Posted August 8, 2018 at 2:11 pm

Masterpiece Dinobot showed up to monopolize my world just before I could get to talking about Power of the Primes Predaking, but now that MP Dinobot fever has died down a smidge, I'm ducking back to those simpler, more primitive pre-MP Dinobot times.  

So, yeah, it's TITAN CLASS Predaking!  Titan Class is that once-a-year size class that costs $150 and bounces back and forth from being an irregularly-formed combiner (Devastator) to city-sized guys (Metroplex, Fort Max, Trypticon).  Predaking is the second combiner, and he's an awful lot like Devastator, the first!  Just, like, construction-wise.  He's composed of giant blocky dudes who are clearly just pieces to make a cohesive 18-inch-tall robot.  It's the same feel all over.  If you have Devastator, you know generally what to expect with Predaking.

Predaking's a little less fortunate in this respect, though, because his individual components are ANIMALS.  Unlike construction vehicles, which are essentially blocks already, animals are, like, you know... animal shapes.  And so Predaking gives you... some blocks with tiny heads and legs on them!  They're animals!  Sort of!  

I mean, this didn't matter to my toddlers, who looked upon these blocky creatures with a sense of frenzied wonder, but a more older-type person might be a little dissatisfied.  

For example, the monstrously lengthy thighs of the combined Predaking robot ... just kind of hang underneath the bull (Tantrum/Torox) and the rhino (Headstrong).  Those are the two bulkiest animals (in real life), so they're the best choices to go with if you need to have two giganto plumpo creatures, but it's still a visible compromise.  Divebomb, the ... bird... is also pretty bulky, because he splits in two.  Half of him becomes an arm of the same girth as the other arm, Rampage (tiger).  The rest of him is, well, it's half of Predaking's torso.  It's his taint and his stomach and his spine and his wings, with Razorclaw (lion) forming the chest.  So Divebomb's a pretty massive bird!  Chunky!

But, again, the combined robot is the main event here.  Everything else is subordinate.  And the combined robot is pretty good!  I like it!  It holds together and can do stuff and it looks nice.  And so that's how I'll likely display him, and it probably won't matter that he's made out of the blockiest jungle creatures ever seen.  

The set comes with a sticker sheet, same with previous Titan Class offerings, but, oh my lord, the sticker material isn't terrible this go-round.  Like, you can remove stickers from the sticker sheet without the stickers TEARING DOWN THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF THE STICKER instead of, like, you know, where the actual perforations are.  And the material is strong enough you can actually remove and replace stickers if you have trouble putting them down, so long as you're careful.

And there's minimal putting flat stickers over sculpted detail.  That's nice.

Oh, and Predaking comes with a Prime Master figure of Onyx Prime, which is the only way to get an Onyx Prime.  So, uh, hopefully if you were completist with those you were already planning on getting this guy.

Anyway, summing up: Good big robot.  Smaller guys are an acquired taste.  A small step forward in sticker technology in this year of 2018.  

Posted August 2, 2018 at 11:37 pm

I may have once related through the webcomic medium about how, for a while, there was an arms race between Hasbro and Takara to make a more show-accurate Dinobot.  There was the original toy, and then Takara put a gold helmet on it and de-pinked it a bit, and then later Hasbro tried to do more-show-accurate colors from scratch (badly), and then Takara tried to one-up them again (to limited success), and then Hasbro had a new Dinobot toy which was sculpted to look more cartoon-accurate, and then Takara painted it to match...

Kind of felt like, you know, a game that would go on forever.


Witness Masterpiece Beast Wars Dinobot.  He painstakingly recreates both the robot mode and the beast mode from the CGI cartoon, and somehow transforms back and forth.  For good or ill.  See, the problem with Dinobot's CGI robot mode is that it's clearly not anything that can transform into a raptor.  It's just a robot with fleshy arms and a flattened-out raptor head on the chest.  Everything else is robot.  How does it become an organic, scaly velociraptor?  Well, in CGI, it happens through replacing one model with the other in a fancy way through which hopefully you won't notice.  Slight-of-hand, mostly.  

