Clay's review of: Galaxy Force Dark Fangwolf
As is the usual procedure with Takara, Galaxy Force got the usual Japan-only black repaints. Over the years, this trend has included: Dark Nitro Convoy, Dark Fangwolf, Black Rodimus, Black Big Convoy, Black Starscream, Nucleon Quest Super Ginrai... the list goes on (although more are penetrating the Western market than before as Nemesis Breaker and Galvatron are evidence of).
Dark Fangwolf is one them, and in its case, the black repaint is more than just way to make a cheap buck; it's fairly needed as the regular Fangwolf is colored pretty unrealistically.
Also, it has no faction. The regular Fangwolf (and the US counterpart Snarl) has an Autobot insignia on the leg; Dark Fangwolf does not. This does not necessarily mean that it's a Destron/Decepticon. Its loyaties are simply open to your own decision.
Dark Fangwolf's alternate mode is a wolf. This is only the second wolf mold in at least the last 10 years of Transformers, and the other's name was, curiously, Wolfang. Perhaps the name Fangwolf is a subtle homage to its ancestor.
At any rate, the wolf mode is pretty spiffy. The articulation isn't spectacular, but its legs are properly jointed, and the force chip gimmick allows the mouth to open to reveal some pretty gnarly fangs. This is more than what Wolfang could pull off, so I'll chalk it up to progress.
Most notably, the mold really benefits from the black color scheme. The normal version is mostly white (which is acceptable for a dog/wolf) with yellow and two-toned blue highlights. To me, a color scheme that abstract sabotages the believability of the disguise. Dark Fangwolf, on the other hand, is colored very naturally. I like it.
The robot mode is also a bit more to my liking with the darker color scheme since, because of the wolf head for a right arm, it's not completely disassociated from the animal mode.
The toy itself is of course quite fun. The articulation is superb, and the dual purpose blade/missile launcher that was the tail is executed much better than the normal 'tail for a weapon'.
Again, the force chip opens the wolf jaws, and when it's not being used, it's stored very handily in a bracket on the robot's left thigh (the wolf's right).
The primary deciding factor is of course the price. Through a combination of clearance and a holiday sale, I managed to snag mine for only $14 while still sealed in the box, which was about what I was willing to pay for it considering the normal color scheme had previously dissuaded me from buying the toy. The actual list price, though, was around $35, which will probably only go up as they become less and less available as time goes by. (They only made 3000 of them according to the Archive's checklist, so they'll scarce up!)
8. Pretty well designed overall. It could have used a ratchet or tab in the left hand to lock it in place, but that's a minor complaint.
10. It survived my trial and error while figuring out how to transform it without any damage.
10. It's really a nice figure to have around when it's colored properly.
X. This is really the deal breaker. Expect this vary a bit and start to increase as they become harder to find.
7.5. It's certainly an interesting toy on its own, and in this case the black recoloring is actually justified since it makes the alternate mode more believable. If it's something you want and can find it for a price that's appealing, I'd suggest jumping on it while it's still available. Because of the lack of availability and pricing issues, it's not for everyone though. Good luck if you go after it!