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Transformers AOE
by yo go re

Another new toyline, another new name.

This fiery warrior hates taking order, unless it means he gets to destroy something. He'll level anything in his path with a fit of white-hot dino rage.

This, clearly, is a movieverse version of the character erstwhile known as Slag - but since Britons spaz out about the name, Hasbro has kindly opted to change it. But this time, rather than giving him someone else's name, they just changed one letter and opted to call him "Slug" instead. It's a really elegant solution: the name implies hitting someone, fitting his violent personality, but it can also mean a bullet, or the chunk of metal punched out when a tool makes a hole. Perfect! See ya later, "Slag"!

Slug is ostensibly a triceratops, but there are two things immediately wrong with that: the horns. "Triceratops" literally means "three horn face," and Slug has five - the usual three, and then two more poking forward off his lower jaw. They're not fangs or tusks, they're clearly growing out of his chin, not his... tooth-al area. But then, it's not like NASCAR allows missile launchers, so there's a precedent for the Transformers adding embellishments to their altmodes. He'd still be better with just three horns, though.

The Age of Extinction Dinobots look even less organic than the G1 versions, which is no small feat. Actually, between the spikes coming out of his spine, the thick bands around the ribs, and the flared armor on the shoulders and hips, he almost looks skeletal, which is actually a pretty cool way of doing things. Robot triceratops? Badass. Robot triceratops skeleton? Epic! The stegosaurus spikes on the sides of the tail are a bit too much, though.

In toy form, Slug is mainly purple, with a red neck frill and silver highlights (in the movie he'll probably be grey, just like the other Dinobots). His jaw opens and closes, and his neck is hinged. There are tabs on top of the rear legs that plug into slots under the back to keep him sturdy. The instructions say that you can plug the two included swords into the holes on the dino's sides, but that looks stupid; if you really want them attached, jam the hilts into the back of his legs, so they line up with the tail; according to the wallpaper on Hasbro's site, his swords are formed from his tail anyway, so you're really just putting things back where they belong.

The 16 steps it takes to change Slug from a triceratops to a robot aren't too hard to get the hang of, but there's one step that's tricky: rather than just having the dino's front legs become the robot's arms, like you might expect, the arms are formed from the ribcage; however navigating the arms and legs part each other and the neck ridge is not an easy thing to do (or, if it is, then there's some trick I'm missing).

His head is 5" from the ground, but the spiky armor on his shoulders breaks the 6" mark. Despite the fact that there are two dinosaur half-heads on his arms, the don't just look like dinosaur half-heads - the neck frill folds over, breaking up the silhouette somewhat, and making them look instead like really ornate armor. His massive forearms suggest he'd be able to slug the living daylights out of some suckers!

Slug doesn't have a face. Continuing the "medieval armor" theme begun with Grimlock, Slug's head looks like a German Stechhelm - you know, the "frog-mouth" helmet that generally has no features other than a thin eye slit with a big underbite-looking point beneath it. Slug's noggin follows that exact plan, just with a slightly more technological bent.

As mentioned before, Slug comes with two swords. They're molded from soft pvc, just like the horns on the triceratops, so they don't have to be too blunt. He moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, thighs, and knees. His feet, which curve up at the toe, are large enough to keep him stable even if you pose him all crazy-like.

Slag is my favorite Dinobot - and obviously, the favorite Dinobot of all right-thinking people - so I was looking forward to Slug. His design is kind of crazy, and we really wish they'd done something with that flap behind his butt, but he's a lot more fun than expected.

This figure was provided for review by Hasbro.

-- 06/17/14

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