And the problem with Dinobot's CGI velociraptor mode is that it looks like garbage.  I mean, all praise where it's due -- this was 1996 computer animation for television.  But, like, it's, uh, not a good velociraptor.  I like to think the completely new Cyber Raptor models for the third season were a "hey look we can make a good velociraptor CGI model we swear" moment for the crew.  

What I'm beating around the bush at is, uh, yeah, this toy transforms from a robot IMPOSSIBLY into a terrible, terrible velociraptor.  On purpose.

And I love it.

Please take me seriously when I say this toy turns inside out.  It does.  The walls of the velocraptor torso are all robot bits sculpted on the inside, and the walls of the robot torso are all scaly on their insides.  To get from raptor to robot, you open up the torso, shove the velociraptor head inside, and close up the robot torso walls around it.  The raptor head doesn't become the robot chest, despite that being the original transformation and the CGI model's intent.  It hides away inside the torso while the stomach of the velociraptor unfolds into the flattened, torso-shaped velociraptor head chest the CGI model had.  This achieves the purpose of the endeavor: to have a Dinobot robot mode that looks like the CGI.  

The velociraptor mode is definitely the second priority.  It does its best, and doesn't QUITE achieve the actual shape of the CGI raptor, with its giant torso and slightly undersized head.  But it tries. be a terrible velociraptor.  

Again, I love this.  SOME toy should try to be the terrible show model and succeed.  And this is that toy.  No expense spared!  

His rotate blade still spins when you push a lever.  This is important.  A Dinobot without his rotate blade is no Dinobot indeed.  He still has his segmented sword.  

What's extra this go-round are a lot of smaller things and one big thing.  The big thing is his giant display stand with the giant display arm.  Dinobot is a pretty large, heavy toy, and sometimes a dude needs support.  Especially in velociraptor mode, where like 99% of the weight is in the torso, which is not centered with the legs, and the tail is like a few grams at most, so it's not great at standing.  The stand helps.  It comes with a translucent piece that plugs around his stomach.  There's a different piece for robot mode that wraps around his butt.  

He also comes with the Golden Disk!  The Voyager "Sounds of Earth" one.  This is a season one toy, and the second Golden Disk, the alien one, had no association with Dinobot until season 2.  There's both a translucent stand for the disk and a little attachment to help Dinobot hold the disk in his hands in either mode.  

Dinobot also comes with FOUR different faces!  There's default, angry, smirking, and LASER EYES.  Laser eyes face comes with a further attachment that plugs into his eyes and makes him look like he's shooting laserbeams.  The mouth on each is articulated, so you can achieve an incredible range of expressions across the four options and their variants.  Put two button batteries into his head, press the button at the back of his skull, and his eyes glow red.  Hold down the button and the eyes glow green for the laserbeam attachment.  

Pros: It's goddamn fucking Dinobot and it's beautiful, even the parts that are ugly, because it's goddamn fucking Dinobot.  He comes with four faces with articulated mouths.  He's massive and huge and scaled properly to everyone else in the Beast Wars Masterpiece range.... which is why he's massive and huge.  He's incredibly impressive to behold.

Cons: Takes a while to transform, what with the flipping inside out.  His weight is not distributed evenly and so most poses require the stand.  Some people have had problems with one of the shoulder ratchets.  He's $200.

For me, I mean, the pros and cons were irrelevant.  It's a toy of Dinobot.  I was gonna have it.  

Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:25 am

Hey, look!  Slash got a retool!  The lady Dinobot got a new head and is now the 1988 Firecon character Cindersaur!  

Okay, first of all, Slash is a great toy.  So Cindersaur is still a great toy.  So, like, that's still a recommend.  The new head doesn't alter the transformation at all, and though the new colors are a little monotonous in raptor mode (without the robot mode's green face and touches of gray), it's still a vibrant-looking thing.  So thumbs up just based on that.  

