The "I put too much time and enerygy into this" review of the Justitoys Dino-Robots

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Victorysabre, May 15, 2008.

  1. Victorysabre

    Victorysabre Born to Transform

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Posts:
    2,312
    News Credits:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    206
    Likes:
    +20
    [​IMG]
    WST Dino-robots by Justitoys: A Review by Victorysabre

    With Sludge and Swoop now finally in my collection (arent delayed releases fun?), the Justitoys fan made World Smallest versions of the Dinobots is complete (minus the Lucky Draws, and barring any future releases). This review will look back at the line and show how it changed as it moved along.

    The Figures:

    In order of release, we have had:
    Desert Warrior Snarl (Snarl)
    Desert Warrior Snarl Exclusive Prototype Version (Snarl with red parts instead of black. Dinosaur eyes are also red instead of blue)
    Flamethrower (Slag)
    Commander (Grimlock)
    Santa Commander (G2 Blue Grimlock with added Santa Hat)
    G2 Flamethrower (G2 Green Slag with added Grimlock sword)
    Reindeer Commander with Bombardier Elf (New Green Deco Grimlock with Reindeer Antlers and red nose + G1 toy based Swoop with elf hat and launchers for all Dinobots)
    Jungle Warrior (Sludge)
    Bombardier (Swoop with launchers for all five Dinobots)

    First, lets discuss the figures as a set, focusing first on the original color schemed set of five.
    One thing they did with these figures that separates them from the original releases (other than the obvious fact that they are smaller) is to make their deco more TV accurate. This included such deco choices as making Slags face red and his legs white, and making Swoops torso blue instead of red. In some cases, theyd even make the weaponry cartoon accurate, as evidenced by Snarls gray sword. When lined up they look like an excellent miniature representation of the G1 Cartoon Dinobots.
    The five Special WST Dino-robots were not quite as cohesive a set. Since each one was released for a different reason, there was no unifying theme. But since three of the five figures are Christmas themed, its easy enough to shoe horn the remaining two into that theme. G2 Slag, released for TFCon in Toronto, is Green, as is the Reindeer Commander version of Grimlock (whose Green deco is not based on any previous Grimlock toy). So its easy enough to say the two Green figures are Reindeer. Prototype Snarl (whose dinosaur mode is hardly distinguishable from the TV version) has a very G1 look to him, as does the Bombardier Elf (based on the G1 Swoop toy). So there you go, two elves. Throw in the Blue Grimlock Santa Commander, and you have Santa, two Reindeer, and two helper elves. The Christmas themed accessories really won me over with the Stocking Stuffer figures. They add a lot of character to the Dinosaur modes. My only disappointment with the five Limited edition figures is that Grimlock was used twice, and Sludge was passed over. Whether or not Justitoys plans to do anything with Sludge remains to be seen.
    So their Decos are all pretty well done. Keep in mind, these are not officially released figures. They do not have the high QC standards Hasbro or Takara/Tomy holds their products up to (and even in those cases quirks slip through). The TV deco Grimlock has a fair bit of trouble holding together. His waist is constantly popping out of his torso, allowing his legs to fall off of him. This is not an issue when hes in Dinosaur mode, but it can make robot mode displaying difficult. If you buy these figures, be sure to examine them closely upon opening them. Dont start transforming them before youve looked at all their joints to make sure any pins are secured in the proper holes. My Elf Swoops leg popped off as soon as I transformed him because the pin was not in the hole entirely. After the hour long search for said pin, it was easy enough to get it in there all the way and theres been no problem since. Sludges one dinosaur leg does NOT want to open up for Dinosaur mode. Even trying to pry it with a small knife, I could not get it to pop out as it is meant to do for transformation. TV Deco Swoops two chest halves were also VERY tight, but they pried apart for transformation into robot mode. And while it should not come as a surprise at their size, remember that the launchers do not fire. They come with removable missiles, but they do not launch. Also because of their size, Snarl and Slag, whose original toys had hands which retracted into their arms, instead have small removable fist accessories.
    All that said, these are still VERY well made if you keep in mind the fact that they are fan designed product. They are detailed, fully transformable, include diecast metal parts, accessories, and are properly scaled with each other and with official WST figures. Anything that falls off does pop back into place, and they are nice display pieces. The Special ones are also a great way to convince your significant other to allow Transformers Christmas decorations.

