Cliffbee.com: Grimstone Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Grimstone
Series: Power Core Combiners
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Styracosaurus



STYRACOSAURUS MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 11cm Width: 5cm

   A grey, gold and silver quadrupedal dinosaur, Grimstone has a a grey body, dayglo red belly, silver frille with gold backwards-pointing spines and a gold head. His eyes are blue while the spine on his nose and the horns above his eyes are painted yellow. There are black cannons with silver barrels on either shoulder along with black rear knees and some black & blue (those ubiquitous blocks) on his legs. It's a colour scheme which evokes the G1 Dinobots - which is deliberate and it works well. There's only one Autobot logo here - on his rump facing backwards. This placement is for the combined mode rather than animal mode.

   The packaging lists Grimstone as a Triceratops - but a quick comparison with the G1 Dinobot Slag tells us that he's misidentified. So he's a Styracosaurus with spines on the back of his frill. The hind legs are longer than they should be (a side effect of them also forming robot legs) so the thighs are longer than is ideal so that he'll stand flat. Other than the legs, the bodyshape is pretty good. There's a hardpoint on the tip of his tail.

   There's some poseability here, which is essentially the play value in this mode. All four hips swing and the knees are hinged although there's not a lot of poses that work well. The hardpoint on his tail provides the only other aspect that could be considered play value - a MiniCon's weapon mode could be mounted on his tail. I suspect that the blue blocks partially hidden in his hindlegs are intended to be more visible so that the legs can pivot forward slightly (and the red heelspurs can be swing up inside the feet).

   A pretty good beast mode considering that he's essentially a triple changer. The G1-esque colours work well here, giving him a G1 Slag feel. The play value is fairly minimal, but is enough. Essentially this is a solid mode with no major flaws, topped off with a nostalgic colour scheme.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the tail under his belly, swing back the legs & rotate his feet. Swing the forelegs back, split the frill and swing down to the sides, which also pushes the forelegs under the belly, forming a backpack. The rump forms forearms and the frill becomes shoulderpads. Swing the beast head down to form a chestplate, revealing the robot head underneath.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 11cm Width: 8.5cm

  

   A grey robot with black knees and a black head, his face is painted silver with blue eyes. His torso is red with the gold beast head forming a chestplate. There's some silver on top of his thighs, and on the beats mode cannons now behind his shoulderpads - which are also silver. Again these colours are strongly reminiscent of the G1 Dinobots, although he doesn't especially recall any of that quintet.

   This robot mode works quite well visually, despite having lizard hips. The shoulderpads and the guns which stick up behind them are nice visual elements. The hands are fairly crudely sculpted but still look like hands. The forearms are hollow sculpted which is a little off-putting. Again the G1 Dinobot colours help visually, and the shoulderpads compliment this since most of the original Dinobots had some sort of panelling around their arms.

   Grimstone's not terribly poseable. His head turns while his waist is fixed. His shoulders and elbows are ball jointed and while the elbows also feature hinges, the shoulders are very restricted since the cannons and beast legs ion his back get in each other's way. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees are hinged with rotators. His heelspurs are somewhat small & delicate so there's a fairly limited range of stable poses. While the hands look somewhat crude, they can actually hold a powerlinx port (and therefore, a MiniCon's weapon mode). He can also hold the Dimetrodon drone as a club - since that drone has a port at the end of it's tail.

   A decent robot mode that looks good but lacks play value thanks to limited poseability. Again there's a real G1 Dinobot feel here, which really makes this robot mode better than it would have otherwise been. Grimstone's unremarkable but solid & the nostalgia factor makes him work.

DIMETRODON DRONE

   Hasbro call this a Spinosaurus, but that's a bipedal beast with a sail on it's back - and this is clearly the quadrupedal Dimetrodon (which is, funnily, the better known animal). It's a grey beast with silver on it's head and hindlegs. The tail is a dayglo red affair that, as mentioned, ends in a hardpoint. The forelegs are sculpted onto the main body of this robotic beast. The eyes are blue while the sail is gold with orange along the top. There's a black Autobot logo on the left side of it's body. This is the only beast in this set that doesn't have prominent weapons in a colour other than grey - there are some sculpted guns inside the forelegs, but they're little more than noise really. The sculpted legs and weapons make this the weakest drone in this set, although it does have an opening mouth.