But there's more!  All of the Power of the Primes toys come packed randomly with one of 12 different cards that give a different Prime-based power.  Ten of these cards are irrelevant to the rest of this paragraph, but of the final two, one uses male pronouns and the other uses female pronouns.  (the female card was discovered before the male card, and for that day and a half or so, the toy was known affectionately as "Cindysaur")  Maybe someone got their wires crossed and accidentally used Slash's pronouns on one of the cards, but the new Cindersaur head is sculpted the way Hasbro tends to sculpt their women characters: there's lips and a smile and some softened features.  

Or, we could just take the text as given and determine that Cindersaur is genderfluid.  They're male sometimes, female sometimes, and, heck, maybe it changes depending on which Prime Master is plugged in.  That's my take-away, anyway.

Look... *throws the pack-in cards down on the table* ... it's canon.
Posted June 26, 2018 at 4:02 pm


The two best combiner teams from Generation One were the Protectobots and the Terrorcons.

This has absolutely nothing to do with which two teams I owned as a child.

(yes it does)

But do you know why the Terrorcons were the best?  Because they were effin' monsters.  Vehicles are essentially little boxes, but a monster has arms, legs, teeth... all these extra things to play with.  Terrorcons, then, transform into two separate things you can do things with (besides scoot along on the floor).  So, yeah.  They're empirically the best.

(i had them when i was a kid)

And now there's a new combining version of them!  I've talked about Hun-Gurrr, the torso before, and I got Rippersnapper a few months ago, but since then I've gotten his other three limbs.  I'll say right off the bat what makes these toys improvements over the originals: they have working jaws.  Other than Blot, they all have working jaws.  It's by far the best improvement of the entire set.  Like, sure, the articulation is way up all around, but frankly jaws are the most important.  

(Blot's jaw does seem to be a different piece versus the plastic that makes up the top of his head, but there do not appear to be any joints to allow the jaw to move independently.)

Cutthroat is the weakest of the limbs.  Engineering-wise, he's large amounts of the Dinobot Swoop repurposed.  He's got the same thighs, arms, and he mostly transforms the same.  The only difference is how the beast mode feet get tucked away.  But his beast mode head is hinged pretty loosely, and so it likes to fall off.  The beast mode torso doesn't hide very well that it's just a compacted robot mode, and so it looks elongated and goofy.  

Blot, other than his lack of chompers, is by far the best, though!  He wads up his robot mode legs behind him in beast mode to create a different shape entirely, resulting in this angry grumpy cube.  I dub him "Most Improved" of the new Terrorcons, since he's just better in all respects.  He doesn't just stand up and hide his monster arms behind him.  The monster torso/head folds back, giving him a different robot mode chest, and the fists cleverly transform out of the beast claws.  

Sinnertwin has more articulation than the original.  That's what I got to say about him!  I mean, that extra articulation is nice, with the jaws and the balljointed beast mode necks (at the skull -- it's just hinges at the torso), so there is a lot more to do with him.  But he's had less evolution to his design than Blot.  

Hun-Gurrr holds together extremely well in torso mode.  A friggin' lot of tabs.  Tabs everywhere.  That results in a very solid combiner robot.  I can't find fault with their combined mode, Abominus.  He may be the best of the new Combiner Wars-style guys.  And he's made out of monsters, yo.
Posted June 12, 2018 at 1:56 am

I was never big into Street Fighter II.  Mostly I liked playing Blanka because he could bite the other guy's head.  But I don't have the dexterity for pulling off any kind of special move, so the game was mostly lost on me.  But it was an everpresent part of kidvid growing up, so it's there in my brain just through pop culture osmosis.  Not many strong feelings.

Not many strong feelings, but not none.  Like, for instance, if TakaraTomy were to go friggin' bonkers and redeco a set of four Transformers as Ken, Ryu, Chun Li, and M Bison?  Yeah, that intersects my interests.

(note: m bison's name over in japan -- and thus on this toy's packaging -- is vega, but i am going to be calling him m bison anyway)

Seriously, what the fudge.  These two sets are nuts, and they came outta no where.  Megatron, Optimus, Hot Rod, and Arcee are all decoed like the human characters from Street Fighter II, down to having flesh tones where the characters have flesh tones.  It's equally ugly and visually captivating.  Ken has bare feet?  Yes, let's paint Hot Rod's toes pink.  Let's paint his Headmaster's toes pink, too.   And the toys are posed in their packaging doing their special moves.  M Bison is launching sideways, Chun Li is doing her upside-down spin kick, etc.  