    DESERT WARRIOR SNARL
    [​IMG]
    As the first figure released, Snarl had to be able to impress people enough that they would want to buy more of these toys down the road. In my opinion, they did well. The figure is sturdy, his accessories fit in the right places properly, and touches like the blue eyes in both robot and dinosaur mode makes him stand out a little extra. One issue that did not pop up until I had Swoop and all of the missile launchers he comes with, is that Snarls hands, while perfect for holding the gun and sword he comes with, are unable to hold the launcher that is meant to go with him. The hole in his hand is too big, causing it to sit loosely in his fist.
    The Prototype version was another first attempt for them, seeing if they could make and sell recolored versions of the same figure. And who can blame them for that? Hasbro and Takara have been doing it forever. For this figure, they based the color scheme on pictures of early samples of Snarl which showed his black legs, head, and hands as red. They also included an extra red version of his sword. Also, they introduced what would be a staple with their Special release versions: A limited run of 10 randomly inserted Lucky Draw figures. In Snarls case, there were ten gold chrome figures inserted throughout the run. One thing that makes Prototype Snarl stand apart from the other figures is the production run number. As the first one, Im sure they had to do some guess work as to how many they would sell. For Snarl, that guess was a run of 999 figures. The figure must not have sold to well since for future Special run figures, it was a limited edition of 500.

    FLAMETHROWER
    [​IMG]
    Slag was released at the same time as Grimlock, but according to the packaging, he is the second figure, and Grimlock the third. As with Snarl, I have little to complain about with Slag. His accessories fit well, his deco is strikingly different from the original figure, and hes rather sturdy. My only complaint about him would be the side flaps of his dinosaur mode that become his wings. They will often get stuck during transformation. Not enough to give you a lot of trouble transforming him, just enough to make a frightening cracking sound when it does move. Ive thought it was breaking in my hands on numerous occasions.
    The G2 Slag figure was actually released after the Santa Commander. As mentioned before, he was limited to only 500 pieces and was an exclusive at the TFCon 2007 in Toronto. Like Snarl, there were 10 Gold Chrome Lucky Draw figures inserted throughout the run. As an added bonus, the figure came with a red Sword for Grimlock, as the two versions of Grimlock released at this time came with chrome swords.

    COMMANDER
    [​IMG]
    As mentioned before, Grimlock has given me issues from day one about staying in one piece. When in robot mode, he can be difficult to display due to his legs popping off. Also, he demonstrates one of the downsides of using die cast metal (much as I might love the stuff). His metal chest is rather heavy compared to the rest of him, which is mostly plastic. This can cause his chest to come out of place and begin to drop. These issues also make transformation a little difficult, and mildly frustrating. His dinosaur mode however is perfectly fine. Grimlock is the first of the WST Dinos to not require additional hand accessories.
    Santa Commander was an exclusive Stocking Stuffer figure offered by TFSource. Where as their previous Stocking Stuffer campaigns offered a regular WST figure as a bonus for spending X amount of money, this time they had the option of purchasing an exclusive WST at an additional cost after spending X amount of money. They did not name the mold or character, making its purchase a blind one. It ended up being a very fun way to release an exclusive Transformer for the holidays. Grimlock was repainted in his G2 blue color scheme and a Santa hat was included which could be tied around his head in Dinosaur mode. Also, the loose hips found on the original Commander seemed to have been fixed for this version. Santa Commanders legs stayed in place much better. Of course this was no big deal since obviously you want to keep him in dinosaur mode with the Santa hat on. As with G2 Flamethrower, this figure was limited to 500 with 10 randomly inserted Gold Chrome Lucky Draw figures.
    Reindeer Commander was one of two figures included in the second TFSource exclusive Stocking Stuffer campaign (which ended up being closer to an Easter Basket stuffer). This was the first box set of figures done for the line and included the Reindeer Commander and the Bombardier Elf. This version of Grimlock, while clearly based on the G2 color scheme used for both Slag and Snarl, was not ever used on an official Grimlock figure before, making this toy a little more unique. Like Santa Commander, this figure came with some Christmas themed accessories: a small red ball with adhesive on it to be stuck on the tip of the dinosaur snout like a nose (Rudolph the red nosed Dinobot?) and a pair of antlers to be strapped around the dinosaur head. One great thing about the antlers was that whereas Santa Commanders hat had tiny strings which needed to be tied around his chin, Reindeer Commanders antlers had an elastic band which went very easily over his head. Again, this figure was limited to 500 with 10 randomly inserted Lucky Draw figures. This time though, the Lucky Draw figures were Silver Chrome.

