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Snarl

Transformers Animated
by yo go re

There are lots of Transformers who got new names over the years: Rodimus, Meister, Shockblast... they and many others have lost their original names because the trademarks were unavailable. There's one, however, who changed his name for an entirely different reason.

One of the first robots to life on Earth by the power of the AllSpark, Snarl has a lot in common with the dinosaur whose form he takes in beast mode. He's almost impossible to hurt, first of all, and he really likes smashing stuff with his tail, or ramming it with the horns on his head. He prefers his beast mode to his robot mode because he has more options for how to smash stuff as a triceratops. He doesn't take delight in random destruction the way some Decepticons do - he just really likes being strong, and breaking stuff seems like the best way to enjoy it.

Snarl is one of the Dinobots in the new Transformers Animated series, but his name is new. He's obviously meant to be an update of the G1 Dinobot Slag, and Hasbro still holds the rights to the name, so why the change? Because of the British. The word "slag" is mildly offensive slang for a promiscuous woman - slightly harsher than calling someone a slut - and they were worried that it would affect sales. How stupid is that?

Snarl is, as mentioned, a triceratops. Well, theoretically. Don't look too closely, or you'll notice he's only got two horns. Whoops! Okay, so the red thing on the tip of his nose is supposed to be a combo of beak and horn in one, just made from one piece of plastic to save money. Besides, his pre-Dinobot form was clearly a triceratops, so there shouldn't be any confusion.

The dino mode is 6" long and a compact 2½" tall. Befitting the animal's stocky, pigeon-toed bulldoggish stance, he's 3" at the widest point: his front feet. As a feature of the conversion process, his horns can move, so you can find whatever angle you like best. Otherwise, there's just some articulation to allow you to get his feet flat on the ground, nothing really playable in this mode.

As a robot, Snarl is an adorable little fatty. Not quite as spherical as he is on the cartoon, but close. Unlike the other Animated Dinobots, Snarl doesn't look much like his G1 counterpart, Slag. In fact, I'd say he has more in common with the actual G1 Snarl (the stegosaurus) - particularly the way his tail splits behind his shoulders, and the general shape of his head and chest. Helping connect with his triceratops origins, he has three horns on his flat little head.

The actual triceratops head ends up compressed against the robot's chest, which is strange. The instructions show an "attack mode" that involves the head poking straight out forward - it's really dumb, and best ignored. Snarl's weapon is a fiery club, which due to a missed paint app, looks instead like the world's biggest Cheeto. Mmmm... Cheetos... argle! There's a tab that fits into the palm of his hand to help him hold it, but getting it to stay put is a losing battle. Damn thing wants to pop out like nobody's business.

Snarl is only 5" tall, but doesn't make up for that with anything but mediocre articulation. His head turns, his shoulders swivel, his arms move out at the biceps, his elbows are slightly hinged, he can open and close his hands, the hips are balljointed and the knees hinged. He's not exactly superposeable, but you can get him in most poses with some work. The pegs that are supposed to hold his hips together... don't. There's not enough friction. To make him more fearsome, you can fold out the plates on his shoulders and push a button to send out small sheets of flame.

I do wish Snarl looked more like G1 Slag, but that's just the old-school fanboy in me talking. His design is cute, even if it's not as close a parallel as the other Dinobots. Still, now I really hope they introduce an Animated version of the G1 stegosaurus, just to see what they'd name him now that "Snarl" is taken. Me, I suggest they call him "Tramp." You know, because he tramples things. With his feet. Tramp. Tramp!

-- 11/04/08


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