Unfortunately, they're packaged in a way that made me buy them both.  I really only want Megatron/M Bison and Arcee/Chun Li, and not Optimus/Ryu or Hot Rod/Ken, but they matched each of the two I wanted with one I didn't, so whatcha gonna do. 

Look, I'm gonna be completely honest with you.  I bought these sets because of Raul Julia.  I wanted a Raul Julia M Bison Transformer.  That dude knew how to have fun playing an incredibly goofy fascist dictator, with, like, octopus hat racks and everything.  He chewed scenery like it was friggin' beef jerky.

And so now I have a Transformer of him.  He's a redeco of Titans Return Megatron, who's a triple changer.  (Which itself is essentially Blitzwing with a new chest and head.)  M Bison transforms from tank to jet to robot and back.   His head transforms into a little robot guy who's ALSO painted to look like M Bison.  It's a pretty solid toy, and it has a good presence as M Bison.  

Arcee as Chun Li probably has the most interesting deco of the set.  Ken's a solid red guy and Ryu is that scheme but in white, and M Bison is red again but with silver... but Chun Li gives the Generations "Thrilling 30" Arcee toy a nice blue/brown/yellow/peach ensemble that's more engaging than the others.  Plus nobody doesn't like Chun Li.  She's friggin' Agent Melinda May, yo.  

Unfortunately, she doesn't have the same Headmaster gimmick as the other three.  I guess TakaraTomy didn't want to use Titans Return Windblade or Titans Return Arcee for her.  

They're probably not gonna do more of these.  But if they did, I'd take a Blanka, please.
Posted May 29, 2018 at 2:30 pm

I have no idea where most of my old Star Wars Transformers are.  Maybe I gave them to my friend Ron a few years ago?  All I know is sometimes I give Ron stuff and I searched my entire basement and only found my Death Star Darth Vader and an AT-AT Snowtrooper.  I wanted to find my Imperial Shuttle Emperor "Sheev" Palpatine, but I did not, nor did I find my X-Wing Luke or my TIE Advanced Darth Vader.

But me not finding my Imperial Shuttle Emperor "Sheev" Palpatine left me open to buying a replacement!  See, I had the original white/gray Imperial Shuttle version.  At the veeeeeeeeeeery end of the line, they did a redeco in black.  A, uh, stealth Imperial Shuttle, if you will.  Or, more valuably, a robot Emperor that's in the Emperor's colors.  That redeco barely came out.  It was not really seen many places.  But I managed to find one for Not Bad on eBay, and now I have a relatively scarce Sheev Transformer.

Oh, god, I'd forgotten how bad these things were.  Like, I was kinda "yeah okay" about the new TakaraTomy TIE Advanced Darth Vader, but having this old Sheev toy again really puts that toy in perspective.  I can see why I may have given my original to Ron.

I mean, I still want this newer version.  It's Emperor Palpatine.   He's the best Star Wars character.  Well, okay, his chair is the best Star Wars character, but he gets to sit in it.  And I can't not have an Emperor Palpatine Transformer if there's an Emperor Palpatine Transformer to be had.  Sheev is the shit, yo.  

And this Sheev toy is just shit.

Yeah, this toy is not great.  During transformation, you remove all of the wings, and you reattach them elsewhere... dumbly.  Like, it's not really the positioning, though it is also kind of the positioning, but it is mostly the methods used to attach the pieces.  Tiny, tiny clips and/or barely perceptible hinge bumps.  And the instructions are no help.  They're like, okay, now, you take these wings, and you put them on his hips.  On his hips HOW?  And then you try all manner of "okay let's try putting these wings on his hips and see if they stay" and they don't, ever, until you see tiny, tiny, TINY shallow little bumps on the wings and I guess that is how it's done.  Whoof.

The middle wing becomes a shield.

