For a line that was only intended to pass the time, Transformers Classics turned out really well. We got cool updates of a lot of classic characters, as well as some new surprises. See, along with all the new Deluxe and Voyager Class figures, we also got a buttload of new Mini-Cons, carrying over a theme that started with Armada and returned for Cybertron. It's not like G1 had figures this small.
"We fight where others fear to go."
Adventurers through and through, no evironment is too inhospitable for the Dinobots. In fact, these three tough robots are more at home in the thickest, most poisonous jungles of the galaxy than they are in the comfortable machine cities of Cybertron. When a mission requires animal instincts, sure feet and a laser-proof hide, the Dinobots are the ones to call.
Though we already got an updated Grimlock in the classics line, these Dinobots seem to be unrelated.
In fact, they even have a T-rex of their own! Terrorsaur is a 2" tall tyrant king with green skin trying to conceal some technological details - at a distance, he looks completely natural, but when you get up close, his inorganic nature becomes apparent. Look at the air intakes on his face and shoulders, or the armored plates on his legs and tail. Wen you open his mouth, he doesn't have a tongue, but instead the barrel of a gun. He's a big fat phony!
Transforming him is simple. Just fold the tail up onto his back, straighten the legs, turn the waist 90° and split the head/neck to become arms. Finito! The robot is 2¼" tall and articulated at the hips, waist, shoulders, and left "wrist."
He has Mini-Con ports on both hips.
It seems "Terrorsaur" is a name lifted from Beast Wars, so maybe that's why this robot's detailed little head kind of looks like BW's Rhinox. It looks very small sitting on his broad shoulders, but has that ever been a major deciding factor in a Transformer's design? The arms suffer a bit from each just being half a tyrannosaurus head, and of course the legs haven't changed at all. The sculpted details really serve the robot well, though, making him more than just a green lump of plastic.
Next we have the triceratops, Knockdown. Like G1's Slag,
Knockdown is a completely technological dino. Sure, he's got smooth line and his colors suggest flesh rather than steel, but it's all an illusion. Examine him, and you'll see welded plates, exposed wiring, and other obvious mechanical elements. Unlike Terrorsaur, Knockdown doesn't really have any articulation in beast mode; it's all used for the transformation, which is surprisingly complex for such a litle guy.
Flip down the outsides of the front legs, then lower that whole assembly down. Rotate the rear legs so the insides face the outside, then split the tail and spread it out to the sides. Push the beak down, rotate the robot's head up until it clicks into place, then flip the beak back into the chest.
The overall effect of Knockdown's robot form is a very powerful-looking bot.
His chest, shoulders and arms are all very large, making him look strong, and two of the triceratops' horns just from his chest. The fact that his legs are so skinny just exaggerates this effect. His face isn't as complex as Terrorsaur's, but it's cute. The design looks like the feet were put on backwards, but that is as it should be. Knockdown basically moves at the Big Five: his hips swivel, his shoulders and balljoints and he can sort of nod his head. Still, the design is really nice.
Finally, we have the one figure
in this set that might not be a brand-new character. Back in G1, the Dinobots' pterodactyl was Swoop. In this set, the Dinobot's pterodactyl is Swoop. Are they the same guy? Well, there's nothing to say they're not, and it would certainly be one heck of a coincidence. Like Knockdown, this is a fully robotic creature, not trying to "pass." There are a lot of cool details, though, like the little arms on the underside of the wings, the articulated feet or the moving jaw! You can make Swoop flap his wings or, if you don't care about him looking broken, make him stand up.
It's a bit confusing to describe Swoop's transformation. Basically, the grey parts of his wings turn into his legs, the red parts turn into arms, and the head is the head. Yeah, that sounds straightforward, but trust us,
it's more than you think. Swoop's Powerlinx port is on the bird's belly, but it gets covered up in robot mode.
So the transformation is really unique, but the articulation siffers for it. He moves at the ankles, wrists and shoulders, and that's it. You can't even move the head. Still, Swoop looks pretty nice in this mode (both modes, really), and although he's mostly hollow when viewed from behind, the light detailing on the sculpt is enough to give him some personality.
The Mini-Cons in the Classics line were a late addition - originally, they were intended to be released at the end of the Cybertron line, but tey got pushed back. Of course, they were also intended to be two-packs, not trios. That change led to Hasbro re-evaluating their costs, so the paints apps were simplified between the promo shots and the production samples. It's nothing too bad, just minor stuff. Still, these three Dinobots go together so well, it's hard to imagine how they would have been paired up for two-packs.