Cliffbee.com: Classics Grimlock Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Grimlock
Series: Classics
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: T-Rex



T-REX MODE
Height: 15cm Length: 20cm Width: 8cm

   A grey Tyrannosaurus rex with gold paint on his neck and hindclaws along with some other spots on his body and tail. His eyes and a patch on top of his head are transparent red - the patch is there to give Grimlock a lightpipe effect. There are some black paint applications, notably some grease-like paint on the seams of his central torso. The left side sports a rubsign (which even sits within an indent) just above the hip. The colours match those of the original quite well, although this toy has a black missile launcher mounted on the back - which I'll come back too - something the original lacked. The colour scheme is a little duller than the original, since this toy has no chrome, but it clearly portrays the same character. The colour scheme here is perhaps a little bland then, but the detailing makes up for this - particularly the greasy seams.

   When the toy that would originally become Grimlock was originally designed, the T-Rex was thought to walk with its head held high and tail dragging behind. Scientists have since revised theories regarding this dinosaur and now believe the T-Rex walking on two legs with the tail and head level with one another (think of a seesaw in mid swing). This toy is designed to work in either position, allowing both show accuracy and realism. The detailing is purely robotic, ensuring Grimlock looks like a G1 update rather than a beast era toy - the designer has done a good job of making this distinction clear. I appreciate that this is a modern design which has a G1 feel to it.

   Grimlock now sports a black missile launcher on his back - and while it's detachable you're probably better off leaving it there, since the post it attaches to looks odd on its own. Essentially the launcher sits over his back, and resembles a bayonet. It's not really a traditional Dinobot weapon, but then I guess they had to do something to give Grimlock an alt-mode weapon, since the other Classics toys have them (well, aside from Bumblebee, but he gets a trailer). The launcher holds a single transparent red missile, which fires quite well. If you've got Grimlock in taildragging mode, the upwards angle makes for a spectacular launch (and if you're not careful, a hunt for the missile over the other side of the room).

   As well as the missile launcher, Grimlock also gains some poseability. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees bend and rotate. There's also some movement in the claws, allowing for stable walking poses. The short forelimbs are on restricted ball joints and move about as much as you'd expect vestigial arms to. His head can lift up and down (which allows for both standing poses) while the lower jaw opens and shuts. The tail is composed of four segments and a tip, all of which can swing from side-to-side, giving Grimlock a poseable tail, with joints tight enough that it'll hold the pose you give it.

   A good dinosaur mode that's both anatomically updated and able to tribute the older style stance of G1. The rubsign and deliberately robotic sculpt really help this figure succeed in feeling like a G1 Dinobot. I appreciate the poseability here, even if I don't think too much of where the missile launcher sits - well the post that sticks up to support it, more to the point. The dinosaur is easily Grimlock's better mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove and set aside the tail and missile launcher. Pull out the front of the dinosaur to form legs, lifting up the upper jaw to form the feet and lowering the lower jaw to form heelspurs. Split the legs and fold away the forelimbs, fold back panels to reveal the waist. The upper body goes through several twists and folds. The hindlegs become the robot arms in a fashion similar to those of Pretender Grimlock. The tail becomes a handheld whip and the launcher also becomes a handheld weapon.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 8cm

   A grey, gold and black robot that looks more like Pretender Grimlock than the G1 version. His arms, hips and boots are grey while the chest is painted gold and the thighs, groin and head are black. As with the dinosaur mode there's no chrome - which is why this figure looks so much like the Pretender toy. While there's no chrome there is a lot of paint here - not just on the chest but also gold paint on his ankles and tail, as well as a transparent red dome on his chest and red paint on his groin. The eyestrip is transparent red (with a working lightpipe), the head very much fits the stereotypical Grimlock head. The rubsign is visible on the outside of his left knee. The colour scheme is again suitable, although there are some visual aspects which detract from this.

   The idea here is right, but there are a few simple things that really let Grimlock down. As I've already alluded to - some are visual. There are two prominent screws on either shoulder which don't need to be visible here - the promo pictures lack these screws (which I assume were on the other side of the shoulders), and this looks a lot better. Annoyingly, there are raised lips around the holes so you can't just slap stickers over the holes. I tried to swap the shoulders, but the metal rods that keep the arms attached are too firm - you'd break the shoulders before getting them out. The boots are huge in proportion to the thighs, and while he looks fine in standing poses, it does look a little strange once you try for dynamic poses (as well as causing stability problems). The mid section of the dinosaur body unfolds to reveal the head, with the black panels folding out to form shoulderpads. While these pads have tabs that correspond to sockets on the torso, they don't line up correctly - instead the panels sit slightly higher than they should.

   The level of detail here is generally good, in contrast to some of the sloppy aspects I've just mentioned. This robot mode feels like it was slightly rushed - a lot of effort has been put in, but a few more tweaks were needed. The transformation which brings us to this point is quite clever, and while it's not the same as G1 Grimlock's, it's quite cool. The T-rex head is now his feet while the hindclaws sit behind his forearms. The shoulders would look really nice if they didn't have the screws so prominent, and the head fits the character perfectly.

   Grimlock's poseability is good although with some limitations. The head turns, although the loose shoulderplates will try come with it, so you have to grasp these before you move his head. The shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows are hinged and there are rotators just above the elbows themselves. The wrists are fixed - they had to be really, with the claws attached directly below. The waist rotates and the hips are ball jointed, while the knees, ankles and heelspurs are all hinged. The legs take a little bit of work in some action poses, since the knees are quite high, but once you find a stable pose Grimlock will hold it. The high knees are actually kneecaps - from the inside of either leg you can see proper boots, with the knee joints sitting behind and below the kneecaps. Combined with the poseable tailwhip and missile launcher, the poseability gives Grimlock good play value, although the weight of the tailwhip limits his stability a little.   

   The shoulder screws and loose shoulderplates drag down what could - should - have been a really nice robot mode. While this isn't a bad robot mode, there's just enough bugging me for me to really enjoy this figure. The play value is still pretty good and the toy clearly represents Grimlock, so it's not a write-off, but isn't as good as his T-rex mode either.

VARIATIONS

   Takara's Henkai version features gold chrome. Special Edition Overkill & Shattered Glass Grimlock are repaints of this mould.

OVERALL

   A good toy, although slightly below the standard set by some of the Classics toys. Grimlock is still a nice figure, and easily beats the simplified Pretender as a tribute or some of the odd name reuses we've seen in recent years. The shift in transformation and loss of chrome don't really count against this toy - the transformation actually gets rid of kibble compared to G1 and is interesting on its own anyway. I really wish those damn screws weren't so visible - but despite that flaw I think he's worth picking up - 7.5/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.