The base of the middle wing becomes a springloaded missile launcher.  The missile is the lightsaber.  That is a little bit awesome.

And, like, the wings aren't even stable.  They have more joints than are needed and it's difficult for them to hold in place in either of the two positions -- flying or parked.  It's barely even a good Imperial Shuttle toy.

The robot has a problem standing because even though the feet have flip-down heels, the heels, like, don't click in place and also they're incredibly loose.  So, like, good job.

Maybe the point of this toy is to make your anger so great that you succumb to the Dark Side.  It's working!

But yeah.  My new Darth has a Sheev.  I figure... it will be a while, if ever, before TakaraTomy gets to making their own Emperor Palpatine toy.  Like, they haven't announced a third figure yet, so it's distinctly possible Darth Vader and the Millennium Falcon are it.  And if there are more, I can't imagine the Emperor is far up on that list.  I mean, like, a Luke, right?  A Luke or even a goddamned Slave-1/Boba Fett.  

Worse comes to worst, long from now, I'll have to buy a new Emperor Palpatine Transformer and have two Emperor Palpatine Transformers.  Oh no!

Posted May 16, 2018 at 12:45 am

Everyone remembers Star Wars Transformers!  I know this because a decade ago everyone told me about them every six seconds.  Anyway, Star Wars Transformers is dead.  Long live Star Wars Transformers!

The original line was one of Hasbro's few attempts to do transforming toys on their own without Takara.  Usually Takara works with Hasbro to engineer these effers, but for the original Star Wars Transformers, Hasbro's like "we got this."  They didn't got it!  I mean, they sort of got it.  Technically, the toys transformed from robot to vehicle and back.  But engineering transforming robot toys is a heckuva learning curve, and Takara worked through most their kinks a long while ago, while Hasbro was just getting started.  You know that adage about how every artist has 10,000 bad drawings in them and they gotta get them out first before they can get to the good drawings?  Well, Star Wars Transformers were Hasbro's first few dozen drawings.  

Anyway, it's 2018, and it's TakaraTomy's turn!  I believe I read that TakaraTomy was all scheduled up with engineering transforming robot toys at the time of the original Star Wars Transformers line, and they kind of regretted not getting into that game themselves.  And so they're doing it now, themselves!  First this Darth Vader Tie Advanced toy and in a month or so we're getting another Millennium Falcon made out of Han and Chewbacca.  

And let me tell you, as Hasbro-y as those first SWTFs were, TakaraTomy's Darth Vader is... kind of TakaraTomy-y.  I mean, he's no Robots in Disguise Side Burn or one of those Transformers Go! combining guys, but parts of him sure get in his own way like those toys often did.  Like, the TIE advanced wings perched the robot mode's shoulders... those just don't have a placement that looks nice.  And if you try moving the arms around into battle poses, the wings just start trying to clip through the torso (or the arms themselves) at any opportunity.  They're kind of a mess.

Hasbro's original TIE Vader had the wings just come off, with one becoming an arm-mounted s hield and the other becoming a cape once you re-plugged it into his back.  It's kind of cheating to remove half the vehicle mode for transformation, but on the other hand, that placement never annoyed.  (I've dug through my entire basement looking for my old Hasbro TIE Vader, but I must have given him away at some point.  Really wish I had a side-by-side comparison shot!)  

The rest of the toy is pretty simple, so that's nice!  I have a feeling New Vader would be even more of a mess if it weren't for licensing terms -- I imagine Lucasfilm/Disney/whoever probably had some guidelines on where engineering could put transformation seams on the vehicle mode.  Like, with car licensing, sometimes they're like "okay you can't have fold lines down the hood, OUR HOOD IS ICONIC, OKAY" and so you end up with a giant unaltered car hood somewhere (usually the chest).  It's possible Star Wars is similar with the TIE Advanced, I dunno.  

New Vader comes with a light saber which the robot can hold and the vehicle can stow on its wing.  There's also a tiny Vader figurine which can be placed inside the cockpit and five bonus Stormtrooper figurines.  

