Rhinox was my favourite character in the entire Beast Wars series. I am already quite partial to rhinos, but his personality was what really sold me. Of course, that means there are no words to properly summarize my feelings when he was then warped into an almost indistinguishable parody of himself in Beast Machines. Regardless of his deathbed repentance, my reaction can be best summed up by the incomparable Madeline Kahn as Mrs. White in Clue: The Movie:
In fact, just thinking about it is bringing those angry feelings back up, so best to stop while I can still write a comprehensible post — at least until later this year when the new mold Generations Tankor is released…
Rhinox’s toy appears to have been mostly a suggestion when it came to creating his cartoon model.
There are some definite details present in both, like the chest plate made from his beast mode’s lower jaw and the robot mode head design especially.
Other things are far more suggestive, such as the huge skirt on the toy being shrunk to knee-length and the crotchplate being almost eliminated. Some things were understandably dropped altogether, such as the flaps from the sides of his head, along with the accompanying gimmick, the “Mutant Head” formed by closing them.
Even his weapons weren’t safe from the “eliminate or reinterpret” rules. Eliminated was his sword formed from his beast mode’s tail and drastically reinterpreted was his spinning sawblade/double flail weapon.
The end result is the melee weapon wielding, Samurai-looking robot was turned into a stocky bruiser carrying dual “chainguns of doom”.
This fit with his alt mode, the rumbling rhinoceros, but — evidence of the show’s genius — was juxtaposed wonderfully with his personality as the quiet, technological and scientifically-minded, almost mystical zen master.
When it was announced that Rhinox would receive a Generations update I was initially very happy about it especially given how well Generations Waspinator turned out. Then, remembering how Generations Cheetor and Dinobot turned out, I moved to the cautiously optimistic side of things. Turns out no worry was necessary. Design-wise he turned out spectacularly.
Really his only issue is the tremendous looseness of his leg joints. One thing that helps this a lot is to not pivot down the piece that holds his legs. With it rotated down, he is taller, but he is also less stable and looks too long and thin, in my opinion.
Everything about this update is a good balance between the detail of the toy and his less detailed, but more familiar cartoon appearance. His guns, called “twin Gatling Guns of Doom” in homage to the fan name on the packaging, are present and accounted for.
As far as alt mode, both do a decent looking rhinoceros, but the original actually does a little better job of hiding the robot parts thanks to all those large pieces that are hanging off his robot mode.
Of course, at least from the top, the Generations release looks like a more realistic rhino; in fact, much more realistic than the cartoon version. I absolutely adore his beast mode headsculpt.
Granted, the age of the cartoon makes its flaws very easily overlooked, especially when it comes to this flower loving gentle giant .
Speaking of the cartoon, Rhinox is the only Maximal member of the cast to make it all the way through all three season unchanged and still alive. Despite not being affected by the Transmetal wave in the show, the toyline had different designs for him. First up was Transmetal Rhinox. I don’t actually own the original Transmetal Rhinox. At the time of his release — either for monetary or dumb “show accurate” reasons — I didn’t pick him up. Next, to promote the Fox Kids reruns of the TV show, a series of repaints were released. The first Rhinox mold, the non-Transmetal one, was repainted as “Energon Surge Rhinox” (though that name only ever appeared on Hasbro’s product list on BeastWars.com).
So, I didn’t bother getting the new mold Transmetal Rhinox, but I bought that? Yeah… I still don’t know what I was thinking. As a repaint, he makes a pretty good “Evil Rhinox”.
Or, at least, he would if the cartoon hadn’t already done that.
I eventually rectified the lack of the Transmetal Rhinox mold in my collection when the Fox Kids repaint of that one showed up as well.
I still can’t remember why I didn’t buy the first Transmetal Rhinox other than the fact that it couldn’t look any less like the cartoon Rhinox I grew to love. My collecting at that time was a tad schizophrenic. I didn’t get Transmetal Terrorsaur originally (picked him up years later), but I did pick up Transmetal Waspinator though not Fox Kids Transmetal Waspinator.
Being a Transmetal, he also has a third, vehicular mode. The slow, plodding rhino got some much needed speed with the addition of a half-treaded, half-sled wearing tank-like mode.
As you can see, I ended up buying the Transmetal Rhinox mold a second time when it showed up, along with Transmetal Terrorsaur, Cheetor, and Airrazor, all modified with Mini-con ports and with their Maximal or Predacon symbols swapped for Autobot or Decepticon, in Armada. This time it was because I was Mini-con crazy and wanted every Mini-con I could get my hands on.
Very little sense can be had with a mechanical rhinoceros with the tiny snow groomer, Armorhide, hanging off of him, but even less so when he ends up as a herald of Unicron — “War” in a not-so-subtle Horseman of the Apocalypse analogy — in the Dreamwave comics.
He even showed up for a heartbeat in the Armada cartoon, miscolored as his original Transmetal incarnation.
Of course that’s nothing compared to IDW’s Beast Wars Sourcebook. There Transmetal Rhinox is the Vok-created body that Rhinox uses to travel the multiverse to fight Unicron’s chaotic effects and atone for his actions in Beast Machines.
Poor, poor Rhinox, post-Beast Wars fiction has not been kind to you.