kurgen's review: Snarl
"Only in war is there happiness."
(From TF A-Z)
An Autobot of few words and even fewer opinions, Snarl grudgingly follows the orders of Dinobot leader, Grimlock, and is glad to leave the thinking to him. He's generally unhappy and a loner. Only the thrill of battle can raise his spirits. To him, war is an all too brief respite from his twin devils - the ungainly dinosaur form bestowed on him by the Ark, and homesickness for Cybertron.
His unique design makes Snarl particularly suited to desert conditions. The large, golden plates along his back are solar collectors. He can function without sunlight, but the solar energy can boost his strength and endurance incredibly. His tail is a formidable weapon, and can shatter concrete.
Snarl is particularly vulnerable at night. Without sunlight, he operates at a fraction of his full strength. He is also very slow and unco-operative.
I personally always wanted Snarl as a kid in the 80s, but never got him until recently. Slag and Sludge were among my very first TFs, and Grimlock soon followed, but I never found Snarl, the only other Dino released in the UK at the time. So he was high on my shopping list when I really started delving into the TF online world and found him from TFLand for 60 US dollars plus shipping to the UK. And was well happy when he arrived! At last my land-lubbing Dinos were complete! I soon picked up Swoop too, but that story will be told in his review after I've done this one.
Snarl's Tech Spec profile (a shortened version of the A-Z above) never really came out in the comics. Never really fleshed out in the US stories, as with all Dinos bar Grimlock he was dumb to start with, then one of Grimlock's tooth-sharpener wielding idiots in later Delbo-penciled atrocities containing the Spacehikers (puttup!). No, the real juicy Snarl characterizations came in the UK storyline, where he came across as almost Grimlock's cool second-in-command, sword-wielding, sharp, funny, and almost sassy in robot mode. Check #31-32 in the UK run, including the awesome #31 cover. The flip side came in Dinobot Hunt, UK #47. The out-of-control Snarl was simply AWESOME! And very scary. Enough firepower to level a small town is unleashed... "AND STILL SNARL KEEPS COMING!"
He was subsequently given Corrodia Gravis and largely left out of the Movie, quite inexplicably.
Cartoon-wise, like in my collection, the other three came first, then got out of control (you should see the mess they've made of poor Wheelie... ha ha haa! He deserved it...), so Wheeljack and Ratchet built him and Swoop to sort them out. Snarl's giving Slag a good massage on the chaise-longue as we speak... In the toons he was your typical dumb-talking cannon fodder Dino, Me Snarl blah blah blah... I preferred Furman's smart Dinobots, as a big guy myself it's nice to think that brutes can have brains too.
So yes, the toy! Comes with three accessories as all Dinos did, in Snarl's case a Dino-standard red Energo Sword, albeit more wide and jagged than his team-mates', a nice chunky black Electron Cannon, and a black Rocket Pod (complete with 3 black rockets) that fit into his shoulder hole like Slag's did - a nice trick, and not too often repeated in subsequent toys... review time now, it's my first, so go easy on me, aiii?!
Now, admittedly, my other Dinos are getting on a bit, whereas this one has been kept nice, but even so, the sheer bling on this beautiful rendition of a Stegosaurus makes them all look even duller. Gold chrome everywhere, front legs, hind feet, tail, plus two rows of seven "solar" plates of various sizes along his back. He even has a gold chrome stripe down the dino head and even the kibble that becomes his robot feet between the rows of plates shine gold at you. If Ali G was a Dinobot, he'd be Snarl, aiiii?! The head has two solidly-painted red eyes, a flat closed toothless mouth (accurate, no stegies had teeth people!) and is that wonderful clear brown plastic that means you can nearly see his brain in there. Originally you were supposed to stick the Autobrand on his head, but because it had to split in two you had to cut the sticker. Not good. The original owner of mine clearly didn't bother, and it looks better for it. Grey front torso, red rear torso, and grey rear legs complete the familiar Dinobot colour scheme, and size-wise he fits in with them accurate in scale to the original creatures themselves. There are some lovely finishing stickers as well. Otherwise you can't really tell how they fit a robot in there! Beautiful mold.