    JUNGLE WARRIOR
    [​IMG]
    On my Sludge, though I cant say if this is a widespread problem, one of Sludges rear dinosaur legs refuses to be moved from the position its locked into for robot mode. Using a knife, I was able to pry it out far enough to rotate it down for dinosaur mode, but it still bent in at the joint as if it were trying to pop back into position (which it did as soon as I began to transform it back). Other than this quirk, Sludge is well put together, and perfectly play or displayable. Like Grimlock, Sludge did not require an additional accessory for his hands. Sludge stands out as the only one of the five to not have been recolored.

    BOMBARDIER
    [​IMG]
    Again, Swoop has his quirks. Mine required a knife to pry the two chest halves apart to transform into robot mode. Also, one of the holes on the wings to hold the launchers is not quite deep enough, so the launcher sits there very loosely. If you look at it cross-eyed, it will fall out. Other than that, Swoop is great. Again, no hand accessories are required. He comes with the launchers and missiles (non-firing) for all five Dinobots, which for the most part are very well done. Swoop was always my favorite Dinobot as a child, so it comes as no surprise that he is my favorite WST Dino-robot. The blue chest, which is how I grew up thinking he should look, just makes him that much better to me.
    Bombardier Elf was the second robot included along side Reindeer Commander in the box set released for the second TFSource exclusive WST Stocking Stuffer campaign (again, this toy stuffed no ones stockings). He was limited to 500 pieces with 10 silver chrome Lucky Draw figures randomly inserted throughout the run. This version of Swoop has the red chest that the original sized Swoop had. So where as other exclusives went with a G2 inspired Deco, Swoop went with a different G1 accurate look. This Swoop does still come with the Missiles and Launchers like the TV accurate one. It also included an extra Christmas accessory. Swoop can now wear a cute little elf hat with a pom on the end. How adorable. Like Santa Commander, the hat requires irksomely small threads to tie it under his neck.

    Boxes + Instructions + Stickers + Etc
    [​IMG]
    The boxes are pretty much why I decided to try these out in the first place. The art work on Snarls box and each subsequent figure was just awesome. Each one showed off the included Dinobot in an appropriate pose, covered in battle wounds, with all kinds of incredible detailing. The two side panels of each box each had different pictures comparing the toy to a scene from the show, demonstrating the different ways Justitoys tried to incorporate show accuracy into the figures. The back shows the figure itself next to a ruler to show the height in robot mode, includes the tech specs, and has the VS Constructicons scene as the background. Some quirks for the boxes as a whole:
    Snarls box has a gold background on both the front and the back. The other Dinobots have a darker gray or silver color. Also of note, Snarls is the only box to use his name, or the term Dinobot. After him, each box says only the characters function, and says Dino-Robot.
    Prototype Snarls box is significantly larger than any of the other single figure boxes. The back of this box was also markedly different, with a small write up about the figure, and a smaller close-up on the head along side the tech specs, which were done in a fashion more closely resembling Transformers Tech Specs. Future Special Editions would not have a write up and would use different head art. The Two Pack included no head art next to the tech specs. Also, Prototype Snarl is the only figure to be packaged in robot mode.
    The Reindeer Commander + Bombardier Elf box is the only one of the special edition packages to NOT include a front flap and window to look at the toys inside.
    Swoops package has a black and white version of the VS Constructicons battle scene as a background.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    The Instructions are laid out very much like black and white G1 instruction manuals. Cover art, a included list, step by step transformation instructions, and then a sticker application guide. Of note is that Snarls instructions used a sketch version of the cover art, where as the other four were fully shaded.

    The Stickers got off to a bad start. Snarls label sheet required cutting the labels out yourself (as is obvious by pictures of my Snarl, I did not bother with this). This was fixed by the release of Prototype Snarl, so they apparently learned quickly on that one. The stickers may not always stay on as well as Id like, but for the most part, theyre as decent as most other TF labels. I personally miss having stickers to put on my Transformers and labeling these figures was a fun nostalgia trip for me.
    In addition to everything else, these figures also came with a few extras. Each one had a bio card which showed the box art on the front, [​IMG] and their tech specs on the back along with the VS Constructicons scene. [​IMG]

    Also, Snarl included a nice sized poster that showed off the entire VS scene without anything covering up the battle. [​IMG]

    And as a seemingly random extra, G2 Slag included a calendar. Its the same size as the character cards, showing the VS scene on one side and an entire 2007 calendar on the other. [​IMG]

