Snarl (Transformers Generation 1)

Transformers Power of the Primes Snarl Only in war is there happiness.

Autobot faction symbol
Name: Snarl
Allegiance: Autobots
Function: Desert Warrior
Sub-group: Dinobot, Firestormer
Timeline: Generation 1

Toyline: Transformers Power of the Primes

Profile:

Transformers Power of the Primes Snarl robot mode
Snarl is one profoundly unhappy Autobot, who speaks little and thinks for himself even less. "Let others make the strategy", Snarl thinks, "I'll just go where I'm told and fight whomever I'm ordered to fight." When he's not on a mission, Snarl tends to skulk at the edge of any gathering of Autobots, exuding discontentment. Snarl is one of a number of Autobots who do not enjoy Earth - he'd much rather spend his time on Cybertron's metallic plains. He also dislikes his dinosaur alternate mode, which he feels is ugly and ungainly. Snarl thinks that other Autobots must find him ugly too, given the way they tend to avoid him - but in truth, most Autobots are absolutely terrified of Snarl. Not only do the Dinobots have a well-earned reputation as a fearsome combat unit, but Snarl in particular is known for how much he revels in a battle. Only when he is engaged in mortal combat does Snarl truly feel alive - the lethargy of his depression letting go of him, if only briefly. The joy and vigour that Snarl displays when he fights scares many Autobots - they steer well clear of Snarl because they're concerned he might snap and turn his fury on them. The end result is a vicious cycle - fighting, the one thing that makes Snarl feel alive, is feeding the circumstances that leave him feeling isolated when he is not fighting.

Abilities:

Snarl is physically extremely strong and durable, even though Grimlock, Slag and Sludge all outperform him in terms of strength. Under ordinary circumstances, Snarl can shrug off most munitions - his dense armour in dinosaur mode is particularly good at resisting or even deflecting missiles. In dinosaur mode, Snarl can shatter a 20-foot concrete cube in a single swipe of his tail.

Unlike the other Dinobots, Snarl has a unique trait which enables him to significantly boost his strength for short periods. He is able to collect and store solar energy using the spinal plates on his back in dinosaur mode. Snarl is then able to utilise this additional energy reserve to increase his strength by a factor of ten and his stamina by a virtually limitless degree. In addition Snarl can use his solar reserves to unleash energy blasts from his tail in dinosaur mode. Every hour Snarl spends in an arid, sunny environment absorbing solar energy translates into around ten minutes of augmented performance. Autobot scientist Perceptor notes that Snarl should in theory be able to regulate the rate of his consumption of his solar power reserves, increasing the duration of the strength boost in exchange for reducing the overall increase to Snarl's strength. To date, Snarl has never demonstrated this ability, or a willingness to try - which relieves Perceptor, as he believes Snarl could also theoretically also use all his reserves in a single burst to achieve a hundred or even thousandfold boost to his physical strength - which would almost certainly be accompanied by mechanical failure.

In robot mode, Snarl's primary weapon is a modified energo-sword. Like the similar swords wielded by his fellow Dinobots, Snarl's energo-sword has a keen cutting edge which is augmented by an energy field. Unique to Snarl's energo-sword is the ability to unleash blasts of energy over a short range, much like a laser rifle, rather than just charging the blade in energy to increase its cutting power. Snarl wields an electron cannon for long-range combat, which much like the one wielded by fellow Dinobot Sludge releases blasts of high-voltage electricity capable of shorting out electrical systems. Snarl's version of the electron cannon sacrifices some of the power of Sludge's weapon in exchange for a greater effective range. Snarl also on occasion makes use of a mortar, which he uses to deliver high-explosive payloads to advancing Decepticon forces, softening them up in preparation for a close-combat assault.

Weaknesses:

Snarl is so used to operating in his augmented state that he sometimes forgets he will only have a fraction of his strength if he exhausts his solar batteries. He is virtually dependent on sunlight - so combat at night or in situations where he is unable to gather sufficient solar energy can leave him at a serious disadvantage.

Snarl's general attitude of "do, don't question" only really extends to Grimlock's orders - if anyone else gives the order, he's extremely uncooperative. Furthermore, because Snarl only truly feels alive in battle, he's prone to wandering off in the middle of a mission to find a good fight - sometimes placing himself in dangerous situations or leaving his fellow Autobots (and sometimes even the other Dinobots) to fend for themselves.

Stegosaurus mode:

Transformers Power of the Primes Snarl Stegosaurus mode

Additional images of Snarl:

Transformers Power of the Primes Snarl robot mode posed 1 Transformers Power of the Primes Snarl robot mode posed 2 Transformers Power of the Primes Snarl robot mode posed 3

More information on Snarl at TFW2005

Author notes:

Wow.

Growing up, I only ever thought of Snarl as "the fifth Dinobot", without knowing much about him. Unlike the other Dinobots, I have no real memories of Snarl, to the point I'd forgotten how utterly bleak his bio actually is. Here was me thinking Snarl could have been one of the happier Dinobots!

I did work in a few aspects of my limited knowledge of Snarl into the bio. Snarl's habit of wandering off to seek more exciting combat, for example, is an explanation for why Snarl vanished during Transformers the Movie - he's totally at the battle of Autobot City, he just decided that he'd bail out of the shuttle early and fight Blitzwing.... or something. I did have a thought on Snarl's ultimate fate - after the end of the Cybertronian War, I see Snarl having a hard time adjusting to life without fighting. It's sad, really. This Dinobot lives a life defined by combat and war, and if you ever take him off the battlefield he'll struggle to adjust to peace - potentially snapping and hurting a lot of people. I figure Snarl will avoid that fate by becoming a mercenary along with Slag and a few other Autobots who wouldn't adjust well to the absense of fighting.

Snarl's solar power ability is very interesting. It's almost a super power (or in Transformers lore, an outlier ability). When I read the description of the power, my thought was "so could he turn down the power boost and make his reserves last longer"? That reminded me of something in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series. In Mistborn, the main characters ingest metals to grant themselves various powers. They can "flare" these abilities - using up their reserves more quickly for a greater effect - or reduce the benefit to extend its duration. That inspired the idea that maybe Snarl could do the same and "flare" his solar powered strength boost to deliver a punch capable of delivering a one-hit KO to Metroplex - but then limited by the fact that Snarl is too stubborn to consider anything other than what he's doing, leaving it unclear what his actual capabilities - and their mechanical limits - are.

There's been a bunch of Dinobot toys named Snarl since Generation 1, at least one of which was actually Slag (don't tell Snarl. It'll only upset him). The toy featured here is Power of the Primes Snarl, one of the better Dinobots from the line. My common criticism of the Dinobots from Power of the Primes applies - he's a bit too small for the character, but other than the size he's spot on. All the little details are present and correct, the design is exactly how it should be, and the transformation is very faithful to Generation 1 Snarl complete with the defining feature of the tail splitting in two and sitting behind Snarl's shoulders. He even comes with a sword, which was Snarl's signature weapon (he even used it instead of a gun, shooting energy blasts from it in some scenes). He's an excellent realisation of the original Snarl, and the poseability of the robot mode is near perfect (some might argue he needs ankle tilts or wrists, but these joints not being present doesn't bother me that much). Overall, I feel this version of Snarl is a perfect rendition of the character, small size notwithstanding.