Cliffbee.com: Energon Grimlock Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Grimlock
Series: Energon
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Tyrannosaurus rex



T-REX MODE
Height: 11cm Length: 20cm Width: 10cm

   A grey T-Rex with some red and yellow highlights and black lower hindlegs, in a colour scheme that's strongly reminiscent of the G1 toy of the same name. Finally, an Energon homage without a misplaced name! The tip of his tail and the neck are yellow, which matches G1 Grimlock. as do the red eyes. The claws on his hindlegs and the small forelimbs are a slightly lighter grey than the rest of the toy. The combination of colours here is a little sunny, aside from the black you've got light, bright colours - but he's by no means gaudy. There's an Autobot logo stamped on top of his head.

   The cool thing about this dinosaur mode is how remarkably similar to the G1 character the head is. It might as well be the same character. There's a pretty good level of detail, too, with seams, mechanical details and such over most of the toy.

   Having said that there are some problems here too. The forelimbs attach to the body like those of a velociraptor, sticking forward, rather that out to the side like those on G1 Grimlock - Tyrannosaurus rex had primitive limbs like those of a crocodile, not like those of a mammal. The hindlegs do stick out to the sides, but the hips are big domes that look out of proportion with the rest of the toy.

   The play value is for the most part the same as that of the G1 Dinobot, which I suppose isn't much with twenty years of toy technology to draw on. His neck is hinged and the lower jaw can open and shut, the forelimbs can swing up and down while the hindlegs have rotating hips. The knees fold and can rotate as well, while the twin foreclaws and single hindclaws are hinged. The hindclaws server as stabilisers, so it's a good thing they move. This toy seems designed to stand with his back horizontal like a real T-Rex rather than dragging his tail like G1 Grimlock (whose pose was thought correct at the time. The neck is designed in a way that both options work, though - which I appreciate.

   On balance this is a decent T-Rex mode. The homage is very strong, the colours works and the detail is pretty good. The play value is somewhat limited - some ball joints would have been nice - especially for the forelimbs where there are metal pins holding the hinges together, which would cost more than ball joints. The hips could easily have been done better and the shoulders really should have been, but this is still his better mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Again there are shades of G1 here. Split the tailtip, fold the halves to the sides, flip over the tail to form his boots, split the legs. You can now stand Grimlock up. Slide the arms up, rotate the forearms and slide out his fists. The front claws become melee weapons while the rear claws fold back. Open the panels on his back, fold down the dino head and and rotate the front claws so they're flush against the head. Fold back the head assembly to form his backpack, revealing Grimlock's robot mode head. Fold out the yellow heelspurs hidden inside his feet.

   While the backpack is different and there are some changes to the arms, this transformation is clearly copied from G1 Grimlock.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13cm Width: 9.5cm

   Again mainly grey, Grimlock has a wide yellow chest and a narrow yellow groin, without any real waste. His thighs and forearms are black with some red highlights. The head is black with a red eyestrip and there's a grey square in the middle of his chest which sports an Autobot logo. The colours are a closer match to those of his G1 counterpart, and work better in this mode since there's more black.

   The homage here is pretty well done - there are aspects of cartoon G1 Grimlock, War Within Grimlock and the G1 toy. The shoulders are huge like those of WW Grimlock. The arms are slightly longer than they should be, and while it does look a little weird this makes Grimlock look tough and brutish - especially in combination with his big shoulders. The head reminds me of the Marvel comics Grimlock, which rounds out the homage quite nicely.

   The big chest and narrow groin are actually similar to those of G1 Grimlock, but that toy used the top of the thighs as hips, whereas this one doesn't. There are non-standard holes in his fists, which is really annoying since Grimlock doesn't come with his own weapon - he can't borrow the weaponry that every other Energon toy (bar Swoop) can use. The sculpting on his fists is also quite poor.

   Poseability isn't what it should be. His head turns, the shoulders rotate and the arms can lift up to the sides while the giant shoulders stay put. There are two swivels and a hinge in each elbow while the Wolverine-like claws can fold back if you want them to (though they're pretty cool when sticking out). The hips are very restricted ball joints that might as well be rotators while the knees are ratcheting joints. I'm not sure why Grimlock doesn't have ball jointed knees - it would have meant they could have avoided the metal pins inside and ball joints wouldn't have interfered with the transformation. The hips are slightly more problematic, but I'm sure it wouldn't have taken too much effort to redesign them with better movement. So while the arms are very poseable, the legs don't really do much. The heelspurs are useful although even if you leave them up the backpack doesn't cause too many problems.

   There's a lot of wasted potential here. The homage is very well done but there are some lazy aspects of the engineering hold this robot mode back. In truth, the biggest thing holding this back is the combined form, Mega Dinobot. As it is, it's a reasonable robot mode.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Grimlock was sold in a box with Swoop.

OVERALL

   The idea is a pretty good one, and for once we get a G1 homage in Energon without a distorted name. The homage is very well done, but some lazy engineering in both modes really hold Grimlock back. Still, fans of the G1 character will appreciate the toy, along with Swoop the set is worthwhile - 6/10

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