If you're cool with the awkward wings, New Vader is a pretty okay toy.  I mean, it's a giant Vader mech that Darth Vader can pilot, which transforms into Vader's TIE fighter.  There are few things more rad.

Posted April 14, 2018 at 2:30 pm

Live-action Grimlock is, uh, sort of there in the movies!  He's in about 2% of Age of Extinction, during which Optimus brutally beats him until he submits and then rides him around town a little, and then he's also sort of in The Last Knight, where I think he disappears like a third of the way through.  

Thankfully, a giant robot T. rex toy is something that sells itself on its own merits.  

If you have any other movieverse Grimlock toy, throw that thing in the garbage.  This is it.  This is what you wanted.  What were those other previous movieverse Grimlock toys even thinking?  They are mere boys in the world of men.  

Studio Series Grimlock is large and massive.  In robot mode he's a little taller by a smidge than the usual Leader Class, and also pretty wide.  And he looks amazingly decoed, even though he's really mostly the same plastic color all over and most of him is covered with a metallic green paint wash.  It's the incredible sculpted detail and the beefy proportions that make him look impressive, and to the eye it cheats him even bigger than he already is.

It does some weird yet impressive stuff in service of making him look as much like the movies' CGI model.  There, he has a full dinosaur head on each shoulder.  Like, a copy-pasted entire Tyrannosaurus rex head, even though he transforms into, you know, a single-headed Tyrannosaurus rex.  All of his earlier toys unsurprisingly split the head in half for transformation and put each outward-facing head on each shoulder.  This toy says nah.  He has both full heads.  But only one actually transforms into his actual Tyrannosaurs rex head.  The other splits open and integrates into his tail.  

The tail is also formed out of his right arm (which ends in a spikey ball) and his coattails.  These three elements -- the head halves, the coattails, and the arm -- sort of loosely form a pretty good tail shape.  It's a better solution than the usual approach, which is "oh hey look, actually this tail pops off and becomes a weapon!"  It's interesting and fun AND it means that a third of the toy's mass isn't being used for a weapon -- it all becomes robot mode, baby.

In dinosaur mode, Studio Series Grimlock is the best thing my kids have ever seen.  I kind of have to keep it out of view or they go nuts.  (I, of course, let them handle it with supervision, I'm not a monster, but I can't have them being crazy for hours of the day.)  I don't blame them, because it's a great stompy dinosaur toy.  The only thing I think is missing is I wish its head could turn side-to side, or even up or down at all.  The transformation prevents it, but I still feel a need for it.  This is why Beast Wars Tenth Anniversary Megatron is still one of my favorite Tyrannosaurus rex Transformers -- the full neck articulation.  

As with the other Studio Series toys, it comes with a cardboard display stand/background.  It's less appealing paired with this toy than the others only because Grimlock is so large.  He barely fits against the backdrop in robot mode, and his dinosaur mode is entirely too wide to fit onto the stand.  But this is damning with faint praise.  He's a large toy, posed on his bent knees to even fit into the packaging, and this is ultimately good.

Beyond those small complaints, there's very little wrong with this and so much right.  It justifies the entire Studio Series line all by itself.  

Posted April 9, 2018 at 11:02 pm

Holy crap, a non-Transformers toy review!

I can't believe it took me as long as it did to realize that Donald Glover playing Lando Calrissian would inevitably result in Donald Glover action figures.  It is as if the heavens opened in that entirely later than excusable moment and God shined down on me and said "YOU WILL BUY THE FUCK OUT OF THAT"

And he was right!

I don't pay attention to Star Wars toy news as fastideously as Transformers toy news (I can only spread myself so thin), so the news that Solo toys were being found in stores was delivered to me through the Star Wars Minute Listeners Society Facebook group.  By that evening, I was looking at Targets.  But one of the nearby ones had completely empty pegs and a gaddanged 75%-off clearance sale on 6" Black Series figures.  I figured that store was an eternal dead end.  I mean, who the heck isn't gonna buy up $5 Landos (or anybody else) as soon as those things hit the pegs?  

