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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Black Mamba Bottleneck and Dino-Troops ... ...

During the circuit breaker period, I have been lured to the dark side and this time it's Black Mamba mayhem!

I was just youtubing and saw reviews on very well made 3rd party transformers and then learned that there's indeed more than meets the eye with what's available out there. Although I have been initiated to this breed 1 or 2 years too late, I was able to find abundance of ready stocks on Taobao.

Today, the package came to the door and I had to open them to ensure they are as legit as what I saw.

Above, we have Bottleneck and below, Dino-troops in combiner mode!

First up, Let's take a look at Bottleneck.

I am very impressed with what I saw when I first opened up Bottleneck aka Barricade. This may be a revised version as the packaging I saw on Youtube has the name Barricade on the packaging.

I have seen what Hasbro and Takaratomy has previously produced and were not impressed. Then I saw the Masterpiece version and wasn't interested. However, this one, based on the price I paid for it, I like!

The mouth opens and closes like the Masterpiece version.

Articulation is very good on this piece and there is quite a fair bit of diecast used. the phrase 合金版 was printed on the box and indeed, it lives up to its claim. 合金版 translated as Alloy Edition.

The vehicle mode is good as well. This is the Ford Mustang Saleen featured in The Last Knight. Everything is similar except for the missing Decepticons emblem like all 3rd party Transformers.

Everything is good until... sigh, Black Mamba did not do as good a job in quality control. The POLICE on the spoiler isn't flushed and so is the registration plate on the back. Well, you win some, you lose some.

Next, let's take a look at Dino-troops aka Volcanicus, a Dinobot combiner.

Although it's stated to be Alloy Edition like Bottleneck above, somehow, I don't quite feel the diecast anywhere. Black Mamba uses actual dinosaur names:

Brachiosaurus - Sludge
T-Rex - Grimlock
Pterosauria - Swoop
Triceratops - Slug
Stegosaurus - Snarl

Frankly at this point, I was rather disappointed with the product and they look and feel cheapo, though I did really pay for very little so I thought I might have gotten a knock-off of knock-offs.

Well, I went ahead to combine Volcanicus first. The process was mainly self discovery as there are no instructions on how to get it done.

The final product changed my opinion of the figure and it looks pretty good. From what I saw on Youtube, Black Mamba's version is bigger than Hasbro's.

The arm articulation gives an illusion of muscle movements as the limbs of Swoop and Slug moved independently.

The front of the figure looks better than the rear of course.

With the photo below, I want to say again:

I finally have all the Dinobots ... ...

This time these are really very G1 lookalike compared to the Michael Bay's version.

Below, let's take a look at all the Dinobots in dino mode.

Then, let's have them in robo mode.

There are hits and misses in terms of the Dinobots. Grimlock looks good in robo mode but dino mode is really bad. Swoop suffers the same fate. Snarl and Sludge are the best in both modes. The worst would be Slug which is bad in both modes.

Ending off with a parting photo of Grimlock and Barricade. This would not be the last of Black Mamba as I await the arrival of the others...

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