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Transformers AOE
by yo go re

In the immortal words of MST3K, "gosh, Big Stupid!"

Slog is low on brainpower, even by Dinobot standards. He's slow, lumbering, and absolutely gigantic. When you're that big, most problems get stamped out pretty quickly, sometimes before you even know they're there. But what Slog lacks in brains he makes up for in brawn. Anything he tramples snaps under his massive feet. The Dinobots know that he can clear a path through any enemy line... as long as they point him in the right direction first.

Slog continues the movie-dinobot tradition of looking like a knight by... looking like a knight. His head has the appearance of an Italian "barbuta" helmet, with the blue eye slit and the silver mouth area creating the impression of an open-faced helmet. Six thin ridges run from the eyes to the back of the head, and the cheeks flare out at the bottom.

Behind the head is a rounded piece of kibble that could easily pass for an intentional piece of armor. His chest looks like a pair of ribbed panels that are covering a body beneath. He has massive shoulder pads, and even bigger armor on his forearms and shins. There's a thick belt, and armor hanging from the front and back. His feet curl up at the toe, there are large spines jutting out of his legs, and there appear to be tiny blasters on the sides of his knees. The armor on his forearms has two hinges, allowing it to expand slightly, and take on the appearance of brass knuckles. He looks like a walking tank, and in a property that literally has walking tanks, that's impressive.

The robot is not without its problems, however. Like Grimlock, the wrists and elbows are working at cross-purposes, so you can never have the hand pointing forward and the elbow bent at the same time. There's nothing to stop his knees from bending too far forward. You can move his hips, but since the waist armor is attached there, it instantly gets out of place. Plus, there's a piece of kibble that's supposed to cover his butt, but doesn't really work properly, leaving him looking hollow from behind.

He does get some nice weapon options, though. There are two double-barreled blaster-things, and two... swords? They're as long as swords, but they're rounded and blunt. Maybe they're just highly ornate cudgels? You can attach all these to the figure in different ways, providing a bit of customization to your Slog.

Converting Slog is not easy (at first). That's partially because the toy is packaged in robot mode, while the instructions start at dinosaur, but it's more because the design isn't so great. You raise the back-armor over the head, spread the chest, unfold the waist, tuck the hands into the arms, drop the arms back, rotate the lower legs, unfold the waist, raise the legs up to the outsides, unhinge the knees so you can unwrap the armor from the shins, hide the feet, and wrap the armor up around the sides of the dinosaur.

Slog is the modern replacement for the G1 dinobot known as Sludge, so he turns into a brontosaurus brachiosaurus - long front legs, short back legs, and a neck that points up instead of straight ahead. They even sculpted nostrils above his eyes!

But otherwise, the whatever-kind-of-dinosaur-he-is mode is... not good. Legitimately, this feels like a Transformer that went into production before it was finished. We pick on Straxus a lot, but his only real problem was an inelegant conversion scheme; Slog is pretty much broken.

To begin with, there is nothing attaching the front and back halves of the dinosaur together. He doesn't peg together in any way, so the entire thing is held together by the hinge in the robot's waist. If you're not careful when you pick him up, he'll flop and twist apart in your hands.

Secondly, they used a lot of of flexible PVC to build him. The armor that goes from the robot's shins to the brachio's ribs? Soft and flexy, for no reason. The robot buttflap/dinosaur chest? Soft and flexy. And it's particularly bad in that case, because the plate gets completely warped out of shape by its time in the tray, so it doesn't actually fit against the dinosaur the way it's supposed to. I've currently got it bound by a rubber band, in hopes that it will go back to the shape it's supposed to be. Plus, he's got those spikes poking out of his back, but they're PVC too, so they get bent easily. Those may have been a safety issue, but the rest is just annoying and badly designed. What a shame.

Construction issues aside, Slog is kind of nice. He has a hinged jaw and head (yes, they're on the same hinge), a swivel in the middle of the neck and a hinge at the bottom. All four legs have hinges in the knees, and the front pair also move at the shoulder. Of course, there's also the ridiculous hinge in the middle of the body, but we're not supposed to notice that.

In this mode, Slog is 7⅜" tall and about 7¾" long. His colorscheme is silver and red, with a little bit of black. The weapons can attach to the dinosaur just like they attached to the robot.

Slog could have been a really nice Transformer, but it's like he needed a few more rounds of design work to get there. The two halves of the dinosaur mode barely fit together, and the materials used in his construction are poorly chosen. Just before we posted this review, the price on Amazon hit a new low - you can get this Voyager Class figure for less than the cost of a Deluxe. And considering the quality of the toy, that seems about right. Get Slog if you want, but never pay full price for him.

-- 12/09/14

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