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Numbat's review of: World's Smallest Slag

Name: Slag [Flamethrower] (World’s Smallest Transformers – Justitoys 2006)
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Flamethrower
Sub-Group: Dinobot

Quote: “I have no need for friends, even less for enemies.”

Slag is enormously strong, disruptive, and just plain mean-spirited and often brawls with his comrades... which is why they seldom help him when he's in trouble. Despite his nasty, rash personality, he does share their dislike for authority. His mouth shoots 3000 degrees Celsius flames up to 80 feet and he enjoys melting enemies into pools of liquid metal. He isn't too bright and likes shattering brick buildings with his head, he also uses an electron blaster in Dinobot Mode.

[Bio lifted from US G1 release. Tech specs on box identical, although presented in an unusual order.]

Takara abandoned the World’s Smallest Transformers (WST) line in 2005, much to the distress of tiny Transformers fans worldwide! These miniature figures were blind packaged, and aimed to reproduce G1 figures perfectly, right down to the transformation, and presented a quality above and beyond the current Legends Class toys, at a smaller scale. Luckily, Justitoys – a new toy company – decided to take on the production of high quality (unlicensed) WST figures, with their first project being WST Snarl. Although this first release had a number of flaws, the fledgling company had taken on a seriously difficult challenge, and stood up admirably. No doubt lessons were learned, and – as evidenced by their more recent WST Dinobots – acted upon.

After a lengthy delay between releases, Justitoys released two WST Dinobots figures consecutively (with unveiling at the 2006 Iacon One Convention). The quality is much improved, and Slag (named ‘Flamethrower’ for obvious reasons for this release, and complete with a phenomenal 3 ¾” [9.5cm] square collector’s card in place of the original Snarl release’s poster) shines as an excellent tiny Transformer – of a quality far surpassing anything Takara or Hasbro have produced at this scale.

Alternate Mode:

Slag’s alternate mode is a perfectly produced miniature version of his G1 Triceratops incarnation. Measuring 5” (12.5cm) in length, he’s rather chunky, and makes WST Snarl look like a keen dieter! But this is in keeping with the G1 figures, and also puts him in scale with Takara’s WST figures from an anime perspective – a quite deliberate and superb decision by the designers of this line!

Molded detail is superb – mind blowing compared with Takara’s WST releases – and the colours are perfect, including the silver and gold chromed plastics. As a nice touch (and considerable improvement on the G1 figure), Slag has been gifted with two silver horns, rather than the original red – making him more cartoon accurate. His nose horn is still transparent gold, as it was on the G1 toy and in the show. Alas, despite all these improvements, the potential to put right a terrible and ancient wrong was overlooked – Slag’s eyes are still only molded, and devoid of any colour to pick them out! But you can’t be too hard on the designers – they’ve already improved the chap’s appearance and relative scale!

Besides, there is a solution to this problem. Reprolabels have produced a sticker sheet (from $5 [£2.54] including postage to anywhere) which includes solid blue stickers for the eyes. These are perfectly shaped to fit precisely over the molded eyes! However, applying them is rather fiddly – but Reprolabels include two sets per sheet, so most of us should be OK! But, why waste so much money on the stickers, when Justitoys have actually decided to include mini replicas of the G1 sheets (rather than applying a few decals in-factory like Takara)? Well, to be honest, Justitoys sticker sheets are rather poor… Having improved their sheets since the disaster that was included with Snarl, the stickers are still rather faded, and poorly cut. You tend to lose up to half of some of the details (including a third off one of my Autobot insignias in this set), through the decidedly misaligned cut. Still, the stickers no longer tear, and stick like epoxy resin! But, for all the cost, you may as well fork out and decorate your little dinosaur with style. The Reprolabels stickers a leaps and bounds beyond the official stickers, and you get those all important eyes, as well as factory applied stickers missed by Justitoys (for example, under the thigh plates).

Now, the great thing about stickers is that they allow you to decorate the figure to the level of detail you like. I have chosen to keep mine simple, in line with the animation and Takara WST figures. (The only thing I added was the Autobot insignia on the head, which does not appear in the cartoon.)

Negatives? Well, there really aren’t any barring the stickers, except for the fists. These have been supplied as separate entities, and – measuring just ¼” (1cm) – reside in my box for fear of losing them for ever!

Robot Mode:

Slag’s transformation was always the simplest of the Dinobots. Still, it’s great fun, and not fiddly even at this scale! The only worry is that if you are not very careful you may be in danger of chipping chrome from behind the head each time you flip out the wings (it flakes away alarmingly easily!). The trouble is the parts fit too well!

At around 3 ½” (9cm) tall, a chunky Triceratops becomes a menacing robot! It is in this mode that Slag reveals the die cast metal body which makes him feel so hefty and solid in either mode! Also, continuing their quest to correct old G1 toy errors, Slag’s face is now red, and the fists black. (Two variants were available in the G1 line – one with black face and hands, and another with red face and hands. However, Slag had a red face and black hands in the cartoon.)

The sculpting is superb, with the body and face really standing out as exceptional! Paint has been applied perfectly, picking out the blue eyes, and red chest. The metal does not chip easily, with no red having come off mine as yet, and he has been out and played with constantly for a few months!

The set also includes Slag’s pistol and sword. Both of these are chromed, whereas he original sword was red. Still, the sword looks better here in chrome, than WST Snarl’s dull grey blade. (And am I the only one who feels that the ornate sword design, coupled with a pistol, makes Slag look like a pirate? I can see the eye patch now – perfect! 'Argh, me Dinobot chums!').

The only negative in this mode at all is that the lower jaw / chest piece on my figure has a large unchromed scar left by the sprue.

Articulation is just as limited as the original, but the joints are all stiff! The toy is superb to play with, and amazing on display (especially alongside other WST figures – in Triceratops mode he even dwarfs Convoy / Prime with his trailer!). Whereas it seemed Justitoys had stepped out of their depth with WST Snarl, Slag has proven them to be a manufacturer of exceptional quality. WST Slag should be in any collection of wee Transformers, and I feel Justitoys have now provided the benchmark for all future miniature Transformers (licensed inclusive!).

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 6 – Rather simple, but to good effect, excepting the huge tail dragging on a spindle out the rear of the robot! But, that’s a leftover of G1…
Durability: 7 – He feels hefty, and all the joints are stiff. Justitoys have greatly improved since WST Snarl. Still, the chrome at the rear of the head will chip during transformation if you’re not careful, stickers are still poor (despite improvements since Snarl), and the fists are tiny and easily lost for good. But, at the end of the day, this is a collector’s piece and not a kids’ toy (although try telling me that!).
Fun: 9 – Great fun! A perfect miniature Slag, to scale with other WST figures and cartoon accurate! Perfect for adult play or display! It doesn’t get any better… except with Justitoys constant improvement, I will look forward to being proven wrong!
Price: 8 - At $15.95 from TFSource, WST Slag is an excellent price. Obviously postage puts him up a bit, but by ordering with the other two WST Dinobots, I got him for around £10 (including postage to the UK). However, I would advise budgeting for the Reprolabels sticker sheet ($5 [£2.54]), if only for the eyes!
Overall: 7 – WST Slag is a huge improvement on WST Snarl. The quality is exceptional, and he should be in any collection of wee Transformers, and would be at home in anyone’s collection, or desk!

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