I received this bad-boy over the weekend courtesy of the great guys at Kapow Toys, the fourth release from the Fans Toys Iron Dibots line; Stomp, an obvious homage to Dinobot Sludge. For many people this completes the set as a lot of people are happy with MP08 Grimlock in dinosaur mode (lets ignore the stupid New Rock boots that came with Scoria), or they may have invested in the Reximus Prime over-sized KO of MP08, for me – given the quality of this piece – I already have my pre-order in for their unfortunately app-named Grindr.
As many of you know, I am something of a line-whore. As such, when I received Scoria (Slag), as impressed as I was with the sheer size of him, I didn’t fall in love with him. It didn’t help that mine was partially damaged preventing the back-pack folding away properly in robot mode. Their Swoop analogue Soar was well received by most, but I felt the neck joint for dinosaur mode prevented it from being all it could be, but I loved the fact you could chose between TV accurate blue or comic and toy accurate unified red. Snarl was my first Dinobot as a kid, so as such Sever was eagerly anticipated, but scary hip joints in mine limit how often I pick him up and fiddle with him.
Enter Stomp; a Sludge homage who is very, very impressive. The team is really coming together now!
Stylistically, he fits right in with his team mates (I’m saving the group shot for all five of them together), and he looks great. Out of the box, you notice instantly how heavy he feels, often seen as a mark of quality. Coupled with great joints, it’s nice to see the quality backs up the heft.
He comes with his sword which fits nicely into his hands, and a hang-gun that looks more like his old missile launcher than his G1 hand-gun. This is a bit of a disappointment, as the rest of the DiBots have come with their hand guns (obvious exception being Soar), and the missile launcher doesn’t launch, or clip-on to the dinosaur mode – I’m not sure if that’s an option that people want, but to me that would make it more complete. The one major change over the original toy that I’m sure 99% of people will be very happy with, is the new animation model style head, which of course was also used in the comic.
He comes packaged with some new parts for Sever which shows Fans Toys commitment to aftercare too, as well as swap-able cartoon eyes to re-create the controversial scene in the movie (some people hate that scene), and a little screw-driver to help replace it. It’s a great add-on, but one I will never use as I don’t want to risk ruining the lovely chrome on his head.
If you’ve ever held the G1 toy, you know pretty much what to expect from the transformation. I know I’m normally one to complain about toys packaged in robot mode, as the first transformation should be the reveal (stop me if you’ve heard this), but Stomp’s transformation is very intuitive and he was no problem to get into dinosaur mode WITHOUT INSTRUCTIONS, which to me is the mark of a fun transformation.
The legs can be tricky, and because I was relying too much on the G1 to guide me, I missed the thigh extender for a while, but everything comes together very nicely. Like his DiBots counterparts, great efforts have been made to eliminate or minimise the amount of animal leg kibble visible on robot mode to stay faithful to his animation model, and they do this by once again following the path laid out by the excellent MP08 by utilising inner leg space, leg space which also contains his tail. They fit a lot in, but again, everything works very intuitive and I guess it’s sad that we take this innovation for granted, but at least the figure does what we want it to. For me, the greatest “eureka!” moment with this figure was the rear dinosaur legs, with the lower leg very neatly storing away inside the upper leg. Genius! Genuinely brilliant. The way the “toes” splay on the front legs to assist the robot hand storage is also very neat.
In alt. mode, oodles of chrome which is mostly lost on the robot mode make this guy pop. A lot. His tail, upper torso and claws look great, as do his gold parts. He has three points of articulation in his head and a working jaw, one which hides an almost-standard-by-now-gun-hidden-in-dinosaur-mouth. His front legs are very poseable – a huge improvement on the G1 – with a thigh swivel and the toe movement helping to make Stomp a bit more stompy. His rear legs are a bit disappointing, as they only have lateral movement, albeit two points of it. His tail has two points of articulation, and is held nicely in place for plenty of tail-wagging.
I like this guy a lot, definitely my favourite of the set. Both modes look great and he’s fun! His rear robot mode torso maybe feels a bit hollow, but then that’s done to help his dinosaur head fold away to minimise kibble and it works well, but I will miss storing old chewing gum in his chest as I did with the G1 toys as a kid (what?!?).
If I had to nitpick one problem with this entire line, it would be that there is zero weapon storage. That seems VERY, VERY odd in 2016. I get that in some ways they are limited by the G1 inspired-transformation, but many other 3P companies still find a way to store weapons, and at the least Takara have figured out a way of sticking the weapons on car mode for an attack mode, and let’s face it, that DOES have a precedent with G1 Dinobots and their missile launchers being able to weaponise the dinosaurs, something that the Gigapower figure actually utilised (which you can read about here on the always excellent Square One blog by Maz.
I’ve often had this thing where I like Sludge to be MASSIVE, as in, bigger than Grimlock. As such, for a while there I was considering waiting for the Gigapower Sludge. Well, given that Fans Toys are 4/5 and Gigapower are still only 1/5 with what I felt was a way too big Snarl with Guttur, I think my choice to stick with Fans Toys is a wise one.
Stomp and many other Fans Toys products are available from Kapow here.