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Transformers AOE
by yo go re

Now that Slug (almost) has his own name back, you know what that means: the name "Snarl" can go back to being about the stegosaurus!

Snarl lives up to his name. If you see him smile, it usually means he's about to turn you into a pile of scrap metal. The thrill of battle is the only thing that makes him happy.

The name "stegosaurus" means "roof lizard," because Othniel Charles Marsh believed the skeleton he found was from some kind of giant turtle. You can kind of understand the confusion, thanks to the squat, wide body, which Snarl reproduces nicely. He looks more like a real dinosaur than Grimlock or Slug did, even if his plates are arranged in symmetrical rows, rather than alternating.

His body is mostly green, which is an odd choice. There's a little bit of dark grey, contrasting nicely, and his plates are translucent. Actually, so are his sides, which becomes a rather nice little feature: if you look through, you can see a bit of internal structure in there that happens to look like an extension of his spine, as though it were really planned that way from the beginning.

The 15 steps it takes to change Snarl from a stegosaurus to a robot aren't terribly complex, which is good, since Hasbro apparently doesn't bother to update the instructions on their website any more, so we can't link you to them. Plus, the instructions tell you to move his arms down when they mean to have you move them up, and there's a weird thing with the waist that doesn't seem to do anything at all. Whatever, you'll get the hang of it quickly.

Breaking from his movie-Dinobot brothers, Snarl doesn't look very much like a knight - in fact, he looks like Waspinator. I mean, come on: yellowish-green body, metallic purple accents, pointy ridges on his head, lots of tiny saw-like teeth... his back-kibble even winds up looking like wings! This is a movieverse Waspinator.

He does have big, curly toes, like the other Dino-knights, but that's it. While his body has its fair share of armor, none of the shapes seem inspired by medieval plate. His chest is a wide, flat shelf with a ridge down the center and a round section on either side. You know what that sounds like? A Seeker. Again with the flight influence! What the hell is going on with this design?!

Speaking of bad design choices, Snarl's wrists. I don't know who designed the hands on the Dinobots, but we've reviewed four of them now and Slug is the only one who doesn't have effed-up arms. The angle at which Snarl's hands attach to his arms mean they only look even halfway correct if they're turned so the palm is in line with the elbow - in other words, just like Grimlock and Slog, his elbow joints are useless unless you're willing to have his hands pointing the wrong direction. What the hell! Do your job better, designers!

Oh, and! The dinosaur's head and neck fold away into the robot's leg. But to keep him from looking asymmetrical, there's a second, unarticulated head and neck molded in the other leg. The intention was clearly that the head and neck would split in half and fold away into both legs, so why not stick with that? Wouldn't it use the same amount of plastic? The same number of paint apps? Gah!

Snarl does get a cool weapon, though. Two of the dino's backplates and his thagomizer combine to form a big scary axe. Of course, thanks to the halfassery that was put into the design of his arms, he can't really wield it in any intimidating manner.

This mold was first released at last year's SDCC, as part of the G1 Dinobots/Ark exclusive set, and it still has yet to really show up in stores. I finally ended up having to order one directly from Hasbro, because who knows how much longer Age of Extinction toys will be in stores? The colors aren't my favorite, and the design seems confused about what it wants to be, but Snarl is still fun.

-- 01/06/15

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