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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Blackjack's Review: Slug & Stinger Walmart-exclusive Two-Pack

Iíve reviewed the Bumblebee/Strafe two-pack, where a Beast Wars toy (Terrorsaur, specifically) is redecoed as an Age of Extinction Dinobot and packaged with a Legends/Legion class toy from the past movie lines. Bumblebee and Strafe both represent all that is good and awesome from both the moulds released during their time, and stand up even well even now. Itís a completely insane move on Hasbroís part to repaint a Beast Wars toy for a movie line, but itís one I can get behind.

Of course, on the other side of the spectrum we have their brother set, the Stinger/Slug two-pack.

Name: Slug
Allegiance: Autobot
Accessories: Tail-cannon, Missile (2x)

Slug is repainted off Guiledart of Japanese Beast Wars Neo. I do own Guiledart, and that is linked to the review I did for him. Those who are unfamiliar with the Japanese Beast Wars may instead know this mould as Triceradon from Beast Machines or the 2003 Universe line.

If you donít want to read my Guiledart review, basically itís this: he sucks, but I like him. Slug? Not so much.

Beast Mode:
For starters, Slugís beast mode is painted in a vibrant shade of purple, with black on his back and a nice shade of crimson on his horns and around his crest. His eyes are a shade of baby blue. The kneecaps on his rear legs are painted in white for whatever reason, and the white looks so out of place that it looks like a kid had gotten some Tipp-ex all over it. Other than that, though, Slug actually looks pretty cool. The shade of purple is a pretty nice one, and with the secondary colour of red, strikes a pretty nice, simple paint scheme.

As I have said in Guiledartís review, the sculpting on Slug is also pretty great. Heís relatively free of kibble. Theyíve gone the extra mile to make his beak look like a beak, to make the triceratops hide look like hideÖ sure, there are a few join lines here and there, but really, itís quite excusable. Posability is a bit limited. You can waggle his legs a bit and his head can look up and down, but then what more would you want a triceratops to do?

A big difference I can note from my Guiledart, though? Slug is pretty barren. While Slugís paint scheme is indeed more colourful and less Ďrealisticí than Guiledart, they use the secondary colours only sparingly. Slugís tongue and toes, all picked out with paint on Guiledart, are all simply cast in purple plastic and it kind of feels unnatural, so to speak, to see so little detail on such a relatively realistic-looking beast.

They left the old Ďgimmickí that Guiledart can transform into a corpse (yeah, you read that right) since it is part of the sculpting, but neither the instructions nor the toy call out any attention to that. Sure, moving the nose forwards makes him stick his tongue out and his eyes roll backwards and reveal black ones, but if you open the panels that show exposed ribs and flesh, those are all cast in solid purple. Itís no big loss because really, who in their right mind would go, Ďman, Hasbro are such jerks for nullifying the dinosaur corpse mode!í

Overall, a decent if static triceratops mode.

Robot Mode:
Slugís robot mode, on the other hand, is a massive mess. Let me quote myself from the Guiledart review: his entire right arm is a disproportionately massive triceratops head with a tongue lolling out, but thatís tame compared to the left one. Heís got his beast modeís torso as a shoulder pad on the other arm with ribs, dead flesh, two dinosaur legs and missiles jutting out of said shoulder pad. Meanwhile, the actual robotic left arm is a tiny little thing thatís not even visible when he holds his weapon, which is literally his severed tail. Heís got a kibble backpack that, while thankfully isnít visible from the front, does cause a lot of problems with posing. His legs look ridiculous too with massive triceratops legs as thighs, skinny metallic shins that end up in flesh shoes. His actual robot body is pretty cool looking and I frankly have no idea where to start describing all the robot details they incorporated into it. Overall itís a really weird looking asymmetrical robot mode which simply borders on laziness and lunacy.

The Guiledart mould itself is already problematic. The massive triceratops head-hand and the massive shoulder kibble, not to mention the mass of triceratops hide making his backpack, make him an extremely difficult toy to pose properly. To compound all that problem, transforming him is a chore. I can do it quickly thanks to owning Guiledart before, but itís still a pretty tricky puzzle to figure out. He has a tail-gun that can shoot missiles stored on the shoulder armour.

Slug manages to be even worse than Guiledart, however. Where Guiledartís robot mode is at least a colourful affair that draw a lot of detail to the sculpted parts on his torso and arms Ė and I do like how he turns from a bland-looking triceratops into this colourful robot, all the robot mode parts revealed by Slug is nearly entirely black. Sure, there are a bit of crimson and cheap-looking white here and there, but it is really evident that they skimped on the paint applications. Putting Guiledart and Slug side by side, well, it is really starking how much more boring a toy can become just by removing a couple of detailing.

Iíve always wondered why the Strafe/Bumblebee and Slug/Stinger two-packs cost the same price even though Slug is a deluxe class toy and Strafe is a basic class toy. Now I know why Ė Slug gets hardly any paint applications.

