Cliffbee.com: Activator Fireblast Grimlock Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Grimlock
Series: Animated
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: T-rex



T-REX MODE
Height: 9cm Length: 14.5cm Width: 6.5cm

   A maroon, black and red Tyrannosaurus rex with amber elements such as the forelimbs and feet, this is a repaint of the original Grimlock. There's a distinctly volcanic feel about this repaint - including a gradient of maroon to red on the front of his body (the rear is maroon) and some red "cracked lava" painted on his black neck. The head is red with small green eyes and a black lower jaw. There's a black Autobot logo stamped on his back, just behind the left hip, along with a maroon one stamped inside a window on his back - between the forelimbs and hips. This toy has a vastly different look to the original, which works in his favour - as does the well executed volcanic theme.

   In keeping with the general theme of the Animated line, this is a very stylised Dinobot. The lower jaw is huge and Grimlock has a angular, protruding chin. His forelimbs are much smaller than on most bipedal dinosaur Transformers and his pupils are polygonal. While I wouldn't say any of these aspects are negatives, it does make this character quite distinct from previous Dinobots. The volcanic look ruins any real G1 homage here anyway, so the odd proportions don't stand out - the entire toy blends nicely.

   As with a few Activators, there's a fair bit of robot kibble underneath. The legs form a fairly visible block underneath. They're clearly a different shape to the beast's body although they sit flush with it. What really hurts is that they're red and the body is maroon, so they're quite noticeable. The poseability is about as good as you could expect here - his hips swing while the knees and ankles are ball jointed, his forelimbs swing and the lower jaw opens a little. The tail can even lift up, although it does so using one joint only, so it looks awfully unnatural. I find my Fireblast Grimlock's transformation mechanism is very easy to set off, which is annoying, but I'm not sure if this is common to all of them, so I'll give the benefit of the doubt.

   An attractive Dinosaur mode with an interesting and striking theme. As same-character repaints go this beast mode is quite compelling. The auto-transform can trigger a little easily but he stands up without any trouble. The kibble underneath is the main negative, but this is still a nice beast mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Unclip the robot legs slightly, pull back on an amber switch at the base of his tail and much of the transformation springs to life. The robot legs slide backwards as the chest unfolds, exposing the robot head. the beast neck folds onto his back while the beast head stows inside the neck. You'll have to swing the arms (hind legs) down, swing up the tail and rotate the dinosaur feet to form hands and flip up the feet, but on the whole this is a well executed auto transform with several pieces moving with one button.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 10.5cm Width: 6cm

   A maroon, red, gold and black robot, Grimlock's torso is maroon with gold lava cracks, his arms are black with some red on top and gold hands while his thighs are gold and his boots red with black lava (and unpainted red cracks). His feet and head are black and Grimlock has a red eyestrip. The colours are again volcanic and wildly divergent from G1. If anything the volcanic theme works better here since there's more bright colour and more of the cracked lava. That maroon stamped Autobot logo is now on his chest. While this is a somewhat gratuitous repaint, the theme is well executed and it works well, visually.

   The proportions are good in most respects here, although he has notably long arms. The hands line up with his shins, which looks very odd. There's a considerable backpack here but the heelspurs are big enough to ensure finding a stable pose isn't a major problem. There's a protruding lower jaw moulded below a face which is otherwise a copy of the G1 cartoon Grimlock's face (aside from the red eyes).

   Poseability here is good. His head and waist are fixed while his shoulders swing. For some reason there are hinges half way down the upper arms which allow the arms to lift out to the sides, but it looks like his arms are badly broken, so I can't quite work out why these joints are included. His elbows, wrists, hips and knees are ball jointed. While the backpack does get in the way of some poses you can swing down the tail as a third leg, which makes most poses stable.

   A solid robot mode aside from awkwardly long arms. The poseability is about as good as you could hope for from an Activator. The lower jaw bugs me, but that's a personal dislike of the giant jaws in this series. Thankfully the striking and well executed lava motif tends to detract from the dark jaw.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. As mentioned, he is a repaint of the original Activator Grimlock.

OVERALL

   A good Activator with a very good Dinosaur mode and a solid robot mode despite the long arms. There's some kibble in the dinosaur mode which isn't as subtle as on the original. The G1 homage is pretty much lost here, but the colours are far more striking here, and the theme is well done. As arbitrary repaints go this is a good one, thanks to a clever theme. I actually prefer this to the original, despite the loss of the tribute - 7.5/10

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