PACHYCEPHALOSAURUS DRONE

   A grey bipedal dinosaur with a silver dome on it's head and silver cannons just above the dayglo red small forearms. There's more red on the back and around the throat while the eyes are blue and the feet and hips gold. There's very little play value here, the forelegs wiggle a little - but move as one - while there's a powerlinx port on the back. The black Autobot logo is stamped on the front of the dome.

ANKYLOSAURUS DRONE

   A grey quadrupedal beast with gold armour on the back and head, while the spiky ball on the tail and head are silver. The eyes are painted blue and there are small black Autobot logos stamped on either hip. In top of the back is a powerlinx port. The only real play value here is a head which can look up. Despite this it's well sculpted and well paint, including black guns sticking up 45 above the forelegs, so it's one of the better drones in this set.

PARASAUROLOPHUS DRONE

   A grey bipedal dinosaur with silver feet & a silver tail. The forelegs and puffed out chest are dayglo red while the crest is painted orange. There's a black Autobot logo on the nose while the eyes are - you guessed it - blue (rounding out a set of blue eyes). There's a nicely sculpted pair of black cannons behind the forelimbs featuring gold barrels. On the outside of either gun are powerlinx ports. While the actual Parasaurolophus could walk on all fours, that's not possible here - but the firelimbs are on ball joints, making this the most poseable drone in this set. Combine that with a strong paint job and good sculpt (especially the weapons) and this is the best drone of the set.

COMBINED ROBOT MODE
Height: 17.5cm Width: 19cm

   A grey, silver, gold and red robot with a few splashes of black, this combined form is shorter but more solid that most PCC combined modes. The head is gold with a black face and blue eyes - it's the Styracosaur head opened up - the top of that head now forms a helmet. The frill (robot arms) works nicely as a chest and the beast forelegs become anchor points for the arms, which are the Dimetrodon and Parasaurolophus. The Ankylosaurus and Pachycephalosaurs form the legs. The arms and legs are able to swap sides. The colours are very unified and fit into the whole G1 Dinobot theme going here, while the red Autobot logo is on the groin while the small black cannons of Grimstone's beast mode sit on either side of the chest, covering the shoulders.

   This robot mode fulfils something of a fanboy fantasy - the Dinobot Gestalt. There are quite a few dinosaur elements visible here, including the sail on one arm, the ankylosaur armour on one knees and the Pachycephalosaurs dome on the other, along with the elements of Grimstone on the torso & head. The hands are rudimentary - one is the head of the Dimetrodon - it opens so this is effectively a claw, while the other is a very rudimentary pincer formed from the hindlegs of the Parasaurolophus. I'm impressed that three of the drone tails fold away nicely. The odd one out is the Pachycephalosaurs tail which ends up being an excessively long heelspurs.

   Poseability is good for a combined mode. The head turns while the shoulders swing and lift out to the sides. One hands opens (the dinosaur head) while the other does nothing. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees are hinged with rotators. This robot stands fairly well, but the massive footprint it has makes the range of available poses fairly small. There's no way for this robot to hold a weapon. While the poseability might not sound great, this robot mode is far more stable than most PCC combined modes, which are generally very fragile. I'm especially pleased that the shoulder joints anchor well - a major problem in this line.

   Probably my favourite PCC combined mode, and it's one that's come at the end of the line - I guess the designers have learned from early design processes. The theme works well and it's not as spindly as most PCC combined toys.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   As the only animal mode set in the Power Core Combiner series, I expected Grimstone and his drones to be a disaster, but that's far from the truth. The G1 Dinobot theme is a cheap and easy way to make this set appeal to fans, but it works - and that's more because the unified theme works and the colours work well together. All five dinosaurs work well and the individual robot mode is decent. The combined mode is a great effort - a strong combined robot that is a class above most PCC combined modes, a great theme and good engineering. Recommended if the PCC theme interests you at all - 8.5/10

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