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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Numbat's review of: World's Smallest Snarl

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

Quote: “Only in war is there happiness.”

An unhappy loner of few words and fewer opinions. Finds joy only in battle. Hates his Dinobot form, longs to return to Cybertron. Large golden plates on spinal assembly are solar collectors... strength increases tenfold in sunlight. Tail can shatter 20 foot concrete cube. Armored hide resists most missiles. Vulnerable to nighttime attacks due to his weaker state. Slow... uncooperative nature hinders others from helping him.

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

For a time, Takara released a wonderful blind packaged line of tiny G1 Transformers – the World’s Smallest Transformers (WST) series. These tiny figures aimed to reproduce their original counterparts on a miniscule scale – and largely succeeded (of a size far less than the modern Legends Class figures, and of a far higher quality). However, their popularity waned in Japan (despite an increasing Western following), and the line had died by 2005. This was a rather large blow to wee Transformers fans, such as myself…

Roll on 2006, though, and a new company – Justitoys – have entered the fray – producing more WST figures. Without the capacity of a major toy manufacturer such as Takara or Hasbro, this small company is just starting out… So, we have to wait rather extended intervals between figures… But, who are their subjects? A random swathe cut through G1 icons, as with the Takara line? No! Justitoys are concentrating on the Dinobots, and, in a stroke of genius, they have decided to produce them at an anime accurate scale to other WST figures! And did I mention they’re using diecast meta parts?

Still, with so many knockoffs out there (including 'WST' figures – such as the Constructicons, Stunticons and Aerialbots… all of which are actually scaled down versions of other G1 knockoffs - very scary quality!) of dubious quality, even I admit to being skeptical. But, in the end, my love of Dinosaurs and all Transformers tiny won over…

Unlicensed as they may be, these figures are of a surprising quality. (And Snarl is packaged with a wonderful Dinobots Vs Constructicons artwork poster!)

Alternate Mode:

This version of Snarl (‘Desert Warrior’) is a tiny 4” (10cm) replica of the G1 original, right down the die cast metal. There is a certain level of expectation, given the previous Takara line, but as soon as you get this guy out, feel his weight, and see the remarkable molded detail, you know Snarl is a different kettle of fish entirely.

The Stegosaurus mode has never looked better, and can now fit happily on your desk! (Heck, you can have an entire Dinobot collection perched right there!) All colours are perfect, and the gold chrome is beautiful.

The whole affair has been loving crafted, right down to the blue eyes.

However, unlike the Takara WST line, Justitoys include replicas of the original sticker sheets, rather than printing decals sparingly. This is good, as it gives you the choice of just how cluttered you want this tiny fellow to be, and whether you prefer the TV style incarnation or toy (by applying more or less stickers). Unfortunately, Justitoys failed to produce useable stickers. The sheet is rather faded, with heavily pixilated images, poorly cut (missing sections of stickers - cutting a whole quarter off one Autobot symbol!). When you start trying to apply them, you realise that the appearance of precut stickers is just a ruse, and a fair number rip no matter how careful one may be. Still, I am grateful for this, as it gave me the opportunity to realise that I did not really want to have a Snarl covered in stickers – I had only been applying them due to a feeling of obligation.

The few I did still use – the Autobot symbols for instance – without ripping tended to peel off unexpectedly – far preferring the floor to Snarl.

But, dum-di-dah! Reprolabels to the rescue! From a mere $5 (£2.54) (and cheaper if you order more than one set) you can order a perfect set, beautifully cut and printed! This set even includes the G1 factory applied stickers not found in the Justitoys release (for under the thigh plate, for example).

Still, with my newfound deep realisation, I followed my new philosophy and applied only those stickers necessary to give a nice cartoon feel to the toy. How you decorate your Snarl, is entirely up to you – and fully optional, thanks to the good folks at Reprolabels (does this sound like an advert? Sorry! I’m just so well impressed!)

Anyway, with the new stickers in place, Snarl makes an excellent display piece in this mode.

And thus he tends to remain, with his fists in the box. Yes, fists. For whatever reason (no doubt ease of production at this scale), Justitoys have included the fists separately. They are tiny, at only 1/2” (1.5cm) a piece! A real worry…

Robot Mode:

The transformation is identical to the original G1 figure – but is a little fiddly at this scale. Of course, you have to add the fists on this time, but it’s still great fun, and definitely one of the more interesting Dinobots (but, hey, I’m biased).

The resulting ‘bot stands 3” (8cm) tall, towering over previous WST figures, as in the G1 cartoon. The scale works really well for display!

Detailing is top notch, and the paint work is superb – with the metal very forgiving (mine has suffered no chips to date, and has had a few mishaps). As noted, I opted not to apply all the stickers – as, to my eyes, they make the tiny fellows look terribly crowded, and would break the style of the other, simpler WST figures. Still, the difference in the Reprolabels stickers is clear, with the perfectly printed large Autobot insignia emblazoned upon Snarl’s chest, above the data readout looking nice and fresh – almost printed – compared to the poorly cut faded and pixilated stickers included with the set.

The head sculpt is worthy of particular note. Despite it’s tiny scale, it is heavily detailed, and painted well with silver (face and crest) and blue (eyes).

The figure comes complete with his gun and sword (although this is grey rather than red). The missile launchers for all the Dinobots are advertised as being available through the collection of tokens, along with the fifth Dinobot (presumably Swoop, at this stage) in the future.

Articulation is just as the original, and so the limited poses are rather wooden.

Alas, it is with the robot mode that it becomes clear that Justitoys have bitten off more than they can chew. The project (bringing the G1 Dinobots to life as fully transformable miniatures) has proven exceedingly ambitious for a small toy company. The level of quality intended is without doubt far greater than that Takara or Hasbro would ever afford such a figure. However, Snarl suffers greatly from loose joints (the tail halves flop around the back, with it being awfully difficult to maintain a ‘natural’ arrangement), and the waist refuses to fix in place.

Still, the figure is a superb attempt, and an excellent collector’s piece. With the plethora of sticker options, you can have Snarl look as you wish (thanks particularly to Reprolabels).

Snarl was my favourite Dinobot design when I was younger – no doubt due to my love of Stegosauruses (always my favourite Dinosaur). I am glad that this figure is available, but it is unfortunate that it was Justitoys first project.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 6 – Grand, as with the G1 original – just rather fiddly at this scale, with parts that do not quite snap into place.
Durability: 4 – He feels rather precarious, with his loose joints and legs which can pop off (but do go back on again). And the separate fists are rather worrying… The stickers are appalling! A set from Reprolabels is truly essential.
Fun: 5 – He’s great fun, but limited by his floppy waist and tail halves (which tend to change what could be enjoyment into great frustration!).
Price: 7 – He is a decent price, at $15.95 from TFSource. As ever, international postage knocks it up a bit, but buying the first three Dinobots at the same time, I got the price down to around £10 a piece (including postage). I would budget it a set of Reprolabels stickers, at £2.54 ($5), though.
Overall: 5 – A definite must for wee Transformers fans, but you could do better with the other WST Dinobots. These are aimed at a very narrow market, though, and are unlikely to find a home in everyone’s’ collection. Still, they demand a place at least equal to officially licensed products.

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