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by yo go re

As you know, Poe has often said G1 Grimlock is his favorite toy of all time. And I've said Grimlock wasn't even my favorite Dinobot, without ever mentioning who was. It's time to reveal the mystery!

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 Celcius 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.

Yes, Slag - he's my favorite. His altmode is a triceratops, natural enemy of the dimwitted Tyrannosaurus rex. Maybe someday he'll grow up to be a torosaurus. That's right: suck it, science. How can you not love a walking tank with a shield on its neck and three spears growing out of its face? Hell, that sounds like something Snake would have to fight! There's a reason the triceratops is one of the stock dinosaurs, you know.

The Dinobots don't try to imitate real animals, which actually works in their favor - even if science passes them by, they don't look outdated. Slag is unmistakably a machine, a construct in the vague shape of a dinosaur, not an attempt to duplicate the animal in question. Slag's colorscheme, like all the G1 Dinobots, is mainly gray with accents in red and gold. The head and tail are made from translucent sandy plastic that allows you to see the mechanical structures inside. Slag moves at the hips, shoulders, knees and mouth.

Slag was a 1985 release, but he was designed for the Diaclone line that preceded Transformers as a whole. With such an ancient origin, it should come as no surprise that converting him to a robot is a fairly simple process. Like most of the Dinobots, his legs turn into arms, and his rump becomes the robot's legs. The dino's tail remains a pretty obtrusive piece of kibble, but at least it's out of sight behind him.

In robot mode, Slag stands about 5¾" tall, but he moves only at the shoulders. That's severely disappointing, even by '80s Transformer standards. Sure, a lot of them had solid legs, buy you'd at least get some nice joints in the arms. All Slag gets is a pair of swivels, nothing else.

Still, the robot's design is pretty good - especially the chest, which is large and barrel-shaped. His head is black, and he has a red eye-visor; on the cartoon, his face was red and he had blue eyes, but since the torso is red, this contrast is better. There's a compartment in his chest that opens: it was originally to accommodate a Diaclone pilot, but now it's just vestigial.

Slag's weapons include a red "energo sword," a silver "electron blaster" and a "shoulder mount rocket pod." The sword and gun can be held in his hands, of course, but the rocket launcher actually plugs into his hollow shoulder joint, so it can be used either in robot or dinosaur mode. The original Slag came with three short, chromed missiles for the pod to launch.

These days, whenever Slag gets a new release or an homage, he gets saddled with the name "Snarl," because his real name is an epithet: and no, not just the one Transformers use. "Slag" is British slang for a slut, so obviously putting that name at eye-level in toy stores would be frowned upon. Of course, we are talking about the Brits, and they're the same ones who wet their knickers when a Power Core Combiner was going to be called "Spastic," so maybe it's time to stop worrying what they think, hmm? But perhaps Hasbro should have come up with a new name for the character, rather than reusing someone else's. Slag's strong, right? He can probably throw things a great distance? They could call him "Tosser!" We're sure the Brits would appreciate that one.

-- 02/01/11

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