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Kamen's review: Dinobot

Name: Dinobot
Function: Warrior
Subgroup: Universe 25th Anniversary Deluxe Figures (Beast Wars Series)

ďTell my tale to those who ask. Tell it truly, the ill deeds along with the good, and let me be judged accordingly. The silence.Ē ~Dinobotís final words; ďCode of HeroĒ.

Within the chassis of Dinobot beats the spark of a warrior. Victory won with honor is the highest aim to which he has ever aspired. It is an aim that seems more and more remote, the longer he spends under the command of Megatron. Duplicity is the warriorís way. As the battle on this strange, primitive world rages, it seems to Dinobot that true honor may come only through the Maximal way.

Without doubt, Dinobot is one of my favorite Transformers of all time. His original toy...also a favorite. However, like most of the first run Beast Wars figures, the animators mode quite a few embellishments to what was, frankly, a very simple design. The mold was the proceeded by quite a few remolds and quite a few redecos of Dinobot himself, but none was ever able to quite get his color scheme right, and the moldís flaws were such that, well, nothing could really be done about them. Now, the 25th Anniversary branch of the Universe line gives us the first brand new mold for the character. He, along with Universe Cheetor, also represent the first attempt at fully organic alt modes since the first run of Beast Wars (at least I donít think that the Jungle Planet characters from Cybertron were supposed to be fully organic. Their toys certainly werenít).

However, this version of Dinobot seems to be more a re-imagining of his original toy, rather than an attempt to recreate a show accurate model. This can be good or bad, depending how much of a ďpuristĒ you are. Me? As long as it works, let it be done.

Beast Mode:

Dinobot transform into a Dromaeosauridae. What kind is open to debate. Rather, letís focus on the very nice sculpting that went into him. Unlike his previous mold, Dinobot looks quite sleek. Heís thin with long legs, and a sweeping tail, that bends in a very nice natural looking arc. His brown, orange stripped skin has plenty of cross hatching for a fabulous leathery look. Both legs and his little (rubber) arms have muscular details sculpted in. Most importantly, and an improvement over the original, his feet have a prominent and wickedly curved scythe claw.

As expected for a beast-former, Dinobot has his share of kibble. His robot feet make a token attempt to hide in plain sight, while his robot thighs and waist manage to hide fairly well, but the gold and purple do tend to draw the eye. Where the original toy cleverly hid his massive, translucent shins on the beastís belly, the new version hides his robot arms in the same spot. To his credit, the arms are the same colour as the rest of his skin and the gold of the robot fists...well, nothing to be done about it.

The next hurdle for beast modes, articulation, rises a bit higher. Most beast modes share their limbs with the robot mode, and therefore have decent articulation. Dinobot doesnít quite make that jump. He has pretty much the same amount of articulation as his predecessor. Thatís not necessarily bad, and the addition of ball-joints on his ankles pushes him ahead, but quite a few parts restrict his legs from moving. Also, his mouth is either closed or all the way open. There is no middle ground.

Articulation aside, this mold far outdistances the original in terms of molding, even if it doesnít replicate the animation model.

Robot Mode:

A quick rearrangement of parts, and Dinobot stands ready. Thereís actually not a lot of new molding. Some details are molded into the gold and silver on his thighs and waist. His face ends up standing out the most. A purple face set in a silver crested gold helmet, Dinobotís best feature is his eyes, which have a wonderful red light piping effect. Otherwise, his molding is pretty much the same as his beast mode. His feet have the ridges his original mold had, and he has some ďboneĒ protruding around his shins and ribs. Because his beast legs are now his robot legs, his shins follow the same action line. While interesting, it also causes him to look like heís leaning forward in pretty much every pose. Speaking of posing, Dinobot has good articulation. Though, itís honestly not that much more than his predecessor. And in some ways is less. Mostly, though, he looks very good, all his joints are tight, and his plastic strong.

Like his predecessor Dinobot comes with two weapons. The most prominent, formed from his tail, is his missile launcher. Although designed to hint at the originalís spinning weapon, to me, this version ends up looking like a gigantic flower where it doesnít look like a dinosaur butt. On the plus side, the inside of the tail pieces are sculpted with some pretty nice but unpainted details. Another plus is that the whole thing can store out of the way on his back, looking only slightly daft but not interfering with balance. The translucent orange missile the weapon fires doubles as Dinobotís sword, and is sculpted to look like the animation model used for the weapon in the Beast Wars cartoon. Unfortunately, since it pulls double duty, the sword is about equal parts hilt and blade (and the blade has a bulbous safety tip). He looks a little funny holding it, but if you have the swords of any of the other versions of the original mold, he can hold that pretty well. He also has a faction swapping gimmick, so he is equally allied as a Maximal and Predacon, though I like to leave the panel on the blank beast mode patch like it was in the show.

The problems with Dinobotís articulation basically come from his lower body. Because of the way his shin guards are assembled, he has very little room for his knees to bend. Combine that with a lack of swivel joints and waist articulation (the latter is impossible with his transformation), you have a figure that canít do much below the belt. Thatís the figureís main flaw; there are a few other minor ones. He has trouble holding his weapon (mine only fits in his right hand), and his beast head doesnít drop down far enough into his chest, leaving unsightly gaps. He also has a large hole in front of his robot head. All these things are minor, but taken together they are somewhat irritating.

Overall, not a bad robot mode. Not great either.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: Predictable, yet it still manages to be tricky at a few points. 4

Durability: Dinobot has fewer ball-joints than other figures, and there are some flaps and such that seem fragile. 6

Fun: Being Dinobot goes a long way, but problems with his knees and some other niggling issues knock him down a few pegs. 7

Price: Universe figures are still around $8. Basically, a steal. 3

Overall: As a toy, Dinobot is decent, mostly solid with a few problems. As an upgrade of the original, he breaks about even, fixing and improving on a few things, yet taking a few steps backward in other areas. If neither Dinobot nor Beast Wars appealed to you, then there really isnít much else to recommend this figure. If youíre uncommited, you wonít be blown away, but you wonít be disappointed either. 6

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