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Dirt Boss

Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

You remember how, back in the summer of 2007, Hasbro supplemented their Transformers movie toys by producing figures based on the tie-in videogame. Well, not every character from the games made it into the TF1 toyline, but it looks like they're still working on that.

Though he is usually occupied acting as a servant to larger, more powerful Decepticons, Dirt Boss has big plans. He constantly schemes to acquire more power, laying plans to betray or discredit his competitors and superiors in the hope of taking their positions. In combat, his body is as surprisingly agile as his mind. It's not uncommon to see him leaping through the air towards the enemy, with all his weapons blazing.

If you played the game, you may recall the Scrappers, little yellow drones that turned into forklifts. They were small and fast, but weaker than tissue paper. You could take on swarms of the things with no trouble at all. We didn't get a Scrapper to go along with the first movie, but apparently one was planned, because Dirt Boss is pretty blatantly designed to match the game character. Is this a mold that never got put into use when the original movie line ended, or just Hasbro looking back for inspiration? Either way, we've got him now.

Dirt Boss is an ugly robot, no two ways about it. He's got an unpleasant face, seemingly mashed flat, and a ton of kibble on his back, arms and shoulders. If you measure to his head, he's 3½" tall; but you'll need at least 4¼" of vertical clearance, once you account for the stuff standing on his shoulders. He's got blades under his arms, carried like tonfas with the sharp bit facing forward. A lot more of the robot is found behind his center line than in front of it, so he looks like he's got a hump.

But the thing is, once you start to play with him, most of those problems go away. Yeah, he looks bad when he's just standing still (say, in a review photo or in the packaging), but this is a toy to play with, not to look at. We're not saying he's at the same level as Mirage and Fracture, but he gains a lot once you open the blister and start posing him. To that end, he's got balljointed shoulders and elbows, hinged wrists (sort of), balljointed hips and knees, and double-hinge ankles. The bio describes him as agile, and the toy lives up to that.

Dirt Boss is a Scout Class toy, so converting him isn't too hard. He's a bit more complex than he looks, though, so that's nice. In vehicle mode, Dirt Boss is, as mentioned before, a forklift. 3¾" long, 1¾" wide, and 2¼" tall at the most, the vehicle is surprisingly close to being in-scale with the "real" toys - a lot closer than Wheelie is, that's for sure! The wheels roll and the mast can tip back, but the forks and carriage don't raise or lower. Getting the seat and steering wheel into position perfectly can be a hassle, but this is one case where "close enough" actually is.

The detailing is good, with lights and mirrors sculpted onto the struts for the overhead guard. The engine is behind the seat, and there's even a hint of a lifting chain and electrical controls on the mast. There's a Decepticon logo on the left side, and the entire vehicle is done in fire engine (neon) yellow and grey. The prototype images reveal that the original plan was for the lifter to be grey and the tines green, but that's flipped on the final toy. No, he's not quite done in Constructicon colors, but it's awfully close, isn't it?

Sadly, Dirt Boss doesn't come with anything to lift, and since his forks are hinged as part of the conversion process, anything too heavy will jar them out of place. However, if you got the Tarantula figure from Hasbro's Spider-Man line, the two crates he comes with are the perfect size (and weight) for this little forklift to carry. So cute!

So, Dirt Boss. It's a character who seems like he should have been part of the first movie toys, but wasn't. He looks like a Constructicon, is named after a Constructicon, changes into a piece of construction equipment and comes to us in the toyline from the movie featuring Constructicons, but he's not a Constructicon. Plus technically, he has nothing to do with dirt and his bio makes it clear he's not the boss of anything. But even though he may not look like much in the package, Dirt Boss is a fun figure to play with.

-- 06/16/09

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