Name: Grapple (technically it's Solar Storm Grappel)
Alternate Mode: Crane
Height: 10cm Length: 17cm Width: 6.5cm
An orange truck with a grey front bumper, some grey mid panels and some orange & black danger stripes on the side. Grapple has colourless plastic front windows while the side ones are painted silver and the strobes on his roof are transparent orange. The front grille area and headlights are painted silver while the headlights feature some transparent plastic. His tyres are black while the wheels are painted silver. There's a large orange crane arm on top. It's a fairly straightforward colour scheme, which matches that of the original toy nicely. There's a "Reveal the Shield" style rubsign on the left side, which is the only allegiance symbol on the toy.
While he's a retooling of Inferno he doesn't really feel like a repaint/retool - since the two characters originally shared a mould anyway. There are distinct design cues taken from his G1 toy, along with some notable differences. The gaps present on the sides (arms) of the original have been filled in, despite a similar transformation and the overall shape is much squarer. The crane arm on top is proportionally smaller and the hook is orange like the rest of the truck, not chromed as on the original. Incidentally the crane arm is the only mould difference here compared with Inferno.
There's not a whole lot of play value here since the emphasis is on a good vehicle mode, but there's still some stuff you can do. The wheels all roll and do so on ridged tyres so he'll rumble as he rolls. The crane arm can lift up to around 40° and it can also turn through 360°. Turning it will reveal the gaps on top between the arms and feet, but this isn't a deal breaker by any stretch. The hook is on a hinge (which is too taught for the hook to swing) and the arm extends maybe 3 inches in front of the truck. There are no electronic gimmicks here, which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned - there's no awkward electronics block dominating the engineering. There's no weapons in this mode at all.
Aside from the gap under his crane arm I have no real complains with this mode. The colours work - Grapple is a fairly muted orange which matches the G1 toy nicely. The crane arm really sets him apart from Inferno & provides nice simple play value. Here are some nice sculpted features such as windshield wipers and seats inside. It's well painted although it lacks any chrome elements.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
This is essentially an update of the original's, with some tweaks such as a lot of panels attached to the arm to fill in gaps.
Unclip the grey side panels and fold forward. Unclip the rear side panels and do the same. Fold away the front wheels, unclip the underside and fold down to form his legs. Fold the front bumper down to form the groin, split and rotate the boots, fold down the feet. Unclip the sides of the cabin, lift them up, split and swing forward as shoulderpads. Swing the arms down into position, fold away the visible side windows (underneath the shoulderpads) and bring the shoulderpads down. Rotate the arms into position, rotate the chrome panels on the outsides of his arms and the water cannon on the right forearm. Pull back the black panel behind the torso, the head should spring out into position - fold the panel up as a backplate and you're done.
Height: 18cm Width: 15cm
n orange robot with a black head and hands, silver feet, a grey groin and grey thighs. The front of the truck is his torso, the seats and the headlight assembly are visible on this chest. His face is painted silver while his eyes are blue with an excellent lightpipe. Again this is a good colour scheme and one that matches the original toy quite closely (and uses the black head seen there rather than the orange one from the cartoon). There's no Autobot logo here.
Grapple has a good bodyshape and while there is some kibble, it's used well. The shoulderpads are visually unobtrusive and they can also clear room for arm poseability. The crane arm cannon is obviously a carry over. I especially like the backplate getting itself right out of the way, it's clever and is designed purely to avoid a gap at that spot. While the crane arm sort of works as a melee weapon, it's a big chunk of kibble, really.
While the vehicle mode has the most noticeable mould change compared to Ironhide, there are more here - including the still visible crane arm. Grapple has a redesigned here, rounded forearms rather than the boxy ones seen on Inferno & open hands rather than the clenched fists of Inferno, Most prominent here is the head, which has been totally redone, which is far more than we'd expect from a repaint that doesn't need much work to fit the character.
Grapple's poseability is very good here. His head sits on a ball joint and his wrists rotate while his waist is fixed. His shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and _ankles_ are move in two planes of motion, despite the neck being the only ball joint used here. The range of poses available is impressive and the double jointed ankles coupled with the transformation hinges in his feet make Grapple quite stable. The open hands don't hold anything, but then he doesn't come with _any_ weapons - which is amazing for a Transformer of his size. I guess we can call the crane arm hanging off his arm a club, but that's pushing things a little.
Aside from no weapon, the other negative here it's the lack of a waist - Grapple's torso is a box with a groinplate underneath, and no waist to speak of. Mind you, both the G1 toy and cartoon incarnation were the same, so it's true to character even if it does look a little strange. While various Optimus Prime toys down the years have employed different tricks to give the truck cab a waist, that's wasn't really Grapple's style. The resculpted head is more like that of cartoon Grapple (while Inferno's is more like the head found on both G1 toys), so I do wish it was done in orange.
A good robot mode with good colours, a strong paint job and good poseability. It's clear a lot of effort went into this retooling, so it's a shame that some relatively minor things hold back this
The Takara version features an orange head. As mentioned he is a retool of Inferno & also shares the mould with BotCon Spark & Hot Spot.
A good toy which is an excellent tribute to the original that remains true to character while updating the original in vehicle mode accuracy and robot mode poseability. Grapple doesn't just feel like a later repaint but the new head, while impressive in it's creation, doesn't quite work. Nonetheless the vehicle mode is excellent and the robot mode is good. I'll recommend him to fit into your Classics collection, but between the two versions of the story, I'll definitely recommend, although it's one or the other I'd nominate Inferno. Recommended - 7.5/10