If you're interested in time-honoured, well-known, much-loved vintage Generation 1 Transformers variants that seem to have been around longer than the hobby itself, you won't get much better than the Hasbro Canada late 1984 release of Dinobot Flamethrower Slag, or "Scories" as he was called on the Canadian packaging. Often considered cartoon-accurate (although he isn't completely), 'Red Slag' seems to become more popular as the years go by as folks take the opportunity to polish up certain corners of their near-complete G1 collections. Inevitably, its price has gone up too.
|Canadian G1 Red Slag|
|Certain GiG Diaclone Triceratops have the same scheme - and moulding|
The 'Red Slag' has a few very easily identifiable distinguishing features that make it as popular as it is. The name implies that its the increased amount of red on the figure compared to the regular G1 Slag that makes it special, but that's not the whole story.
|One of a couple Canadian Slag variants|
The Red Slag - the famous one - also has a silver robot face, and white robot legs which provide a massive part of the successful contrast that makes this variant so appealing. The red parts are important too of course, you've got the red robot helmet, red fists, red 'spine' and incredibly-tough-to-replace red missile launcher.
|Easy to see why it's called "Red"|
It's interesting to note that the late 1984 GiG Italian Diaclone Dinosaur Robo Triceratops also came in this exact colour scheme with the same copyright, but also another version with silver horns. Canada itself got another Canadian Slag too, with black legs but some features of this "Red Slag" as well. Then there was the standard Hasbro Slag that is most common in Canada.
|That launcher is a $100 accessory easily|
One of the things that stops this being 100% cartoon accurate is the fact that his face is not 100% red like cartoon Slag, but this looks better in my opinion, easily the nicest colour scheme this mould ever enjoyed. It's also the colour scheme of the Hasbro mock-up protos that can be seen in the earlier catalogue photography and on all Hasbro G1 Slag boxes. It's basically Hasbro photo-shoot Slag colours. Photo-shoot Slag, heh...
|Standard vs Red G1 Slag|
|Allow for heavy chrome wear on standard specimen when comparing|
Because the Red Slag is an early Dinobot release, it has certain features like pointier thinner missile tips, and the box has 1984 box artwork on the rear. There is also no "Transformers" in a thin black box above the name/function bar(s) on the box front, those started being added to 1985 series 2 Transformers boxes. The red spine on the Canadian variant means that it's pretty easy to spot this toy in dinosaur mode, the hinge halfway up his back is red as opposed to the more common black on normal G1 Slag.
|Still a group of headturners|
As mentioned before, Red Slag is an oldskool G1 variant that seems to have been known about forever, part of the fabric of early Transformers rarities like the European Red Tracks, Black Mexican Prowl and even the Diaclone Blue Bluestreak. I've really never been a big fan of the Dinobot toys or characters, as some UK collectors commented recently, it can be hard to understand why anyone unfamiliar with vintage Transformers comics could find them appealing based solely on their cartoon personas.
|FansToys have done their homework|
But, appealing it is, and - if you can believe it - even moreso in hand. I believe FansToys have launched their FT-04 Scoria range with the most appealing scheme of the lot for this character, but as usual it depends on your point of entry. Comic and toy-centric fans may prefer the regular black-helmet look for Scoria/Slag, Sunbow cartoon lovers may wish for an all red face, and as a variant collector originally, this is the scheme I most prefer.
2014 is definitely the year of the Dinobot, and the spotlight is on Slag.