Way back in 1985, during a trip to the US, I was with my mom at the grocery store in line at the check out counter. I decided to wander off a bit and something caught my eye at the end of the counter. There stacked neatly in a display were a bunch of new Transformers that I had never seen before….these weren’t the usual cars or planes that I knew…these were something different….these were…dinosaurs!
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved dinosaurs…long before Star Wars, He-Man, G.I.Joe or Transformers, I was really into those prehistoric beasts that came in all shapes and sizes. I was into them well before I could even read properly. In fact, it was my interest in dinosaurs that encouraged me to learn how to read so I could identify each one of them by their long and difficult names.
Of all the dinosaurs, hands down, my favorite was the Triceratops (which I initially pronounced “Tree-ke-ra-tops), it was love at first sight. While most of my friends gravitated towards his presumed enemy, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Triceratops’ bony frill topped with three horns making for a fearsome visage easily won me over. He was like a living breathing tank.
Anyway confronted with all these new dinosaurs, I immediately looked for my favorite dinosaur and I found him….Slag. And for the rest of the trip, Slag never left my side.
Now the Dinobots were part of the second wave of Transformers introduced in 1985 and while they each possessed their own unique personalities, common among all of them was that they were all brutish, slow and somewhat abrasive individuals. While they were technically on the side of the Autobots, they didn’t particularly like them…they just hated Decepticons more. They were also more loyal to their own leader, Grimlock rather than to Optimus Prime.
Now as bad as the Dinobots were, Slag was supposedly the nastiest of the bunch. His bio describes him as mean spirited and disturbingly violent. He once shot his former commanding officer in the back to to convince him that they were outflanked in a battle and had to make a frontal assault. There’s nothing he enjoys more than reducing Decepticons (or any unlucky Autobot who gets in the way) into pools of molten metal with his fiery breath. And if he could, would even celebrate by swimming in those pools. His greatest contribution to the Autobot cause was the murdering of numerous Decepticon prisoners and playing “kick the can” with their severed heads (something he has shown to have an odd fascination with). Of all the Dinobots, he is the only one arrogant enough to mouth off to Grimlock and challenge his leadership.
Another thing interesting about Slag is his name. Now it isn’t uncommon for many Transformer characters to get slight name changes through the years. More often than not it’s due to Hasbro losing the rights to the name. But in Slag’s case, it’s a little different. By definition, the word “slag” refers to “stony waste matter separated from metals during the smelting or refining of ore”. Given his affinity for melting his enemies and his “charming” personality, the name seems apt. However the word “slag” also has a negative slang definition in the British language referring to a slut. Interestingly enough, “slag” is also commonly used as a swear word in the Transformers mythos (“aw, slag! Or “you mother-slagger””). So because of this, for later releases of Slag, Hasbro opted to release him under the name “Snarl” (despite the fact that there is already another Dinobot with that name) or “Slug”.
Anyway, despite this bad attitude and unfortunate name, because he transformed into my favorite dinosaur, Slag has remained my favorite Dinobot up to this day. and I am quite happy at the fact that he has had a good number of toy updates throughout the years. Like most G1 toys, the original Slag wasn’t much to write home about. His robot mode was…ok, and his dino mode was decent at best. Like I said, once I got him, I brought him with me wherever I went. I overplayed him to the point that his horns became floppy messes that I had to eventually superglue to keep them in their proper position.
It would be quite a number of years before I got my next Slag, 2008 to be exact. Slag was released as “Snarl” for the Transformers Animated line. Now this guy was a definite improvement over the original. He sported the cartoony look of the series but had a quite innovative transformation. Plus, he sported a huge club for a weapon that unfortunately looked like a giant cheeto.
Then in 2014, Slag was front and center with his fellow Dinobots as they made their live action debut in the Transformers move, The Age of Extinction. This time around though he sported the name “Slug” and was now an ancient “knight” of Cybertron along with the other Dinobots…although how they managed to get such an honorable title as “knight” is beyond me.
In the third party Transformers scene, there have been many different versions of Slag, but I never felt the need to get any of them until I came across the offering from Gigapower in 2016 called Grassor. While other third party companies focused on making Slags that combined with the other Dinobots or Slags that transformed into other things other than a Triceratops, Grassor was supposed to be ultimate update of the original toy, the masterpiece version, so getting this guy was a no brainer for me. And he didn’t disappoint. Since this is a homage to the original toy, the transformation is pretty straight forward and not overly complicated which is what I prefer. Plus, this guy is HUGE standing a little over a foot tall and his dino mode is almost the size of a little cat (or a huge rat). Needless to say I don’t think I’ll be carrying this guy around with me wherever I go.
So while most people prefer Grimlock as their favorite Dinobot because he transforms into the fearsome Tyrannosaurus Rex, Slag will always be my favorite. Besides…I have always preferred cesium salami over beryllium baloney