    Over view
    Purchasing the 5 original color versions of the Dino-robots will run you $87.80 + shipping. Purchasing the original versions of these figures in their larger sizes will of course cost you more unless you get really lucky. I hope this review helps you decide if these figures are worth the purchase. Maybe you want them to go with your WST collection, or maybe you just want a more affordable alternative to the larger versions of these toys. I personally have gotten rid of just about all of my G1 figures, including the five Dinobots. And Ive sold off my WST collection. But Ive kept these guys. For me, the attraction is knowing that these figures were produced and distributed by fans. Yes, most of the figures have their little quirks and problems. But all in all, these are amazingly well done. The packaging is excellent quality with gorgeous artwork for each character. The little extras thrown in like the bio cards or the Poster are nice little bits that Justitoys did not need to include, but they make the whole package that much nicer. I just find these to be so much more impressive than the average knock-off, which seems to be nothing more than a straight copy of Hasbro or Takaras work. These figures needed to be scaled down and a lot of effort obviously put into every aspect of them. If I ever have the opportunity, I may decide to go after the Lucky Draws. But right now, I like having these nicely done little sets of figures, even if one set is only out around the holidays.

    [​IMG]

    Thank you for taking the time to read my review. For a complete gallery, please click Here
     
  2. jourdo

    jourdo TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Posts:
    4,326
    Trophy Points:
    231
    Likes:
    +0
    Ebay:
    Nice little review there. I'm still waiting for Sludge and Swoop to arrive for my family to be complete.
     
  3. ShadowStitch

    ShadowStitch vectoring the hate plague

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Posts:
    2,023
    Trophy Points:
    207
    Likes:
    +12
    What an excellent review! Great photos and very descriptive. I'm happy to say you pulled my trigger, and I went and snagged the first three WST Dinobots immediately. ;) 

    But as a toy-centric fan (And habitual kitbasher) who doesn't really care for the Animation posterity too much, I'm curious -- could one possibly buy the green Slag and swap the parts with the toon Slag, to make a proper G1 toy mimic? The Swoop is not so much an issue -- I'd just need to acquire the Santa set instead of the single release, to get his proper G1 toy deco...and it comes with the missile launchers for the others, just as the single release does, so I'm not seeing a down side to this plan...
     
  4. SCPrime

    SCPrime Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2006
    Posts:
    4,134
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    202
    Likes:
    +18
    Nice review! I only skimmed through it but I didn't see you mention anything about Grimlock's bot head being able to slide forward (unlike his OG G1 counterpart) so that his head doesn't look too flushed back now. I thought that was a nice design change.
     
  5. shifty02

    shifty02 Greetings Programs

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2002
    Posts:
    5,592
    Trophy Points:
    211
    Likes:
    +0
    Nice review! The only one I'm missing is the G2 Slag.
    I also have yet to break any of them out of their boxes, but after seeing the review, I just might have to now :) 
     
  6. Victorysabre

    Victorysabre Born to Transform

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Posts:
    2,312
    News Credits:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    206
    Likes:
    +20
    You're so right! Can't believe I forgot to mention that. That was one thing I noticed that quickly impressed me about the Grimlock figure.

    As for swapping the parts, I'd have to look them a bit to see how easy that might be. Just remember: the hardware is TINY.
     
  7. ShadowStitch

    ShadowStitch vectoring the hate plague

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Posts:
    2,023
    Trophy Points:
    207
    Likes:
    +12
    Too late! I already bought them -- plan "WST DINOBOTS G1 EDITION" is already in motion!

    I'm used to dealing with WST parts and mods, (I gave my WST Soundwave a swivel joint head even) so... In a week or two I'll give it a shot and see if I can't make it happen! ;) 
     
  8. ShadowStitch

    ShadowStitch vectoring the hate plague

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Posts:
    2,023
    Trophy Points:
    207
    Likes:
    +12
    Well, I just finished collecting a buttload of these WST Dinobots, thanks to this review.

    I got one of each regular release, the green G2 Slag, and the Green Grimlock/Red Swoop stocking stuff package.

    I only bought the WST green G2 Slag because I wanted to try swapping parts with the regular WST Slag release to make a more G1 accurate version... but it looks like it is not to be... not without some serious retrofitting, since the leg pivots are melted shut, not held with a screw. I'd have to break the melted parts off, remove the lower leg halves, drill small holes, and use custom screws to hold the parts back on. I'm not sure if the local hobby shop carries screws small enough for this purpose, but I'm going to look. Though I'm not entirely dedicated to seeing this project through.

    It might be easier for me to just take some paint to the red and white parts on the G1 Slag, and leave the far more valuable G2 Slag intact... maybe have him take his place next to my full-size green G2 Slag, or just trade/sell him back off... ;) 
     

Share This Page