All I can criticize is the rather conspicuous gap where the red torso meets the grey torso, the head comes apart too easy, and when moving the hind legs, the robot fist comes out too easily as it's on a bloody spring. Apart from that, even his blinged-up front legs bend forward at the inverse knee/elbow joint, and gives you a pretty poseable dinosaur. Solid bit of kit too. Sadly the tail, his big weapon in the comics, simply cannot move due to it's stubby shortness and it's need to become wing-kibble in robot mode. It also has no spikes as the original creature had. One other nit-picking thing, my adult fingers struggle to reach the rub-sign between the two biggest back plates. That just means it's not really for adults. Sod that, the baby's finally mine!
Should I note how he's done? Why not. This can be edited by (transforms from Robot to Web and back) the Webmasters, yeah? OK, separate the red from the grey torso. Slot the front Dino legs (bling!) into the slots provided (with excellent hydraulic-style stickers underneath, I might add), then split the head if it hasn't done it itself. The front legs have strong springs, different to other Dinobots, that keep them in place in robot mode. Bloody brilliant. Unfold the robot legs around the knobbly hips then pull his hips apart. He can now stand. Rotate his torso around the pole then slot back down again. Weird thing that pole, most unstable bit of the figure. Fold forward the blinging rear Dino feet and again, spring with bling, out come the hands. Raise the arms to pose desired. Nice chunky action. It's moving as it wants to, excellent. Split the tail to become the bling wings, fold the bling back down. Then, as all good transformations should end, bring his head up with a re-assuring click to say hello! Thank the matrix I'm not that Steggy anymore! Ah, you can hate your dino mode Snarl, but I love it. Nice to see you by the way...
Still very bling, 3 gold spikes per leg, plus the gold toe-caps, tucked-in dino legs and halves of dino head all gold. Tops of legs and spindly hips are black, with red stickers. Then the red torso really grabs your attention. Excellent stickers again, big-ass Autobrand on that common original Diaclone-pilot-hatch. Zoids-pilot type things were supposed to go in there, and it's quite a cavern, enough to take at least one missile, maybe even all three? He's got big grey shoulders and little black fore-arms. The head is maybe a little too small, much like Grimlock's. Sludge has the best-scale Dino head, and it would look perfect on Snarl, there could even be enough space too. Shame that. Otherwise he's got a nice silver detailed face, black head with lil horns and silver forehead piece like ssshhh, don't let him hear... like Prime's... ssshhhh Dinos hate Oppy. Red eyes and bling wings complete the look.
He stands well, not on massive hoofs like Slag but well in proportion. The hips annoy me though, they move in too early and he could fall while moving him about. Why couldn't they fold out then in like Grimlock's and Sludge's? Perfect. When stood and you want to move him you naturally grab him from the torso. Oops. He comes up on that weird pole thing and round come the feet and knock Swoop over and... oh dear... Also the dino rear feet hang down from the robot arms like bizarre bling bingo wings... anyway, moaning over, this is G1! Good shoulder-only articulation, bends at the knees and slightly at the hips and you can even balance him in a good striding pose as I did to simulate the cover of #31... it's a hobby... The sword is a very proud affair, no wonder Grimlock nicked it to slash Guardian with. Good solid cannon too and rocket launcher is... OK, but, can I please use Slag's chrome rockets instead of these black ones? Or would it clash with the bling? Do I get a record for number of blings in one review? Probably, but Snarl deserves it!
As you can tell, I'm well happy with him. He might be a little flimsy in places, and some chrome has rubbed on the Dino plates but otherwise, he's a beauty, a work of art. No easy design but it works and there aren't many like it. The use of springs means he might not wear too well, I can imagine some getting a little loose. He stands at the same height as the other land-laden Dinos (all taller than Swoop) and looks great with them all together. Even on his own the bling is perfect and looks great in either mode. Top drawer.
Marks out of ten for the following:
8/10. Complex but masterfully done with the aid of a few springs, losing a couple of points for the hips which make folding down the robo legs a nervous moment.
6/10. Springs can go slack, we all know that. Chrome will rub off and some bits may break in robo mode. Dino is solid however.
9/10. He's a f*@#ing DINOBOT!! And a good one at that. No biting mouth but they ate leaves, y'all...
9/10. Phwoooarrr..... Bling bling bling, small robot head, otherwise perfect.
7/10. Bendy knees were a bonus back then, and folding dino legs are a lovely extra touch
6/10. Quite rare. Obviously I couldn't find him as a kid for a reason. Doesn't come up on eBay much, so price could go up during bidding. TFLand charged up but he was worth it.
9/10. Shockwave was a 10. This guy's nearly there. A classic character that I finally got hold of and lives up to expectations. Nice to meet you, Snarl. No more Mr. Nice Guy...