Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Vintage TF G1: Dinobot Slag!

07.01.2014 – When you talk about the Dinobots the first name you’ll recall will be Grimlock, since he’s the most popular among the five characters that was created by Ratchet and Wheeljack in the classic animated series. In the comic books their origins are different from what you’ve known.

The second popular Dinobot would probably be Slag, the Triceratops who had the humorous comment upon kicking the doors in the planet of the Quintessons in the 1986 Transformers: The Movie. For some he would pass up as a ‘cute’ Triceratops, but don’t be fooled by this Dinobot’s cuddliness.

Slag is more vicious and violent than Grimlock plus his name is a term used by Cybertronians to ‘kill’ you. The original toy was one of the few Diaclone products by Takara that was recycled and was given a second life as one of the first three Dinobots to appear in the series. The other two of course was Grimlock and Sludge. The other two Dinobots Snarl and Swoop appeared in later episodes.

Formerly a Diaclone toy that came with a small human with magnetic feet, where a pilot rides in his chest and Slag was known as a mobile suit named ‘Tricerabot’ used for jungle combats. There were only minor changes on the colors in his Triceratops mode, which was changed when it was reintroduced in the TRANSFORMERS brand.

Back then the name ‘Slag’ was used and up to now is still owned the copyright by Hasbro, but the name in other countries preferably in Europe would be an offending term known as ‘slut’ that would hurt the market selling the character for the reason why the current toys are either using another Dinobot’s name (‘Snarl’ was used in the Transformers Animated) or slightly tweak the name into ‘Slug’ used for the Age of Extinction Dinobot in the film.

Slag can blend in with the modern versions of the Dinobots preferably with Grimlock (Generations Voyager Class) or with the Classics release. Grimstone a Powercore Combinder appears less appealing if you compare both of them in their Triceratops mode.

The figure was originally released as part of the second wave of Transformers assortments in 1985 along with the rest of the Dinobots. In Generation 2 toy line Slag was also brought back along with Grimlock, but in a very limited number and the most common color was released in green.

After so many years and countess new series introduced Slag never appeared until Transformers Animated in Cartoon Network, but using a different name still retained his Triceratops mode with a different robot design.

Transformation to robot mode was not that difficult back then and after being worn out the joints gets loose. Slag has some moving parts to turning this prehistoric Triceratops to a sub member of the Autobots. Even without the use of a product manual you can easily transform Slag into his robot mode and then back to Triceratops mode.

In robot mode Slag appear less of that ‘cute’ Triceratops, but more entirely a robot ready to battle. Of course back then articulation was not entirely that makes this Dinobot appealing. Slag has basic ratchet joint in the arms and that also includes his back legs in Triceratops mode. The entire chest is made of diecast metal while the arms and robot legs are made of plastic. Basic articulation in the arms and legs and if you have a complete figure he comes with an ‘Energo’ sword, Rifle, Three missile pods and a launcher (which was not included in the Generation 2 release).

Slag most likely is in the Deluxe Class assortment as the same size as the Classic Grimlock released in 2006/2007. This is not a reissue or a bootleg that’s being sold on auction sites. The horns of this figure has bite marks and missing all the accessories, but still complete robot form unlike other vintage you can find that’s missing some body parts.

If you’re looking for vintage TFs it doesn’t matter if it’s an exclusive or mail away in its previous life as long as the robot is intact than appearing to be a scrap for other robot parts. Most vintage figures are hard to come by and this Slag does not disappoint even without its accessories.

Hasbro and Takara have lost its original mold to reproduce or to reissue any vintage Dinobot. The closest that you can ever have a Generation One Dinobot is Grimlock, which have a Masterpiece release and a Generations figure based from the Fall of Cybertron videogame.

There has been also a Slag figure produced by third party companies, which have been reported to be the same scale as the Masterpiece Grimlock. But at this time Hasbro or Takara has not yet released an official Dinobot Slag and if ever they do they’ll use a different name. It may take some time before Hasbro and Takara will ever reproduce a reissue of the original Dinobots. If they do have that chance the names won’t be the same if released in the North American market.

For now a complete vintage Slag comes a long way better than any other classic Transformers figure. The Dinobots are a popular subgroup to the Autobots, and can rival the recently reissued constructicons even though it can merge and form Devastator.

Overall the vintage Slag has its own appeal even without the other Dinobots. You can bet Grimlock is the popular one, and Slag comes in second. It’s not because how ‘cute’ his Triceratops mode was, but how the character played out in the original cartoons and in the 1986 Transformers: The Movie made him one of the memorable characters that collectors and fans alike would adore him in a glass display.

Mint or incomplete as long as the robot or Triceratops mode doesn’t come headless, armless or legless not ending up as spare parts for something hard to find Slag is a must have for ANY Dinobot fan out there.

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