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Blackjack's Review: Rippersnapper

Name: Rippersnapper
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Grunt
Accessories: Electrocharge Bow

No one ever thought of the day would come that Hasbro would be revisiting the Terrorcons and turning them into modern, articulated toys. And no one certainly thought that they would do the Terrorcons as an entire team. Oh, sure, they may be in the diminutive Legion Class size, and they’re technically part of the Transformers: Prime continuity instead of being representations of the Generation One Terrorcons, but whatever, yeah?

So, the subject of this review in particular is Rippersnapper, the Terrorcons’ resident shark dinosaur monster. He’s your generic Decepticon ‘terrorist’, with his personality quirk being that he has an inferiority complex which causes him to lash out violently. Now this new Rippersnapper toy has apparently been downgraded into a ‘grunt’, a stark contrast from his teammates more colourful functions like ‘inferno trooper’. But I suppose ‘terrorist’ probably doesn’t fly well through Hasbro’s radar.

Rippersnapper is one of the two new Terrorcon toys who still get to retain their original names. Hasbro has to parse it as ‘Predacon Rippersnapper’ to work, so it seems there’s some slight competition for the name.

Anyway, the Terrorcons are probably my favourite combiner team from the original series, which means this is one set I have to track down in its entirety. And while it’s kind of annoying that I can’t get all five in a set (well, I can, but they’re clear and ugly) there is something to be said about the thrill of hunting them down individually. Rippersnapper is the second Terrorcon I got, and he’s a toy I have slowly warmed up to.

Beast Mode:
Rippersnapper transforms into a monster, like the rest of his teammates. The original Rippersnapper takes the form of what appears to be a walking shark, something similar to a crossbreed between a shark’s head and the old, upright depiction of the tyrannosaurus. It’s weird and funny and terrible and awesome at the same time. The new Rippersnapper transforms into a similar monster, although his proportions are more akin to the modern depictions of the tyrannosaurus with a more horizontally-oriented spine. He’s also got more shark-like features, like a giant, massive hump modeled after a shark’s fin. He’s like a fuzor! He’s all sharp edges and armored plates and everything, and he looks pretty damn awesome.

The original Rippersnapper toy was mainly a light gray colour with dark blue limbs, with some stickers on the stomach. The new Rippersnapper keeps both colours, but adds some new ones. The ridge from his snout to the tip of his giant shark fin/hunchback thing are coloured in a slightly greener shade of blue, and patches of yellow colour his neck and the lower part of his shark’s fin. It’s a rather nice paint scheme. Light gray and dark blue are still the dominant colours, but the new additions make Rippersnapper far more pleasing to the eye. Less pleasing is the ‘#A2590’ tampographed on his tail, which I assume is some kind of batch number or something.

Rippersnapper’s face halves don’t exactly click together very securely, and sometimes there is a small gap if you look at it from the front, which is kind of unsightly. Otherwise, though, he hides his robot kibble very well. The robot hands, while not exactly hidden, blend in very well among the massive legs. Not mentioned by the instructions, the head can swing around and hide on his stomach somewhat. Not the best disguise, but it’s pretty neat. Being a beast, Rippersnapper is pretty well articulated for a little toy. His little t-rex hands can swing around, and his massive legs are on ball joints. You can plug in the electrocharger bow he comes with on his sides, his thighs or his mouth, none of which look anything but completely stupid.

Rippersnapper comes in robot mode, and mine appears to have come with a slight defect. During the first transformation from robot to beat, his robot mode back should swing forwards on a thin lever-like thing to form the shark fin hump, but on mine there is an excessive piece of plastic which jams the place where it’s supposed to rotate. It’s easy to cut it off with a small pair of scissors, but if you force the transformation, the hinge or pivot or whatever may break. I’m not sure whether this has happened to any other people’s samples, or if I am just unlucky, but I thought I would put it out there.

All in all, a pretty nice little shark dinosaur monster that manages to be both cute and threatening at the same time.

Robot Mode:
Rippersnapper’s transformation is pretty fun, and gives us a nice little thug of a robot. Like Blight, Rippersnapper has these big brutish-looking hands, which suits his job as a ‘grunt’ very well. Despite not being a box with extremities tacked on, Rippersnapper still manages to look a lot like his original counterpart. He’s not a 100% copy, obviously, but he really looks like Rippersnapper from the positioning of the colorus to his head.

Rippersnapper is still mainly gray and dark blue, as well as having additional green-blue and yellow, but all in different places. And I like how they had added the colours in the robot mode to the beast mode, giving him a much smoother transformation when he changes modes. A small Predacon insignia is stamped on the right side of his chest. I also particularly like how this time, the orientation of Rippersnapper’s hands make the robot hands much more prominent than the beast claws.

As much as I like the upper body, though, the lower body is kind of spindly. And messy. The fact that his upper body is top-heavy would, you think, be a problem, but the placement of the random beast kibble averts this somewhat. I’m still not very sure what the optimal arrangement of the mess of shark face halves are, but whether you position them vertically so that the different protrusions from the front and back support it, or horizontally like a pair of clown’s shoes so Rippersnapper’s feet are on a flat surface, both work pretty well to support his weight.

Rippersnapper comes with a crossbow-like weapon called the ‘electrocharge bow’, which can be wielded either vertically or horizontally, or like a pickax, or be combined with other weapons to form things like a crossbow ending in a chainsaw or a crossbow that shoots out hammers or a double-barreled crossbow or something. rippersnapper has weapon mounts on his shoulders, the traditional fist-hole, or on the inner palm.

When combined as Abominus, Rippersnapper forms a decent, if awkward leg, sine the two feet halves don’t click together as well as they should. It supports the weight well, but it isn’t particularly stable if you move him around too much. Rippersnapper's legs has a tendency to kind of disassemble themselves if you leave Abominus for too long.

Overall, though, Rippersnapper is still a fun little robot, one which I have grown much fonder of over time.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 6/10 Rippersnapper’s transformation into beast mode is pretty awesome, although his transformation into robot mode kind of results in awkward-looking, if functional, legs. It's a bit fiddly at first, but after a while I've really gotten used to it.

Durability: 8/10 Rippersnapper might feel a little loose, especially the shark face-halves, but as I can attest to while removing the superfluous piece hindering the transformation on my toy, Rippersnapper is built of some pretty sturdy plastic. Just be careful of the thin thing that the big hump piece pivots on, and you’ll be fine.

Aesthetics: 8/10 Rippersnapper turns from an awesome looking shark dinosaur dragon monster thing into a robot that has a great-looking upper body but a messy lower body. All in all, though, as a homage of the original Rippersnapper, he’s pretty spot-on.

Articulation: 6/10 Rippersnapper slightly less articulation than the rest of his peers, only having shoulder (albeit double-jointed) and thigh joints. Most other Terrorcons have additional ankle or elbow joints. He does kind of make up for this, though, by having little t-rex hands that is accessible in both modes, although in robot mode they end up on his feet.

Fun: 7/10 Rippersnapper was a Terrorcon that was overshadowed by more awesome toys and designs when I got him (which probably did wonders to his inferiority complex), but after a while I really did begin to warm up to the little guy.

Price: 6/10 Legion class toys are kind of expensive, but I think Rippersnapper is one solid Legion class toy.

Overall: 8/10 Rippersnapper surprised me by being a mediocre toy which I didn’t particularly like over time. Usually it’s the other way around, which is me really, really liking a toy and then liking it less and less as time went by. With Rippersnapper it’s the other way around. He’s got nothing special. He’s not a great redesign like Sinnertwin, or a favourite character like Blot, or a great toy all around like Cutthroat… but I really like him anyway.
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