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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
Robot Mode:
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Sir Auros' review of: Triceradon and Slapper

Name: Triceradon and Slapper
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Warriors
Sub-Group: Dinobots

In 2003, before Transformers Universe was out and in full-swing, Walmart had an exclusive Dinobots mini-line of figures that were essentially Universe figures (two went on to become repainted for Universe), so I'm including reviews for two of the three sets here. The first set I saw (and bought) was Triceradon and Slapper. I had to have the set immediately because of Triceradon. I was fascinated with dinosaurs as a kid (who wasn't?), and my favorite was the Triceratops. Slapper also looked fairly nifty and I'd heard that he hadn't been previously released in the US. Triceradon had previously been released as part of the 2000 Beast Machines Dinobots line. Both had been used earlier in Japanese series and Triceradon had a kickass repaint called Killer Punch that I think would have been a preferable mold to bring over. The strangest thing about this set is that Triceradon isn't named Slag. The other Dinobots sets used names in homage to the G1 Dinobots (even used a Dimetrodon instead of a Brachiosaurus for Sludge), so why not name the Triceratops Slag? Perhaps they lost the rights to the name.

Alternate Mode:
Triceradon is a Triceratops and Slapper is an Anklyosaurus. Both have some funky gimmicks in their beast modes. Triceradon has a "dead" mode where you can pull down his sides to show battle damage and flick his horn to have his eyes roll back into his head and make his tongue stick out. Yeah, it's pretty strange. Slapper's tail has a spring so it can kind of swing as an attack, but the hard plastic used for the tail makes the whole thing look ridiculous. Both of the beast modes are pretty cool for display purposes and Triceradon especially does well with not letting one know there's a robot in that dino. The paintjobs are also sensible and not as wild as some of the bizarre combinations seen in the Universe line. The beast modes are fine all around if you liked the beast Transformers.

Robot Mode:
These I'm less keen on. Both have ultimately decent, aesthetically pleasing modes, but both have the two design elements that kept me from enjoying the RiD line of figures. First off, neither has two hands because both figures copy BW Megatron and use the dinosaur heads as built-in weapons. This actually works for Slapper, but it's just silly on Triceradon. This is where I think the Japanese Killer Punch (look for it at www.tfu.info) would have been a far superior mold to bring over because the head is detachable and a nifty claw is used for the right hand.

The other element I'm not fond of is having large parts of the alternate mode hanging off the arms in robot mode. Slapper's entire back shell hangs off his right arm much like RiD Sideburn's roof. Triceradon's back makes up an entirely too large, awkward shoulder pad. Also along the line of having the alternate mode intrude upon the robot mode, Triceradon's beast mode feet are his knees in robot mode. Silly, silly, crappy.

Of the two, I think Slapper has the better robot mode while Triceradon looks a lot like Rhino from Spiderman.

Transformation: 8 - Kind of average between the two. Decent enough job hiding the robot modes, but Triceradon can be awkward to transform without much practice.
Durability: 9 - The only downside is that Triceradon's missiles are kind of on the thin, flimsy side.
Fun: 9 - They're dinosaurs, they're robots. We've been loving stuff like this since we were kids.
Price: 9 - I got mine when they came out for $10. That's $10 for two awesome figures…at once. Not sure what they're going for on ebay since as of when I wrote this review, only one set was on and it had 0 bids and 8 days left.
Summary: 8 - Pretty cool, worthwhile additions to a collection or just to play with.

 
 
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