As a kid, one of my favorite Transformers was the dinosaur-like Cindersaur because he looked a lot like the Godzilla-esque monster wind-ups which could shoot sparks out of their mouths, and it could turn into a robot. Given about three years of distance I realized full well how much the robot mode sucked, but let's face it-- these were not designed for 30-something cranky toy critics. They were designed for boys aged 4-11 in the 1980s when any articulation in robot mode was pretty exciting. I won't lie to you-- the robot mode sucks. It's basically a statue, except you can pose the legs a little bit. If you do, though, he may have some difficulty standing.
The robot mode is basically a brick. The arms only move inward for transformation, so you can't really pose them. Since the legs are also the creature's legs, you have some range of movement. Basically, what you have here is a toy that's toy-ness takes away from its ability to be posed as a figure. If you were 6 when it came out, you'd probably dig it-- the colors are bright and it is robotic enough to be fun, but as an adult you can't do much more than look at it and go "oh, neat."
The monster mode is where the toy gets to be fun. There's a geared sparking mechanism powered by a wheel on his belly, which managed to create friction and make him zoom along the floor like some sort of psychotic penguin from Hell. (I appreciate this.) In monster mode, you could move his head, arms, and legs so he could stand or do this weird slip and slide pose. I dig it, the purple and yellow design looks appropriately late-1980s and frankly, he's cute. The fat little monster feels like he would be right at home fighting Godzilla or the Autobots, but in American cartoons he would do neither. (He did have a small role in the comics.)
As a toy, it's just OK-- if you could buy it today I'd give it a mild "buy," because the wheel and mechanisms don't age particularly well. A well-loved Cindersaur is going to show some wear and probably won't "breathe fire" quite like he did back in 1988. If you like the look of the character, you should totally get one. Carded samples are about $30, loose are $15 or cheaper-- so you can probably afford one.
The only other Cindersaur toy was the Botcon 2010 "G2" version, which is a bright (and clear) blue recolor of Beast Wars 10th Anniversary Megatron. You know, the one with the Cyber Key up its genitals. I like it because it's weird, but this little original G1 Cindersaur has been with me for years and I really dig the little dude. Even though he has no guns, little articulation, and virtually no backstory, he's fun and small and isn't that enough?
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