But Target's online inventory kept telling me that store was in stock, despite the empty pegs, and so I went back the next day and LO AND BEHOLD there were $5 Landos.  And $5 everybody.  I grabbed up a Lando and a Grand Moff Tarkin and a friggin' Han, why not.  I wasn't planning on getting Young Han, but that was at $20.  For $5?  Heck yeah.  Lando can have his sidekick for $5.  

The other closeby Target has them all for full price and I think it's just a wall of Troopers and Kylos.  

Donald Glover Lando, the toy, hit at just the right time.  Hasbro's just started upping their paint deco game.  Instead of completely unpainted plastic for faces with maybe some eyes and eyebrows in there, they now do this thing where they, like, spray the face on.  Unlimited colors, at once.  Like an inkjet printer.  They print a photo on the sculpt.  And it increases the likeness pretty darn a lot!  I'd been adding some color variation to my Star Wars 6-inch guys myself, so this not only looks better but also saves me a lot of time!

And so Lando looks fantastic.  He's (usually) a $20 action figure, so he dang well better.  

Lando's cape sits across his shoulders.  Gravity keeps it there; there's no attachments.  He's also got his double ties and a holster on his right leg.  I learned while removing the gun from the holster that the gun's barrel/silencer can remove.  So that's neat!  

Han also looks okay.

Posted March 23, 2018 at 10:02 pm

Finally, the Dinobot combiner that "The Beast" sort-of kind-of not-really foretold!

Wave 2 Power of the Primes has two the final two Dinobots, allowing Volcanicus to be properly combined.  Sludge owes a lot of his parts to Slag.  In robot mode, his thighs, shins, and upper arms are the same.  From the waist up, he transforms backwardsly, with his front becoming the dinosaur back instead of the dinosaur stomach. Similarly to Slag, Sludge's brontosaurus head/neck closes around the robot head, concealing it.  

The original Sludge toy had you fold his forearms up against the insides of his upper arms, with his brontosaurus toes at the elbows.  This new toy just leaves this transformation step out of the equation and leaves the brontosaurus toes at the wrists.  The instructions want you to bend his arms at the elbows for dinosaur mode, but I think I like them better straight.  It's more of a brachiosaurus look, but oh wells.

(I'm going to call him a brontosaurus, since I'm pretty sure the character design is old enough that he's not meant to be an apatosaurus.)

Snarl, the stegosaurus, is all new!  He keeps his thagomizer behind his head, but he otherwise transforms similarly (surprise!) to his other quadropedal Dinobot friends.  His head's a little smaller than the others, possibly since it needs to hide inside the combiner port cavity within his own chest, rather than inside a dinosaur part.  Instead of being flatfooted like the others, his dinosaur hind legs stand on their tippy toes.

Sludge, Snarl, Grimlock, Swoop, and Slag all combine to form VOLCANICUS!  Volcanicus is actually a pretty good combiner.  A lot of anguish has been thrown about over how wide his shoulders are, but so long as you plug those extra two combiner fists into his abs, it's really not a problem in person.  He's wide, sure, but his torso tapers from the waist properly to make it look fine.  His wideness merely makes him look mighty.

The other option for the two extra fists is to plug them into the back of the feet for additional stability.  He's not going to need this.  Well, he's not if yours has the same plastic tolerances as mine.  The biggest threat to my Volcanicus's stability is that one of his feet likes to rotate a little to the right, which can lead to him ultimately losing traction and doing the splits.  Extra heels would not solve this.  Tighter 5mm pegs at the ankle, yes, but not heels.  

The major negative to Volcanicus is his lack of a weapon.  In the cellphone game Earth Wars, Volcanicus gets an upsized version of Grimlock's Fall of Cybertron sword.  You can try giving him the FoC toy's sword, but it was already a little undersized for the Voyager Class toy.  Being held by a giant combiner makes the sword look like it's meant to serve cheese on a plate.  There's some third party options, one of which is $50 and includes a bunch of extra stuff I'm absolutely not interested in, and at least one Shapeways sword.  For the time being, at least, my Volcanicus is gonna have to fight people with his bare fists.  

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