Overall, I just canít find the energy to talk too much about this mould. You can read my Guiledart review for a more thorough analysis of the mould if you want to, but Guiledart himself is already pretty bad. Slug is worse.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 3/10 Messy, overcomplicated and results in a truly cluttered and messy robot mode with beast parts everywhere.
Durability: 10/10 Short of losing missiles, this mould is pretty durable. You can bat him here and there and not break him.
Aesthetics: 2/10 Ugh. Guiledart at least turns into a pretty looking robot. Slug goes from an admittedly triceratops into an extremely dull robot. The almost entirely-black chest and arms just blot out all the sculpting done. The random splotches of cheap-lookingwhite only exacerbate his problem.
Articulation: 3/10 Heís got all the joints, but the massive amount of kibble prevents him from using it.
Fun: 1/10 I kind of transformed him once or twice, regretted my decision in buying a second version of this mould and kind of set him aside.
_____________________________________________________________________

Name: Stinger
Allegiance: Decepticon

The ever-elusive Stinger! Stinger plays a fairly big role in the Age of Extinction movie, yet is the only one out of the three villains who, at the moment of writing this review, doesnít even have a proper non-kiddy toy announced yet. Maybe itís just Hasbro not wanting to give us bad guys Ė both Galvatron and Lockdown are in later waves and are pretty hard to find, after all. Or maybe itís because of a car licensing problem with Pagani? Whatever the case, if you want to satiate that Stinger-shaped hole in your collection, this is technically an option.

Stinger is repainted from ROTF Sideways, who I kind of forgot I owned until I started writing this review. ROTF Sideways has, in the past, been repainted red as Dino from Dark of the Moon, who will never receive a toy thanks to Ferrari being associated with Mattel, Hasbroís big competitor.

So, um, I guess anytime you need a red show character whose toy hasnít been released yet, you repaint ROTF Sideways.

Alternate Mode:
Stinger transforms into a car approximating Sidewaysí Audi R8 mode, except heís got random mechanical details instead of a rear window. Stinger is a lot prettier than the solid gray Sideways, being painted bright red with black racing stripes on his hood, roof and sides, mimicking the stripes on the Pagani used as Stingerís alternate mode. His windows and front lights are painted in the same Tipp-ex white as Slug, but on Stinger it isnít as terrible. A small Decepticon insignia is located on the center of the hood.

Iím not sure what else to say, really. Stinger is miles prettier than the original use of the mould, but anything would be prettier than an uninspired block of grey. Heís a nice little car.

Robot Mode:
Stingerís robot mode is the most generic robot youíll ever see, and definitely bears no resemblance to the Stinger model on screen. Iím confused why they bothered using Sideways for both Stinger and DinoÖ I guess Sideways is pretty generic-looking, but even then his legends class toy is kind of crap.

The paint scheme looks kind of good here, with the blacks accentuating the reds, though sadly Stingerís face is painted the same shade of whiteÖ why are they doing this? Nowhere in Stingerís CG robot mode are there white of any sort. They shouldíve used silver, or grey, or blackÖ it just doesnít fit him well.

Stinger transforms in the all-too-familiar hood-into-chest scheme that a lot of car transformers use, except heís got these huge gorilla-looking arms that end in massive blocks that form the carís rear. Itís extremely terrible-looking, and makes it kind of hard to articulate him. Stingerís arms are ball-jointed, and while the ball-joints are at least tighter than Sidewaysí so he can actually be posed, the arms are so huge and unwieldy that I canít really bother. His legs are articulated slightly on the thighs (the kibble prevents this from moving too much) and the knees, if you want Stinger to bend his knees, though they canít bend the way human knees bend.

Overall, better than the original Sideways I own, but still a sub-par toy.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 3/10 Come on, those arms are terrible. This transformation scheme is Hasbroís bread and butter, and as such itís kind of annoying to see it produce such an ugly robot.
Durability: 5/10 Stinger seems okay, but Sideways has loose joints, so watch out.
Aesthetics: 5/10 He is a lot prettier than Sideways, though thatís not an accomplishment. His robot modeís general look is ugly, though, and while there's a bit less white paint used than Slug, the face is still kind of inexcusable.
Articulation: 3/10 A fair bit less thanks to the massive chunks of car hanging off of his hands.
Fun: 4/10 He is fun to convert back and forth, I admit.

Price/Value: (as a set) 2/10 Even with the added Ďvalueí of having Slug be a larger size class, I still feel cheated. Maybe itís because Iíve already owned both these moulds before, but they really are bad.
Overall: (as a set) 2/10 I said in my review of the Strafe/Bumblebee two-pack that they represent the best quality of toys of their size class from ten years ago and five years ago respectively. Slug and Stinger are the opposite Ė their moulds represent the worst. Slug in particular is especially bad Ė he makes Guiledart look pretty in comparison, and that is an accomplishment. Stinger might actually be a nice random purchase if he is packaged alone, but Stinger himself is a sub-par toy and packaged with the horrible Slug? Pass.
 
 
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