
Price: 8 - I bought a new one with 9 euros years ago from the shop. Possibly worth it. The second version was part of a bigger lot, very cheap. Probably worth it.
Overall: 8 - Not good, not bad. If this wasn't a show character I wouldn't have bothered to review it. Recommended for Beast Wars fans and with reservations also for others. Personally I'd choose the bone coloured one (more show accurate), but it's probably a matter of taste.
 
 
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