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Transformers Animated
by yo go re

In G1, only three Dinobots were introduced at first: Grimlock, Slag and Sludge. Later, two more were brought out to play: Snarl and Swoop. Transformers Animated is both following convention and bucking trends, by introducing an initial wave of three Dinos, but making one of them Swoop (and naming another Snarl, but let's not get into that).

Like the other Dinobots, Swoop prefers to be left alone on Dinobot Island, where he can soar and dive without worrying about the Decepticons taking pot shots at his wings. When he does have to return to the mainland to battle the Decepticons, however, he enjoys the way people scatter when they see his shadow. That, and smashing trees with his ball and chain doesn't compare to the satisfying crunch it makes when it bashes into Decepticon armor.

In the original stories, Swoop was the friendliest, cheeriest Dinobot. Can't say if the same holds true for Animated or not, since so far, only Grimlock has been allowed to talk. If Snarl could talk, he'd sound like Louie Anderson; no word on who the dream voice is for Swoop, here.

Befitting his name, Swoop is a pteranodon, which technically means he isn't a Dinobot: "dinosaur" only refers to terrestrial reptiles, not flying or swimming ones. Though he's very technological, he's actually quite accurate to both the show and to real pterosaurs.

In a "standing" pose, the beast form is approximately 4¾" tall, and he has an 8#189;" wingspan. The neck is hinged and the beak opens, and the knees and ankles are balljoints. Really clever design work on the wings makes them surprisingly mobile: there's a hinge and a swivel working on conjunction, meaning you can actually get Swoop to flap his wings if you try.

Even knowing that the toy designers and the animators collaborated to make the 2D and 3D representations of the Transformers look as much alike as possible, Swoop is some impressive work. Unlike the rest of the Dinobots, Swoop isn't a big, heavy bruiser, but rather a slender little guy. There's only one part of the conversion process that doesn't work the way it should: you need to pull his head and neck up, but the head pops off very easily.

Thanks to the big pterodactyl crest on the back of his head, Swoop stands 6" tall. His wings serve as a cape in this mode, and he's got a lot of nice articulation: balljointed head, hinged neck, swivel and balljoint shoulders, balljoint elbows, hinged wrists, swivel waist, balljointed hips, hinged and balljointed knees, and balljointed ankles. Since the figure is so light, there's no worry about the joints being unable to support him.

Each of the Dinobots have some sort of fiery weapon, and Swoop's is a morningstar flail. It has a real chain, allowing it to swing around like it should, and Swoop can hold it in either hand. There are pegs on the bottom of his feet that are the same size as the screwholes on the accessory, so he can even clutch it like a stone when he's transformed.

Swoop is an excellent Dinobot and a very good Transformer. The toy is well-made, and fun to play with in both modes. Really, the only thing I don't particularly like about the Animated Dinobots is that they're all different colors. They each sport grey, red and gold in various combinations, but the tones are different on each of them, which kind of ruins the aesthetic. Still, that's a minor complaint, and the Dinos are decent toys - it's just that Swoop is the best of the three.


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