Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Hasbro Transformers Universe Dinobot

2016 is actually the 20th anniversary for Beast Wars, which is a very cool thing. I enjoyed the show very much and the toyline was quite a refreshing change shifting from vehicles to animals. And with this Anniversary, I figure now is as good a time as any to look at some older Beast Wars related toys, starting with an update to one of the more popular characters of the series, Dinobot.
Now this is the Universe 2.0 Dinobot figure that came out in 2008-2009 as part of the Transformers 25th Anniversary. Funny how that works out now. But the idea behind this was to make this figure more show accurate and better looking than the original, with mixed results.
Beast mode is a Velociraptor, and he looks wonderful in this mode. Very thin and lithe with a pale brown skin with lighter brown stripes. The head looks great and even has an opening mouth, even the pupils of the eyes are molded in rather than just being bits of paint. His tail defiantly looks more realistic that the older toys did. With its curve at the end. On the downside, there are robot bits sticking out of the back of the feet and on the inside of the legs, and there is also a big ugly bulge coming from his chest with hands and claws on the front of it.  It’s not horrible, but still a bit of a downer. He does however have some articulation in beast mode, with ball jointed hips, slight knee bends, ball jointed feet and swivels at the shoulders. Not the greatest posability but good for a beast mode.
Robot mode is really where the mixed bag feel comes into play. The sculpt is done very well, giving him a strong, fierce and even quick appearance that is fitting for the character. I especially love the face sculpt which is spot on to the old cartoon, truly a great looking face. The hands actually have two options to them, standard robot hands or more show accurate claw hands. It’s a nice touch that will make using his weapons much easier. Articulation is for the most part pretty good. A swivel at the head, ball jointed shoulders, bicep swivels, hinged elbows, hinged claws, ball jointed hips, hinged knees, ball jointed ankles and ball jointed toes. The knees only bend about 45 degrees but the feet can still help with posing options. 
There is also a faction switching gimmick on his chest, allowing you to choose if he is a Maximal, Predacon, or has no faction symbol at all. It’s fitting for Dinobot as he started as a Predacon and then joined the Maximals. And the no symbol option is also nice since he didn’t wear one in the show and the gimmick is on the raptor’s head.
Accessories are pretty much taken strait from the original toy with some new twists. The tail opens up to form a shield much like the old toy, but this time it does not spin. Instead it launches the bone sword inside like a missle. A neat feature but I do miss the spinning shield. The robot hand is needed to hold the shiled, but if you prefer there is a hook on the bottom that can go onto his back for storage. The sword is rather dinky, needing to be small to fit within the tail, a negative result of the tails curvature. It can be held in the clawed hand just fine, but honestly, if you have the sword from the old toy, it may be worth trying to use that or check Shapeways for a new one for him.
The biggest flaw of this toy hands down is the color scheme. It is just about completely off. Going for a pale brown, yellow and purple mix, probably to make him look more Predacon. He’s supposed to be warmer shades of brown, silver and blue. The Henkei version from Takara got the colors right but unless you’re willing to shell out $300+ for it don’t bother looking since the Henkei version is Stupid Rare and Stupid Expensive

Even with the inaccurate color scheme, I still think this is a good toy, and I’d love to see a more show accurate version appear in a Platinum set. This is one of the rarer gems of the Universe 2.0 line and can be a bit pricey. I wouldn’t recommend paying more than $50 for him but if you by some miracle find the Henkei version for under $100, GRAB IT, because that is an amazing deal at this point and it is the better paintjob. In any case, it’s a decent figure worth owning especially for fans of Beast Wars.

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