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Series: Galaxy Force
Year: 2005
Allegiance: Cybertron
Class: Deluxe
Prelude: Black repaints are a staple in the Transformers franchise. But while these black repaints are usually Primes or Convoys of some sort, occasionally we get black repaints of other figures, too. Such as in Galaxy Force, the Takara version of the Cybertron line, where Fang Wolf (known as Snarl in the West) received a black repaint. And while I have reviewed this mold before, it’s been seventeen years since then. Enough time has passed, I think, to give this figure another shot. Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: Dark Fang Wolf is a Deluxe-sized figure from the Animatros / Jungle Planet portion of the Galaxy Force / Cybertron toyline. As such he is quite clearly a robot, yet, but shows quite a few signs of his techno-organic beast mode, too, such as the rather big wolf’s head he has got instead of a right hand and the sculpted fur on his left forearm. Also, claws on his feet, in case you missed the other signs. Yes, this is quite clearly a robot that transforms into a beast.

Looking at my old review from 2006, I wrote that a different paintjob would have done wonders for Fang Wolf, because a lot of the detailing on his body gets lost in the mostly-white coloring. Well, this is a new paintjob, so how is it working? Despite being a “black” repaint, only a few portions of Dark Fang Wolf are actually black. The rest is two different shades of grey, silver, and some yellow highlights, too. Not the most colorful paintjob ever, but a nice mix and at least somewhat better at bringing out the details on this mold. I also very much like Fang Wolf’s face mold, which gives him a sort of wolf snout in robot mode, too. Very nicely done.

Fang Wolf is as well-articulated as you would expect from a figure of that time, meaning quite good, though a bit limited by today’s standard. His transformation somewhat precludes a hip swivel and while his arms and legs are fully articulated, it would have been nice to add a wrist swivel on his one hand. Mainly because of his main weapon, which is the tail of the wolf mode and functions as both a missile launcher and a sword. Cool sword poses kind of require a bit of wrist work, don’t you think? Still, a nicely articulated figure.

Looking back, I did get one thing wrong in my old review from 2006: Fang Wolf’s Force Chip gimmick. Putting his Force Chip (or Cyberkey) into the slot on his arm causes the fangs to emerge from the wolf’s opening mouth. It also causes the two pieces of molded fur on the sides of the wolf’s head to rotate. And here is where I got it wrong last time: by rotating those two pieces back down, the fangs DO remain in place even if you remove the Force Chip again. Doesn’t really change much, really, but I did complain about that back in 2006, so here I am putting the record straight. The Force Chip does NOT need to remain in place for the gimmick to work. When not needed, Fang Wolf can clip his Force Chip to his left leg.

Bottom line for the robot mode then: still a cool beast robot and, to me, looking a bit better in black than he did in white and blue.

Alternate Mode: Unsurprisingly a character called Fang Wolf transforms into a techno-organic wolf. The transformation is not terribly complicated, but interesting nevertheless as Fang Wolf basically turns his entire torso inside out. The result is a nicely proportioned wolf with four fully articulated legs. Fang Wolf’s rifle/sword becomes the wolf’s tail and can move up and down a bit. The only thing that is fully immobile is the head (minus the opening jaw). The Force Chip gimmick works in this mode as well, of course, the slot for the Force Chip now in Fang Wolf’s neck.

Not much more I can write here, to be honest. Here, too, the black and grey colors bring out the details a bit better than before and I really like the aesthetic of the Animatros beastformers a lot, a great mixture between organic and technological look. So bottom line: a very nice wolf mode.

Remarks: Fang Wolf (or Snarl, as he was called in Cybertron) was one of the major players on the planet Animatros, supporting Ligerjack (or Leobreaker) in his battles against Flame Convoy (or Scourge). Later on, he accompanied the Cybertrons (or Autobots) on their quest for the remaining Planet Forces (or Cyber Planet Keys) and remained a part of their team until the series’ end. Now Fang Wolf never turned black in the series, so it’s anyone’s guess what exactly this black repaint is supposed to represent. Evil clone? Power up? Important night mission? Aesthetic preference? Take your pick.

Side note: despite being a repaint, Dark Fang Wolf comes in the same packaging as regular Galaxy Force Fang Wolf, the only change being a sticker on the window with Japanese writing that basically translates as “Black Version”. Which, by the way, also leads to a discussion on whether this toy is actually called Dark Fang Wolf, Black Fang Wolf, or Fang Wolf (Black Version), seeing as the packaging itself simply says “Fang Wolf”. Personally, I went with “Dark Fang Wolf” (in keeping with Dark Nitro Convoy and Dark Ligerjack), but that is entirely personal preference.

Either way, this is a cool figure and, personally, I must say he does look better in black. The great detailing on the figure is (slightly) more visible and a black wolf makes a bit more sense than a white and blue one. Still, not only is this black repaint exclusive to the Takara line, but it was also an exclusive from the Japanese Toy’s Dream Project and limited to 6,000 pieces, so it is bound to be a good deal more expensive than the original. You will need to decide whether a new coat of paint is worth the price hike. Bottom line, though: a pretty good figure either way.

Rating: B+
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